The stunning assault this week in Iraq by the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is bad news for Iran, which has been a staunch ally of Iraqi Prime Minister (and fellow Shia Muslim) Nouri al-Maliki.
But beyond condemning the Sunni foes from ISIS, some in Tehran are pointing the finger at Washington. Iranian Revolutionary Guards General Mohammad Reza Naqdi said yesterday that "American leaders are showing they are really idiotic and incapable, by repeating their failed experiences in Iraq."
Iran has blamed the West for opening the floodgates to regional terrorism by initially backing the rebellion against Syrian Leader Bashar al-Assad. In past years, Iranian media also accused the United States of fomenting violence in Iraq after its 2003 invasion, as a pretext to maintain its troops there.
Without elaborating, General Naqdi seemed to imply that Western agents were behind the recent ISIS strikes in Iraq, including taking the city of Mosul. He told a gathering in the town of Saravan that "America has been tricked again, thinking that with the games it has started in Iraq it can continue its rotten ... policies in the region," the leftist daily Kar va Kargar reported. "This game will cause it such regret it will forget its defeats in Syria and Lebanon."
The "defeats" were a reference to the West's inability to topple Assad. A conservative parliamentarian separately said Western states had "armed and supported" extremist Sunni groups in Syria and were now sending them back to Iraq "to die" and save themselves "problems" associated with the militants' later return to other countries.
"In other words, they have sent them to the slaughterhouse," Iranian Parliament member Hossein'ali Haji-Deligani told Mehr news agency. He said ISIS would try and "dismember" Iraq and "take its revenge" on Iran for its defeat in Syria. But "the West has ... created the conditions for the destruction of Salafist groups in Iraq," which he said would be their "last bastion."
— Ahmed Shayegan