The Rise of ISIS: Extensive Timeline and the Roles Played by Bush, Obama, Turkey and Arab League
"We say as [Allah's prophet] Ibrahim - peace and blessings be upon him - said to his father [and his people]: "... There has started between us and you hostility and hatred forever, until you believe in Allah alone!" And we say to you as the Prophet Muhammed - peace and blessings be upon him - said: "We have come to you with nothing but slaughter!" So rejoice, oh disbelievers! [grabs butcher's knife] Declare Allah the greatest! Declare Allah the greatest!
"I swear by Allah the Almighty, we will cleanse the Arabian peninsula of you, oh filthy ones! We will conquer Jerusalem, oh Jews! We, the children of Isaac, will conquer Rome [and] take back Andalus [Spain and Portugal]! ... These are our passports, oh Tawagheet (tyrants) in every place! For I swear by Allah that we are Muslims. We are Muslims! We are Muslims! ...
"We praise Allah for his blessings and for gathering us together as the lions of the Islamic State from every corner of the world. We praise Allah who granted us the blessing of pledging allegiance to the ameer [commander] of the believers, Abu Bakr Al-Qurashi Al-Baghdadi..."
|Greatest and most impassionate hate speech ever. Given by an ISIS leader after the capture of Fallujah in January 2014 (2014, ISIS video, Clanging of the Swords: Part IV, 2:30).|
"Western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey are supporting [largely Jihadi] opposition forces [to Assad]. ...
"If the situation unravels, there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria...
"This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI [Al Qaeda Iraq] to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will [lead to] unifying the Jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters [such as Jews, Christians and Shiites]."
|August 2012, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report, 1.5 years before ISIS and Al Qaeda took over Ramadi and Fallujah and later Mosul. This was written while the CIA apparently was working with Arab League countries as Saudi Arabia and Qatar to arm said "opposition". (PDF)|
"If a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn't make them Kobe Bryant."
|January 24, 2014, Obama's (populist) reply to the remark that ISIS and Al Qaeda are now in control of Fallujah and Ramadi. He takes no action, similar to countless other occasions.|
"The [Jihadi and "moderate"] groups, the armed groups in Syria, got a lot of support. Not just from the United States, but from other partners. ... Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia - a huge amount of money was coming in. ...
"We were watching. We saw that Daesh [ISIS] was growing in strength. And we thought Assad was threatened. We thought, however, that we could probably manage, you know, that Assad might then negotiate and instead of negotiating, he got Putin to support him."
|September 21, 2016, reluctant words of Obama's secretary of state John Kerry during a private talk at United Nations headquarters to a group of anti-Assad Syrian activists. The talk caused some controversy when its contents became known.|
It's 2011, the year of hope: the situation in Iraq is finally under control; Jihadist groups have been defeated and the U.S. pulls out of the country. Even better, the masses in the Middle East see the bright light of democracy and begin to protest against their evil oppressors everywhere. The first dictator to go is Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. Large freedom celebrations break out. CBS reporter Lara Logan finds out just how thankful the Egyptians are with their newfound freedom; for 40 minutes she is subjected to a near fatal gang rape by a crowd of several dozen over-excited freedom celebrators. Such a thing can't spoil the party, of course, nor the fact that, according to authoritative World Public Opinion (Brookings Institution, Columbia University, Georgetown University) and Pew polls, Egyptians almost universally support:
- attacks on U.S. troops in the Gulf;
- Osama bin Laden's ideal of getting the U.S. out of the entire Middle East;
- the introduction of Sharia law (notice Iraq sitting at 91%),
- including stonings for adultery and the death penalty for those who leave Islam;
- and the eradication of homosexuality and the drinking of alcohol.
People in the Middle East also seem highly divided about the concept of democracy and women's rights. Combine that with the greatly heightened crime numbers among immigrants from these regions, including rape numbers more than 20 times higher than West-Europeans, and it is hard to see how Muslims are going to develop a thriving democracy at this point in time, with or without external help. However, let's not be negative!
Muammar Gaddafi in neighboring Libya is disposed of later in 2011. He meets his end after a lovely anal gang rape that is broadcasted around the world. Jihadis soon rule the country with endless streams of African refugees finally having free movement through Libya as a gateway into Europe. In Syria large-scale protests break out against dictator Bashar al-Assad. In Bahrain and Tunisia Amber Lyon is strolling around with her CNN film crew, doing her part in trying to overthrow the regimes here. It's clear: the "Arab Spring" is in full swing.
Meanwhile, in the United States, westerners rise up against the "1%" in Occupy Wall Street rallies across the country. The "1%" actually supporting these protests through foundations as Tides and allied "alternative" "liberal CIA" media outlets is just a minor detail we shouldn't pay too much attention to. After all, Barack Obama, that symbol of western tolerance and progression, is now in office. With that, he has saved the world from Bush, the "Israel-uber-alles" neocons, and their evil war plans with regard to Iran. Black people finally have a voice too. The borders are open and the entire Third World is invited to come celebrate. And all of it has become possible through the internet, through alternative news, social media, the Tor project, "Generation Z", Wikileaks, and all those selfless, adventurous "hacktivists" of Anonymous.
So, here in 2011 we have Westerners and Muslims fighting together against tyranny and exploitation. It finally looks as if we're all going to live in peace - forever and prosperous - every nation and ethnic group on Earth. The age of enlightenment is just around the corner!
Three years later. It's 2014. Right from start, in January, the nightmare begins: a seemingly unstoppable Sunni Jihadist monster army consisting of tens of thousands of fighters rises from the ashes in Syria and Iraq, seemingly out of nowhere. The Jihadis take over all of western Iraq and eastern Syria in a matter of months. Soon the world is confronted with film clips of gruesome public executions of "infidels", a refugee stream of over 10 million Syrians, terrorist attacks all over Europe and the United States, and a loss of priceless world heritage sites at Palmyra that stood for thousands of years.
Even worse, at the same time that ISIS arises in Syria and Iraq, allied terrorist groups rear their ugly heads in Libya and Egypt: two supposed "Arab Spring" success stories. Other Muslim countries in northern Africa are also soon infected with the Jihad virus: Mali, Nigeria, Somalia. It took more than a decade, but Bush's prediction after 9/11 of a near endless War on Terror has finally arrived in full force.
The rise of ISIS in Syria - and its oil smuggling through Turkey
Needless to say, a lot of people have been wondering: what on Earth happened? Where did this Jihadist monster army come from so suddenly? And maybe even more important: who is responsible for its sudden rise?
In brief, after Libya's fall in late 2011, tens of thousands of weapons from looted arms depots in this country ended up with the anti-Assad "dissidents" in Syria, including Al Qaeda Syria (Al Nusra) and the Islamic State (ISIS), as well as only slightly more "acceptable" Jihadi groups as Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham, respectively founded in mid 2011 and December 2011. Many Libyan Jihadis followed the arms pipeline from Libya into Syria as well. The arms shipments to anti-Assad elements were soon matched by Iranian, Russian and Chinese shipments to Assad, causing an arms race that started to explode in early 2013. In March of that year ISIS forces in eastern Syria moved west and took control over much of Raqqa. ISIS came as far as the outskirts of Aleppo in north-west Syria that year, but were kicked out here in January 2014 by fellow anti-Assad groups Al Qaeda Syria (Al Nusra) and West-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces because ISIS could not be reasoned with. In that very same period, in the first days of January 2014, ISIS fully moved across the border into an increasingly sectarian-divided Iraq, and took control of Ramadi and Fallujah.
At the very least Obama could have prevented the Iraq situation, but the U.S. president maintained a strict hands-off policy until almost all of western Iraq was in the hands of ISIS, including the northern city of Mosul.
In a nutshell, that's how the ISIS situation happened. But we can go into more detail. Much more detail. The shipments in question were organized by Turkey and Arab League countries as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan. Qatar is primarily linked with Al Nusra financing, with Qatari officials and others having described ISIS as a "Saudi project" and in particular of good old "Bandar Bush", the decades-long key CIA asset and friend of the Bush family. That is, until ISIS turned against Saudi Arabia in early 2014, as it did against Turkey, Al Nusra, Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri (the still fugitive and reportedly Far West-linked right-hand of Osama bin Laden at the time of 9/11) and everyone else. Turkey has been linked to support of both Al Nusra and ISIS, not just in the form of arms shipments and the movement of Jihadi militants, but also to medical treatment of wounded militants, ISIS oil imports, the supplying of thousands of tons of explosive material for ISIS' truck bombs and other IEDs, and possibly even the supplying of Sarin gas to Al Nusra militants.
Pakistan and Kuwait, including all afore-mentioned countries, have been linked to Jaysh al-Islam, Ahrar al-Sham and, much later, Jund al-Aqsa. The latter group was only founded in January 2014. Realistically, all three are terrorist groups. Secretary of state John Kerry certainly seemed to think so. The only reason these groups are kept off United Nations terrorism blacklists for the time being is because they have stuck to trying to overthrow Assad. Keeping these groups part of the "legal" opposition to Assad also makes it harder for Russia to legally bomb them.
The United Arab Emirates is another country that stands accused of supporting Jihadi militants in Syria, an accusation voiced by none other than Obama's vice president Joe Biden. While available evidence against the UAE is not particularly strong for the time being, the country - alongside Qatar, the CIA and the late ambassador Chris Stevens - also surfaced as an arms supplier towards Libya to Jihadi anti-Gaddafi militias in the months before the pipeline reversed and Libyan arms and Jihadi fighters started to move towards Syria.
The thing is, both the Arab League and the Syrian "rebel" groups are Sunni-dominated. Sunnis, and certainly its Salafist extremists, happen to not only hate westerners and Jews, but also Shiites - who can be found in Iran, eastern Iraq and western Syria, where they serve as Assad's power base (the Alawites). It must be said, Iraq's Arabic Shiites don't necessarily get along too well either with the Persian Shiites of Iran, but it certainly is orders of magnitudes better than with the Sunnis, with whom the Shiites are locked into a permanent state of war throughout the Middle East. This state of war in part is also why the West is allied with Sunni terrorism-supporting states as Saudi Arabia and Qatar against the Shiite terrorism-sponsoring regimes of Syria and Iran (Hezbollah and Hamas). Because Arab League countries enjoy the protection of the United States, they generally are not too concerned with the development of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a dangerous obsession of Syria and Iran in particular.
In other words, a break with the Arab League, also because of oil interests, is not considered desirable. That's almost certainly why Obama tried to block the 9/11 families from going after members of the Saudi establishment for their ties to the (equally Sunni) Al Qaeda terrorists who carried out 9/11. In fact, Bandar Bush, the alleged ISIS financier; and Prince Turki, the 25-year Saudi intelligence chief who suddenly stood down two weeks before 9/11, are considered among the chief Saudi suspects of having played a role in the 9/11 plot, not to speak of Prince Turki's Far West Ltd. ties. Interestingly, both were suddenly removed as Saudi intelligence chiefs by the Saudi king immediately before major cases of so-called "blowback", first in the form of Al Qaeda's 9/11 hijackers and later in the form of ISIS. Both Prince Bandar and Prince Turki also go back to the controversial Hun School at Princeton and have been named as decades-long CIA assets who helped finance the CIA's global operations after congress became too nosy in the 1970s with all the congressional investigations into MKULTRA, domestic spying, dirty tricks, Watergate, the Kennedy assassination, and other cases of suspected misconduct. The support for terrorism of Bandar Bush and Prince Turki is additionally interesting, because the latter in particular has always been part of the western superclass, showing up at countless elite conferences and think tanks.
