How to Handle the ISIS Threat

After ISIS murdered a second American hostage freelance journalist Steven Sotloff pressure mounted on President Obama to react. But a contrary view is that ISIS doesn’t threaten the U.S. homeland and regional powers could best defeat this brutal group, as Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland suggests.

By Ivan Eland

Sometime back, the surprise invasion of northern Iraq by the vicious Islamist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) raised eyebrows in Washington policy-making circles and the American media. However, it took gruesome footage of the beheading of journalist James Foley to throw these foreign policy elites into hysteria.

There is no question that ISIS is one of the most brutal terrorist organizations in the world, but the real question is: How big of a threat is the group to U.S. security?

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an ISIS operative.

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an ISIS operative. (From an ISIS video)

The answer is not very much unless the U.S. government makes it so. ISIS has some potential to turn into a threat to the American homeland if Uncle Sam again goes in like gangbusters and makes new enemies, as it already has in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Unfortunately, the U.S. tendency to see any foreign civil war or brutal group as a threat and be on a hair trigger to use military power has been in evidence with the limited U.S. airstrikes in Iraq against the group now being undertaken.

ISIS funds its operations, in part, by extorting ransom for hostages. In the case of Foley, the group had to forgo a potentially lucrative bounty to tragically and heinously kill an innocent American hostage to make a retaliatory political point. That graphic statement came in response to U.S. airstrikes to stop the group’s progress in Iraq.

Yet ISIS is still a regional threat, not a threat to the U.S. homeland. But don’t take my word for it, listen to the General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the President’s top military adviser. Dempsey said that there is no sign that ISIS militants are engaged in “active plotting against the homeland.”

He also said that if the group eventually does threaten the United States, he would not hesitate to recommend taking U.S. military action against the group in Syria, but reiterated that that is not the case now.

Dempsey’s remarks were likely aimed at diffusing strident demands by the Keystone (World) Cops — John McCain and Lindsey Graham — and other war(talking)heads demanding that the United States escalate the violence and bomb ISIS in Syria too.

The threat from ISIS’s small force of 3,000 fighters has now been blunted and contained. The likelihood is nil that the Sunni group would get much popular support in any invasion of Shi’ite southern Iraq, and it is now getting more effective push back from the Kurdish pesh merga militias in northeastern Iraq.

The only reason the Sunni Arab tribes did not resist ISIS’s reentry into Iraq — remember the group left Iraq as al-Qaeda in Iraq, which had been created as a response to George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, because Sunni tribes threw them out owing to their excessive brutality — was that the U.S-friendly Shi’ite government of Nouri al Maliki had been oppressing Sunnis.

Even more barbaric than its violent precursor al-Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS may be again evicted by the Iraqi Sunni tribes if the new Shi’ite-dominant government in Iraq treats Sunnis better than did the ousted al-Maliki autocracy or if, even better, Iraq were to be reconfigured into a loose confederation of autonomous regions in which each of the groups had self-rule.

Dempsey also cogently noted that U.S.-friendly countries in the region, such as Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia would have an incentive to stop such a radical group. According to Dempsey, those regional friendlies could cooperate and squeeze ISIS “from multiple directions in order to initially disrupt and eventually defeat them. It has to happen with them, much less with us.”

He did not mention that the less U.S.-friendly Shi’ite power in the region — Iran — would have an even bigger incentive to defeat the group and could even cooperate under the table with these regional rivals to get the job done.

So now that U.S. bombing in Iraq has blunted and contained the ISIS threat, instead of U.S. escalation to begin bombing the group in Syria, the best option is for the United States to de-escalate and turn the ultimate destruction of the group over to regional countries.

Dempsey did suggest one possibility that should be rejected: U.S. forces could provide more expanded advice and assistance to the Iraqi armed forces. To date, the United States has inserted only a small number of troops back on the ground in Iraq, supposedly to guard U.S. facilities. However, more troops for this added advice-and-assistance mission could drag the United States back into another Iraqi morass, the way such a modest beginning pulled the United States into the Vietnam War.

