Anyone who claims to have a easy solution towards bringing stability to the middle east region is selling you the London Bridge. In this part of the world, the countries differ as to tribal interests, cultures, conflicts, grudges, grievances and traditions which have been in existence for centuries. Those who have studied the history of this region know that what works for the West probably will not be compatible here.
There are those who are adamant that our U.S. Military should not have completely withdrawn from Iraq in December, 2011. The far right’s argument is that the absence of the U. S. Military presence left a vacuum which allowed the extreme terrorist group of ISIS to flourish and succeed; even though, it was at the Iraqi leaders behest that we not leave behind a contingency U.S. Military force. ISIS at this time was al-Qaeda, the insurgent terrorist organization that we had supposedly left impotent.
This is where it becomes important to know the rest of the story as to how ISIS (Sunni based) came into power in the middle east but not based on the neocons’ habitual tendency towards a revisionist history. As reported in my prior blog, ISIS or ISIL in Iraq has been part of al-Qaeda during the early years after 2003. The ISIS brand name by itself, did not come into being until 2006. The current leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was interned by U.S. forces for a contested period of time, as a low level prisoner. I have long hypothesized that these U.S. determent camps in Iraq were breeding grounds for insurgents. In short, ISIS as part of al-Qaeda existed long before the U.S. troops departed from Iraq in 2011; however, this group did not formally separate from al-Qaeda until 2014.
Below are some excerpts regarding the history of ISIS (ISIL) from Wikipedia:
“The group originated as Jama’ at al-Tawid wal-Jihad in 1999, which pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda in 2004. The group participated in the Iraqi insurgency, which had followed the March 2003 invasion of Iraq by Western forces. In January 2006, it joined other Sunni insurgent groups to form the Mujahideen Sura Council, which proclaimed the formation of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) in October 2006.”
“After the Syrian Civil War began in March 2011, the ISI, under the leadership of al-Baghdadi, sent delegates into Syria in August 2011. These fighters named themselves Jabhat an-Nuṣrah li-Ahli ash-Shām—al-Nusra Front—and established a large presence in Sunni-majority areas of Syria, within the governorates of Ar-Raqqah, Idlib, Deir ez-Zor, and Aleppo. In April 2013, al-Baghdadi announced the merger of the ISI with al-Nusra Front and that the name of the reunited group was now the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). However, Abu Mohammad al-Julani and Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leaders of al-Nusra and al-Qaeda respectively, rejected the merger. After an eight-month power struggle, al-Qaeda cut all ties with ISIL on 3 February 2014, citing its failure to consult and “notorious intransigence.”
Al-Nusra has ended backing ISIS within their Syrian borders as of May, 2015. Al-Nusra (an al-Qaeda terrorist group in Syria), has been the most successful arm of the FSA, the Free Syrian Army (anti-Assad).
“In Syria, ISIS, the group has conducted ground attacks on both government forces and rebel factions in the Syrian Civil War. The group gained prominence after it drove Iraqi government forces out of key cities in western Iraq in an offensive initiated in early 2014. Iraq’s territorial loss almost caused a collapse of the Iraqi government and prompted a renewal of US military action in Iraq.” Based on my research, if accurate, as of June 2015 neither al-Qaeda nor al-Nusra have any ties with ISIS which means ISIS has lost support from two major terrorist entities.”
In my prior blog, I discussed the importance of Sharia law as intrinsic to the culture in this part of the world. The terrorist groups al-Qaeda, al Nusra, and ISIS, all practice a very extremist version of Shari’ah not accepted by any other Muslim on the planet, which they plan to impose on all peoples in any territory under their control. The power struggles continue. What is important for the U.S. military to get, is that the minute we step foot in Iraq as non-Muslims, we strengthen the hands of these terrorists.