U.S. involvement in Syria goes back quite a few years. In 2005 the Bush administration, with the aid of a network of private think tanks, was able to boot Syria out of Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon in an event known as the Cedar Revolution. Along with Iraq, Iran, Syria and Libya, this was one of the objectives set out by the Bush administration after 9/11. That is, according to the well-known "seven countries in five years" claim of General Wesley Clark, the former NATO commander.
From April 2009, and thus since before the "Arab Spring", the State Department's Barada TV was broadcasting into Syria to incite protests and armed dissent against the Assad regime. By itself this wasn't going to result in the removal of Assad. As Obama pointed out, "an opposition made up of former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth [can't] battle not only a well-armed state but also a well-armed state backed by Russia, backed by Iran [and] a battle-hardened Hezbollah." Of course, you can give the opposition a little help in the form of rifles and anti-tank missiles, especially when it involves religious extremists.
Throughout 2012 the CIA under Obama and MI6 under David Cameron helped coordinate the afore-mentioned Turkey-Arab League arms shipments from Libya to Syria. The CIA didn't just get arms from Libya, but also brokered a $1.5 billion arms deal with Eastern European countries, involving "AK-47s, mortar shells, rocket launchers, anti-tank weapons and heavy machine guns." Most likely this deal explains the huge numbers of AK-47 rifles in ISIS' possession. One assumes these arms raise less eyebrows in the West than M-4s or M-16s.
Anti-tank missiles also made it to Syrian rebels from late 2011. Starting no later than February 2012, the U.S., Great Britain and France - three countries deeply involved in getting rid of Gaddafi in Libya - were training Free Syrian Army units in Jordan to be infiltrated into Syria. These units went on to decimate Assad's tank forces with TOW missiles, an extremely low profile but highly successful campaign. By May 2013 each month more than 100 tanks of Assad were lost to these missiles. At this point - May 2013 - approximately 2,000, or 27 percent, of Assad's entire 7,300 tank and BMP force had been destroyed in this manner. Even in 2017, when looking at the live war map of the Syrian conflict at syria.liveuamap.com, one can spot numerous instances in which tanks of Assad are destroyed with anti-tank missiles by a variety of FSA and Jihadi militias. Considering these operations have played such a key role in decimating Assad's tank army - once among the largest in the world - it's quite bizarre that virtually no attention has been given to it.
Even more strange, all this CIA conspiring is reported to have happened from late 2011 and throughout 2012 when Obama is said to have kept his entire administration from getting involved in the Syria conflict, blocking all aid, even "non-lethal", and even barring his State and Defense departments from liaising with the Free Syrian Army. This attitude caused major friction with secretary of state Hillary Clinton, secretaries of defense Leon Panetta (also Obama's former CIA director) and Chuck Hagel, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Martin Dempsey and, of course, much of the media, the Washington Post at the forefront. Yet, the CIA, whether directly or indirectly - through private fronts, assets, cut-outs and Arab League countries - appears to have been doing its usual thing. The reports are right there in the New York Times.
Quite predictably, "moderate" West-trained Free Syrian Army army forces not only sold their arms on to their "brothers" in Al Nusra and ISIS (and probably the other Jihadi militias just mentioned), but many also joined these groups. In mid 2014, with ISIS having greatly grown in strength, it was even reported that the Free Syrian Army hardly existed anymore due to the number of defections to Jihadi groups. Even before that, many soldiers in these FSA units were joking that they were fighting a Jihad with arms and training provided by the West.
Throughout the 2013-2015 period, ISIS financed its war effort with captured oil wells and illegal oil trade with Turkey, looting, taxation, extortion, and the establishing of monopolies on essentials as food and energy. Generally it is estimated that ISIS brought in over $1 billion a year in this period, allowing it to provide its fighters and terrorists with very decent monthly wages.
However, the fact remains that the initial success of ISIS came through literally billions in covert arms shipments to the region, in addition to covert training programs of the West to take out Assad's tank army. States as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey have been the main culprits behind arming these extremist elements, but considering the extent of cooperation between the Free Syrian Army and these extremist groups - not to mention the alleged involvement of the CIA and MI6 in Arab League arms shipments to Syria - one has to conclude that the United States, Great Britain and France are almost just as guilty as these Middle Eastern countries in allowing the rise of ISIS. Since early 2013, newspapers regularly reported how "non-lethal" and "lethal" aid were ending up with extremists, either directly through Turkey and the Arab League or through Free Syrian Army "moderates" selling materiel on to their "brothers" of ISIS and Al Nusra. The West knew and did nothing.
Then again, based on a September 2016 statement at a private United Nations meeting of John Kerry, Obama's secretary of state, we get the impression that the Obama administration didn't mind the growth of ISIS alongside the Free Syrian Army, this in the hope of pressuring Assad to leave the country:
"We were watching. We saw that Daesh [ISIS] was growing in strength. And we thought Assad was threatened. We thought, however, that we could probably manage, you know, that Assad might then negotiate and instead of negotiating, he got Putin to support him."
Unfortunately, apart from Assad refusing to leave as dictator of Syria, ISIS couldn't be controlled. The West, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and even Al Qaeda all had to find this out the hard way. The only reason Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries joined the "anti-terrorism" alliance against ISIS in September 2014 is because ISIS had begun a campaign to destabilize Saudi Arabia. However, ISIS oil trade routes weren't targeted, allowing the terrorist group to greatly expand its territory from May to August 2015. Turkey became the victim of a first major ISIS bombing in July 2015, reluctantly forcing it into the still not particularly effective anti-ISIS campaign.
In November 2015 ISIS attacked Paris, killing 130 citizens. It appears this attack conclusively ended the secret ISIS oil pipeline into Turkey and forced the West to actively close it down and fight ISIS in a more serious manner than before, despite the fact that Assad still was in place and wasn't going anywhere soon. One of the reasons that Assad remained in place is because Obama and the West failed to instate a no-fly zone over the country to "protect civilians", which could have been done after the August 2013 sarin gas attack in Ghouta (where rebel/Jihadi groups were active). This was two years before Russia began its airstrikes in Syria, which first happened in September 2015. The lack of air cover would have allowed anti-Assad forces to be much more effective and appears to have been part of the original plan for the coup against Assad by Obama's State Department.  Obviously, Senator McCain also really loved that idea. The alternative, handing ISIS, Al Qaeda, or even the Free Syrian Army surface to air missiles such as the Stinger, Mistral, or Starstreak, is extremely tricky, because these groups are just as likely to shoot down civilian airliners.
Turkey's megalomaniacal dictator-to-be Tayyip Erdogan, an incredibly erratic NATO "partner", caused further problems in November 2015 when he allowed the shoot-down of a Russian fighter jet. Russia immediately responded by bringing its hyper-advanced S-400 surface to air missile system into Syria, along with dozens of advanced T-90 tanks that cannot be taken out by the older TOW systems the U.S. had been shipping to Syrian rebels.
To this day it is not known to what extent the West supported Erdogan's overseeing of the ISIS oil trade. It is also not known to what extent his apparent support for Al Nusra and potential hand in the August 2013 Ghouta sarin gas attack (or the creation of a roughly similar incident) was sanctioned by elements in the West. What we do know is that his initial refusal to fight ISIS was controversial, as was his refusal to prevent ISIS massacres on the Kurds just a mile from his border (he even kept the border closed to refugees). His anti-democratic proclivities and reactionary behavior towards Russia, which deepened Russian involvement into Syria, also appear to not have been appreciated by the West.
The situation with Erdogan only got worse after a seemingly justified-but-failed CIA coup in June 2016. Among other things, Erdogan has been attacking countries as the Netherlands and Germany of operating like Nazi regimes for not being allowed to campaign here for his new presidential system and even began attacking the West for supporting ISIS. That last accusation might well be true, but is clear that Erdogan has been among the most ruthless players in the whole Syria conflict. The primary question that remains is to what extent the West knew about and allowed Turkey and the Arab League to support ISIS and Al Nusra as a counter-weight to Assad.
In brief, the summary here explains:
- how the ISIS nightmare - at least the Syrian aspect - hit the world so suddenly in mid 2014;
- how despite continued NATO-Arab League bombings, ISIS continued to expand its territory in Syria in mid 2015;
- and how ISIS was able to carry out a number of major terrorist attacks in the West starting in November 2015.
The short answer is that the West was looking to see if ISIS could force Assad out of office, a dream that was largely quashed in November 2015 with the Paris attack, Turkey's downing of a Russian fighter jet, and Russia's subsequent entry into the war in the side of Assad.
In addition, it looks as if the war against ISIS has been progressing so slowly even after November 2015, because the NATO-Arab League alliance has needed time to replace lost territory with newly-created Free Syrian Army units, including Jaysh al-Nasr in the north-west, the Kurd-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces in the north and north-east, and the New Syrian Army in the south.
None of that is a certainty, but all of it certainly is a possibility.
The rise of ISIS in Iraq: terrorist invasion, Sunni rebellion - or both?
As we move to Iraq, a little historical, demographic and natural resources information might come in handy. Sunnis constitute roughly 17% of Iraq and live in the west of the country, adjoining the Sunni population in eastern Syria. The Kurds in the north make up a similar percentage, with the Shiites in the east and south-east constituting 63% of the population. Saddam Hussein, the dictator who ruled the country from 1979 to 2003, was a Sunni who brutally suppressed the Shiite and Kurd populations. Apart from preventing sectarian tensions and challenging his rule, Hussein had good reason to keep the Kurds and Shiites of Iraq under his thumb: literally all of Iraq's oil fields can be found in the eastern half of the country, from the Shiite south (Basra) and center (East-Baghdad) to the Kurdish north (Kirkuk). Ironically, over the border in Sunni Syria, also quite a few oil fields can be found. But in Sunni Iraq? Hardly anything.
Now that we have these basics established, let's look at ISIS in Iraq. The first ISIS myth, especially with regard to Iraq, is that there ever existed an organized, standing, terrorist monster army of 100,000 soldiers or more that invaded from Syria in late December 2013 and overran all of western Iraq in a matter of months. Yes, compared to the situation in the late 1990s with Osama and his 300 terrorists, a group of several thousand ISIS militants can definitely be labeled a "monster army". However, the fact is that under ordinary circumstances this terrorist army would not have stood the slightest chance against Iraq's military, which at the time consisted of 250,000 foot soldiers, thousands of America-made hummers, dozens of M1A1 Abrams tanks, a number of Cessna planes with Hellfire missiles and also some recently-acquired Hind and Havoc attack helicopters. ISIS consisted of little more than several thousand militants armed with AK-47s who moved around in columns of unarmored Toyota, Nissan and Ford trucks. Easy pickings one would say. So, how did ISIS take over Iraq's western Anbar province so rapidly?
If we break it down to the core issue, the reason that it was so easy for ISIS and Al Qaeda, two Sunni terrorist groups, to spill over the border into Iraq is because the Sunni population in Iraq's western province of Anbar was relentlessly suppressed by succeeding Shia governments. For years the Bush and Obama governments maintained fantasies of an "inclusive" Iraqi government in which Shia and Sunni representatives would govern together in peace. As anyone could have predicted beforehand, this didn't exactly work out. Hussein, a Sunni, fell, the majority Shia started to take revenge on the minority Sunni population, and subsequently the Sunni population either allied with ISIS or Al Qaeda, or at the very least came to see these groups as the lesser evil to the "Maliki militia".
The "Maliki militia" is a reference to army and police forces of Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq's prime minister from May 2006 to September 2014. The initially very obscure Maliki was brought to power with help from the United States in order to get rid of Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Iraq's first truly independent prime minister in 2005 and 2006. The second al-Jaafari came to power, sectarian violence in the form of Shia death squad activity against the Sunnis greatly increased. Each month hundreds of Sunni residents were found on the streets of Baghdad, tortured to death with acid and drills. Despite a lessening of these extremes, unfortunately also Maliki was never particularly concerned with the welfare of the Sunnis.
