06/07/2024 strategic-culture.su  12min 🇬🇧 #252007

Made in America: The Isis conquest of Mosul

The notorious terror group used US-supplied weapons, US-trained fighters, and funding sent from banks in Washington, DC, to conquer Iraq's second-largest city and terrorize its Sunni Muslim inhabitants.

The Cradle's Iraq Correspondent

Ten years ago this month, the notorious terror group ISIS improbably  conquered Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city. In only two days of fighting, a few hundred ISIS militants captured the city, forcing thousands of Iraqi soldiers and police to flee in chaos and confusion.

The western media attributed the city's fall to the  sectarian policies of then-Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, suggesting that local Sunnis welcomed the ISIS invasion. US officials claimed they were surprised by the rapid rise of the terror organization, prompting then-US president Barack Obama to vow to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the group.

However, a close review of events surrounding the fall of Mosul and discussions with residents during The Cradle's recent visit to the city shows the opposite.

The US and its regional allies used ISIS as a proxy to orchestrate the fall of Mosul, thereby terrorizing its Sunni Muslim inhabitants to achieve specific foreign policy goals. Says one Mosul resident speaking with The Cradle:

There was a plan to let Daesh [ISIS] take Mosul, and the USA was behind it. Everyone here knows this, but no one can say it publicly. It was a war against Sunnis.

'Salafist principality'

As the war in Syria raged in August 2012, the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) authored a now well-known memo providing the broad outlines of the plan that would lead to Mosul's fall.

The memo stated that the insurgency backed by the US and its regional allies to topple Bashar al-Assad's government in Damascus was not led by "moderate rebels" but by extremists, including Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Al-Qaeda in Iraq (Islamic State of Iraq).

The DIA memo stated further that the US and its allies, "the western powers," welcomed the establishment of a "Salafist principality" by these extremist forces in the Sunni majority areas of eastern Syria and western Iraq. The US goal was to isolate Syria territorially from its main regional supporter, Iran.

Two years later, in June 2014, ISIS conquered Mosul, declaring it the capital of the so-called "Caliphate."

Though the terror group was portrayed as indigenous to Iraq, ISIS only made the "Salafist principality" predicted in the DIA memo a reality with the help of weapons, training, and funding from the US and its close allies.

US and Saudi weapons

In January 2014, Reuters  reported that the US Congress "secretly" approved new weapons flows to "moderate Syrian rebels" from the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA).

In subsequent months, the US Army military and Saudi Ministry of Defense purchased large quantities of weapons from Eastern European countries, which were then flown to Amman, Jordan, for further distribution to the FSA.

After an exhaustive three-year  investigation, EU-funded Conflict Armament Research (CAR) found that the weapons funneled to Syria by the US and Saudi Arabia between 2014 and 2017 were quickly passed on to ISIS, at times within just "days or weeks" of their purchase.

"As far as our evidence shows, the diverters [Saudi and the US] knew what was going on in terms of the risk of supplying weapons to groups in the region," Damien Spleeters of CAR  explained.

The US-supplied weapons and equipment quickly reaching ISIS  included the iconic Toyota Hilux pickup trucks, which became synonymous with the ISIS brand.

The report  stated further that, "CAR cannot rule out direct supply to [ISIS] forces from the territories of Jordan and Turkey, especially given the presence of various opposition groups, with shifting allegiances, in cross-border resupply locations."

US supplies ISIS directly

The possibility of "direct supply" of US weapons to ISIS raises the question of whether US forces delivered weapons to the terror group not only via so-called Syrian rebels, but directly by transport plane or helicopter.

In the Syrian town of Kobane, US C-130 cargo planes  dropped weapons that were recovered by ISIS in October 2014. When ISIS members released a video on social media showing them, US officials acknowledged the weapons drop, but said it was a mistake. They claimed the weapons were meant for the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).

However, there is evidence these weapons drops were both common, and deliberate.

