In an interview with Muslim Press, Professor Tim Anderson says Iran’s attack against ISIS positions in Syria was a message for Riyadh and Washington.
The missile demonstrated that “further aggression against the Islamic Republic will be met with force,” he added.
Here’s the full text of the interview:
Muslim Press: What’s the significance of Iran’s attack against ISIS positions in Syria? How would this affect the war against the terrorist group?
Tim Anderson: Iran’s missile strike on ISIS in the Syrian city of Deir Ezzor was a measured response to the 7 June ISIS attacks on Tehran’s parliament. Its impact is not so much in damage to the takfiri groups in Deir Ezzor. It was a message for Riyadh and Washington: further aggression against the Islamic Republic will be met with force. This may help impose some caution on the reckless Wahhabi regime.
MP: What kind of message does it send to the world?
Tim Anderson: Tehran was demonstrating its reach, especially to Washington and Riyadh. The same missiles that hit Deir Ezzor can reach Riyadh. At a time of Saudi arrogance, the strike says that there is a counter-weight in the region.
MP: What would be the consequences of the escalation of Iran's role in the Syrian conflict? How would this affect Saudi Arabia and other sponsors of militant groups?
Tim Anderson: I believe Iran is proceeding cautiously, just as Russia has proceeded cautiously. There are always dangers in escalation of a conflict. No-one can fully predict the outcomes. However Iran and Russia's role in Syria have already changed the 'game' in the region. The sponsors of sectarian terrorists are already under pressure, and are fighting amongst themselves. Qatar's turn to Iran was unexpected to many, but Iran never shut that door. The foolishness and arrogance of the Saudi prince made his own fears a reality, and caused a rift with Turkey as well.
MP: What’s your take on Iran’s cooperation with Iraq and Syria prior to the attack?
Tim Anderson: Iran's solidarity with Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon and Yemen is a ray of hope in the region. An axis of independent nations in the region seems to be desperately needed, as the Arab League is dead. The Wahhabi recklessness seems a combination of arrogance and frustration. They have all the money and weapons in the world and they cannot defeat even Yemen, the poorest country in the region, let alone overwhelm Syria. Nevertheless, they can still kill and maim. They are a dangerous regime which must be brought to heel, by a strong and united region.
The same applies to curbing the ambitions of the Zionist state. Fragmented, the region will remain under threat from the big powers and their regional agents. That is what the great and progressive leaders of Latin America decided. Iran is the only state with the capacity and integrity to lead such a unified, non-sectarian bloc.
Tim Anderson has degrees in economics and international politics, and a doctorate on the political economy of economic liberalisation in Australia. His current research interests relate to (i) Development strategy and rights in development, (ii) Melanesian land and livelihoods, and (iii) Economic Integration in Latin America. He is a Senior Lecturer in Political Economy at the University of Sydney. He has studied the Syrian conflict since 2011.