As time went by, Maliki became more and more corrupt. By the early 2010s he and his cronies were laundering billions in oil revenues that should have gone to the population. They were also setting up billion dollar contracts for government properties that would never be build. In addition, with encouragement of fellow Shiite state Iran, Maliki forced America to withdraw its forces from Iraq. True, outgoing president Bush signed the papers in December 2008: the United States would fully and completely leave Iraq before December 31, 2011, passing the ball a month later on to Obama as to how to carry this out effectively, along with the entire multi-trillion dollar War on Terror. Obama tried to renegotiate that deal with Maliki, but Iraq's prime minister wanted to hear nothing of it. Maliki even disrespected the United States by increasing the number of raids on U.S. corporations in the Green Zone as American military strength in Iraq dwindled. Parallel to this, Maliki increased the purging of Sunni elements from the Iraqi government.
Really already well before the U.S. fully left Iraq, the writing was on the wall as to Maliki's agenda and the consequences it would have. In fact, it was clear even before his predecessor, prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, came into office in May 2005. By that time a brutal Sunni insurgency, led by Al Qaeda Iraq, had reared up. Car bombs were beginning to explode at Shia weddings, funerals and market places.
The United States reacted by training and arming various Shia-dominated militias, among them the notorious Wolf Brigade (soon renamed Freedom Brigade), which came to serve a counter-insurgency force against the Al Qaeda militants. Any potential terrorist the United States captured was handed over to these units if they refused to talk (or if they happened to not know anything). Brutal torture in a network of secret prisons ensued. General David Petraeus, the future CIA director at the time responsible for training and equipping Iraq's security forces, set up these forces. Rather obvious CIA asset Colonel James Steele, a personal envoy of secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld, was put in charge of them as the chief U.S. liaison. Incredibly, a number of journalists have reported how they interviewed Steele at one of these secret compounds with the screams of tortured insurgents or suspected insurgents audible in the background.
Even more incredible, in the 1990s Steele was intimately part of the CIA clique of Felix Rodriguez in El Salvador, which was arming and training Contra death squads while allowing payments for their services in planes full of cocaine. Rodriguez was the personal envoy of U.S. vice president George H. W. Bush and his national security advisor Donald Gregg, two "former" top CIA officers themselves.
Suppressing the terrorist insurgency by allowing Shia militias to torture far too many innocent Sunnis, many of which were showing up dead all around town each morning, didn't work too well. So in 2007 a new tactic was devised. This time the United States allied itself with the Sahwa, or Sons of Iraq, a coalition of Sunni tribal leaders in the western province of Anbar that apparently had grown tired of terrorist groups as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. Strengthened with U.S. dollars - 80,000 members of the Sahwa were put on the U.S. payroll for a total sum of $25 million per month - and U.S. promises of an equal Sunni role in the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government, the Sahwa fought alongside the U.S. military in the 2007-2008 period, finally resulting in the crushing of Al Qaeda Iraq and the Islamic State, which were terrorizing the Americans and Shia alike.
Unfortunately for these Sunni tribal leaders, in November 2008, one month before signing its strategic withdrawal agreement, the Bush government handed the budget for the Sahwa over to the Maliki government, which, anti-Sunni as it was, wasted no time in gutting the Sahwa's finances, and with that, its military and policing capabilities. Needless to say, the Sahwa felt betrayed. The decision also saw a return of ISIS and Al Qaeda already before the U.S. had fully withdrawn its soldiers from Iraq in December 2011. Certainly when U.S. troop strengths started to dwindle, Al Qaeda and ISIS recruited many young Sahwa members and forced their leaders into cooperation. Sahwa leaders who resisted were accused of treason and targeted for assassination.
The Maliki government continued to make the situation worse with its corruption and suppression of the overall Sunni population, not just the Sahwa. While Sunni grievances grew day by day over a period of many years through the abuses of the "Maliki militia", several incidents in particular are credited with having sparked the Sunni "Anbar Campaign", a rebellion that happened to coincide perfectly with the "invasion" of ISIS. A list:
- December 15, 2011: Three days before the last American soldiers leave Iraq, Maliki orders the arrest of Sunni vice president Tariq Al-Hashimi, who promptly flees the country to meet with Saudi Arabian and Qatari rulers, before settling in Turkey.
- December 21, 2012: The Maliki government orders a raid on the home of Sunni finance minister Rafi al-Issawi, who earlier, in the summer of 2012, obstructed a $7 billion load fraud by the Maliki clique.
- March 2013: After surviving two roadside bombs and a fire set to his Green Zone office that destroyed all evidence of the Maliki loan fraud, Issawi resigns from the Maliki government.
- April 23, 2013: Maliki's forces storm Hawija, a Sunni protest camp in a village near Kirkuk, leaving dozens dead and wounded.
- July 2013: After ISIS breaks out hundreds of prisoners from the Abu Ghraib and Taji Base prisons near Baghdad during its "Breaking the Walls" campaign, the Maliki government responds with a mass arrest of Sunni males.
- December 28, 2013: After three days of protests against the Maliki government, Sunni tribal chief and Iraqi member of parliament Ahmad al-Alwani, despite parliamentary immunity, is dragged from his home in central Ramadi by Maliki's security forces. Alwani's brother and five guards are killed in the process.
- December 30, 2013: 44 Sunni members of parliament resign in protest over the Alwani incident while ISIS starts its attack on Ramadi and Fallujah, which are being shelled by the Maliki government. ISIS receives a lot of help from sleeper cells within the population to attack Maliki's police and army forces in the back.
The take-over of Ramadi and Fallujah in early January 2014 is where the ISIS conquest of Iraq began. It would be relatively quiet until June 2014 when cities as Mosul and Tikrit were taken over and the world at large really became aware of the ISIS threat.
However, as the reader can see, the ISIS invasion largely comes down to a popular rebellion of Sunnis against the Shia-dominated Maliki government. In fact, it is impossible to find ANY reliable newspaper articles reporting about a major ISIS invading force from Syria entering Iraq around this time. I say "reliable", because "liberal CIA" alternative media outlet Counterpunch, which also happens to be rabidly anti-Israel, did write on June 24, 2014 in an article entitled Did Obama Know that ISIS Planned to Invade Iraq?:
"Today's head-scratcher: How could a two-mile long column of jihadi-filled white Toyota Land rovers barrel across the Syrian border into Iraq–sending plumes of dust up into the atmosphere –without US spy satellites detecting their whereabouts...? And why has the media failed to inquire about this massive Intelligence failure?
The article doesn't produce any sources as to the origin of these columns of vehicles, which can be spotted in a number of photos and videos, including ISIS' Clanging of the Swords propaganda videos (the entry into Fallujah is documented in part IV). Not a single mainstream or even alternative media source has explained where exactly these trucks originated from before entering Ramadi and Fallujah. One is tempted to think Highway 1, which runs for hundreds of miles from the Syrian border to Ramadi, but it appears this highway was controlled by the Iraqi government. Highway 12 then, a little to the north, which also runs from Syria to Ramadi? No, that's not possible either, because this highway is filled with cities that ISIS only began to attack after capturing Ramadi.
In other words, it appears ISIS could only have gotten to Ramadi by driving hundreds of miles through the desert and/or by slowly setting set up shop locally in and around Ramadi and Fallujah in the weeks prior to the take-over of these cities. There has been a very obscure report that an ISIS invasion force crossed the border from Syria into Iraq at Rabia just before the attack on Mosul in June 2014, but overall, details on how and when ISIS soldiers crossed into Iraq are extremely obscure to this day. So in that regard Counterpunch is right that the media has forgotten to investigate it, even at the time of this article, three-and-a-half years after the rise of ISIS.
As for the pick-up truck controversy, it must be acknowledged that these trucks could have come from anywhere: Iraqi or Syrian dealers, supplied to ISIS through friendly businessmen; State Department aid to the Free Syrian Army (which included several dozen Toyota trucks), which subsequently was diverted to ISIS. Shipments could have come from Saudi Arabia or Qatar, either directly or indirectly. But who really knows?
About the only thing that can be found on the origin of ISIS in Iraq is an October 31, 2013 report of the ultraright publication the Washington Times, which explained that at that point up to 12,000 ISIS and Al Qaeda militants were active just over the border in Syria, that they maintained their own oil revenue streams and had been "bringing heavy weaponry from Syria into Iraq" over the past year. No details on how ISIS accomplished this or where these weapons (and trucks?) were stored. But at least it's something.
Based on the intelligence that also made it to the Washington Times, none other than famous "retired" CIA covert operations officer Robert Baer went to Anbar province to talk to various Sunni tribal chiefs, as well as "[former] officers from Saddam Hussein's army". These leaders explained to him that they had no desire to stop ISIS and Al Qaeda until these groups had fulfilled their purpose of instating a Sunni-inclusive central Iraqi government. Certain leaders of this group claimed to be more influential than ISIS, but it is hard to say what exactly is true of that. In any case, at least until mid 2014, the anti-Shia alliance in Iraq reportedly consisted of the following elements:
- ISIS, with its primary stronghold across the border in Syria;
- Al Qaeda, also with its primary stronghold across the border in Syria (and a competitor of ISIS);
- Sunni tribal sheikhs, mainly from Iraq's western Anbar and Nineveh provinces;
- the Sunni umbrella group, the General Military Council of the Iraqi Revolutionaries, alternately called the Military Councils of Iraqi Revolutionaries;
- the Naqshbandi Army of former Hussein officers, which reportedly taught ISIS and Al Qaeda military tactics, infiltration and counter-intelligence techniques;
- the 1920s Revolution Brigade, an anti-American terrorist group, the leader of which, Muthanna al-Dari, is the son of Association of Muslim Clerics head Harith al-Dari.
The latter three groups were primarily reported on in mid 2014, when ISIS famously captured the city of Mosul. We haven't heard much of them since. It appears these groups played a role in infiltrating Sunni governing circles in Mosul before the ISIS attack, with claims existing that ISIS only really fully controlled a number of neighborhoods in Mosul - never the whole city - and thus that strict Sharia Law and punishments were only doled out in these districts. Unfortunately, not much information is available regarding this situation. And if, or how, it changed.
The capture of Mosul remains particularly bizarre, because here 800 ISIS militants were able to capture a city only because it was abandoned by 30,000 Iraqi soldiers before most of the fighting even started. Considering warnings of an ISIS attack on Mosul had been coming in in the months, weeks and days prior to the actual attack, the fall of Mosul and western Iraq as a whole can easily be labeled as one of the most extreme military failures in all of military history.
The fact is, the Kurds were eager from the beginning to keep ISIS out of Mosul. And at least in the days preceding the attacks, the Americans, under U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Iraq Brett McGurk did try to organize a counter-offensive. Even Mosul's Sunni intelligence chiefs and Sunni governor got word to Maliki's generals and Maliki himself that ISIS was plotting to take over the city. An enormous amount of tactical details were provided to Maliki. But the prime minister refused to take action. And with that, Maliki, whatever his exact motives were, is primarily to blame for the loss of Mosul.
In the end it appears the loss of Mosul comes down to the corruption and sectarian warfare that prevailed in the Maliki government:
- Maliki appointed his (Shia) generals based on loyalty instead of competence. These generals were primarily occupied with harassing and extorting Sunni civilians. They were also involved in schemes to increase funding of their own units, for example by charging Baghdad for ghost soldiers who were never enlisted.
- Maliki and his Shia generals preferred a fall of Mosul to ISIS rather than take advice from and aid the increasingly influential Sunni-Baathist leadership of the city. Similarly, they would not allow any well-organized Kurdish force into the city for fear it would refuse to leave afterwards. If ISIS happens to take over the city, it would mean international support for a bloody military campaign and the removal of any existing Sunni power base, something that would have sounded like music to Maliki's ears.
