This is according to American freelance writer and political analyst Yuram Abdullah Weiler, who discussed the origins of the terrorist group that has been committing heinous crimes in parts of Syria and Iraq in the past months.
Here are Weiler’s answers to IQNA’s questions on ISIL:
Q: What are the origins of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)?
A: ISIL, ISIS or DAESH is a joint creation of the United States, Saudi Arabia and Qatar with logistical support from the Israeli entity, Turkey, Jordan and other regional actors. The roots of ISIL can be traced to former US arch enemy Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, who, responding to the illegal 2003 US invasion of Iraq and after pledging allegiance to Osama Bin Laden, organized al-Qa'ida of Iraq (AQI or TQJBR: Tanzim Qa'idat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn ) in October 2004.
Following al-Zarqawi’s death in a US bombing raid in June 2006, AQI was incorporated into the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) in October under the leadership of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi in an attempt to consolidate the insurgency in the Iraqi provinces of Anbar, Nineveh, Kirkuk, Salah al- Din, Babil, Diyala and Baghdad. The organization lost membership when in 2008 the US bribed Sunni tribes to participate in awakening councils, but bounced back with a vengeance in 2011 when the US decided to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Saudi and Qatari began pouring funding into the campaign through Kuwait.
After the death of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi in April 2010 in a joint US-Iraq operation, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi became ISI leader. Entering the US-supported regime change operation in Syria in August 2011, Abu Bakr dispatched a group of ISI militants, which in January 2012 he named Jabhat al-Nusra, led by Abu Muhammad al-Jawlani. Then in April 2013, al-Baghdadi attempted to merge ISI and Nusra into ISIL, but this was disputed by al-Jawlani. Intervening, al-Qa’ida head Ayman al-Zawahiri ordered ISI to remain in Iraq while Nusra carried out operations in Syria, but al-Baghdadi refused to obey, leading to renunciation of ISIL by al-Qa’ida in February 2014. On 29 June 2014 after an offensive blitz capturing large swaths of territory in northern Iraq and Syria, Al-Baghdadi proclaimed himself “caliph” and renamed his organization the Islamic State (IS).
Reports indicate CIA involvement in training fighters ramped up in 2013 about the time of the failed ISI-Nusra merger, and some even claim that al-Baghdadi is a CIA-Mossad operative named Elliot Shimon, something corroborated by sources reputed to originate from Edward Snowden. Prior to that in September 2012, then CIA head David H. Petraeus made a trip to Turkey reportedly to direct the distribution of arms and supplies to militants operating inside Syria. One source claims that the Zionist entity treats wounded ISIL takfiris in a field hospital at Zif in occupied Syrian territory, and Israeli supplies have been found in ISIL camps near Mosul that have been repatriated by Kurdish forces.
Q: What countries have been supporting the terrorist group and why?
As mentioned in the first question, United States, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the Israeli entity, Turkey, Jordan and Kuwait have all played roles in the creation of this terrorist monstrosity.
Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan was heavily involved with arming Takfiri terrorists both in Syria and Iraq when he was head of Saudi intelligence from July 2012 until April 2014, as was Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of Qatar until June 2013 when the strategic city of al-Qusayr was repatriated by the Syrian Army. As the chief logistical supplier to takfiri extremists in Syria, Qatar has provided over 85 planeloads of weapons and supplies compared to only 37 for Saudi Arabia and lesser amounts for other actors such as Jordan. Saudi Arabia supports ISIL to counter what it sees as Iran’s increasing regional influence. Qatar was the primary instigator of the western-backed Syrian regime change operation, because it wanted to secure a pipeline corridor through Syria to transport its North Dome gas via Turkey to European markets, and Kuwait serves as the financial hub for ISIL.
Turkey serves as the primary logistical base through which most munitions, materials and manpower are funneled to the foreign-backed militants in Syria. Turkey’s motives most likely include a desire for control over Iraqi Kurdistan’s oil, since it needs about 700,000 bbl a day and the Kurdish region produces about 600,000 bbl a day, as well as preventing an uprising of its Kurdish population by supporting ISIL terrorists fighting against the Kurds in northern Syria.