Besides, the retaliatory killing of Foley shows that what really unnecessarily stirs the hornets’ nest with barbaric Islamists is non-Muslim attacks on Muslim soil. So instead of the usual jumping in as the world’s policemen, why doesn’t the United States let regional friends take the lead in vanquishing the relatively small ISIS group?

The United States should terminate air strikes and turn the fight over to countries in the area that are directly threatened by ISIS. This course of action would dramatically lessen the chance that the United States would needlessly make another enemy in a war it should have avoided.

Ivan Eland is Director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at The Independent Institute. Dr. Eland has spent 15 years working for Congress on national security issues, including stints as an investigator for the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Principal Defense Analyst at the Congressional Budget Office. His books include Partitioning for Peace: An Exit Strategy for Iraq The Empire Has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, and Putting “Defense” Back into U.S. Defense Policy.

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34 comments for “How to Handle the ISIS Threat

  1. Zachary Smith
    September 3, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    The United States should terminate air strikes and turn the fight over to countries in the area that are directly threatened by ISIS. This course of action would dramatically lessen the chance that the United States would needlessly make another enemy in a war it should have avoided.

    So far as I’m concerned, that’s a damned stupid statement. Mind you, I know nothing about the nations who secretly back ISIS, though I suspect (with zero evidence) the US is one of them.

    Eland is a prolific author, and I find I agree with many of the things he has written. But he’s also an isolationist. While many of the US interventions have been stupid ones, the times when Isolationism reigned supreme were very bad ones as well.

    Eland’s Center on Peace & Liberty is a component of The Independent Institute. It’s another of those nutty libertarian outfits.

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Independent_Institute

    Eland has written a book ranking US presidents. The best ones? Consider Tyler, Cleveland, Van Buren, and Hayes – in that order the finest of all US presidents. Jimmy Carter is the best of the modern presidents!

    http://www.quebecoislibre.org/12/121015-9.html

    From what I can read of his ‘stuff’, Eland thinks Rand Paul would be just spiffy in the Oval Office.

    IMO he’s a deceptive crank. I’ll be interested in reading any other views folks here may have.

    • Another deceptive crank
      September 4, 2014 at 6:42 am

      “So far as I’m concerned, that’s a damned stupid statement.”

      And you fail to provide one reason why. Nor do you provide a time-frame when we’ve ever tried so-called “isolationism”, which is simply a deception itself. Eland’s brand of “isolationism” is no such thing. Working and trading with others instead of killing them is not isolationism. Killing them to the point where much of the world hates us is isolationism.

      “From what I can read of his ‘stuff’”

      That’s short for “I don’t know much about him, but let me smear him anyway.”

    • Abe
      September 4, 2014 at 3:35 pm

      Eland is not an isolationist. He is an enthusiastic advocate of indirect military intervention and he has a published legacy to prove it. That is why ‘How to Handle the ISIS Threat’ is such dangerous twaddle.

      ISIS and all the incarnations of Al Qaeda have operated as an indirect interventionist force in the Middle East deployed to devastating effect — not to oppose US foreign policy but to advance it.

      There needs to be a clear understanding of ‘The Whys Behind the ISIS Crisis’ before we discuss to ‘How To Handle’ it.

      Former U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, alluded to the modern Middle East as a control lever on an area he calls the Eurasian Balkans.

      The Eurasian Balkans consists of the Caucasus (Georgia, the Republic of Armenia, and Azerbaijan) and Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan) and Turkey. Turkey forms the northernmost part of the Middle East (although some of the country lies in the Caucasus).

      Guess what area ISIS just threatened to “liberate” next?

      Eland is worse than a useful libertarian idiot and his ‘stuff’ deserves to be dismissed.

    • Zachary Smith
      September 4, 2014 at 9:53 pm

      Eland is not an isolationist. He is an enthusiastic advocate of indirect military intervention and he has a published legacy to prove it.

      I found a big list of the fellow’s writings, and all the stories I examined had him claiming that he was in favor of “hands off” behavior.

      I’d never heard of the guy, and wasn’t about to read everything merely to make a blog post. And he IS prolific!

      But I had a feeling I couldn’t support with evidence that he is as you say – in favor of interventions with no fingerprints.

      If you have any specific links showing he talks out both sides of his mouth, I’d like to read them.

