Good question USA, why are you not fighting ISIS instead of supplying them with arms and transportation equipment? Oh right…
Aug 18, 2016
On August 16 Russia’s bombers Tu-22M3 and Su-34 took off from the Hamadan airbase in Iran to launch successful strikes against ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra in the Syrian governorates of Aleppo and Deir ez-Zor.
These actions of Russia’s military command serve as a clear demonstration of the strengthening strategic cooperation between Russia and Iran in the fight against international terrorists, yet they provoked a range of different reactions in the international media sources.
Citing the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran Ali Shamkhani, the Iranian news agency IRNA underlined the fact that the Iranian-Russian strategic cooperation in the fight against international terrorism means that the parties are sharing their military potential and facilities to achieve the best possible result.
It’s absolutely clear that those media sources that understand the threat that groups like ISIS present to the international community have all been vocally supporting Russia’s approach to the struggle against the black plague of this century.
Thus, the Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung underlines the fact that Russia optimizes its combat operations in the Middle East, explaining to its readers the clear advantages of Iranian military bases for the operations Moscow has been carrying out against ISIS. Swiss journalists do comprehend the fact that Russia’s long-range bombers Tu-22M3 are unable to take off from the relatively short runway of the Khmeimim air base in Latakia, therefore those planes were forced to fly a long way from the Russian territory. Now that Tu-22M3 are able to take advantage of the Iranian Hamada air base, they will reduce their time in flight by half. At the same time, better efficiency means that Russia will be saving up to 2.5-4 million dollars a day spent on military expenses.
Moreover, while citing the chairman of the Russian State Duma Defense Committee, Konstantin Kosachev, the Neue Zuercher Zeitung notes that the new routes that strategic bombers will take must be safer and those planes will be able to take bigger bomb loads, which will increase the effectiveness of Russia’s military operations against ISIS.
A similar assessment has been provided by the Austrian newspaper Die Presse that added that the world has somewhat ignored the symbolic significance of this step, since Moscow and Tehran have highlighted that they started cooperating more closely in Syria. Austrian journalists note that Moscow has made it clear that it will have strong military presence in the region, which gives Washington a major headache.
In a bid to show its loyalty to Washington and in the wake of yet another round of anti-Russian hysteria, the Time would note that it looks like the US and its allies have a new “axis of evil” in the Middle East:. Syria, Iran and Russia. The paper would stress that by launching the attacks from the Hamadan air base Russia has crossed two geo-political thresholds: it marked the first time the Iranians permitted a foreign power to use one of its bases to launch an attack since 1979’s Iranian revolution and it’s been the first time Russia has used a third nation (other than Syria and Russia itself) to attack targets inside Syria.
The overall tone of the British coverage of the topic shows that London has no political position of its own, therefore state-owned British media sources continue bashing Russia, following the example that American journalists set.
The official position of Washington on the matter has been vaguely expressed the State Department’s Spokesman, Mark Toner who noted that Russia could have violated the UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which prohibits the delivery, sale or transfer of combat aircraft to Iran without the approval of the UN Security Council. Yet, we must not forget that the resolution was not about sanctions for the sake of sanctions, it stated that there must be a comprehensive plan on the nuclear program of Iran, which has been successfully developed and implemented by the US and Russia. Therefore, this resolution has nothing in common with the strikes of Russian long-range bombers, that are using airbases in Iran to attack ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria, which are widely recognized by the international community as terrorist groups.
This kind of reaction has manifested yet again that in the minds of Western analysts Syria, Iran, and the entire Middle East is a zone of Washington’s own interests and not a region where common actions of international players can put an end to the threat of international terrorism.
It must be recognized that the fact that Russian bombers would use the Hamadan military base has some serious geopolitical implications. It means that Tehran openly joins the fight against ISIS and changes the whole operational and strategic situation in the Middle East. Ankara has also been changing its posture on this matter after Erdogan’s visit to St. Petersburg, since it has finally started controlling the Turkish-Syrian border, denying radical militants new supplies of weapons and ammunition.
It’s a pity that only the Obama administration along with certain Washington’s allies hasn’t not changed its attitude towards ISIS, assisting those radical militants instead of taking any steps to put an end to the treat of international terrorism.
Jean Périer is an independent researcher and analyst and a renowned expert on the Near and Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”