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Iraqi Fighters See US as Patron, Not Foe, of ISIS

Iraqis say US 'support' for ISIS is main obstacle to victory


This post first appeared on Russia Insider


U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced earlier today that American ground forces would participate in an "intesified military effort" to fight ISIS in Iraq. But Iraqis are deeply suspicious of America's "anti-ISIS" coalition, and many beleive that the U.S. is a patron, rather than foe, of the terrorist group. As the Washington Post explains

Iraqi fighters say they have all seen the videos purportedly showing U.S. helicopters airdropping weapons to the militants, and many claim they have friends and relatives who have witnessed similar instances of collusion.

<figcaption>"We will chase and fight any American force deployed in Iraq"</figcaption>
"We will chase and fight any American force deployed in Iraq"

...

“It is not in doubt,” said Mustafa Saadi, who says his friend saw U.S. helicopters delivering bottled water to Islamic State positions. He is a commander in one of the Shiite militias that last month helped push the militants out of the oil refinery near Baiji in northern Iraq alongside the Iraqi army.

The Islamic State is “almost finished,” he said. “They are weak. If only America would stop supporting them, we could defeat them in days.”

The Pentagon describes these claims as "beyond ridiculous", stating that "there’s clearly no one in the West who buys it, but unfortunately, this is something that a segment of the Iraqi population believes.” The reason these "ridiculous" rumors are so popular, according to U.S. military spokesman Col. Steve Warren, is because...Iran!  

“The Iranians and the Iranian-backed Shiite militias are really pushing this line of propaganda, that the United States is supporting ISIL,” Warren said. “It’s part of the Iranian propaganda machine.”

Blaming the Iranians is always an easy get-out-of-supporting-ISIS-free card, but the U.S. military's obsession with "accidentally" arming ISIS makes these Iraqi claims sound far more credible than most are willing to admit. We are of course referring to: 

The Daily Beast, September 10, 2014:

Accident. Blame Iran.
Accident. Blame Iran.

The Washington Post, October 21, 2014:

Accident. Blame Iran.
Accident. Blame Iran.

The Fiscal Times, June 4, 2015: 

Accident. Blame Iran.
Accident. Blame Iran.

The Telegraph, September 22, 2015:

Accident. Blame Iran.
Accident. Blame Iran.

...So it's really not difficult to understand why many Iraqis believe that the U.S. is actively supporting ISIS. Still, it's Iran's fault. 

But the real story here is that Iraqis do not want yet another American ground force operating in its country

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday his country did not need foreign ground troops, after the United States said it was sending an elite special unit to help combat ISIS

“The Iraqi government stresses that any military operation or the deployment of any foreign forces - special or not - in any place in Iraq cannot happen without its approval and coordination and full respect of Iraqi sovereignty,” Abadi said in a statement.

“We will chase and fight any American force deployed in Iraq,” said Jafaar Hussaini, a spokesman for one of the groups, Kata’ib Hezbollah. “Any such American force will become a primary target for our group. We fought them before and we are ready to resume fighting.”

The U.S. has been "fighting" ISIS for more than a year now. But nobody wants American forces in their country — not even destabilized terrorist havens like Syria and Iraq. 

We wonder why? 

 

 


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