      • Abe
        September 5, 2014 at 2:54 am

        You can hear him talk out of both sides of his mouth here:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zz2uIHgrAb0

      • Zachary Smith
        September 5, 2014 at 11:02 am

        Thanks for the link. I’m going to disagree with your conclusion that Eland is hypocritical, though I’ll admit I’d tended in that direction myself.

        No, my current belief is that Dr. Ivan Eland is – as much as he can manage – totally consistent. In order to do that, he has to warp reality. At the beginning of his remarks in the video clip, he claimed ISIS wasn’t much of a threat to Russia.

        “you have to have a Sunni population that’s been radicalized”

        1) Chechnya is Sunni.
        2) There were about 100,000 civilians killed in the two wars there.

        Yet Eland dismisses both!

        That’s the pattern I see. The man is bright, and extremely disciplined. It’s very difficult to track down remarks about specific topics he’s been avoiding. On the subject of WW II I found almost nothing penned by the gentleman.

        I did have a bit of luck with Climate Change. He wrote a chapter in Denier Patrick J. Michaels’ book: Climate Coup: Global Warming’s Invasion of Our Government and Our Lives

        Once again, warping reality so that subject can’t alter his iron-clad and unshakable beliefs. An example of how radical this fellow can be:

        85. “The best defense is no offense.” -Dr. Ivan Eland

        Probably the man has convinced himself that’s a fact. To me it verges on insanity.

        So my current conclusion is the Ivan Eland is a smooth-talking fanatic. He’s a True Believer in the Libertarian cult.

        And like with the rest of the Libertarians, reality be damned.

      • Abe
        September 7, 2014 at 2:01 pm

        The hypocrite or the fool: Which type of pundit is more dangerous?

    • Abe
      September 5, 2014 at 3:56 pm

      “We know that you support the Chechen terrorist for decades. And the support, of which you just spoke openly, is completely incompatible with the common goal of fighting global terrorism. We are interested to develop friendly relations after clear and strong principles.”

      “Our point in terms of Assad will never change. We believe the Syrian government is the best representative of the Syrian people and not these liver-eaters.”

      – Vladimir Putin to Bandar bin Sultan (aka “Bandar Bush’‎), who had been tasked with managing Saudi policy in the Syrian civil war .

      Bandar allegedly confronted Putin in a bid to break the deadlock over Syria. This included security of winter Olympics in Sochi if there is no accord. “I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us,” he allegedly said. Putin then rejected the proposal furiously.

      Bandar was director general of the Saudi Intelligence Agency from 2012 to 2014. He was Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States from 1983 to 2005. In 2005, he was named as secretary general of the National Security Council.

      Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki reportedly complained about secret Saudi Arabian support for militant groups saying, “They are attacking Iraq, through Syria and in a direct way, and they announced war on Iraq, as they announced it on Syria, and unfortunately it is on a sectarian and political basis.”

      Eland’s counsel to use “regional friends” like the Saudis means the U.S. will continue to have an abundant supply of both real and manufactured enemies in the Middle East.

      Of course there’s the U.S.-Saudi “special relationship” to consider…

      • Abe
        September 5, 2014 at 4:00 pm

        And there’s the U.S.-Israeli “special relationship” to consider…

  2. Jonny James
    September 3, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    IS is reportedly financed by Saudi (and indirectly by CIA) and now by stealing the resources of the territory they conquer. These groups were also just fine when attacking the Assad forces in Syria, now that the Frankenstein monster is taking over oil fields in Iraq, the atrocities are now somehow an issue? They have committed plenty of atrocities in Syria, but that was just fine. The double-standards, inconsistencies and hypocrisy are thick as pea soup.

    Clearly, IS is not a threat to the US people and act as a convenient excuse (Politics of Fear) to spend more money and resources on weapons, bombing and chaos.
    If IS are truly Islamic extremists, why do they not speak out against Israel? Why do they not attack Israel? The religious business is usually just a front for political interests.

    There are some serious questions with this whole affair. Of course, if the Anglo-Zionist Empire of Chaos did not destroy Iraq and attempt to destroy Syria, none of this would be happening.

