Skip to comments.Greenfield: The US Didnâ€™t Create ISIS -- Assad and Saddam Did
Posted on 11/07/2015 7:58:00 AM PST by Louis Foxwell
The US Didnât Create ISIS -- Assad and Saddam Did
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
The Russia-Iran-Assad axis and its useful idiots in the West claim that the United States created ISIS. Some of the loonier conspiracy sites that gleefully repost Russian propaganda allege that the Caliph of ISIS is a Jewish Mossad agent named Elliot Shimon or a CIA agent named Simon Elliot.
Elliot doesnât exist, but ISISâ Deputy Caliph Abu Ali al-Anbari, who was Saddamâs major general and a Baathist member, does. The Caliphâs right hand man, Abu Muslim al Turkmani, was also a Baathist and a lieutenant colonel in Saddam's military intelligence organization before being killed by a drone strike.
Considering the history between Saddam and the USSR, it is likely that one or both of the Caliphâs deputies received training from Russian intelligence advisers during their careers. Turkmaniâs DGMI in particular was closely entangled with the KGB. One of the reasons ISIS is much better than its Sunni Islamist opponents is that its top people had been trained by Soviet experts.
The ISIS blowback doesnât lead to America, but in a completely different direction.
Before the Islamic Stateâs current incarnation, it was Al Qaeda in Iraq and its pipeline of suicide bombers ran through Syria with the cooperation of Assadâs government.
Assad and Al Qaeda in Iraq had a common enemy; the United States. Assad had a plan to kill two birds with one stone. Syrian Islamists, who might cause trouble at home, were instead pointed at Iraq. Al Qaeda got manpower and Assad disposed of Sunni Jihadists who might cause him trouble.
Meanwhile Al Qaeda openly operated out of Syria in alliance with the Baathists. While Syriaâs regime was Shiite and Iraqâs Sunni, both governments were headed by Baathists.
The Al Nusrah Front, the current incarnation of Al Qaeda in the area ever since the terror group began feuding with ISIS, named one of its training camps, the âAbu Ghadiya Campâ. Abu Ghadiya had been chosen by Zarqawi, the former leader of the organization today known as ISIS, to move terrorists through Syria. This highway of terror killed more American soldiers than Saddam Hussein had.
The Al Qaeda presence in Syria was backed by Assadâs brother-in-law, Assef Shawkat, who had served as Director of Military Intelligence and Deputy Defense Minister. His real job though was coordinating Islamic terrorist organizations. During the Iraq War, he added Al Qaeda to his portfolio.
Handling terrorists without being burned is a tricky business though and the blowback kicked in.
In 2008, a US raid into Syria finally took out Abu Ghadiya and some of his top people. A year later, General Petraeus warned that, âIn time, these fighters will turn on their Syrian hosts and begin conducting attacks against Bashar al-Asadâs regime itself.â
Shawkat was killed by a suicide bomber three years later. Assadâs support for terrorists had hit home. Those Sunni Islamists he had sent on to Iraq who survived returned with training and skills that made them a grave danger to his regime.
Exactly as Petraeus had predicted.
Anti-American Leftists who claim that the US created ISIS were cheering on its early terror attacks as the work of a Baathist âResistanceâ. ISIS these days is accompanied by top Baathists including General al-Douri, a close Saddam ally. The same outlets claiming that we created ISIS celebrated the âResistanceâ campaign against NATO âneo-colonialismâ when what they were really celebrating was ISIS.
Putinâs regime has claimed that it is fighting ISIS, but it was supporting Assad back when Syria was a conduit for ISIS to attack Americans. The Baathists in Syria and Iraq had both been Soviet clients and it was the USSR which turned international terrorism into a high art.
The United States has gotten plenty of the blame for supporting Mujahedeen in Afghanistan against the USSR, but the USSR had started the practice much earlier and had signed on to the Red-Green alliance. As Primakov, a top Soviet leader and KGB figure closely involved with the Muslim world, had said, the "Islamic movement" has a "radical trend which is strongly charged with anti-imperialism."
Itâs no coincidence that ISIS has thrived best in countries that were former Soviet clients whose governments attempted to fit Primakovâs definition by walking a fine line between Socialism and Islam. Nor is it a coincidence that in addition to its beheadings and sex slavery, ISIS plays up its free medical care and price controls. ISIS is still offering Socialism and Islam with a bigger emphasis on Islam.