Q: What does the current crisis in Iraq mean for the region at large?
A: The ISIL blitz that created the crisis in Iraq could not have been a surprise to Washington, since at least 8 US surveillance satellites--4 Lacrosse and 4 Key Hole--crisscross over the Persian Gulf, so Washington must have intended for ISIL to capture those armaments in northern Iraq and send them to Syria, perhaps to avoid the inconvenience of asking the US Congress to approve lethal aid for Syrian “rebels.” But because of the barbarity displayed by ISIL with beheadings, rapes and other atrocities, Obama has been forced to put on a show of opposition to demonstrate US “sincerity” in fighting against terrorism. Meanwhile, Washington's ISIL takfiri proxies continue with their regime change duties in Syria, but now with the added benefit of US air support.
Q: Who benefits from the current crisis?
A: The main beneficiaries are the US and the Israeli entity. ISIL actions are consistent with at least six U.S. geo-strategic goals: First, it is aiding the U.S. objective of regime change in Syria; second, it controls oil and gas fields, and pipeline corridors on behalf of western interests; third, it prevents the formation of a strong, unified Iraq; fourth, ISIL puts pressure on Iran when it is still negotiating with the U.S.; fifth, ISIL serves as a distracter from the atrocities perpetrated by the Zionist regime; and sixth, ISIL serves the need to refresh periodically the “Islamic” terrorist threat within the US.
Q: How do you see the so-called US-led coalition against ISIL?
A: 10 Arab countries are involved in this coalition: Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. As mentioned above, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are principle supporters of Syrian “rebels,” while Jordan provided bases for the CIA to train militants and Kuwait seems to be the ISIL financial nerve center. This means that many of the countries in this coalition were directly involved in the creation and support of ISIL, and now will be training more “rebels” to fight in Syria against the terrorists that they have already created, so how can we view this as a serious effort?
Q: What are the consequences of the deceitful US role in Middle East crisis?
A: ISIL, while acting in ways beneficial to the US and its western allies, appears to have broken ties with its CIA-created parent, al-Qa'ida, so there is a question over the extent of control now exercised by Washington over its terrorist proxies. Last December, US Senator John McCain, who appears to act as a point man with terrorist organizations in Syria such as Jabhat al-Nusra, was photographed in a meeting with ISIL “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, so we know there was direct US involvement in command and control, at least at that time. Now, however, ISIL may be operating on its own.
ISIL controls a dozen or so oil fields and refineries in Iraq and Syria with output valued at up to $2 million a day, making it perhaps the best-financed terrorist group in the world. While the takfiri group is in control of a number of small oil fields around Mosul, it is not posing a threat to the major oil producing areas in southern Iraq near Basra, which produce 75 percent of Iraq's oil. Nevertheless, Exxon, Total and Chevron operate in the Iraqi Kurdistan region and could be threatened by ISIL, and it is also possible that service companies Schlumberger, Halliburton, Baker Hughes and Weatherford could be threatened as well, so this may be why the US has organized the coalition.
Q: What is the real story behind not inviting Iran to join the so-called anti-ISIL coalition?
A: Recent remarks by Henry Kissinger that Iran poses a bigger threat than ISIL seem to be parroted now by others in the Washington regime such as Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz. Likewise, at a recent conference on ISIL at the University of Denver, former US ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill also expressed his feelings of distrust towards Iran. In short, the US has not changed its intransigent position towards Iran despite the current negotiations on Iran’s peaceful nuclear energy program. So instead of taking advantage of an opportunity to invite Iran to join forces in the fight against terrorism, the US has spurned the idea.
Of course, Iran has long been a target of US state-sponsored terrorism going back to the CIA-engineered 1953 coup ousting Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh. A more recent example of US support of terrorism is the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK), which has been taken off the list of designated terrorist organizations. Not only has this deadly extremist group claimed thousands of victims in Iran, but it has in the past killed a few Americans as well. Nevertheless, Washington took the terrorist group off its list as part of its ongoing efforts to destabilize Iran. All of this is understandable since the US geo-strategic goal has been and continues to be to destabilize Iran as part of the China “containment” policy.