  3. nmb
    September 3, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    Closing fronts to deal with ISIS

    http://goo.gl/nuw60M

  4. Abe
    September 3, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    Ivan Eland’s advice on ‘How to Handle the ISIS Threat’ is propagandist twaddle.

    In fact, ISIS is a regime change project funded and equipped by U.S.-friendlies Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and supplied and supported via by U.S.-friendlies Turkey and Jordan. ‘Cause that’s what friends are for.

    Eland is author of Partitioning for Peace: An Exit Strategy for Iraq (2009).

    Eland has been Director of Defense Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, and he spent 15 years working for Congress on national security issues. He has testified on the military and financial aspects of NATO expansion before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on CIA oversight before the House Government Reform Committee, and on the creation of the Department of Homeland Security before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    The Pentagon’s vision of a “more peaceful” (US compliant) Middle East is depicted in a 2006 article in Armed Forces Journal by Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters entitled, “Blood Borders: How a better Middle East would look.” The full article and map may be viewed at http://husedin.wordpress.com/2011/07/01/blood-borders/

    • Another deceptive crank
      September 4, 2014 at 6:45 am

      Wow. Same exact format and anti-intellectual content as Zachary Smith’s comment.

      • Abe
        September 4, 2014 at 1:43 pm

        Wow, “anti-intellectual content…” – a withering critique.

  5. Dam Spahn
    September 4, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    ISIS is trying to goad the US into engagement. That’s how they got to where they are, and that’s how they expand.

  6. Richard
    September 4, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    I watched Chris Matthews’ Hardball program last night. He was absolutely enraged and livid over the beheadings of two American journalists. He is ready to go to war right now. Full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes.

    That reaction achieves exactly what the ISIS and other militant groups understand. ISIS touches the rawest of emotions with the most blood-curdling images that include mass shootings of captured soldiers, the rape and murder of small children and countless other heinous acts and atrocities. But, none of this is new. These brutal acts have been carried out for decades in other countries such as Rwanda and the Democratic Republican of Congo. Beheadings are commonplace in places like Saudi Arabia where the corrupt sheikdom metes out harsh punishments such as cutting of hands, ears and heads for the purpose of keeping their fragile monarchies in power.

    So, Chris Matthews is the perfect dupe for ISIS because he expresses much of the outrage and horror in seeing an American captive who was put on camera as an English-speaking ISIS character taunts the president and exhorts the America to once again “Bring ’em on!”

    So, what now? We are told over and over that the country is “war weary” and we don’t want to put boots on the ground. The president is seen as weak and ineffective even as those 535 congressmen are on a prolonged vacation sniping from the sidelines and building their political bona fides going into this November’s election.

    Will Obama bite? Will he marshal tens of thousands of troops and move a lumbering army with all the ancillary equipment and support thousands of miles to avenge the beheadings of American citizens?

    Do we hear echoes of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities when the citizens rose up and proclaimed, “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité?”

    But, it is ISIS who is now winning the media propaganda battle even as Chris Matthews is knitting the names of those on whom he wants to vanquish (apologies to Madame Defarge). But we are playing right into ISIS’ hand. Their taunts and invitation for Americans to once again spill blood in a foreign land is reaching a crescendo.

    • Anonymous
      September 4, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      You see how easy it is to be distracted from and forget death and destruction by Israeli IDF of Palestinians in Gaza.
      Condemnation of ‘ISIS’ and its two beheadings (heinous crime no doubt they are) is all over the globe, but where is the story of 1800 Palestinians killed and their inhabitant un-liveable. To me ISIS= deception and distraction from greater crimes.

  7. Abe
    September 4, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    ISIS to the Rescue
    By Tony Cartalucci
    http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2014/09/isis-to-rescue.html

    The Islamic State (ISIS), a creation of US, European, Saudi, Qatari, and Israeli designs, is a global mercenary expeditionary force, precisely as Al Qaeda was since its inception in the 1980’s in Afghanistan. While it is currently being used by the West to divide and destroy the Middle East and smash the Iranian arc of influence stretching from Tehran, across Iraq and Damascus, and all the way to Lebanon, it can easily be redirected into the hotbeds of sectarian extremism in Russia’s southern Caucasus region.