While Baathism is often described as secular, it actually sought to blend Islam with its politics. It was a leftist Islamism that emphasized Socialism in contrast to the rightist Islamism of the Muslim Brotherhood whose leaders were often businessmen and landowners with a more capitalistic bent.
These distinctions, which led the USSR to build ties with the Baathists while Western countries got involved with the Muslim Brotherhood, were more style than substance. The preference of the Muslim Brotherhood or the Turkish AKP for crony capitalism as the next best thing to a lost former feudalism did not make them friendly to the West. And the Baathists were tribal dictators who cloaked their clannish authoritarianism and familial feuds in a blend of hollow Socialist and Islamic platitudes.
Critics claim that there would be no ISIS if Saddam were still in power, but the Iraqi dictator helped create ISIS through his alliances with Islamists. ISIS did not suddenly rise out of the ruins of his regime. Instead it grew within Saddamâs regime as the dictator responded to his setbacks against Iran and Saudi Arabia, two Islamist states, by reinventing Iraq and Baathism as explicitly Islamist entities.
During the Iran-Iraq War, Saddam had begun building ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, hoping to bridge the old split between Baathists and Brotherhood and meet Shiite Islamism with Sunni Islamism.
After the Gulf War, Saddam Hussein went in a blatantly Islamist direction. The man in charge of his âReturn to Faithâ campaign was General Al-Douri, who would be the key ally that Al Qaeda used to move its people through Syria and who would live long enough to fight alongside ISIS as it retook Tikrit.
Allah Akbar was added to the Iraqi flag and Islamic education was embedded into the system from elementary schools to Islamic universities. It is likely that the Caliph of ISIS owes his own Islamic education to Saddamâs newfound interest in the Koran.
By the mid 90s, Saddam endorsed a Caliphate and implemented Sharia punishments such as chopping off the hands of thieves. When ISIS amputates hands, itâs just restoring one of Saddamâs Sharia policies.
Everyone knows about Saddamâs palaces, but fewer know about his campaign to build the worldâs biggest mosques. One of the biggest of these had a Koran written in Saddamâs own blood. This mosque would become a major center for ISIS allied operations run by a Muslim Brotherhood organization.
The Caliph of ISIS was recruited into the Muslim Brotherhood by his uncle. And like so many Jihadist leaders, he moved on to Al Qaeda. His own Baathist-Islamist background made him the perfect man to take Saddamâs vision of a Pan-Islamic state with Sharia and Socialism for all to the next level.
Saddamâs outreach to the Muslim Brotherhood helped create ISIS, just as Assadâs backing for Al Qaeda did and much as Gaddafiâs LIFG deal with the Brotherhood paved the way for his own overthrow.
Barzan, Saddamâs brother and the leader of his secret police, had warned him that his alliance with Islamists would lead to the overthrow of his regime. And that is what likely would have happened. American intervention changed the timetable, but not the outcome.
ISIS is a Baathist-Islamist hybrid that devours its creators, turning on Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, and at times even threatening its Baathist allies. Its hybrid of Socialism and an Islam so medieval and brutal that it even frightens Al Qaeda and the Brotherhood has its roots in Saddamâs Iraq. Televising new and more extreme tortures was a tactic that was more Saddam than Osama.
Even ISISâ most revolutionary step, declaring its leader the Caliph, echoes Saddamâs effort to don the vestiges of the Abbasid Caliphate by linking himself to Caliph Al-Mansur. The difference between Saddam and ISIS is that it is willing to follow through on the symbolism.
For Saddam, Islam was a means. For ISIS it is an end. ISIS is Saddamâs Islamized Iraq without Saddam. It uses Saddamâs tactics and infrastructure for purely Islamic ends.
ISIS is blowback, but not against America. Itâs the outcome of two Russian client states that climbed into bed with terrorists only to see the terrorists take over their countries. Saddam and Assad were both warned about the consequences of their alliance with Islamists.
Saddam aided the Muslim Brotherhood in trying to topple Assadâs father, yet learned no lessons from it. Assad aided the Al Qaeda attacks on Americans, but didnât consider what would happen when Al Qaeda turned its attention to him. Both regimes sowed the Islamist seeds of their own destruction and made inevitable their transformation into Islamic terror states.
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Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
I believe the Koran and Hadiths created ISIS. - Tom
But, I believe Hillary and 0bama were running Lybian weapons to them as well as US weapons recovered from Libya. That is what Bengazi was about. The Libyans did not want to turn over the weapons.
Blaming Assad seems to be blaming the victim. As far as I can understand, Assad protected Christians and other minorities. ISIS filled the gap when they were no longer protected.
The person who is most responsible for the ability for ISIS to rapidly expand is Obama. when he pulled all US troops out of Iraq, who were there to stabilize the victory we had won at great cost...he laid the foundation for it.
And I do not think it was just stupid. I believe he wanted to happen to do accomplish things:
1) To be able to say that Bush had failed in Iraq...when the exact opposite was true.
2) To be able to help spread/solidify/and support his “Arab Spring,” movement.
3) To allow it, combined with the Muslim Brotherhood he hoped would become strong in Egypt, to put Assad down.
It all failed.
Thank God the Egyptian people and military put down the rabid Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. The MB were working with Hillary’s state department to help move the arms to militant Jihadists in Syria from Libya. it is what led to the entire Benghazi debacle.
Certainly Saddam Hussein’s militant supporters helped start it...but they were defeated and driven out by the surge...decisively defeated and they had to flee to Syria and live in holes.
Assad is fighting ISIS. They have become a mortal threat to his regime...but the Russians are now in there (again, only because of Osama’s vacuum) fighting ISIS the way we should have.
The State Department and CIA were running weapons to Al Nusrah and many were eventually captured by ISIS. 0bama likes to call them ISIL, probably so weapons falling into the hands of ISIS can be called something different.
I agree with this, USA almost considered expanding the war into Syria back in 2004; this is historic fact, Assad cooperated with the Jihadis. Admittedly, one can say there are mitigating factors but Assad, with Syria being a transport route of weapons to Hamas and Hezbollah from Iran shows Syria is a terrorist nation as well.
US under Bush even had diplomatic gripes with the way Jihadi camps were set up in Syria and attacks on US and other forces were carried out from Syria. Of course, those as dumb as rocks and who defend Assad have a sense of history about as long as their thumb.
ISIS is just another name for alqueda.
Sure looks like it
Then the worm turned and the Hussein family used US weapons against us. And, boy was the USA shocked and surprised. SHOCKED, I mean SHOCKED! How COULD that be?!?!?!
The rest of the Gulf Arabs just shook their respective heads, all covered with "rags," and DIDN'T say "We told you so." The USA didn't even believe its only "friend" (so to speak), the KSA, when it warned the US against Sadaam. Yes, the KSA were friends because THEY had all the petroleum and natural gas on the planet...so to speak.
What else is new?
This writer really doesn’t get it. Yes, ISIS no doubt has Al Qaeda and Baathist ties. That means its impossible for a normal American to support them. That does not mean Obama and Clinton weren’t supporting them.
That does not mean that the Turks, Qataris, and Saudis weren’t and aren’t supporting them.
The writer hasn’t been paying attention.
We continue to openly support the “rebels” who self-identify as Al Qaeda.
This has been the problem from the beginning. We recruited Al Qaeda to take down Khadafi, and then recruited the same people to take down Assad. They are doing what they were hired to do. Had it worked, hiring our enemies to fight our other enemies, it would have been hailed as genius. And it would have been genius had it not been for the whole head-chopping and Christian-slaughtering PR fiasco. This makes it impossible for American leadership to take credit for it. But we have built the best armed army in the middle east. They have successfully driven a wedge between Iran and Syria, destabilized Assad with the idea of closing Iran’s window to the Mediterranean, and have taken control of Iraq’s oil. If only Obama and State could keep those head-chopping videos out off the internet.
Of course, events have over-taken this strategy. Taking down Assad makes sense as preparation for taking down the Iranian mullahs; eliminating their only mideastern ally. It makes no sense once you’ve decided to give Iran nukes. Unless your plan is Al Qaeda on the Mediterranean, Al Qaeda on Israel’s border. And a middle east devoid of ethnic Christians.
I agree with your analysis- Greenfield gets a lot right, but not in this case. There are no good guys any more- maybe there never has been - Chaos everywhere is part of the Globalist plan. Wear us out and confuse us into trusting no one...
Not when leaving the troops in Iraq would have likely quelled any growth of ISIS and Bush warned of sectarian violence so to not heed his advice and he be proven right, seems to take all or most of the blame away.
If I don’t take the advice to drive sober after drinking, it’s not the fault of the bartender I bought the alcohol from.
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