Australian academic and Syria expert Tim Anderson has  highlighted multiple reports from Iraqi politicians and security sources claiming US forces regularly dropped weapons to ISIS by helicopter, and even evacuated ISIS commanders from various battles.

The Cradle spoke with a member of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU) who claimed he saw US helicopters delivering arms to ISIS while his unit battled the terror group near the city of Baiji in central Iraq in 2015.

Some discount these reports because they come from Shia armed groups and Iraqi government officials enjoying support from Iran, a US enemy.

However, in her book documenting the Yazidi genocide, American author Amy L. Beam  took the testimony of an Iraqi Sunni man from the town of Zawia, near Baiji, who also witnessed US helicopters landing in ISIS territory to support the terror group. The man was also a member of the PMU, but was sympathetic to the US, having previously worked as a translator for the US military. The sight of US forces helping ISIS was therefore all the more shocking to him.

"I swear by my martyr brother, who was assassinated by ISIS, I saw the [US] coalition helping ISIS. I lost my mind when I saw those Apache helicopters landing in an ISIS area," he stated.

When the US helicopters took off, they headed toward Erbil, the capital of Iraq's Kurdish autonomous region. The next day, his unit was attacked by ISIS militants armed with US-made M16 rifles.

The Kurdish role

Another way US and Saudi-supplied weapons reached ISIS was through Washington's main Kurdish ally in Iraq, Masoud Barzani. Discussing the secret funding for weapons approved by the US Congress in January 2014,  Reuters noted that "Kurdish groups" had been providing weapons and other aid financed by donors in Qatar to "religious extremist rebel factions."

In the following months, reports emerged that Kurdish officials from Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) were  providing weapons to ISIS, including Kornet anti-tank missiles imported from Bulgaria.

Further evidence of Barzani's support for ISIS comes from a lawsuit currently being litigated in the US District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of the Kurdistan Victim's Fund.

The expansive lawsuit, led by former US Assistant Attorney James R Tate, cites testimonies from sources with "direct clandestine access" to senior ranking officials in the KDP, alleging that Barzani's agents "purposefully made US dollar payments to terrorist intermediaries and others that were wired through the United States," including through banks in Washington, DC. These payments "enabled ISIS to carry out terrorist attacks that killed US citizens in Syria, Iraq, and Libya."

Further, the agents made use of "email accounts serviced by US-based email service providers to coordinate and carry out elements of their partnership with ISIS."

It is unthinkable that Barzani regularly arranged payments to ISIS from the heart of the US capital without the knowledge and consent of US intelligence.

An explicit agreement

In the spring of 2014, reports emerged of a deal between Barzani and ISIS to divide the territory in Iraq between them.

French academic and Iraq expert Pierre-Jean Luizard of the Paris-based National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS)  reported there was "an explicit agreement" between Barzani and ISIS, which "aims to share a number of territories."

According to the agreement, ISIS would take Mosul, while Barzani's security forces, the Peshmerga, would take oil-rich Kirkuk and other "disputed territories" he desired for a future independent Kurdish state.

According to Luizard, ISIS was given the role of "routing the Iraqi army, in exchange for which the Peshmerga would not prevent ISIS from entering Mosul or capturing Tikrit."

In an unpublished interview with prominent Lebanese security journalist and The Cradle contributor Radwan Mortada, former Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki claimed that meetings were held to plan the Mosul operation in the Iraqi Kurdistan capital, Erbil, which were attended by US military officers.

When US officials denied any involvement, Maliki responded by telling them:

These are pictures of American officers sitting in this meeting... you are partners in this operation.

The UK pipeline

A resident from Mosul speaking with The Cradle states that many of the ISIS members he encountered during the group's three-year occupation of the city were English-speaking foreigners, in particular the ISIS commanders.

But where did these English-speaking ISIS members come from?

In 2012, UK intelligence established a pipeline to send British and Belgian citizens to fight in Syria. Young men from London and Brussels were recruited by Salafist organizations, Shariah4UK and Shariah4Belgium, established by radical preacher and UK British intelligence  asset Anjam Choudary.

