Real Anti-Terror Campaign Hinges on Regional Unity

Middle East parliaments should work to prevent the US from interfering in regional affairs, as the solution to the spread of terrorism in the region should be found inside it
Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani addresses a counterterrorism conference in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Dec. 24.	Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani addresses a counterterrorism conference in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Dec. 24.

The top Iranian lawmaker urged Middle East parliaments to join hands to improve convergence among regional countries as a prerequisite for establishing a regional alliance against threats emanating from terrorist elements.

Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani made the statement while addressing a counterterrorism conference in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Sunday, ICANA reported.

Larijani’s counterparts from Pakistan, Russia, Turkey, China and Afghanistan were also attending the two-day meeting aimed at discussing the threat of terrorism and coordinating counterterrorism efforts.

The lawmaker said the spread of terrorism in the region in recent years has originated from several factors, including the global propagation of the Wahhabi ideology since the 1980s, the Soviet Union’s occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s and the US occupation of Iraq in the first decade of 21st century and some countries’ shortsighted policy of using terrorists as a tool to achieve short-term goals.

The top parliamentarian said US anti-terror interventions in the Middle East have failed miserably in attaining their objectives, because the measures have not really been aimed at terrorism.

Larijani said the US believes its interests lie in the prevalence of  chaos in the region, so they are not motivated to fight elements instigating insecurity in the region.

“Since 2001, the US has been pretending to be fighting terrorism in Afghanistan, but terrorism has not been curbed and it is even [stronger] and emerged in new forms,” he said.

Afghanistan is still gripped by insecurity after the US and its allies attacked the country as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror.

The 2001 attack overthrew the Taliban rule, but the group still controls large swathes of Afghanistan.

In recent years, the gradual outreach of the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group in Afghanistan has further fueled violence and insecurity in the country.

  Regional Solution    

Larijani said the reasons behind the spread of terrorism in the Middle East are so diverse that no outside power can eliminate them, even if it seriously intends to do so.

The speaker said Middle East parliaments must work to prevent the US from interfering in the region’s affairs, as the solution to the spread of terrorism in the region should be found inside it.

Larijani said legislatures ought to take measures to boost solidarity among nations to prepare the ground for governments to forge consensus on forming a regional anti-terror alliance.

In the first step, the top lawmaker said parliaments should work toward facilitating economic cooperation among regional countries, as the key to greater solidarity lies in closer collaboration.

Larijani also proposed measures the legislators attending the conference could take to support the fight against terrorism.

“It will be good to create a mechanism for intelligence sharing among countries attending this conference,” he said. The lawmaker said regional countries can follow the successful experience of combating terrorism in the region, such as the trilateral Iran-Russia-Turkey cooperation in Syria and also Iran-Iraq collaboration that sharply reduced violence in the two countries and led to the end of the self-proclaimed “caliphate” of the IS militant group last month.

“[These examples] show that if regional countries have a firm will and engage in broad cooperation, they will succeed,” he said.

  Pakistani Initiative

The six-party conference was held upon the initiative of Pakistan’s National Assembly.

The summit came after the announcement of US President Donald Trump’s new strategy on Afghanistan in August, which involves bringing 4,000 American troops into the long-running conflict in Afghanistan.

The new policy, which is believed to have set the stage for a significant escalation of war, has created tensions between Islamabad and Washington.

While announcing the new strategy, Trump accused Pakistan of providing a “safe haven to agents of chaos, violence and terror” and said the US can no longer tolerate it.

Pakistan has voiced its opposition to the US strategy, saying it is a continuation of a misguided policy that has been tried for 16 years without producing any results.

Analysts believe the US move has prompted Pakistan to engage in consultations with regional countries to promote anti-terror cooperation to sideline the US in the region.

On the sidelines of the meeting, Larijani was expected to hold talks with his counterparts, including Pakistan’s National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints