War & Peace

ISIS Barbarians Are Burning And Pillaging Iraq

by Ryan Lazarus

VICE News has launched an incredible series about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Filmmaker Medyan Dairieh takes us behind the scenes of ISIS controlled territory. We get a chance to see how the former al Qaida affiliated group operates across a variety of fronts. Merciless death and destruction is only one part of it. Cutting off supply chains, managing vital water sources, and propagandizing the local populations have proved to be key in ISIS’s attempt to reestablish the Caliphate, lead by the caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. 

As you watch this surreal footage, keep in mind that ISIS has been in large part supported by the United States and its allies both directly and indirectly. This monstrous group that has begun to dominate parts of Syria and Iraq, has many members that were trained in Jordan by the U.S. back in 2012. These rebels were being groomed to squash the al-Assad regime in Syria with the Free Syrian Army, but apparently many of these well-trained rebels got more ambitious. They wanted to be part of the new Islamic State and joined ISIS instead.

ISIS has been receiving funds from private individuals based in U.S. allied countries like Kuwait, Qatar, and possibly Saudi Arabia. After seizing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of U.S. military equipment from the Iraqi Army who abandoned it, ISIS is also well armed.

Two Saturdays ago I was rocking out with 150,000 people at Lollapalooza as Outkast opened with their hit from the year 2000, “B.O.B (Bombs Over Baghdad)”. At that moment I don’t think any of us were expecting that song to be relevant less than a week later. The U.S. Military began targeting ISIS and started bombing Iraq (again) last Friday. You can bet that neocons put “B.O.B.” back in their iTunes playlists.

Just to be clear, the U.S. has not begun bombing the city of Baghdad again (yet). The focus has been in Iraqi Kurdistan.

This recent wave of bombings carried out by President Obama has some concerned over blowback attacks. Seth Jones, a terrorism expert with Rand Corp said recent airstrikes “could increase the likelihood that ISIS or somebody inspired by ISIS, would strike against the homeland.” In part 2 of the VICE documentary, one ISIS member passionately proclaims, “God willing the Caliphate has been established. And we are going to invade you like you invaded us. We will capture your women like you captured our women.” He starts crying and adds, “We will orphan your children as you orphaned our children. ” I imagine this man is not alone with that type of thinking. Former deputy CIA director Michael Morell said back in June, “The more we visibly get involved in helping the [Iraqi] government fight these guys, the more we become a target.”

So lets sum this all up. After the failure of the Iraq war that resulted in almost 4,500 American soldiers killed, hundreds of thousands of American soldiers wounded/injured, a half-million Iraqis killed, millions of Iraqi refugees, and trillions of dollars spent, the U.S. has nothing to show for it. The region is in absolute turmoil. The U.S. is now bombing people it helped train and is destroying military equipment that American’s designed, built, and paid for. To top it all off, the chances of future blowback making its way back to U.S. soil is also elevated.

No, this isn’t a nightmare to wakeup from. This is the reality of foreign interventionism and its predictably unpredictable outcomes.

BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: President Obama has begun arming Kurds in the state of Iraq.

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