Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.’
I remember when ISIL first burst into global consciousness – with the fall of Mosul on June 4, 2014. I happened to be visiting my parents.
My mother rushed in and told me that terrorists in Toyotas had overrun Iraq’s second-largest city in a modern-day Mongol Horde.
I rolled my eyes.
I explained to her that, as usual, she was exaggerating. What she was describing was undoubtedly impossible, and I patiently explained why:
The West has satellites which are tracking everyone at every moment – surely they would see fleets of armed trucks speeding towards Iraq. Undoubtedly they would open fire, not only to get the human target practice they so adore but because – despite an alleged “withdrawal” at the end of 2011 – they had 30,000 American soldiers and contractors in Iraq to protect. Certainly they would have seen this mass army amassing before they ever left their barracks and notified somebody to do something, if the US didn’t want to fight them. Frankly, not even the US would unleash something which my Mom was describing.
Moms… so gullible and prone to worry, eh? They mean well, but I had no doubt I was totally in the right, and if my Mom wouldn’t or couldn’t understand… what can a son do but humour their mom?
It turned out that I was the gullible one and that my Mom was right. (As I get older I realise this happens more often than I would have previously imagined.)
I was gullible to believe that the US would not do all those things I told my mom they would not, but I was not totally stupid: The spectacularly swift rise of ISIL still cannot be properly explained by Washington.
But the current US president claimed to have the answer in August 2016 – Donald Trump said his predecessor Barack Obama was the “founder of ISIS”.
Certainly that resonated around the world and inside the US. 9/11 made widespread the knowledge that the US created the Taliban, who had come back to bite the hand that fed it. That September Obama returned US soldiers to Iraq, something the average American surely did not want.
Trump walked back his comments slightly, but Trump the campaigner had done what he repeatedly did and what immediately earned him the enmity of the US 1%, Deep State and Wall Street – he openly said truths about US neo-imperialism which no US presidential candidate had ever even come close to suggesting. Combine this “Main Street” honesty with his similar “you can’t say that” truths against free markets/free trade, as well as the total corruption of the two US political parties, and that’s how you get a reality-TV star as president of the self-appointed “leader of the free world”.
The US returned to Iraq, but they continued to let ISIL run free. Today, the whole world knows that Iranian General Qassem Soleimani – appallingly assassinated by Trump – was the architect who led ISIL’s defeat.
But the US has known of Iran’s leadership in the war on terror, and the West’s terrorist tolerance, for years. On June 5, 2015, top US newsmagazine Newsweek ran a story about Soleimani titled “Iranian Military Mastermind Leading Battle to Recapture Tikrit from ISIS”.
And yet Washington’s propaganda line, being dutifully and unquestioningly repeated by countless US and Western “journalists” is that Soleimani was killed because he was a “terrorist”?
That is insulting on too many levels to list in this brief article.
But it’s not only the brave, incredibly-missed martyr Soleimani – whom I described as “the Muslim Che Guevara”, because both were international anti-imperialist fighters and heroes slain by Washington – but all of Iran which fights ISIL.
The West knew this already, too: When it comes to foreign policy Newsweek never seriously deviates from the Washington & Wall Street propaganda lines – the notion is laughable – which is why they probably deeply regret their 2nd-most recent issue: on December 27, 2019, their very cover featured Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei with the caption, “If Iran falls, ISIS rises again.”
Yes. Of course. The whole world knows this about Iran, about Soleimani and about the anti-terror ideals of the Iranian Islamic Revolution. The whole world knows the US and their allies do nothing to stop ISIS.
For decades Iran has been the only country which has sacrificed time, money and lives for foreigners in the international fight against US capitalist-imperialism. This is why the illegal, inhuman slaying of Soleimani must be dressed up as “anti-terrorism” by Washington.
I described how ever since the WMD lie of 2003 US democracy has featured a “false-life syndrome”, where everyone is forced to publicly repeat lies about the machinations of the Pentagon. The Iraq War fundamentally changed US democracy by demanding that no one seriously question the official narrative – no matter how preposterous – something which did occur during their Vietnam War.
WMDs, Soleimani and the creation and support of ISIL – all lies from Washington. If the US did not support ISIL why did Soleimani have to be invited by the Iraqi government to fight them? Either the spectacularly-funded US military is even more rife with corruption than we already know, or they never planned to fight ISIL, but to aid them.
And who is aided more by the slaying of Soleimani than terrorist ISIL?
That is the fundamental moral question, and this question goes beyond geopolitical strategy – at least to the average, normal person.
However, Western liberal, aristocratic, domestically-resented democracies cannot honestly answer. This is why Germany, France and the UK all publicly supported the assassination, in great shame to their own people.
If Washington assassinated Soleimani because he was a “terrorist”, then logically they should now de-list ISIL as a terrorist group. Why not just come clean, finally?
All the world acknowledges that Soleimani fought terrorism, but if he must be rebranded as a “terrorist” in the West – in Orwellian fashion – then the time has come for the US and their allies to admit they are collaborating with ISIL. Fighting against ISIL makes one a “terrorist”, not fighting with them.
Why is that so hard to believe? The current US president said the same thing – are we both wild conspiracy theorists?
Hardly – we are simply two people who know just a bit of basic history. Hillary Clinton – who would have probably started a full-scale war with Iran by now – got the horrific, despised anti-Iran cult the MKO (MEK) de-listed even though they are still detestable terrorists and murderers. The US supported the Taliban. The US supports the neo-Nazi groups who led the coup in Ukraine, and who could easily be behind the latest example of the inhuman Western sabotage of airplanes in Iran – today’s terrible crash of a Ukraine International Airlines flight from Tehran.
Why not ISIL as well?
Above all, it would make it clear that Washington’s main enemy in the Muslim World is the continued success and support of the 1979 popular revolution in Iran, and the bad example it sets to their neo-imperial clients worldwide.
Trump claims he wants to fight ISIL, and even claims he is willing to work with Iran to do so, but then he assassinates the leader of the anti-ISIL fight and falsely brands him a “terrorist”?
Calling anti-terror hero Soleimani a “terrorist” is obviously a desperate way to falsely brand all of Iran as “terrorists”, but the world now knows the real truth better than ever. Washington, in their imperialist arrogance, believes that we do not.
Newsweek, Obama and the Clintons and Trump do not care for Iraq or about stopping ISIL, not like Soleimani and Iran.
No amount of Orwellian, mind-erasing doublespeak from Washington will ever change that, and no matter how much they aid ISIL by assassinating its enemies.