‘A US-Iran pact to defeat ISIS is doomed to fail’

The West enlisting Iranian help to fight terror group ISIS is ‘doomed to failure’, says Mr. Abdulrahman Al-Rashed, the head of Al-Arabiya television.

He said ISIS and other terrorist factions will not submit to Iran’s authority, they don’t follow its religious doctrine and consider Iran to be their enemy.He also criticised advice from British intelligence committee chief Sir Malcolm Rifkind to the US that the West and Iran had national interests that coincided on specific issues.

He wrote on the Asharq al-Awsat news website: “Rifkind suggested that the US government should cooperate with Iran to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in Iraq. It’s an unrealistic suggestion, not because cooperation with Iran is forbidden, but because the value of this cooperation is equal to zero in the equation of the struggle with ISIS.

“On the one hand, Iran is a state ruled by an extremist Shi’ite religious regime, and on the other hand, ISIS is an extremist Sunni organization in Iraq and Syria. So, how can Shi’ite Iran help America fight a Sunni insurgent group? It’s like saying Britain, with a Protestant majority, must help fight a Catholic group or state during a sectarian dispute!

“The West could cooperate with Iran to curb the terrorist activities of the Lebanese group Hezbollah. The West could also cooperate with the Iranian government of President Hassan Rouhani to pressure dictator Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to step down. The US could cooperate with Iran to ensure the handover of Sunni Al-Qaeda leaders who live in Iran.”

But he added: “Enlisting Iranian help to fight against groups such as ISIS and the Al-Nusra Front outside of Iran is doomed to failure. This is because these groups will not submit to Iran’s authority; they don’t follow its religious doctrine and consider Iran to be their enemy.

“Rifkind’s suggestion is the worst possible advice Washington could have received, especially given that it considers Britain the most experienced country with regards to Middle Eastern affairs.

“With Iran against the Sunni insurgents of Iraq or Syria, this will open the doors of hell and grant ISIS a new lease of life after it has come under siege by Anbar’s Sunnis and Kurds who are pursuing it and fighting it on Iraq’s mountains and plains.”

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al- Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad.

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