Certainly the corruption and incompetence of the Maliki government and his top generals is hard to wrap one's mind around. The top military commander in Mosul is informed that the ISIS attack will take place within days and promptly leaves for vacation. Other commanders flee the city as well, leaving their troops with the parting message, "Just figure it out."
Two weeks later the commander of an Iraqi army unit at the border town Qaim flees the battlefield under the pretext that he's going to get supplies for his men. The supplies never arrive and the unit has to withdraw in the face of the ISIS onslaught. When the soldiers are finally provided with water, far away from the battlefield, their top commander, a general of prime minister Maliki's Bani Malik tribe, stops by for a media op in which he is captured personally handing out water to his troops, alongside the commander who fled the battlefield. The troops threaten to kill both, forcing the two commanders to leave.
This last incident involved a Shiite military unit, not even a Sunni one. Add this on top of the daily complaints about "Maliki's militia" among Sunni citizens, the laundering of billions of dollars in oil revenues, the fabrication of billions of dollars in bogus state contracts, and is it any surprise that a) a popular uprising ensued in Sunni Iraq and b) 80% of Maliki's soldiers defected from his army?
Well, yes, it remains hard to understand how anyone can lose 200,000 soldiers from an army of 250,000 to defections in a matter of months. Or how a much more powerful army than ISIS can leave behind 2,300 hummers, "at least" 40 M1A1 tanks, 52 M198 Howitzers, an unknown number of Mine Resistant Armored Personnel carriers (MRAPs) and 74,000 machine guns as it is fleeing Mosul. Overnight ISIS was supplied with over a billion dollars in U.S. military equipment.
As a result, within days surrounding cities were overran with ISIS militants driving hummers, with countless other hummers being used as nearly unstoppable car bombs. If the United States and Germany hadn't supplied thousands of AT-4 and Milan anti-tank missiles at this point to resistance groups, ISIS could have pushed considerably further into eastern and northern Iraq than it did.
But, of course, there also were the Iranians to help stop ISIS.
Iran in Iraq, and how Obama was booted out
Here we have arrived at another important aspect of the ISIS crisis: Iranian involvement in both Iraq and Syria. Immediately after the fall of Mosul on June 10, 2014 and an almost complete collapse of the Iraqi army in all of western Iraq, the Shiite Maliki government allowed the Iranians to field its Quds special operations force inside Iraq to combat ISIS on the ground. Overseen by the Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, the Quds Force in Iraq played an important role in preventing a further collapse of Iraq. A problematic issue, however, is that within months this Quds Force in Iraq came to involve no less than an estimated 100,000 to 120,000 men, more than twice the remaining 48,000 Iraqi soldiers. Equally problematic is that Soleimani reports directly to Iran's terrorist Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the appointed-for-life religious leader who - instead of Iran's president - is the one really in charge of the country's security and military services.
In no time, Iranian propaganda and presence in Baghdad became so strong that locals jokingly began referring to it as "Tehran". Also, reports emerged that Iran-backed militias were carrying out assassinations and running death squads against overly critical politicians or civilians, especially Sunnis.
The hidden hand of Iran, and General Qasem Soleimani in particular, has been present in Iraq for a long time. Incredibly, the U.S.-propped up prime minister Nouri al-Maliki used to be a long-time leader in Damascus, Syria of the Iran-allied Dawa Party. That's two enemies of the United States in one. Dawa not only struggled against Saddam Hussein, but, on the orders of Ayatollah Khomeini, in the early 1980s was a chief conduit for the implementation of suicide bombings. Dawa, for example, was behind the 1981 Iraqi embassy bombing in Beirut, the first major Islamic suicide bombing to ever happen. Did Maliki play some kind of logical role in that terrorist attack? Considering that he, since becoming prime minister, is known to have protected Dawa and other Iran-linked terrorists involved in attacks on American and Sunni targets, that's entirely possible. In fact, a certain Dawa terrorist named Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, considered the mastermind behind the 1983 suicide bombing of the U.S. embassy in Kuwait, became Maliki's advisor and neighbor in the Green Zone. Also, back in 2006 when the United States supported the virtually unknown Maliki for the prime ministership, he lied to the Americans about not being able to speak Farsi and about not having a close association with Iran.
Although it apparently didn't have much choice at the time, because the even more sectarian Ibrahim al-Jaafari would only step down if someone from his own Dawa Party would succeed him as prime minister, putting Maliki in power has been the responsibility of the Bush administration.
Less than four years later, Obama could have gotten rid of the increasingly disliked, sectarian and corrupt Maliki, but, as would become the norm, Obama showed an incredible lack of interest in shaping Iraq's future, apparently even when it came to upholding basic democratic rights - or in this case when a little pressure could be rewarded with having a democratically elected, pro-U.S. leader back in power. In March 2010, in an enormous upset, Ayad Allawi, the pro-U.S. prime minister of Iraq in 2005 and 2006, won the parliamentary elections with two seats more than the Iran-backed Dawa Party of long-time prime minister Nouri al-Maliki. Maliki, however, broke the constitution by conspiring with Iran's General Soleimani in refusing Allawi the prime ministership. Obama hardly protested the matter. A number of U.S. diplomats resigned in protest, with Allawi remarking:
|"I needed American support. But they wanted to leave, and they handed the country to the Iranians. Iraq is a failed state now, an Iranian colony."|
Not dissimilar to Bush's betrayal of the Sahwa in 2008, Obama's refusal to support Allawi resulted in a shattering of Allawi's Sunni coalition. Many members now scrambled to remain in the grace of Maliki by accepting prestigious positions that yielded little political influence. In addition to his position as the illegitimate prime minister of Iraq, Maliki appointed himself to interior minister and defense minister. As American soldiers were leaving Iraq, Maliki began to use his newfound influence to get rid of these Sunni opponents in his government.
It gets worse. In order to secure his backing, Soleimani forced Maliki to promise to boot every last American soldier out of Iraq, to shut down the Iran desk of the CIA-backed Iraqi National Intelligence Service, and to release hundreds, if not thousands, of soldiers of the Sadr Army, a relatively pro-Iran militia that has a long history of fighting the Americans. Maliki implemented all these directives. At the same time, Maliki promised but ultimately ignored all of Obama's conditions to support Maliki for a second term as prime minister: amnesty for thousands of Sunni prisoners, a dismantling of prison sites where Americans believe Sunnis are tortured, and bringing in a number of Sunnis into his government.
The moment the United States left Iraq in December 2011, Soleimani set up shop in the Green Zone and traveled the country at will. Then, in 2014, with Obama ignoring all his key administration officials - and pleas from Iraqi officials - by not intervening in the ISIS onslaught for the first 7 months, Soleimani is able to strengthen Iran's position even more by bringing in 100,000 or more Quds Force militia members into Iraq to fight ISIS. As a result of Obama's non-involvement policy regarding the ISIS invasion and delays in the delivery of Apache helicopters and F-16 planes, Maliki is also forced to acquire SU-25 jets from Russia and Iran, many of them flown by pilots from these countries.
Needless to say, for many years at this point many voices in the U.S., both liberal and conservative ones, have been criticizing Obama for having handed Iraq to Iran. The criticism on his policy, and the "Islamophobia" pushing under his rule, may also have something to do with the fact that the number of Americans who believed Obama to be a (closet) Muslim rose from 16% in 2012 to 29% in 2015, with 43% of Republicans and 54% of Trump supporters stating this belief. 
Iran has also been sending ground troops, including Quds Force members and Hezbollah militants, into Syria to fight ISIS here. Estimates range from a few thousand militants to in the neighborhood of 70,000. Once again General Qasem Soleimani has been the key officer in charge. Traveling around the Syrian frontline, the general was "slightly wounded" in the country in November 2015.
Similar to the situation in Iraq, Iranian troops, combined with Russian airstrikes, have been absolutely crucial in the survival of the Assad regime, because its once massive tank army has been decimated by Free Syrian Army units and Jihadis equipped with western supplied anti-tank missiles. As already discussed, NATO and Arab League airstrikes against ISIS have been suspiciously ineffective for the most part.
In early 2017 Israel started to regularly make the news for implementing bombing runs into Syria. An often reported target was advanced weapons shipments from Iran to militant groups as Hezbollah.
Iran can only remain an influence in Syria as long as Assad's minority Shiite sect, the Alawites, remain in power. Thus, obviously Iran is doing what it can to keep Assad on the throne. Another very good reason would be that as long as the West is busy with Assad, they're less likely to focus on Iran. Unfortunately for Iran, Alawites only live in a small western patch of the country that is devoid of any significant oil and gas fields. Everything in that regard is owned by the Sunnis and Kurds living in the east.
How to partition Syria and Iraq
To this day it is unknown what the West, choking in its own political correctness, actually wants to achieve in a post-Assad Syria. There's no organized, moderate opposition. Almost every Sunni the West tries to train turns into a Jihadi The only powerful group of moderates are the Kurds, who have no real interest in overthrowing Assad and won't be able to hold on to all the Sunni regions they're fighting in. A post-Assad Syria is most likely going to be the same story as with Iraq: Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds don't want to live in one country with each other.
Maybe the solution here is to let the country disintegrate along sectarian lines. It should be a relatively natural process. And having small, relatively poor countries certainly would be more easy to control in terms of weapons of mass destruction development. They have less money, smaller armies, less access to high technology and cutting edge scientists, etc. Gaddafi, for example, tried to make a nuclear bomb in the 1980s, but was ultimately forced to give up because his country simply was too poor to acquire the necessary scientific and engineering skills.
Maybe Iraq should split up too. The oil rich and relatively moderate and pro-West Kurd region already has declared de facto independence from Baghdad since the ISIS crisis, administering its own oil sales - a very good thing considering the extreme corruption that developed in Baghdad under prime minister Maliki.
Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Joe Biden, then chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and soon Obama's vice president, actually proposed such a plan in 2007. The Biden-Gelb plan did not call for a full split, however. Had it not been rejected by the Bush administration, it most likely would not have properly worked at all. The plan still called for the Shiites handing 20% of their oil proceeds to Sunni Iraq, something which they'll never agree to in the long run. After all the tyrannical suppression, the terrorism, the death squads, and that on top of that the political and religious differences, this is not a particularly likely solution to succeed.
It might be much more practical to:
- separate, oil rich Shia Iraq into a separate country that can keep the name Iraq, and help the country keep its independence from Iran;
- unite oil-rich eastern Syria and oil-starved western Iraq, both Sunni regions, into one country, let's say Sunnistan;
- hand north Iraq and north-east Syria, both oil rich regions, to the Kurds;
- and reduce Syria to the oil-starved Shiite Alawite state in western Syria.
NATO and the Arab League should promise to uphold the integrity of these borders: the Turks and Kurds will have to stop fighting. The Sunnis will not be allowed to invade the Alawites. Persian Iran will not be allowed to dominate Arab Shiite Iraq. And so on.
One would think at the very least this is a plan - or variations of it - that should be talked about a lot more.
Questions about Bush and Obama with no answers
It's tempting to call out Obama over his Iraq policy. It seems rather obvious that he needed to keep Iraq relatively stable, at least until ISIS in Syria had gotten rid of Assad. Then again, what can you really say when you don't have every single important fact at your disposal? One fact can change the entire strategy of a war. Maybe Obama really didn't want to use ISIS as a tool. Or, maybe some economist calculated that ISIS would have to be allowed to plunder Mosul and other Iraqi cities in order to have the resources to take on Assad. Not that I consider this likely - I just invented this theory a minute ago - but it is one of many scenarios that could change one's position on Obama's strategy. In the end, what the heck do outsiders know? In this article I just summarized the facts from sources as far as they are available. Any covert political agendas? Any deep state intrigue? I have no insights in that. So maybe I shouldn't join the right in throwing Obama under the bus. After all, it is George Bush who decided to invade Iraq under the most questionable of circumstances. And it is Bush who stabilized Iraq only long enough to sign a withdrawal treaty and "save" his name, so maybe in 4 or 8 years his brother Jeb might run for the White House without too much opposition.