These recruits were then sent to Syria, where they joined an armed group, Katibat al-Muhajireen, which enjoyed  support from UK intelligence. These British and Belgian fighters then joined ISIS after its official establishment in Syria in April 2013.

Among these fighters was a Londoner named Mohammed Emwazi. Later known as the infamous Jihadi John, Emwazi kidnapped US journalist James Foley in October 2012 as a member of Katibat al-Muhajireen and allegedly executed him in August 2014 as a member of ISIS.

Made in America

The commander of Katibat al-Muhajireen, Abu Omar al-Shishani, also later joined ISIS and famously  led the terror group's assault on Mosul. Before fighting in Syria and Iraq, Shishani  received US training as a member of the country of Georgia's special forces.

In August 2014, the Washington Post  reported that Libyan members of ISIS had received training from French, UK, and US military and intelligence personnel while fighting in the so-called "revolution" to topple the government of Muammar al-Qaddafi in 2011.

Many of these fighters were British but of Libyan origin and traveled to Libya with the encouragement of UK intelligence to topple Qaddafi. They then traveled to Syria and soon joined ISIS or the local Al-Qaeda affiliate, the Nusra Front.

"Sometimes I joke around and say that I am a fighter made by America," one of the fighters told the Post.

There is no indication that the relationship between these fighters and US and UK intelligence ended once they joined ISIS.

'Maliki must go'

US support for the ISIS invasion of Mosul is evident through the actions Washington refused to take. US planners monitored the ISIS convoys traveling across the open desert from Syria to assault Mosul in June 2014 but took no action to bomb them.

As former US secretary of defense Chuck Hagel  acknowledged, "It wasn't that we were blind in that area. We had drones, we had satellites, we had intelligence monitoring these groups."

Even after Mosul fell, and as ISIS was threatening Baghdad, Washington planners refused to help unless Maliki stepped down as prime minister.

Maliki claimed in his interview with Mortada that US officials had demanded he impose a siege on Syria to assist in toppling Assad. When Maliki refused, they accused him of sabotaging the Syria regime change operation and sought to use ISIS to topple Iraq's government.

American sources all but confirm Maliki's claim. The US military-funded Rand Corporation noted that the US-Iraqi relationship at this time had become strained "because of the willingness of the Maliki government to facilitate Iranian support to the Assad regime despite significant American opposition."

As Obama's foreign policy advisor, Philip Gordon  explained:

The president was clear he didn't want to launch that campaign [against ISIS] until there was something to defend, and that wasn't Maliki.

New York Times journalist Michael Gordon  reported that Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to Baghdad two weeks after ISIS captured Mosul to meet with Maliki. Desperate for help, Maliki asked Kerry for airstrikes against ISIS to protect Baghdad, but the latter explained that the US would not help unless the former gave up power.

In July 2014, ISIS fighters were moving captured US artillery and armored vehicles back to Syria across the open desert. Gordon reports further that the ISIS convoys were "easy pickings for American airpower."

However, when US Major General Dana Pittard requested authorization to conduct the airstrikes to destroy the convoys, the White House refused, saying the "political prerequisites" had not been met. In other words, Maliki was still prime minister.

Geopolitical gains

While claiming to be enemies of ISIS, the US planners and their allies deliberately facilitated the terror group's rise, including its capture of Mosul.

ISIS relied on US and UK-trained fighters, US and Saudi-purchased weapons, and Kurdish-supplied US dollars - rather than popular support from the city's Sunni residents - to conquer Mosul.

When self-proclaimed caliph and leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, announced the establishment of the so-called Caliphate at the city's historic Nuri Mosque, he set up the very Salafist principality outlined in the DIA document by US intelligence heads.

This orchestrated rise of ISIS not only destabilized the region but also served the geopolitical interests of those who claim to be combating terrorism.

Original article:  thecradle.co