18:20 GMT12 May 2021
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    Washington can’t salvage its raison d’etre for Middle East intervention - the continued existence of Daesh - by scapegoating Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which has been on the front lines of the fight against Daesh since that group was created, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Thursday.

    "Losers of our region's War on Terror cannot rescind history. Targeting #IRGC won't revive ISIS and Nusra — their clients and very creations," Zarif tweeted on Thursday. "Game over, ladies and gentlemen: time to face the fact that you've exhausted every wrong choice and scapegoating won't be your panacea."

    "When @realdonaldtrump insisted that ‘Iran is killing ISIS', exactly who did he think was doing the fighting & making the sacrifice?" the diplomat continued, noting that "ISIS would've held two Arab capitals & fielded a Terrorist Army on Europe's doorstep had #IRGC not fought alongside brave peoples of Iraq & Syria."

    ​The images accompanying Zarif's tweets show news articles talking about how the US and Saudi Arabia have supported Daesh's genesis, rise to prominence and continued war effort.

    On April 8, the Trump administration declared the IRGC, an elite paramilitary unit formed during the 1979 Islamic Revolution, to be a terrorist entity — the first time Washington has ever branded a state military institution as such. The move confused many, especially since the Trump administration hasn't offered a single example of the IRGC engaging in any terrorist actions.

    What the corps has done, however, is engage in years of fighting against Daesh in support of Iraqi and Syrian armies. Backed by Iran's perennial rival, Saudi Arabia, Daesh made lightning-quick advances across the Fertile Crescent in 2014, capturing an area roughly the size of the United Kingdom, including Iraq's third-largest city, Mosul. Preaching an extreme strain of Sunni Islam inspired by Saudi Wahhabism, Daesh persecuted all other religions and even other Muslim sects, like Shia Islam, which most people in Iran follow and which is the official religion of the Iranian government. Thus, the IRGC came to the rescue of these groups.

    The US, by contrast, engaged only in aerial campaigns that have had comparatively little effect on dislodging the militia group.

    Iranian Ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjedi struck a similar tone last December, when he told a group of Iraqi university students, "The strategic policy of the US is [based on] the establishment of instability and crisis in the region, and this is the reason that it creates obstacles in the way of any effort which will lead to [boosting] peace and calm in the region," Sputnik reported.

    The ambassador's comments came at a time when US President Donald Trump had recently announced the imminent withdrawal of the United States' 2,000 troops from Syria, and as the Pentagon readied new bases in western Iraq for their new deployment — in some cases, only a couple of dozen miles from where they'd been fighting Daesh. However, the US-allied Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces did the lion's share of the fighting, with US troops playing primarily support and advisory roles.

    Masjedi noted that while Iran withdrew its forces from Iraq following Baghdad's declaration of victory over Daesh in December 2017, "the US has still kept its forces in the region despite the elimination of Daesh, and instead of announcing the end of its military forces' mission, it is strengthening its bases and military barracks in some regions and establishing new positions."

    The last Daesh-held territory was captured last month in Syria's Deir ez-Zor province.


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