    In fact, all the Islamic State is, is little more than a re-branding of Al Qaeda – with many other Western-backed “legacy” Al Qaeda affiliates still fighting along side ISIS. While propaganda attempts to portray ISIS as mortal enemies of the West, every battle ISIS fights are battles the West has openly desired but has consistently failed to justify fighting. Western propaganda has also categorically failed to account for how a regional military force could appear, challenging both the national army of Iraq and the Syrian Arab Army, without significant state-sponsorship.

    • F. G. Sanford
      September 4, 2014 at 3:06 pm

      I would add that it emerges as the mirror image of Sherlock Holmes’ “dog that didn’t bark”. It’s a dog that barks at everybody…except Israel and Saudi Arabia. Doesn’t that strike anyone as a little strange?

    • Abe
      September 4, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      The dog heeds His Master’s Voice, which periodically involves biting certain hands and cutting off certain heads.

    • Abe
      September 4, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      Not surprisingly, the dog sometimes barks with a British accent.

    • Joe Tedesky
      September 4, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      Back in the 70’s I was a auto parts counterman. A teenage kid came up to the parts counter and asked if I would pay him break car antenna’s. I said no. Then the kid told me of the auto parts store owner up the street who did pay him. Since I wanted to sell truck parts and fleets I urged our owner to get rid of the antenna stock. I later found out that the corrupt auto parts store owner was even selling early model car alarms….America free marketer don’t you just love it. That bad guy auto parts store owner probably moved on to banking, but do you get what I am saying.

      How many antenna’s does IS need to break until the American public is screaming for their heads? I only hope between our watching sports and reality TV we don’t cry for more war!

      by the way Abe F.G. I like reading the go between comments you 2 have. You guys can read big words, huh?

      • Joe Tedesky
        September 4, 2014 at 8:05 pm

        J.T.: How many nations does the US need to break in the Middle East until the public is screaming for American heads?

        Answer; 5 to 7 see Wesley Clark & Colonel Ralph Peters I think around 2005.

        I agree with the US staying out, but control freaks can’t do that. Would intelligent choice be to allow events to run their course? If this is all about the USD then we are truly not helping our financial cause. What did Eisenhower say about every bomb being worth how many schools, etc? Rational people on our side are on short supply…it seems. Or does it just look that way?

        Talking about appearing rational, well Putin’s martial arts training is really paying off. Although, his press is not the west press….but, then there is the internet!

        • Joe Tedesky
          September 4, 2014 at 8:07 pm

          J.T.: How many nations does the US need to break in the Middle East until the public is screaming for American heads?

          Answer; 5 to 7 see Wesley Clark & Colonel Ralph Peters I think around 2005.

          I agree with the US staying out, but control freaks can’t do that. Would intelligent choice be to allow events to run their course? If this is all about the USD then we are truly not helping our financial cause. What did Eisenhower say about every bomb being worth how many schools, etc? Rational people on our side are on short supply…it seems. Or does it just look that way?

          Talking about appearing rational, well Putin’s martial arts training is really paying off. Although, his press is not the west press….but, then there is the internet!

    • Abe
      September 4, 2014 at 6:46 pm

      F.G.: The image in the mirror is more than a little strange.

      J.T.: How many nations does the US need to break in the Middle East until the public is screaming for American heads?

      ISIS is the lastest US-manufactured image of an “enemy” that wants to behead us all http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4zYlOU7Fpk

      The majority of people in the Middle East, including the nations the US has broken, don’t want to kill Americans. They just want the US to get the fuck out and leave them to deal with their problems.

      The US won’t get out until IT is broken (most likely, hit in the head with a BRIC).

      Meanwhile, the “exceptional” American public is amply entertained with political sports and reality TV news.

    • Abe
      September 4, 2014 at 7:29 pm

      Without getting too postmodern here, it is important to differentiate the ‘real’ ISIS (armed interventionist force with a geostrategic agenda) and the ‘simulacrum’ ISIS (evil bloodthirsty jihadists, etc. ad nauseum).

      Witness the desperate efforts of ‘simulacrum’ ISIS to convince us all that it is ‘real’ (one beheading ain’t enough for ya?).