Mother Jones did a piece on ISIS on 6/11/14 by Jenna McLaughlin, titled, ” Was Iraq’s Top Terrorist Radicalized at a US-Run Prison?” Here are some excerpts:
“In early July, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of the jihadist terror group now known as the Islamic State—formerly the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS declared himself the “Caliph Ibrahim” of a new fundamentalist Sunni state stretching from western and northern Iraq to northern Syria. This announcement came after months of fighting over territory and skirmishes with Iraqi forces, as ISIS invaded and captured dozens of Iraqi cities.”
“In short order, Baghdadi has become Iraq’s most prominent extremist leader. But for much of his adult life, Baghdadi did not have a reputation as a fiery, jihadist trailblazer. According to the Telegraph, members of his local mosque in Tobchi (a neighborhood in Baghdad) who knew him from around 1989 until 2004 (when he was between the ages of 18 and 33) considered Baghdadi a quiet, studious fellow and a talented soccer player. When the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, Baghdadi was earning a degree in Islamic studies in Baghdad.”
“The details of Baghdadi’s time in Camp Bucca are murky. Some media reports note that he was held as a “civilian internee” at the prison for 10 months in 2004. Others report that he was captured by US forces in 2005 and spent four years at Camp Bucca. He could have been arrested on a specific charge or as part of a large sweep of insurgents or insurgent supporters. A confidential Red Cross report leaked in May 2004 suggested that around 90 percent of detainees of Iraqi origin were arrested “by mistake.”
“James Skylar Gerrond, a former US Air Force security forces officer and a compound commander at Camp Bucca in 2006 and 2007, says that he believes Baghdadi’s stay at the prison contributed to his radicalization—or at least bolstered his extremism. After Baghdadi proclaimed the Islamic State a new nation and himself its leader, Gerrond tweeted, “Many of us at Camp Bucca were concerned that instead of just holding detainees, we had created a pressure cooker for extremism.” Gerrond is now a civilian working for the Department of Defense.”
“As Isis has rampaged through the region, it has been led by men who spent time in US detention centers during the American occupation of Iraq – in addition to Bucca, the US also ran Camp Cropper, near Baghdad airport, and, for an ill-fated 18 months early in the war, Abu Ghraib prison on the capital’s western outskirts. Many of those released from these prisons – and indeed, several senior American officers who ran detention operations – have admitted that the prisons had an incendiary effect on the insurgency.”
“Abu Ahmed, a fellow insurgent and prisoner with Bakr al-Baghdadi at the U.S. Camp Bucca told the Guardian interviewer, Martin Chulov in June, 2014 the following:
“Abu Ahmed had been galvanized into militancy as a young man by an American occupation that was trying to impose a power shift in Iraq, favoring the country’s larger Shia population at the expense of the dominant Sunnis. His early role in what would become Isis led naturally to the senior position he now occupies within a revitalized insurgency that has spilled across the border into Syria.”
“He agreed to speak publicly after more than two years of discussions. With Iraq and Syria ablaze, and the Middle East condemned to another generation of upheaval and bloodshed at the hands of his fellow ideologues, Abu Ahmed is having second thoughts. The brutality of Isis is increasingly at odds with his own views.”
“When Baghdadi, aged 33, arrived at Bucca, the Sunni-led anti-US insurgency was gathering steam across central and western Iraq. An invasion that had been sold as a war of liberation (after 2003) had become a grinding occupation. Iraq’s Sunnis, disenfranchised by the overthrow of their patron, Saddam Hussein, were taking the fight to US forces – and starting to turn their guns towards the beneficiaries of Hussein’s overthrow, the country’s majority Shia population.”
“He was respected by the US army,” Abu Ahmed said. “If he wanted to visit people in another camp he could, but we couldn’t. (He was known as a fixer by Americans.) And all the while, a new strategy, which he was leading, was rising under their noses, and that was to build the Islamic State. If there was no American prison in Iraq, there would be no IS now. Bucca was a factory. It made us all. It built our ideology.”
“The small militant group that Baghdadi headed was one of dozens that sprouted from a broad Sunni revolt (after 2003)– many of which would soon come together under the flag of al-Qaida in Iraq.”