Author’s Note: For readers who are unfamiliar with my work, I pride myself on providing rational explanations and debunking conspiracy theories because I feel they distract from the real threats that humanity faces. From Jade Helm 15 to the Charlie Hebdo shooting all the way back to the original ISIS beheading videos, I was the guy telling everyone to calm down and to ignore the conspiracy theories. Now that I’ve established my credentials as a rational person and complete skeptic, it’s time to put on your tinfoil hats because it’s about to get weird.
With the notable exception of the Kurds, militant groups from all over the Middle East have always shared one common enemy: the West. That is actually the only thing most of the groups have shared. They speak different languages, belong to different religious sects, and have different goals. Now suddenly the Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas, al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, The Kurdistan Workers’ Party, the al-Qassam Brigades, the PFLP, and the Badr Organization all have something else in common: they are currently at war with the Islamic State.
It is completely illogical for organizations that are opposed to the West to go to war with another organization opposed to Western interests. Unless, of course, they know something we don’t. So, what do we know about the Islamic State? The Islamic State went through several name changes over the years. For the sake of continuity, it will simply be referred to as “the Islamic State” or “IS.”
In 2006, the group that would become the Islamic State was a half-baked insurgent group in Iraq that was barely on the radar. They were so ineffective that most military documents from the time don’t even mention them. They were just one of many groups attempting to fill the void left when Saddam Hussein was ousted by the United States. They accomplished nothing notable during the war in Iraq, but they migrated to Syria to take part in that conflict.
Once there, the Islamic State sat on the sidelines while the US armed, trained, and funded the Free Syrian Army (FSA). For some inexplicable reason, once the FSA had been brought to combat-ready status, entire brigades of troops deserted and left the FSA to join a group that had been completely unsuccessful in all of its previous endeavors. Many of the defectors claimed to have Central Intelligence Agency ties.
The Islamic State along with their US-supplied weapons, cash, and training headed back into Iraq and promptly began taking large sections of the country. Currently the Islamic State is on the run, but only because of the efforts of the other militant groups mentioned above.
Obviously the Islamic State is more extreme than other brands of Middle Eastern militants, but that really isn’t enough to prompt a war with a who’s who of militant groups. So, the US funded, armed, and trained the Islamic State forces. That is fact. Of course, it was just an accident. It’s not like the US has any ties to the leadership of the Islamic State.
Go get more tinfoil.
The charismatic leader of the Islamic State is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Sometime in 2003 or 2004, Baghdadi was picked up by US forces and interned at Camp Bucca. Some believe he was part of the group interned by mistake. Anybody attempting to obtain actual dates for the entirety of Baghdadi’s stay runs into problems because the documents are either missing, lost, destroyed, or the US government simply won’t release them. When the Department of Defense or military personnel do comment on his time in prison, they never give the same timeframe. Numerous large mainstream outlets have attempted to pin down the exact timeframe. None were given the documents (I never even got a call back). So we have to go off testimony of guards (who also can’t remember exactly when he was there) and prisoners who provide some interesting details about his treatment by US forces.
Abu Ahmed was in Camp Bucca with Baghdadi and was part of the core group that founded IS. He described Baghdadi by saying:
“Every time there was a problem in the camp, he was at the centre of it. He wanted to be the head of the prison – and when I look back now, he was using a policy of conquer and divide to get what he wanted, which was status. And it worked.”
Obviously somebody who was at the center of problems in the camp would be singled out by American forces and placed into isolation, right? Wrong. In fact, US forces basically allowed him to do whatever he wanted. Ahmed goes on:
“He was respected very much by the US Army. If he wanted to visit people in another camp he could, but we couldn’t.”
Ahmed stated that he laid the groundwork for the Islamic State inside the prison. Even though he was a troublemaker, he was allowed to communicate and even visit people in other camps. Or at least he told his fellow prisoners he was visiting people in other camps when he left with US forces.
Ahmed had another recollection about Baghdadi that was notable:
“I got a feeling from him that he was hiding something inside, a darkness that he did not want to show other people. He was the opposite of other princes [leaders in the prison] who were far easier to deal with. He was remote, far from us all.”
After his release from prison (whenever exactly that was) he began working with a collective of terrorist groups inside Iraq that he would eventually absorb and control. By 2010, he was head of the Islamic State. He is now seen as the successor to Osama Bin Laden. That may be true in more ways than we know. Both ran organizations initially trained, supplied, and funded by the US government. Both were presumed dead only to resurface when the US needed to rally support. It also seems likely that Baghdadi, like Bin Laden, was (at some point) a US asset.
There is no smoking gun that will allow me to draw any factual conclusions. All we have is a mountain of circumstantial evidence that includes Western intelligence agencies being busted helping the Islamic State, accidental airdrops to the Islamic State in the days of GPS, and massive delays in US assistance to those fighting the Islamic State.
The truth behind this is something we will probably never find out until it’s been so long that nobody cares. It will be like the Gulf of Tonkin incident, or the real reason behind the Civil Rights Act of 1964, or the fact that the US government was implicated in the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr (that was a finding of a federal court). I can’t say that the US created the Islamic State as controlled opposition in the Middle East. What I can say is that for the first time, I can’t debunk a conspiracy theory.
Ben Swann put together a great 12-minute film on the subject of the Islamic State’s origins. He makes some pretty damning conclusions. He may not have gone far enough.
In addition to the questions posed by Swann, I would add:
Why can’t we obtain clear records about Baghdadi’s incarceration?
Why did scores of FSA fighters flock to an unsuccessful group?
Why was Baghdadi permitted to leave his prison camp?
Most importantly to understanding this fiasco, why has every single militant group in the Middle East declared war on an organization that should be their ally?