      Witness the desperate efforts of mainstream media, politicians and military analysts to convince us all that ‘simulacrum’ ISIS is a ‘real’ threat that we need to ‘handle.’

  8. Abe
    September 4, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    ISIS and WMDs: Who Wants to Destroy What in Iraq?
    By Henry Kamens
    http://journal-neo.org/2014/09/04/isis-and-wmds-who-wants-to-destroy-what-in-iraq/

    So the question is: If the US really wanted Iraq to ultimately provide for its own security, why does ISIS have technology the Iraqi forces do not have? It is, after all, Western technology, supplied by Westerners one way or another. Is it not rather more obvious that the plan was never to help Iraq and its people but to wipe it off the map altogether?

    The drum beat

    America is ostensibly losing wars all over the Middle East. Syria is disappearing from the news because Assad is regaining his lost territory, Israel has signally failed to either remove its so called terrorist groups or create a mainstream Arab alternative and Iraq is being destroyed by an insurgent group which is supposed to be everything the US entered there to protect it from – terrorist, radical Islamist, doctrinaire, anti-Christian and violent. This is not a position a superpower can afford to be in for very long.

    There are two obvious explanations for this. Either the US no longer has the military capability it thinks it has, despite nearly 50% of its budget being spent on the armed forces, or it is no longer winning the battle of hearts and minds. Neither of these explanations is very pleasant to US ears, but given the choice it prefers the first one. The country which thinks its values automatically superior to anyone else’s would rather lose a few wars in defence of them than admit that the world doesn’t automatically think that the US is the answer to everything, and want to embrace everything it believes it stands for.

    However, losing wars has one unfortunate consequence. It leaves in place enemies of the US who might turn out to be not so bad after all, and not drive their people to beg the US to rescue them. Iraq has been the focus of policy for so long that, even if this happens elsewhere, it cannot be allowed to happen there. But if there is no Iraq, there is no longer any problem. Yesterday’s war, win or lose, would no longer be relevant to a new geopolitical reality the US can interpret how it likes.

    Obama was not really saying that he wants the Iraqi forces to defeat ISIS on their own. He was saying that he wants them to fail, so that he has an excuse to intervene on a larger scale, and fail with a bang instead of a whimper. ISIS has done half the job for him, with the support of American technology and training. When the US intervenes to complete the second half, whatever is left will not be Iraq, thus turning defeat into victory.

  9. Abe
    September 4, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    “If Iraq would be decentralized…”
    Another deceptive crank on fighting ISIS
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zz2uIHgrAb0

  10. September 6, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    There is a small, quiet, first-Friday, noon protest at the Israeli Consulate in Philadelphia by Bubbes and Zaydes (Grandparents in Yiddish) for Peace in the Middle East that often gets positive response from passers by unlike the noisy, angry ones at rush-hour. Suddenly they were mostly unfriendly and didn’t take leaflets. I fear people think ISIS stands for all Muslims including Palestinians. Many people urged were not to blame all Muslims, for Al Qaeda. We got to do this again, highlighting, perhaps the life stories and crying relatives of individual Muslims killed by ISIS.

  11. Abe
    September 7, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Who Is ISIS? An open source investigation
    By James Corbett
    http://www.corbettreport.com/who-is-isis-an-open-source-investigation/

    The group and its leaders have been shrouded in myth and mystery since its inception, as documented above. Even the US government has declared that the Islamic State’s second leader, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, never existed. The current leader, Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi, is so elusive that there are only two known photographs and one video recording of him in existence, leading security “experts” to declare: “They know physically who this guy is, but his backstory is just myth.” This has led many to speculate on the group’s possible founding and backing by Western intelligence as a front for foreign policy goals such as the sectarian division of Iraq or as an excuse to keep the west militarily involved in the region. As far back as 2006 the UK Telegraph reported that prominent Sunni insurgent leaders in Iraq were claiming that the group’s founder, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was “”an American, Israeli and Iranian agent who is trying to keep our country unstable so that the Sunnis will keep facing occupation.” This sentiment is echoed to the present day, with Saudi scholar Consultative Assembly member Dr. Aissa Al-Ghaith claiming that the Islamic State is backed by America, Israel and Iran. This sentiment is bolstered by the revelation earlier this year that ISIS fighters were trained by the US military at a camp in Jordan in 2012.

