An Israeli professor with expertise in middle eastern strategic issues and an adviser to the Israeli government on national security issues says ISIS is no worse than Iran and serves a positive purpose.
Efraim Inbar is a professor of Political Studies at Bar-Ilan University and the director of the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies, an Israeli academic think tank that carries out studies for the Israeli government and NATO.
Inbar published a controversial article where he argues that ISIS can play a role in undermining Iran, Hezbollah, Syria and Russia. The think tank’s director also claims that the continued existence of the terrorist group helps ‘bad guys to kill bad guys,‘ and the West should allow ISIS to exist even despite its brutality.
RT: Why do you see the continued existence of ISIS as preferable to its destruction?
Efraim Inbar: We have to recognize that the main source for instability and the main danger to peace in the Middle East is Iran. And as a result of that we should concentrate our efforts to curb the influence of Iran. And ISIS is fighting Iranian proxies – like the Assad regime – which is no less brutal than ISIS itself, as well as the Iraqi government that is basically a satellite of Iran.
RT: However, Iran is not beheading and raping 8 and 9 year-old girls, etc. This is what ISIS is doing here and now. This is the reality, isn’t it?
EI: I suggest that you should be more careful in assessing the human rights policy of Iran. Iran is on the list of the US states supporting terror. Iran is causing trouble in the Saudi Peninsula; they tried to destabilize the Gulf States; they are supporting a brutal regime of Assad. And of course they are committing themselves to destroy the Jewish state. So I don’t think that we should overlook the danger of Iranian policies.
RT: Teheran would very much question those claims, wouldn’t they? In terms of ‘bad guys fighting bad guys’, isn’t this a bit simplistic? The actions of the Assad government can’t be equated to those of ISIS, can they?
EI: If you’re careful in counting, I am sure you’ll come to the clear conclusions that the Assad regime has killed many more people than ISIS. Also in the Middle East you do not always have the privilege of clear moral choices. It is a Hobbesian world, and you should try to limit the power of your enemies, and this is Iran.
RT: You also say you believe instability can be a positive thing. Given the number of people who’ve been killed and displaced by the conflict in Syria, isn’t that a bit of a questionable comment?
EI: Stability is something that you want if it serves your purposes. We are living in a world in which in many places people kill people and we do not intervene in every place. In the Middle East the worst country that is committed to genocidal goal – like destroying the Jewish state – has to be stopped. And ISIS is performing this function.
RT: Are you suggesting that this blood-thirsty group should be able to continue to exist simply to maintain Israeli and US’ absolute dominance in the region?
EI: I don’t think that the current American administration is interested in domination of the Middle East. Actually, for the past years they’ve retreated from the Middle East. And part of the problem is because the Obama administration behaves irresponsibly; it doesn’t play its role as a great power.
Iran, which is led by an Islamist radical ideology, should not be allowed to be part of the Middle East stability. I am ready to allow [Islamic State] to fight Iranian proxies, who are no better than ISIS in any moral consideration.