US Senator: IS Used as Tool by US, Turkey and Saudis

Senator Richard Black visited Homs and Damascus in April.Senator Richard Black visited Homs and Damascus in April.

A US senator expressed doubt that the US-led coalition could have overlooked the advance of IS militants from Mosul toward Palmyra, pointing to the possible interests of the US and regional players.

Speaking to RT on, Virginia Senator Richard Black added that as the territory between areas occupied by the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group and Palmyra is a “very barren” rocky desert, “it is unconceivable that the American-led collation could not have seen this massive army moving towards Palmyra”.

“I was surprised that IS was able to attack Palmyra. It’s important to recognize that the distance from IS-held territory [to] Palmyra is approximately 100 miles,” added the senator who has repeatedly voiced support for Syrian President Bashar Assad in battling the militants.

The fact that the US-led coalition seemingly turned a blind eye to the imminent terrorist threat to the UNESCO world heritage site is not a coincidence, he argues, but rather a part of the foreign policy strategy employed by the current White House administration towards Islamic State.

“Unfortunately, I believe, under the [US President Barack] Obama administration, I think there have been great deal of coordination between terrorist forces and the US-led coalition,” Black said.

While the US, as well as other western countries and major regional players, do not share the same goals as the terrorists, they have been seemingly sparing IS if airstrikes against the terrorist group could have resulted in disadvantage to Turkey, the key NATO member in the region and a US ally, which Black alleges, has engaged in economic relations with terrorists.

“They [the terrorists] have not been loved by anyone, but they have been a major trading partner of Turkey, and the United States withheld any attack when they first seized Palmyra travelling a hundred miles over open territory, and, I confirm, there was not a single bomb dropped by the American-led coalition,” he said.

  Selective Approach

This very selective approach to fighting terrorists gives reason to suggest that the US-led coalition is battling militants only when it does not interfere with the narrow interests of its members, Black suggests, dubbing the coalition’s efforts under such circumstances as “disastrously unproductive”.

“I think IS is often used as a tool between Turkey and the United States and as long as they are useful to one of those parties, they are protected and when they are not useful, they are not protected,” Black said, arguing that IS served as “tool of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United States and NATO forces … from the very beginning” of the conflict in Syria.

At the same time, the senator commended the US-led offensive in Iraq, which has centered on liberating its second largest city, Mosul, from militants, saying that the coalition was “doing some very good work in Mosul” and seems to be genially poised to “drive IS forces from Mosul”.

However, Obama’s recent decision to lift restrictions on the delivery of weapons to “foreign forces, irregular forces, groups or individuals”, who are supported by US military in Syria, plays into the hands of terrorists and looks like “a desperate last attempt” by the lame-duck administration, Black said.

The senator said that the looming change of commander-in-chief in the United States will mark a U-turn in Syria, with the US cutting all its ties with militants.

“When Donald Trump comes in, the support is going to be cut for the terrorists. We are not going on to the side of the terrorists anymore,” he said.

Sen. Black has been known as a fierce critic of the current US policy toward Syria, calling it “insane” in comments to the Washington Post in April, when he argued that “it is within our power” to stop the bloodshed.

In April, Black traveled to Palmyra and met with Syrian government officials. He has said that Syria being entrapped in the military conflict is not the result of domestic issues but of a plot contrived by foreign intelligence, including that of the western countries, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

“The government and people in Syria want peace, but regional countries don’t,” Black told Homs Governor Talal Barazi at the time, as cited by Syria Times.


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