You’ve probably heard or read somewhere that the United States government is responsible for the creation of the renegade Islamist terror organization known as ISIS. It may be tempting to write off the idea as some nutty conspiracy theory, Kremlin propaganda or at least a misinterpretation of the facts, but there is mounting evidence supporting the assertion – even the mainstream media outlets are now covering the story.
A recent op/ed piece published by The Guardian sheds some light on the subject – one which is admittedly complex and multifaceted, but not impossible to describe or understand in basic terms.
In the piece, titled “Now the truth emerges: how the US fueled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq,” Seumas Milne outlines the series of events and policies that led to the rise of ISIS. As the details continue to surface, the extent of the US government’s role has begun to be revealed:
[T]errorism is now squarely in the eye of the beholder. And nowhere is that more so than in the Middle East, where today’s terrorists are tomorrow’s fighters against tyranny – and allies are enemies – often at the bewildering whim of a western policymaker’s conference call.
Milne begins by describing a case in a London court against a Swedish man accused of terrorism in Syria which was dropped by the prosecution after it became apparent that British intelligence had been supplying arms to the very same group that the man was charged with assisting.
The argument from the defense was that carrying on with the trial would constitute an “affront to justice” because it could be proven that Britain itself was providing “extensive support” to the opposition.
That didn’t only include the “non-lethal assistance” boasted of by the government (including body armour and military vehicles), but training, logistical support and the secret supply of “arms on a massive scale“. Reports were cited that MI6 had cooperated with the CIA on a “rat line“ of arms transfers from Libyan stockpiles to the Syrian rebels in 2012 after the fall of the Gaddafi regime.
Clearly, if the evidence was enough to force the prosecution to drop the case, it must have merit. Of course, many observers have been saying the same thing all along, but with the escalation of violence on the part of ISIS and the failure of the West to contain the problem, there has been increased scrutiny regarding the policies of the US in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the region over the past couple of decades.
US intelligence predicted – and tacitly welcomed – the creation of ISIS
Milne refers to a recently declassified US intelligence report from 2012 “which uncannily predicts – and effectively welcomes – the prospect of a ‘Salafist principality’ in eastern Syria and an al-Qaida-controlled Islamic state in Syria and Iraq.”
In other words, whether or not the US directly “created” ISIS, it certainly predicted how it could benefit from contributing to its rise:
A year into the Syrian rebellion, the US and its allies weren’t only supporting and arming an opposition they knew to be dominated by extreme sectarian groups; they were prepared to countenance the creation of some sort of “Islamic state” – despite the “grave danger” to Iraq’s unity – as a Sunni buffer to weaken Syria. …
[T]here was no al-Qaida in Iraq until the US and Britain invaded. And the US has certainly exploited the existence of Isis against other forces in the region as part of a wider drive to maintain western control.
The document, the dropped case in London, and the coverage of this story by The Guardian are indicators that the ones who have been accusing the US of playing a crucial role in the rise of ISIS were right all along, but that doesn’t fix the problem.
As Milne notes, the West may have created the problem, but it can’t solve it:
Endless western military interventions in the Middle East have brought only destruction and division. It’s the people of the region who can cure this disease – not those who incubated the virus.