Something else I'm left wondering about after putting together this article and these timelines - and something that greatly overlaps with ponderings about the international deep state - is what historians are going to write in our history books. How can anyone truly explain what has been going on on this planet since 9/11 unfolded? A "War on Terror"? Seriously? Invading Muslim countries and bombing and torturing suspected terrorists here is going to solve our problem of Muslim terrorism? You couldn't see coming increases in terrorism and massive budget deficits? Also here the left is hardly any better, with its non-criticism of the "War on Terror" and an added obsession with Third World immigration, complete with "Islamophobia" propaganda.
Obviously, history books will omit anything that cannot be explained. Or the books will present some kind of "reasonable" debate as to what our political leaders might have been thinking. But let's face it, certainly since 9/11, we the people are more confused than ever. Here are some questions about the Bush administration that may never be properly answered:
- Why did the Bush administration really invade Iraq? And is it a coincidence that invading Iraq and privatizing its oil reserves were priority numero uno of his administration since the first National Security Council meeting of January 30, 2001, nine months before 9/11? 
- Why did the Bush administration really invade Afghanistan, considering plans for an Afghanistan invasion were already on his desk in the weeks before 9/11?  Just out of terrorist concern? Or did Caspian Sea oil pipelines have something to do with it?
- How is it possible that the Bush administration wasn't prosecuted over its fabrications with regard to tying Iraq's Saddam Hussein to renewed weapons of mass destruction production and so-called ties to the 9/11 hijackers?
- Why were the Pakistani ISI and Saudi intelligence largely shielded by the 9/11 Commission of ties to the 9/11 terrorists?
- How is it possible that the media has allowed glaring holes to exist in the 9/11 Commission report and the NIST reports on the World Trade Center towers?
- Is it really a coincidence that Saudis close to the Bush presidential and CIA clique, most notably Prince Turki al Faisal al Saud and Prince Bander bin Sultan al Saud, have been tied to the events of 9/11, as well as the Russian apartment bombings that put Putin in power, and now, the rise of ISIS?
- Why wasn't the Bush administration forced to step down in light of the bizarre and certainly beyond incompetent behavior of George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld on the morning of 9/11?
- In other words: isn't the whole War on Terror and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq based on an event - 9/11 - that only happened because the Bush administration and its Saudi friends wanted it to happen?
Similar to Bush, the public is left to wonder about Obama's true motives, especially with regard to his Iraq policy. Maybe it's not as extreme as with the Bush administration, but at the same time his foreign policy might be more puzzling in terms of finding a rational explanation for some of his decisions. Questions that can be asked include:
- What did Obama know about Jihadis being financed as anti-Assad militants in Syria? And when did he know it?
- Wasn't Obama, and certainly many of his administration members, not secretly interested in seeing if ISIS could dislodge Assad?
- Was Obama really concerned about not allowing Syria to descent into a sectarian, Jihadist civil war, as had happened in Libya? He doesn't appear to have been too concerned about it in Iraq.
- Doesn't he think a Muslim country bogged down in Jihadist civil war is far less dangerous than a stable Muslim country, certainly a Shia one, with a central dictator that down the line will almost invariably try to develop nuclear-tipped ICBMs?
- Why did Obama ignore so many signs all these years that ISIS was spilling into Iraq and was about to destabilize this country? A country thousands of veterans had lost their lives for and many more thousands their limbs or mental sanity.
- Did Obama not secretly like it that African and Arab refugees were spilling into a graying Europe by the millions through Libya and Syria as a result of his policies?
- Does Obama really believe in the "Islamophobia", "intolerance" and "populist" propaganda against the native white masses who are fed up with Third World immigration and the crime waves and culture shocks it brings?
- How much influence did Obama have over the CIA, its private and governmental contacts around the world, when it comes to certain foreign policy agendas? I mean, is he briefed about the fact that the entire online and offline alternative media and conspiracy network is ran through combined superclass-CIA black programs?
- Based on the connections of his parents and his own very extensive "liberal CIA" connections, to what extent is Obama himself CIA? And with that just playing a role, similar to thousands of other of national security trolls?
- Is it possible that Obama and administration has partly been role-playing its foreign policy non-involvement and internal differences to keep the public away from what the CIA is doing and shield the president from any kind of fall-out?
In light of these unanswered questions, I have to admit I still don't truly know how the rise of ISIS was possible, apart from saying that under Bush it was the result of a self-serving agenda and that under Obama it was the result of an incompetent, half-implemented foreign policy.
Despite not being able to explain what is going on in the minds of different presidents, what I can do is spent a few minutes putting together a coherent foreign policy agenda that anybody is free to debate. Let's see:
- Put key members and outside neocon advisors (such as former CIA director James Woolsey) of the Bush administration on trial for having fabricated evidence to go to war with Iraq.
- Reinvestigate 9/11 along the lines ISGP laid out in articles on the 9/11 Commission and the NIST reports on the World Trade Center towers. Also investigate the online and offline conspiracy network, because it looks like the ENTIRE network surrounding Alex Jones, Coast to Coast AM, Rense and 9/11 Truth will have to be send to prison for treason.
- Replace the "War on Terror" with something along the lines as "War on Weapons of Mass Destruction".
- Use stealth bombers to drop massive amounts of leaflets over countries you wish to stop from developing weapons of mass destruction, so that the population at large understands that they are free to shape their own destiny unless their leaders develop weapons of mass destruction. Counter domestic propaganda and censorship in this same manner.
- Use stealth bombers to drop massive amounts of psychedelics over the Middle East in particular. Who knows, the subsequent hippie culture might solve everything by itself.
- Get rid of the Assad family in Syria if they refuse to go into exile, preferably by stealth assassination instead of mass bombing. The Asseds have taunted the West too much and have no desire to curb the use of weapons of mass destruction. You can't allow that to go unpunished. See below for more on Syria.
- With Syria gone (possibly in flames, but no more WMD threat), Iran's nuclear program restrained until at least 2027, focus on neutralizing the North Korea threat. Preferably with help from China and Russia, but ultimately the nuclear blackmail of North Korea cannot be allowed and will have to lead to the dismantling of the regime.
- Do NOT destroy Iran, even though we would have the right, because of its clear attempts to develop nuclear weapons and its hate-mongering against the Jews in particular. It should be a last resort, until the late 2020s we're safe, and it will cost too much money.
In addition, and maybe even more important, if Iran implodes, the Sunni Muslims have basically "won" the Sunni-Shia war and might well redirect their never-ending frustrations with "infidels" towards the West. Just wait until the conventional oil is out of the region and hope no large amounts of shale oil is found in the Middle East.
- With every non-western country that has tried to develop weapons of mass destruction: get all scientists and engineers with WMD/NBC knowledge out of the country - one way or another - and completely destroy the infrastructure used to develop WMDs, from university programs to engineering facilities.
- Assassinate or bomb Assad, to make clear to the entire world that production and certainly use of weapons of mass destruction will not be tolerated. As listed in an appendix on Assad's Syria, Assad continually uses chemical weapons, appears to have hidden portions of his program, and in the past tried to develop nuclear weapons in conjunction with North Korea and Iran. This should not be allowed on principle alone.
- Get all scientists and engineers with WMD/NBC knowledge in Syria out of the country - one way or another - and completely destroy the infrastructure used to develop WMDs, from university programs to engineering facilities.
- See what happens. If another Shiite/Alawite strongman happens to arise after a period of internal struggle, so be it. Until he tries to develop weapons of mass destruction, we do nothing. The Sunnis need an enemy besides the West to focus on. Let them and wait until the conventional oil reserves of the West dry up, which will take a number of decades.
- If the Shia Alawites are in danger of a genocide by the Sunnis (ISIS, Al Qaeda), initiate the process to break Syria up into an Alawite, Sunni and Kurdic region. Any group trying to attack another will see its militias bombed into oblivion.
- Indefinitely ban nuclear power from the country. Promote clean energies: solar, wind, hydro, tidal, etc.
- Make sure the country gets its birth rate under control.
- Provide humanitarian help where needed and when it is not used to wage war.
- Make sure the oil keeps flowing to the West for the benefit of the people, but only protect (western) oil company revenues when they deserve it or when it is in the interest of the people.
- Allow the Kurds to break away from the rest of Iraq. Protect them militarily from Turkey and Baghdad when needed.
- Then break up Syria into an Alawite, Sunni and Kurdic region. If that works out, start talks to merge Sunni Iraq with Sunni Syria. Look the other way when the Arab League starts to sponsor Sunni militias and terrorism against Shiite Iraq and Iran if these states try to prevent the independence of Sunni Iraq.
- Indefinitely ban nuclear power from the country. Promote clean energies: solar, wind, hydro, tidal, etc.
- Make sure the country gets its birth rate under control.
- Provide humanitarian help where needed and when it is not used to wage war.
That wasn't so hard, was it? I'm not claiming this will get us to paradise, but at the very least my opinions on foreign policy are clear and can be debated with or by anyone. So why can't politicians be this straightforward for once? Or the media for that matter? Very strange.
Timeline 1990s-05: Syria building WMDs
|1990s - Mar. 2011||Failed "peace" negotiations between Syria and the United States and Israel until Syria experiences the Arab Spring and western countries don't feel the need to talk anymore. As the following information will show, Syria never had any intention of peace with these countries and continued its secret cooperation with Iran, Hezbollah and North Korea.|
|Jul. 17, 2000||Bashar al-Assad becomes president and dictator of Syria after his father, Hafez al-Assad, who has ruled the country since 1971, dies. Initial hopes that Bashar will realign Syria with the West soon turn out to be a pipe dream.|
|Jan. 2002||President George Bush puts Syria on his "Axis of Evil" list, along with Iraq, Iran, Libya, North Korea and Cuba.|
|2003 - 2011||Syria and Iran are supporting Jihadist militias in Iraq that fight the Americans.
Syria's Assad family is overseeing Al Qaeda training camps in eastern Syria and allowing *ihadis to cross into and out of U. S.-occupied Iraq.  Iran does the same thing from its side, but at the same time is also running terrorist operations against the U.S.-backed Iraqi and Shiite-dominated central government to weaken and eventually dominate it. 
The Iran-Syria operations result in thousands of dead U.S. soldiers in the 2003-2011 period.
|May 2004||After almost a year of preparation, Bush imposes harsh sanctions on Syria for the country's support of Jihadist militias in Iraq, its occupation of Lebanon and its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. 
Due to the increase in terrorism, a project to train tens of thousands of ordinary police officers is shelved after a year of giving it a try. Six U.S. police officers overseeing the program since May 2003 are send home. 
|Early 2005||With Sunni / Al Qaeda terrorism strongly increasing in Iraq, U.S. general David Petraeus sets up an anti-terrorist counter-insurgency "police force" / death squad under the Iraqi Interior Ministry. The program has a $2 billion budget. The first gift the police units receive is a fleet of 150 brand new Dodge Rams. Colonel James Steele and Colonel James Coffman are appointed to oversee it on a day-to-day basis.  Secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld personally invites Steele, the U.S.' top expert on brutal counter-insurgency operations, to come to Iraq, while Petraeus, who similarly takes orders from Rumsfeld, briefly was one of Steele's students in the mid-1980s in El Salvador. At the time Steele worked with vice president George H. W. Bush, Bush's national security advisor Donald Gregg, the CIA's Felix Rodriguez and Colonel Oliver North in anti-Contra operations, including the Iran-Contra aspect. Steele was training Central America's "anti communist" death squads, which in turn were also involved in cocaine trafficking into the United States.
