Truth in Media: The Origin of ISIS
In the latest episode of Truth in Media, Ben Swann investigates the origins of the militant group referred to as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“The name ISIS is one that every American knows,” Swann said “The biggest threat to our national security since Al-Qaeda, right? They are a brutal, savage group known for public beheadings and mass executions. They are the face of the new war on terror.”
Swann pointed out that while the U.S. Military is currently conducting airstrikes in Syria, in a supposed attempt to take out ISIS targets, the White House and U.S. military leaders are discussing possible boots on the ground in Iraq. These talks are arising just three years after President Obama declared that the war in Iraq was over.
Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told USA Today that in order to defeat ISIS, he believes the United States is looking at “a 30-year-war.”
As the U.S. goes to war in an attempt to defeat yet another terrorist group, the biggest question is: Who exactly is ISIS and where did they come from?
Angela Keaton, the founder of Antiwar.com, said that ISIS is “entirely a creation of the United States’ behavior in Iraq.”
“That’s how we got to where we are, because of war, because of occupation, because of torture,” Keaton said. “The United States government completely destabilized and wrecked Iraq. They caused it to fail miserably and that is entirely the fault of the United States government. There is no one else to blame.”
Swann explained that when the U.S. first invaded Iraq, it “blew the country apart.” By destroying the existing government, toppling Saddam Hussein, and destroying the infrastructure, the U.S. “left behind a power vacuum” that would never have existed under Hussein.
Daniel McAdams, the executive director of the Ron Paul Institute, said that the impact caused by the actions of the United States is a “historical fact that media just won’t discuss.”
“This has to do with U.S. action in the region, which destroyed the infrastructure, which destroyed Iraq society, which destroyed the Iraqi government,” McAdams said. He explained that while there were a lot of people who weren’t “as happy as larks” while living under Saddam Hussein, they also weren’t at odds with Hussein in the same way they were with the government established by the U.S.
The militant group ISIS was formed as a small insurgent group in Iraq in 2006. Swann noted that while they tried to create problems for the U.S. military, they had no money and no real ability to recruit.
“It wasn’t until 2009 that ISIS shifted its focus from Iraq, where it was largely unsuccessful in developing a foothold, and focused on the civil war in Syria,” Swann said.
While in Syria, ISIS still struggled to gain a foothold. Swann attributed this to the fact that two larger groups fighting against President Bashar al-Assad were overpowering them: al-Nusra Front – or al-Qaeda – and the Free Syrian Army.
“Then, came a pivotal moment that most Americans aren’t even aware of,” Swann said. “In June 2013, a Northern General for the Free Syrian Army spoke out on Al Jazeera Qatar and stated that if international forces did not send weapons, the rebels attempting to overthrow Syrian president Bashar al-Assad would lose their war within a month.”
Swann noted that just months before this occurred he had personally confronted President Obama on the issue of why the U.S. was covertly funding Syrian rebels. Although Obama acted as if he was proceeding with caution, politicians such as Senator John McCain demanded action.
“Within a matter of weeks of the Syrian general making his plea for international help, the U.S., the Saudis, Jordan, Qatar, Turkey and Israel began providing weapons, training and money to so-called rebel groups like the Free Syrian Army,” Swann said.
In September 2013, American media outlets began reporting that weapons were being given to Syrian rebels. CNN reported that while the weapons are not “American-made,” they were “funded and organized by the CIA.”
However, Swann said that things began to fall apart when less than one year after the U.S. supplied Syrian “freedom fighters” with weapons, those weapons ended up in the hands of ISIS fighters.