Those self-obsessed Americans who are convinced that the dream of anyone dubbed a terrorist is that some day they will be able to attack the U.S., are now wondering how soon a new 9/11-like plot might emerge from the territory controlled by ISIS. But the organization that is still being referred to as an al Qaeda affiliate, never regarded as America as its principle enemy.
Back in 2004, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who started Al Qaeda in Iraq (which then became the Islamic State of Iraq and in 2013 the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS)) wrote a letter to the al Qaeda leadership in which he said:
The American army has begun to disappear from some cities, and its presence is rare. An Iraqi army has begun to take its place, and this is the real problem that we face, since our combat against the Americans is something easy. The enemy is apparent, his back is exposed, and he does not know the land or the current situation of the mujahidin because his intelligence information is weak. We know for certain that these Crusader forces will disappear tomorrow or the day after. He who looks at the current situation [will] see the enemy’s haste to constitute the army and the police, which have begun to carry out the missions assigned to them. This enemy, made up of the Shi’a filled out with Sunni agents, is the real danger that we face, for it is [made up of] our fellow countrymen, who know us inside and out. They are more cunning than their Crusader masters, and they have begun, as I have said, to try to take control of the security situation in Iraq. They have liquidated many Sunnis and many of their Ba’th Party enemies and others beholden to the Sunnis in an organized, studied way. They began by killing many mujahid brothers, passing to the liquidation of scientists, thinkers, doctors, engineers, and others. I believe, and God knows best, that the worst will not come to pass until most of the American army is in the rear lines and the secret Shi’i army and its military brigades are fighting as its proxy. They are infiltrating like snakes to reign over the army and police apparatus, which is the strike force and iron fist in our Third World, and to take complete control over the economy like their tutors the Jews. As the days pass, their hopes are growing that they will establish a Shi’i state stretching from Iran through Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon and ending in the Cardboard Kingdom of the Gulf.
Given ISIS’s well-documented roots in Iraq, it’s strange that one currently hears it said that ISIS was created by Turkey.
In a podcast by Aaron Stein, an Associate Fellow at RUSI, he interviews Aaron Zelin from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and they examine the purported links between Turkey and ISIS. I’ve posted the audio below, but the gist of Zelin’s view is that while the growth of ISIS has been supported by Turkey’s open border policy, the Turk’s willingness to allow foreign fighters passage to Syria has always been driven by the desire to topple the Assad regime rather than an interest in supporting ISIS.
ISIS views Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as an “apostate” and with 49 staff members captured in a raid on the Turkish consulate in Mosul last week, the columnist Amberin Zaman says that the raid may serve as “a warning to Turkey of the consequences it is likely to face should it tighten the screws on jihadist groups moving across its borders.”
Reporting from Baghdad, Richard Engel says:
— Richard Engel (@RichardEngel) June 17, 2014
If Maliki starts acting like Assad?
On May 11, Al Jazeera reported on the Iraq army’s use of barrel bombs in Fallujah:
Shelling by the Iraqi army in the city of Fallujah has killed more civilians, hospital sources and witnesses have said, amid allegations that government forces were using barrel bombs in an attempt to drive out anti-government fighters from the area,
The use of barrel bombs in civilian areas is banned under international conventions given their indiscriminate nature.
But Mohammed al-Jumaili, a local journalist, told Al Jazeera that the army has dropped many barrel bombs “targeting mosques, houses and markets” in Fallujah.
Local hospital sources said the situation was getting worse for many people who had been trapped in the city since the army cut off a key bridge.
The Iraqi government has denied the use of barrel bombs and asserted that it was fighting in a “humane way”.
Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan, reporting from the capital Baghdad, said that despite the government’s denial, there was strong evidence that barrel bombs havd been used in Fallujah.