Unsurprisingly, these "police" units overseen by Steele will quickly become notorious among Sunni residents in major Iraqi cities for their death squad behavior. The units viciously torture just about every potential "insurgent" they arrest in the hope of obtaining more information on terrorist networks. The reality is that much of the torture will increasingly come down to sectarian warfare, with the Shiites dominating these units just looking to get back at Sunnis, who were in charge under Saddam Hussein.
The most notorious police unit is the Wolf Brigade (soon renamed "Freedom Brigade") , which almost entirely consists of members of the Badr Organization, a Shiite militia eventually responsible for close to a thousand seemingly random kidnappings of Sunnis every month, most of whom found back on the streets, tortured to death with drills and acid. 
The United States makes extensive use of these units by informing captured Al Qaeda *ihadis and other militants that if they resist the interrogation process in any way, they'll be handed over to the Wolf Brigade or related police unit, which will torture these individuals in a network of secret prisons. Both the Iraqi and American leadership know all about this secret prison system.  It also doesn't appear to be the biggest secret in the world, as number of Iraqi officers and even journalists personally witness Colonel Steele in the presence of Iraqis being viciously tortured by these police units. 
Looking at the fact that Steele was able to walk into Iraqi cabinet meetings without bothering to introduce himself, one gets the impression he represented the CIA-linked "shadow government" at its finest.  Additionally, one can wonder why Donald Rumsfeld, who personally brought Steele to Iraq, provided a wholefully inadequate background on Steele to President George Bush and vice president Dick Cheney in September 2005, when Steele was coming back to the United States again.
In between his counter-insurgency operations in Central America and Iraq, Steele served as a vice president of Enron with a focus on overseas gas pipelines and power plants. In 1995 he started to work for the Mosbacher family, which, like Rumsfeld, has been part of the Bush clique and belonged to the elite Pilgrims Society. In 2015, one of Mosbacher and Steele's energy projects in Liberia ended up in the media over allegations of fraud and sexual exploitation of native workers. 
Looking at the briefing of Steele to Rumsfeld, which will end up with Bush and Cheney, Steele is primarily worried about rising sectarian tensions, in part the result of a "gang mentality" among Iraqis that requires "strong leaders". The majority Shia are increasingly trying to infiltrate top government positions and military and police units. Steele specifically mentions "thugs like the commander of the Wolf Brigade who has been involved in death squad activities, extortion of detainees and a general pattern of corruption." According to Steele, "it is essential that the Sunnis are not disenfranchised to the point where they turn to the insurgents on a large scale to protect their interests."
Predictably, the Sunnis will become disenfranchised by the Shias, with the United States not having a choice to back the Shia government - which holds all the oil - against the Sunni Al Qaeda and Islamic State terrorists. Despite that, it does appear that the United States, including Steele, in their own special way, have tried to be a moderating influence in the country.
|May 2005||Ibrahim al-Jaafari becomes prime minister of Iraq, with Baqir Jabr al-Zubeidi his interior minister. Shia death squad activity against Sunni residents strongly increase.|
|2005||Bashar al-Assad legalizes the old Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) and includes them in his government. Inspired by Hitler and the Nazis, the SSNP has a decades long history of terrorism against the West and the Jews. Most SSNP members are Christians, but they cooperate with the Shiites of Iran and Syria (Assad's Alawites). ISIS and Sunnis in general are their enemies.|
|Feb.-Apr. 2005||Bush completely breaks off diplomatic ties with Syria after the assassination of Saudi business partner and former Lebanese prime minister Rafic Hariri , who, as it will later turn out, was shadowed by dozens of Hezbollah operatives divided into several groups over a period of about six months. Even domestic investigators looking into Hariri's death are shadowed and assassinated with car bombs.  Considering Syria has occupied Lebanon since 1976 with Hezbollah being Syria and Iran's Shiite intelligence and special operations force in Lebanon, it seems rather obvious who assassinated Hariri.
Almost immediately Lebanon's Cedar Revolution breaks out. Supposedly involving mass protests against Syria's occupation of Lebanon, the protests actually involve little more than small-scale, Beirut police-sanctioned  events specifically set up for international television.  Involved in funding and coordinating the pro-West protests groups that do exist are U.S. ambassador Jeffrey Feltman , a protege of superclass members Lawrence Eagleburger (Kissinger Associates) and neocon Israel lobbyist Martin Indyk; the CIA and European intelligence agencies , the Spirit of America NGO , with its deep ties to top U.S. Army commanders and the CIA-tied NGOs National Endowment for Democracy and Freedom House; and seemingly the Soros/Brzezinski-linked Committee for a Democracy in Lebanon.  Parallels are drawn to color revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia.
It appears that 2005 also is the year that U.S. funds begin to flow to the Assad opposition within Syria. 
|Apr. 2005||Syria has completely left Lebanon. Almost immediately CIA, neocon and Brzezinski-linked NGOs as the U.S. Committee for a Free Lebanon and Freedom House are making their entrance into the country while U.S. army officers are looking for ways to get Hezbollah out. As the economy takes a downward turn, it doesn't take long for even anti-Assad Lebanese to become critical about the new U.S. role in the country. |
|May 20, 2006||Nouri al-Maliki becomes prime minister of Iraq after a ton of intrigue and lobbying by U.S. ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and his special assistant Ali Khedery to get rid of his predecessor, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who helped increase sectarian tensions.  Khalilzad is a think tank elitist with long-standing ties to Zbigniew Brzezinski. The young Khedery, an advisor to no less than five U.S. ambassadors in Iraq, came from Bush's circle in Texas and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Afterwards he became a key advisor to oil companies in Iraq. 
Jaafari only agreed to leave quietly if his successor would come from his Dawa party, a Shiite group outlawed under Saddam Hussein that has cooperated with Iran and, alongside Hezbollah, pioneered Islamic suicide bombings in 1980-1981 on orders of Ayatollah Khomeini. Many of these suicide attacks, some of which claiming hundreds of lives, were also aimed against the Americans. To this day the party receives financing from Iran. Bush, Khalilzad and the CIA scrambled to find an acceptable successor and ended up with Nouri al-Maliki.
Maliki was a major opponent of (the Sunni) Saddam Hussein, lost many friends, and lived in exile as head of a pro-Iran Dawa cell in Damascus from 1980 to 2003. He was part of numerous assassination plots against Hussein, all of which failed. After the 2003 invasion, he became the deputy leader of the Supreme National Debaathification Commission of the Iraqi government.
Upon becoming prime minister, Maliki protects old Dawa terrorists as Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, convicted of the 1983 U.S. embassy bombing in Beirut and other attacks against American interests; and individuals as Qais al-Khazali, a leader of an Iran-backed militia that carried out hundreds of attacks against American targets. The Americans imprisoned Khazali, but the second the U.S. left Iraq, Maliki released him.
When informed by the Americans of the latest Sunni massacre by Shiite death squads in Baghdad, which in 2006 happen almost every day, Maliki always has an excuse to not act: "No evidence", "They must have been acting against terrorists", etc.
In other words, U.S. hope that Maliki was a "tough guy" able to resist Iranian encroachment onto the Iraqi government and that he would be fair to the Sunnis were a far cry at best.
Another major problem would be that Maliki lied to the U.S., and U.S. ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad in particular, about not being able to speak Farsi. His claims to not be close to the Iranians and the Hezbollah terrorist group were also refuted by a close aide of his. The U.S., Kurds and Sunnis still see him as the least problematic option.
As time goes by, Maliki transforms into an incompetent, nepotist, extremely corrupt, dictatorial sectarian hardliner. 
|Sep. 16, 2007||Blackwater guards, who just experienced a car bombing close to a team of delegates they were protecting, kill 17 civilizations at random, causing widespread discontent among Iraqis towards the Americans. Blackwater guards have been operating with full immunity, an order signed by Iraqi government overseer Paul Bremer in 2004. A State Department investigator is threatened with death and evacuated from Iraq. |
|Sep. 6, 2007||Israel destroys a secret nuclear power plant of Syria that is being constructed by North Korean technicians and financed to the tune of $1 to $2 billion by Iran as a backup to their own uranium enrichment program. The attack is codenamed Operation Orchard. Turkish prime minister Erdogan is subsequently used as a conduit to explain the Israeli position to Syria.|
|Apr. 2009||The State Department-financed Barada TV news network starts beaming into Syria to incite protests and armed dissent against the Assad regime. The network is part of the Syrian exile community in London, which will receive about $6 million for Barada TV and related activities over the next few years. |
Timeline 2011-: Obama, CIA, Turkey and Arab League build up
|Nov. 2008||The Bush government stops paying the Sons of Iraq (the Sahwa) and hands the portfolio over to Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, a devout Shia. It doesn't take long for abuse to set in.
The Sahwa are a group of Sunni tribes in Iraq's western Anbar province who in 2007 and 2008 fought alongside the U.S. in the "Sahwa Awakening" and played a key role in putting an end to terrorism of Al Qaeda Iraq and the newer Islamic State (ISIS). 
This in turn also greatly decreased Shiite death squad activity against Sunni civilians. It will be relatively quiet until in 2013 sectarian violence flares up again. 
|Dec. 14, 2008||Bush and Maliki sign the U.S.–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement, in which the United States agrees to start withdrawing troops from Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009 (when Obama has come into office) and to have all U.S. forces leave Iraq before December 31, 2011.|
|Late 2009||Maliki purges the Sunni-dominated and CIA-allied Iraqi National Intelligence Service. Its head, General Mohammed Shawani, flees to the U.S.|
|Sep. 3, 2009||Conference between Turkey, Syria and Iraq about Turkey's continued effort to dam up the springs of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers into Syria Iraq, not only causing major drops in river levels, but also an increase in pollution and lower numbers of fish.  Since 1975, Turkey's dam building efforts has cut water flows into Syria by 40% and into Iraq by 80%. A huge drought in Syria forced large numbers of unemployed Sunni farmers to Shiite/Alawite-dominated cities, which is suspected of having been one of the causes of the civil war in this country. |
|2010||For the past two years the Maliki government has refused to properly employ, pay, or arm the Sunni Sons of Iraq, making them targets Al Qaeda Iraq and ISIS for assassination. Many of the younger Sons of Iraq join these terrorist groups. This is not too out-of-character considering before the U.S. alliance in 2007 and 2008, these Sunni tribes were also largely allied with Al Qaeda and ISIS. |
|Mar. 26, 2010||Finally the parliamentary election results are in, showing that the pro-West former prime minister Ayad Allawi has won with two seats from sitting prime minister Nouri al-Maliki. However, Maliki conspires with Iran, through the ever-present General Qasem Soleimani, to remain prime minister and form a new government - against constitutional principles. On top of that, Maliki makes a deal with the Iranians to shut down CIA influence and expel all U.S. forces from Iraq by 2011. The Obama government decides to not protest, thinking it's too troublesome to back Allawi against Maliki and Iran. Several U.S. diplomats are outraged about the decision and one even resigns. Allawi: "I needed American support. But they wanted to leave, and they handed the country to the Iranians. Iraq is a failed state now, an Iranian colony."
The Americans try to have Maliki agree to three basic conditions for his second term: amnesty for thousands of Sunni prisoners, a dismantling of prison sites where Americans believe Sunnis are tortured, and bringing in a number of Sunnis into his government. Maliki ignored all of the requests. 
|Feb. 15, 2011||Beginning of the Libyan Civil War when protests against Gaddafi get out of hand.|
|Mar. 6, 2011||Start of the uprising against Syria's Bashar al-Assad when his regime incarcerates and tortures 15 young student protesters of prominent families who wrote graffiti on walls in the city of Daraa. A week later, the protests spread to Damascus and Aleppo and even to the east of the country to Hasakah and Der Zor. Bloody crackdowns and eventual civil war ensues.