Q: How do you see the future of Iraq and Syria? Will the plot to break up the two countries succeed?
A: Iraq has effectively been divided into three countries since the Persian Gulf War of US president George Bush I, and has remained so until today, as can be judged by Iraqi Kurdistan's attempts to sell crude oil without an official blessing from Baghdad. Dividing Iraq to eliminate it as a threat has long been a Zionist goal, and that has been effectively accomplished by US sanctions, the 2003 illegal US invasion, 8 long years of US occupation, and now the appearance of ISIL to complete the job. Consequently, Iraq, as a state actor, has been effectively eliminated.
Regarding Syria, if the U.S. commander-in-chief were truly serious about fighting terrorism, he would collaborate with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has been battling foreign-backed extremists since early 2011. Not only has Obama refused to do that, but he has threatened Assad with retaliation if any US warplane is shot down over Syrian territory, so it should be clear that the broad international coalition against ISIL is a massive media event to justify direct US intervention in Syria. Last year's false-flag chemical attacks in Ghouta were not sufficient to sell “humanitarian intervention” in Syria to the west, but this year's beheadings of western journalists seem to have succeeded.
Q: What needs to be done to prevent the spread of terrorism from Iraq to other regions?
A: The Washington regime has a history of using covert action to attain its geo-political goals. From the Philippines to Latin America to the Middle East, the US has intervened in so many countries that it is difficult to count them. And what some in Washington would call covert action, I would call state-sponsored terrorism, so in that sense, the US is the world's leader in supporting terrorism. Clearly, the consequences of US actions have already spread beyond Iraq.
The US has been dealing with extremists in the region since its proxy war in Afghanistan that created al-Qa’ida in the first place. Compounding this are US policies of supporting dictators, such as Saddam in Iraq, Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen, Mubarak and now al-Sisi in Egypt, Hamad Al Thani in Bahrain, Zein al-Abidin Ben Ali in Tunisia and so on. Since the bulk of the “terrorism” problem originates with the US and its actions, the question is how to change US policies, and this is something that would take a broad, unified effort; perhaps it could be initiated by the non-aligned countries.
Q: Can the world tackle extremism before it gets too late?
A: As long as the US reserves the right to set the world order due to its economic wealth and military might, there will be individuals, groups of people and countries that rise up in protest, and some of that protest may take the form of extremism, which in the Middle East due to its history, will likely take on an Islamic veneer. Therefore, I believe the crucial first step on the path of confronting terrorism is working for unity in the Islamic Ummah. Through mutual cooperation among the Islamic countries, we could advance education, stimulate economic growth, expand human services and promote social justice, as well as build our mutual defenses against external threats such as US-incited terrorism.
Next, the US must be confronted over its history of crimes. The US has been in clear violation of international law in a number of instances: The 2003 invasion of Iraq; drone strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and other countries; the Guantanamo prison camp; the treatment of detainees in Afghanistan; the NATO bombing of Serbia; the use of napalm in Vietnam; support of the Zionist apartheid regime; torture of prisoners at Abu Graib; firebombing campaigns during World War II; the use of secret prisons; and we could go on and on. Supporting ISIL is just the latest outrage against international law committed by the US.
In short, what must be changed is the systemic defect called “Structural Greed” by Islamic scholars, built into the global economic system imposed by the US and the western governments, which emphasizes the importance of profit before people, further exacerbating the economies in the Islamic countries, thus creating even more potential terrorist candidates.
Yuram Abdullah Weiler is a freelance writer and political critic who has written dozens of articles on the Middle East and US policy. A former engineer with a background in mathematics and a convert to Islam, he currently writes perspectives on Islam, social justice, economics and politics from the viewpoint of an American convert to Shia Islam, focusing on the deleterious role played by the US in the Middle East and elsewhere.