02:05 GMT22 October 2020
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    Washington uses Islamic State insurgency in the Middle East to restrain Syria, Iran and Arab Gulf nations, the head of a geopolitical think tank told Sputnik on Friday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Despite almost a year of intensive air raids against ISIL positions in the Middle East, the US-led coalition has been unable to defeat the radical Sunni movement, which captured large swathes of land in Syria and Iraq since its rise in June 2014.

    Col. Gen. Leonid Ivashov, the president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems and former senior official at Russia’s Defense Ministry in charge of foreign military cooperation, described the US campaign to roll back ISIL insurgency as halfhearted.

    "On the one hand, they are indeed wary of the Islamic State and this rise in Islamic radicalism. But, on the other, they were the driving force behind [ISIL], and they still use it as a tool to destroy the Islamic civilization and culture, a tool to pressure Syria, Iran and keep control of Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries," Ivashov said.

    Ivashov said Washington was only acting out of concern that the countries’ vast oil reserves could fall into ISIL's hands, but defeating the group was not a priority. The analyst added the US was interested in a spillover to Central Asia and Russia’s Caucasus, which are predominantly Muslim.


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