The State Department-financed Barada TV network increases its broadcasting time to Syria's Assad opposition. 
|Aug. 23, 2011||Formation of the Syrian National Council, an umbrella group for opposition figures to president and dictator Bashar al-Assad.
Founding spokesperson and executive member is Bassma Kodmani, with a decades-long history involving Sciences Po, the French CFR (IFRI), the Ford Foundation and Bilderberg (2008 and 2012). Since 2005 she has also been executive director of the Arab Reform Program of the CFR's U.S./Middle East Project of George Soros, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Kissinger protege Brent Scowcroft and other top elites. 
|mid 2011||Reports surface that Libyan armories are being looted by unknown rebel group, with Jihadist groups as Al Qaeda being among the prime suspects. The looting involves tens of thousands of mortar shells, artillery rounds and anti-tank missiles. Most worrying is that SA-7b Grail shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles and the very modern, vehicle-launched SA-24 Grinch anti-aircraft missiles also are among the loot. |
|Mid 2011||Founding in Syria of Jaysh al-Islam, a Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia-backed Sunni Salafist group  fighting the Assad government, particularly in the Damascus area, including the Ghouta district, infamous for the August 2013 sarin gas attack. The group is actually founded by a prominent Saudi, has received major financing from Saudi Arabia, training from Pakistan  and is generally allied with the Al Nusra Front / Al Qaeda Syria, the only difference being that it does not call for a global Jihad or attacks on Saudi Arabia. Similar to the allied Ahrar al-Sham, Jaysh al-Islam is primarily concerned with the removal of Assad and replacing it with a Sunni Salafist regime.
While officially not a terrorist group, U.S. secretary of state John Kerry has designated it as such  while at the same time the U.S. and other western allies have prevented Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham from being put under on a United Nations terrorism blacklist, which would officially allow Russia to attack it. 
|Oct. 20, 2011||Gaddafi is murdered by rebels after a NATO strike on his convoy puts him in the hands of enemy forces. At this point, most of the country has already been under rebel control for months.|
|Oct. 21, 2011|| Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki informs Obama that he will not allow permanent U.S. bases in Iraq to aid long-term stability. Pressure from Iran, a Shiite state largely allied with the fellow Shiite Nouri al-Maliki, has played a key role in this decision. In addition, while the heads of all parties prefer a small number of Americans to remain present, Maliki argues he can't sell the idea if American soldiers are not subject to local (Islamic) law. Obama, obviously, can't agree to this, so all U.S. forces are withdrawn. Maliki's argument appears to have been an excuse. 
Many military men are angry about the full withdrawal. Lieutenant General Michael Barbero, the deputy commander in Iraq until January 2011, explained that the U.S. had to restrain Maliki and his repressive proclivities towards the Sunnis and Kurds all the time. When the Americans left, all communication and refereeing went out with them. "Everything that has happened there was not just predictable—we predicted it." 
|Oct.-Nov. 2011||As U.S. forces are withdrawing from Iraq, the Maliki government secretly arrest 600 Sunni Baath Party members, later claiming they work with Al Qaeda.|
|Dec. 2011||As U.S. forces have almost withdrawn from Iraq, Maliki's son is increasing the the number of raids and evictions of U.S. contractors from the Green Zone. USAID is among them. Earlier in the year, Green Zone contractors were already attacked by suicide bombers, with suspicions that Maliki did nothing about them because he needs the political support of the anti-American Shiite militia leader Muqtada Sadr in parliament to remain in power and also because he has come to see the Americans as an obstacle to his own political ambitions. |
|Dec. 15, 2011||Iraqi government forces under prime minister Nouri al-Maliki try to arrest Iraqi vice president Tariq Al-Hashimi, one of the few Sunnites in Maliki's government. Hashimi is accused of using his bodyguards to stage more than 150 attacks on Shia opponents, including a female lawyer and a general in the Iraqi army.
Hashimi flees to (Sunni) Qatar to meet with Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, then to (Sunni) Saudi Arabia to meet with Prince Saud Al Faisal and eventually receives asylum in Turkey. Right in this period, these three countries are beginning to arm ISIS and Al Qaeda (Al-Nusra) in eastern Syria. Hashimi will later come out in support of the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army.
|Dec. 18, 2011||The last American troops leave Iraq.|
|Dec. 2011||Founding in Syria of Ahrar al-Sham, a Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia-backed Sunni Salafist group  which will become the dominant Syrian Islamic Front army fighting Assad over the next years. It generally consists of about 10,000 to 20,000 fighters and is allied with Al Nusra / Al Qaeda Iraq, the only difference being that it does not call for a global Jihad against non-believers, but strictly for the replacing of Assad with a Sunni Salafist regime.
Similar to Jaysh al-Islam, Ahrar al-Sham has been labeled a terrorist organization by secretary of state John Kerry while at the same time being protected by the U.S. and the West from being put on a United Nations terrorism blacklist.
|Jan.-Apr. 2012||The first military cargo planes from Qatar (reportedly the first), Saudi Arabia, and Jordan begin to fly arms from airfields in Tripoli and Benghazi to the Free Syrian Army militias, which sells these weapons on their Jihadist "brothers" as Al Qaeda, the Islamic State and Al Nusra. Many of the shipments end up in Syria through airports in Turkey.
The CIA - and with that one assumes the Obama administration - has sanctioned these shipments. 
|Feb. 2012||First reports that FSA rebels are being trained on bases in Jordan and Turkey for infiltration into Syria. In Turkey the part of the training takes place near Incirlik Air Base near Adana, where U.S. personnel is stationed. The U.S., U.K., France are all said to be involved in the training, which includes anti-tank tactics. Many of the trainees will soon run off to ISIS. Similarly, reports surface that Saudi Arabia is building up ISIS. |
|Mar. 5, 2012||After a period of training deep in the desert, ISIS attacks a police station in Haditha, Iraq, to carry out an assassination. Already at this point ISIS is transporting itself on Toyota and Ford 4x4 trucks.  Two years later Haditha will become one of the first battlegrounds in the ISIS takeover of western Iraq.|
|Mar. 25, 2012||The U.S. and Turkey announce a plan to provide the Syrian rebels with "non-lethal" aid. At that point it becomes clear that the U.S. has already been providing "humanitarian" and "non-lethal" to the rebels, including communications equipment. |
|Mar.-Jun. 2012||A United Nations peace plan for Syria fails. Obama, secretary of state Hillary Clinton and the Arab League expect Assad to withdraw his forces from city centers and essentially hand over power to an interim government. Assad will only comply if the rebels/Jihadis put down their arms and the West, Turkey and the Arab League provide written statements to cease their covert support to the rebels. Support to the rebels by these elements is ignored/denied and in no-time and by June the fighting continues in full.|
|Summer 2012||Iraqi finance minister Rafi al-Issawi stops a fraudulent $7 billion government-linked plan that appears to have been approved by prime minister Nouri al-Maliki himself. A few months later government troops storm Essawi Green Zone-located office, set fire to it, and destroy all evidence of the fraud.
For years now evidence has been piling up that the Maliki government is hopelessly corrupt and trying to implement a dictatorship. According to Essawi, ""Iraq is filled with gangs, filled with militias, filled with corrupt people." The siphoning off of oil revenues and the production of fake multi-billion dollar government contracts are among the problems. To protect himself, Maliki is filing scores of defamation suits against journalists, judges and members of parliament. He even attempts to make it illegal to criticize a head of state. 
In addition, 80% of Iraq's oil is exported while the majority of do not have enough affordable energy for basics as light and cooking.  The situation in Kurdistan, which is increasingly operating unilaterally, is better. It is said here that "the leaders steal about twenty per cent, but eighty per cent makes it to the people. In Baghdad, the percentages are reversed." 
|Jul. 2012 -
|ISIS' "breaking the walls" campaign in Iraq: a year-long, extensive and rather successful bombing and prison break campaign to free Jihadi terrorists imprisoned by the Americans and Shiite-dominated Iraqi government. They have been abused and tortured by both the Americans and Shiites and are looking for revenge at the very least.|
|Aug. 2012||In a prophetic report of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), then under JSOC veteran General Michael Flynn, Obama is warned about the likely rise of a unified Jihadist army in Syria and Iraq with his current policy in place. Specifically, Obama is warned that "the Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria", that these elements are being supported by "the West, Gulf countries, and Turkey", and that if the situation here deteriorates further, that there might arise "a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria." Furthermore, the DIA warns Obama that this might renew the Jihadist insurgency in Iraq:
"This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI [Al Qaeda Iraq] to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the Jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters.
"ISI could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organization in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory. [blanked out]...
"[We might see] the renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi arena." (PDF)
Obama fully ignores the report and soon gets rid of Flynn as DIA director.
|Sep. 6, 2012||The Libyan ship Al Entisar arrives in Turkey with many tons of RPGs and SAM 7 surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles. The Libyan arms are provided to units of the Free Syrian Army that are fighting Assad. 
Obama and Clinton are asked about these arms shipments in this period, but they deny any knowledge. 
|Sep. 11, 2012||A Jihadist militia carries out the Benghazi terrorist attack on U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens' compound. He dies in the attack. Stunningly, days later the Obama administration spreads the blatant lie that "the attack" was nothing more than a general protest that got out of hand.
Controversy ensues about who is behind the attack, about a stand-down order, about Hillary Clinton's skirting of responsibilities. A Congressional inquiry follows that harshly criticizes Clinton in particular. 
According to Seymour Hersh's sources, the Benghazi consulate "had no real political role [except] to provide cover for the moving of arms."  Parallel to Hersh, the Citizens Commission on Benghazi, a relatively high-level grouping of ultraright intelligence-linked individuals, draws the conclusion that the CIA, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the murdered Ambassador Stevens in Benghazi shipped more than $1 billion in arms to Jihadi opposition groups to Gaddafi. Around the fall of Gaddafi, this arms pipeline was reversed with arms being shipped into Syria. 
As Benghazi's CIA compound is also affected in the Jihadi attack, it appears the attack results in the immediate withdrawal or removal of the CIA from the Libya-to-Syria arms pipe line. Oversight is lost and the worry is that many portable anti-aircraft missiles will end up among Syrian Jihadi groups. However, these systems have not caused any terrorism problems as of early 2017.
|Late 2012||According to Seymour Hersh's sources, because of the American withdrawal from the Libya-to-Syria arms pipe line after the Benghazi attack and indications that the Syrian rebel armies are losing the war from Assad's military, Erdogan starts to panic. His country is the only way into rebel territory that is not blocked by the Syrians, also meaning, according to one anonymous intelligence official, that, "When Syria wins the war, [Erdogan] knows the rebels are just as likely to turn on him – where else can they go? So now he will have thousands of radicals in his backyard [and an evaporated] dream of having a client state in Syria..." Reportedly Erdogan instructs his MIT security service to help the Jihadis, the Al Nusra Front in particular, with the development and deployment of Sarin gas in order to stage false flag attacks and draw the U.S. back in. |
|Late 2012 -
| The Obama or CIA-supported Arab League arms pipeline from Libya to the anti-Assad opposition in Syria is greatly stepped up:
"It has grown to include more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian, Saudi and Qatari military-style cargo planes landing at Esenboga Airport near Ankara, and, to a lesser degree, at other Turkish and Jordanian airports. ... [Turkish] trucks [are] ferrying the military goods [over] land into Syria, officials said.
"American intelligence officers have helped the Arab governments shop for weapons, including a large procurement from Croatia...
"The Obama administration has publicly refused to give more than "nonlethal" aid to the rebels [but] the involvement of the C.I.A. [reveals otherwise]..." 