    There are many questions surrounding the group’s online PR activities and its unlikely facility with various forms of media, a phenomenon that even the New York Times has noted. Although much has been made of the rounds of photos claiming to show the group’s brutal execution and treatment of its prisoners, at least some of these photos appear to have been recycled from other countries at other times. There is still no answer as to who staged the beheading video of James Foley or why it was faked, but many point to the fact that British authorities warned that merely looking at the video might qualify as terrorism as a sign of the video’s true nature and origins. This continues a tradition of suspicious ISIS media releases dating back to the recordings of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi that were released during the 2009-2010 period after the US government had declared him a fictitious character and Iraqi authorities reported that he was under arrest.

    An image of US Senator John McCain in Syria in April 2013 has generated controversy for claims that it pictures him with ISIS member Mohammad Nour and even ISIS leader Baghdadi himself. Some have cast doubt on whether the man in the photograph is Baghdadi, but the man does bear an uncanny resemblance to the official picture of Baghdadi on the State Department “Rewards for Justice” website.

  12. Abe
    September 7, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Selling Fear and Lies to Control the Public
    By William C. Lewis
    http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/09/selling-fear-and-lies-to-control-the-public-2/

    The ISIS is a 100 percent product of the U.S. proxy destabilization policy against Syria, and their command of Iraq’s oil fields in Mosul, along with this group’s beheading of journalists, both function as convenient war propaganda to anger the American public and fuel the U.S. airstrike machine that benefits the capitalist armaments industry since Americans subconsciously believe as a result of their national security indoctrination that the petroleum of the Middle East is U.S. property serving “core interests” and protecting their “way of life.”

    The Afghan region is still occupied via U.S. forces for the construction of the TAP (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan) pipeline that controls the flow of Caspian Sea Oil against Russia. Over 1000 military bases in 130 nations still straddle the globe of the biggest and most brutal weapons manufacturing war economy militarist system in history that drone bombs children in Pakistan, Yemen and Iraq, even though the American people are not hearing about it in the controlled mass media.

    Everywhere that one looks it is occupation and militarization for resource control. Sanctions and war, genocide and slaughter were the result of the 1990-1991 attack against the sovereign nation of Iraq. Depleted uranium munitions infecting the air particles Iraqis breathe and heavy bombing of infrastructure to smash a society and render the people helpless before their dictator is the manner in which the Washington military-oil-complex softened up Iraq. The U.S. war machine targeted electrical grids, sewage systems and water-treatment/sanitation facilities with bombing and combined this destruction of life support systems with sanctions to deny necessary materials to fix the destroyed national infrastructure, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people through disease. It was part of a deliberate disintegration of Iraqi society to weaken the people of this land for Anglo-North-American control of the vast petroleum reserves in the Persian Gulf.

  13. Lee Kronick
    September 11, 2014 at 12:21 am

    And so, tonight (Wednesday, 10 Sep 14), the distinguished president of the exceptional nation, the U S of A, has stated that we will chase them out of the bushes, whether in Iraq or Syria…but only without planes. No “combat” boots on the ground. However, we will send another 475 “training” boots to train the Iraqi army and…to train only the “untainted by Assad” rebel Syrian troops…to combat the ISIL or ISIS or IS “terrorist.” …And don’t worry about your security, folks. Your President is always “on guard” to protect the homeland. Gee whiz…I feel so much more secure, now!

  14. Lee Kronick
    September 11, 2014 at 12:26 am

    And so, tonight (Wednesday, 10 Sep 14), the distinguished president of the exceptional nation, the U S of A, has stated that we will chase them out of the bushes, whether in Iraq or Syria…but only with our planes. No “combat” boots on the ground. However, we will send another 475 “training” boots to train the Iraqi army and…to train only the “untainted by Assad” rebel Syrian troops…to combat the ISIL or ISIS or IS “terrorist.” …And don’t worry about your security, folks. Your President is always “on guard” to protect the homeland. Gee whiz…I feel so much more secure, now!

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