Meanwhile, Obama's secretaries of state Hillary Clinton and John Kerry put pressure on the Shiite-dominated, U.S.-allied central government in Iraq to help stop the continuous frequent Iranian arms shipments to Assad. 
|Late 2012 - 2016||Arms destined for Syrian rebels additionally come from seven additional East-European countries besides Croatia: Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Montenegro, Slovakia, Serbia and Romania. The total sum involves a whopping $1.5 billion in "AK-47s, mortar shells, rocket launchers, anti-tank weapons and heavy machine guns."  Considering the CIA brokered the Croatia deals for Saudi Arabia, the Agency almost certainly played a key role in the rest of these deals.|
|Oct. 2012||The New York Times acknowledges that the United States "is providing intelligence and other support for shipments of secondhand light weapons like rifles and grenades into Syria, mainly orchestrated from Saudi Arabia and Qatar." The newspaper also reports that Obama has been made aware that most arms shipped through these countries, and Qatar in particular, end up with "hard-line Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster." |
|Late 2012 or early 2013||Hillary Clinton receives a State Department email (wrong date listed, but certainly falls within May 2012 and April 2013) in which a hawkish U.S. strategy for overthrowing Assad is detailed: the U.S. should train and arm the Syrian opposition in conjunction with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Turkey. Eventually the U.S. has to deny Assad the use of his air force.
The State Department's idea behind overthrowing Assad is to break the Iran-Syria-Lebanon (Hezbollah) axis and isolate Iran - so more pressure can be put on this country to stop developing nuclear weapons.
|Dec. 21, 2012||Iraqi government raid on the home Sunni finance minister Rafi al-Issawi, who two days earlier claimed that already 150 of guards and staff members had been arrested by the Shiite Maliki government. Earlier this year, Issawi appears to have undermined a $7 billion fraud of the Maliki government, resulting in a cover up and Issawi falling out of grace.
The raid sets off widespread Sunni protests that lead in the Anbar campaign, which eventually results in the ISIS takeover. Issawi manages to survive two IED bomb attacks and resigns from the government in March 2013.
|Feb. 2013||Incoming secretary of state John Kerry is finally able to convince Obama to authorize non-lethal aid to the Free Syrian Army. Throughout 2011, 2012 and early 2013 a huge rift exists between Obama and most key administration officials, including secretary of defense Leon Panetta, secretary of defense Chuck Hagel, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman general Martin Dempsey, and secretary of state Hillary Clinton. Generally they have wanted to liaise with, arm and finance the Free Syrian Army since the days of the Arab Spring and warn Obama that as a result of U.S. inaction, the extremists are getting the upper hand. Obama wants to hear nothing of it. Soon he will agree to let the CIA arm a number of rebel groups, but he is not happy about it. By August 2014, Clinton and the Washington Post are going after Obama over this issue, accusing him of being an "unreliable ally". Obama counters by saying:
"This idea that we could provide some light arms or even more sophisticated arms to what was essentially an opposition made up of former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth, and that they were going to be able to battle not only a well-armed state but also a well-armed state backed by Russia, backed by Iran, a battle-hardened Hezbollah, that was never in the cards." 
Confusingly, the CIA is brokering and aiding billions of dollars in arms shipments to the Syrian rebels for Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other states.
|Apr. 23, 2013||Nouri al-Maliki's forces storm a Sunni protest camp in a village near Kirkuk, leaving dozens dead and wounded. As a result, clashes break out in a number of Sunni-dominated cities, leading to gun fights and many more deaths. Sunnis already are on edge because of the Rafi el-Issawi raid and other forms of suppression by the Shiite government, and this incident takes the tension to yet another level. By the end of the day, "Sunni tribesmen mobilized, declaring jihad, or holy war." |
|Apr. 30, 2013||The Syrian Support Group is uniquely authorized by the U.S. State Department to begin sending non-lethal aid, including "MREs [Meals Ready to Eat], combat casualty bags, and surgical equipment" to the Free Syrian Army.  Soon State Department deliveries come to include at least 43 extremely durable Toyota Hilux trucks (seemingly hundreds in total).  During its rise, ISIS comes into the possession of many hundreds of Toyota Hilux trucks, prompting questions how the terror group acquired them. A lot of this appears to be the result of Toyota having sold roughly 45,000 Toyota trucks to Iraq in the 2011-2014 period. A Toyota dealership existed in Syria until 2012. 
Britain also starts sending "non-lethal" aid to Syrian rebels, including solar-powered batteries, laptops, 4x4 SUVs, fork-lifts, radios, water-purification kits, satellite communication systems, printers and more. 
|May 16, 2013||Obama meets with Turkish prime minister Erdogan in the White House. According to a source of Seymour Hersh, Erdogan and his entourage try to make the case that Assad has crossed Obama's "red line" with his regular deployment of chemical weapons, with Obama making it clear that he knows the Turks have been providing the Jihadis with chemical weapons and are instigating false flags. |
|Jun. 2013||Obama secretly orders the CIA to start shipping weapons to "moderate" Syrian opposition forces. There appear to obstacles, however, and these weapons don't begin to flow until after the Ghouta Sarin gas attack. 
Weapons that end up with Syrian rebels include anti-tank TOW missile systems and Barrett M107 .50 cal sniper rifles that can take out infantry and light-armored vehicles at distances of over a mile. A picture of Arab militia members holding these Barrett sniper rifles dates to September 13, 2013.
|Jul. 27, 2013||More evidence emerges that the "moderate" Free Syrian Army is selling the arms it receives on to ISIS and Al Qaeda Syria (Al Nusra).
The National Review quotes a member of the supposedly moderate and secular Free Syrian Army's Supreme Military Council as saying that "Al Qaeda [is] welcome to help us fight the [Assad] regime". Then it quotes a "top leader" of the then still unknown ISIL/ISIS group as saying: "We are buying weapons from the FSA. We bought 200 anti-aircraft missiles and Koncourse anti-tank weapons. We have good relations with our brothers in the FSA. For us, the infidels are those who cooperate with the West to fight Islam." 
Reports like this have been making the rounds in various media, but the Obama administration continues to push the line that it is only supplying non-military aid to these "moderate" Free Syrian Army. The administration also makes it sound as if the FSA operates as one unified force instead of uncoordinated groups of independently-operating militias that by itself have no chance against Assad's military. 
|Aug. 5, 2013||ISIS captures Menagh Air Base, located north of Aleppo.|
|Aug. 21, 2013||Assad's army kills an estimated 1,429 civilians, including 426 children, with a Sarin gas attack in the east-Damascus suburb of Ghouta. Bizarrely, at the moment of the attack, a team of United Nations chemical weapons inspectors has been present in Damascus for less than a week, since August 18, looking into previous allegations of such attacks.  Team leader Scott Cairns literally hears the Sarin-filled missiles impact the ground from his hotel room. His team is at the scene in no-time and is immediately able to determine the presence of sarin. 
While the claims of the Russians and Assad that the sarin-filled missiles were launched from rebel territory hardly come across as convincing, Assad did have a point when he said: "Why would you launch the biggest chemical massacre in decades [and in the capital city] when you've got chemical weapons inspectors sitting in your capital city?"  With a brief smirk in which he broke character, Cairns admitted to have been asking himself this same question. 
Quite a bit of controversy erupted in the weeks and months after the sarin gas attack as to whether or not Assad was behind it, rogue elements in his regime, or if it was a false flag attack by Turkey and/or Al-Nusra. 
It also must be stated that the alleged previous chemical attacks Cairns and his team had come to investigate, involved many small incidents, mainly chlorine bombs, with only a handful of deaths at a time; nothing even remotely on the scale of the August 24 attack, which became the second-biggest chemical warfare massacre since Saddam Hussein gassed 5,000 Kurds with Sarin. Attacks with chlorine bombs continue over the next few years. 
|Aug. 30, 2013||David Cameron, prime minister of Great Britain, sees his resolution for military action against Syria rejected by parliament in a 285-272 vote. Unlike France or the United States, the British prime minister is unable to go to war without congressional approval. The Labour Party is calling for more evidence of Assad's involvement in the sarin gas attack.
French prime minister Francois Hollande is in favor of military action. 64% of his people are against (note that over 10% are Arab immigrants), mainly worrying that a more extremist regime will find its way to power when Assad is removed. Only 17% want to see more proof of Assad's involvement in the sarin gas attack.
Merkel, facing a re-election within weeks, is doing her best to stall for time. Even before the elections, German newspapers are reporting the BND, German intelligence, suspects Assad did not personally order the chemical attack. The BND found Assad had blocked numerous requests for the use of chemical weapons in previous months and neither could find evidence that he had provided the order on this occasion. 
|Aug. 31, 2013||Out of the blue Obama announces that a military strike on the Assad regime, without putting boots on the ground, will be postponed until congressional approval has been received.
Obama's decision to involve congress appears to have come about as a result of the rejection by British parliament on action against Syria, worries of a number of Obama's military advisors that bombing Syria would only make the situation worse, and potential worries that eventually strong evidence or proof would emerge that Assad was not behind the gas attack.
|Sep. 14, 2013||As congressional approval for a U.S. strike on Syria is pending (it doesn't look good for Obama), Assad agrees to having his chemical weapons removed, which total about 1,300 tonnes.  It is an incredible breakthrough.
Saudi intelligence Bandar bin Sultan ("Bandar Bush") and Prince Turki al Faisal, two long-time CIA assets with especially the latter deeply tied to the sponsoring of terrorist networks, including those that carried out 9/11, are greatly upset with Obama's refusal to bomb Assad out of office. 
|Sep. 17, 2013||Outgoing Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren explains that Israel considers the Iran-Assad-Hezbollah in Lebanon axis a much bigger threat than ISIS. |
|Oct. 31, 2013||The Washington Times reports that up to 12,000 Al Qaeda fighters are active in eastern Syria that are setting up their local Islamic governments and are generating revenue with oil sales. Experts consider it a problem that the United States can't operate drones over the area without violating Assad's airspace. Furthermore, Syria's border with Iraq is considered "porous". As a result, "Al Qaeda fighters are bringing heavy weaponry from Syria into Iraq" and have been doing so throughout 2013. The article is also one of the first to mention ISIS: "U.S. officials now consider that al Qaeda in Iraq has essentially become one entity with the self-styled ISIS." 
At this point, various observers have noticed for several months now that ISIS "has much more financial clout at its disposal than most other rebel factions." The source of its funding is still a bit of a mystery, however. Apart "Cross-border coordination with mujahideen in Iraq and limited oil revenues," it is suspected that "ISIS is receiving significant funding from private Saudi citizens." At this point, ISIS' leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is effectively challenging Al Qaeda's Ayman Al-Zawahiri for leadership of the international Jihad. 
As these reports of ISIS and Al Qaeda spilling into Iraq emerge, "retired" CIA agent Robert Baer goes to Iraq to talk with various Sunni tribal chiefs and "[former] officers from Saddam Hussein's army" as to why they are allying themselves with these groups. They tell him they are so repressed by the Shiite government of Nouri al-Maliki that they are now willing to work with any group fighting the government. According to Baer, they have the power to stop these terrorist groups, but they will only do so once ISIS has fulfilled its purpose.  General Muzhir al Qaisi, a spokesman for the General Military Council of the Iraqi Revolutionaries, later states they are stronger than ISIS, whom he calls "barbarians", and that ISIS needed them to take control of Mosul. 
Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan ("Bandar Bush") is considered one of the prime backers of ISIS at this point. One senior Qatari official is even quoted as saying, "ISIS has been a Saudi project." 
|Dec. 2013||For some time now, the Kurds have been warning that ISIS is plotting to take over the west and north of Iraq. They're ignored by Washington, London and the Iraqi Central Government. Specifically the Kurds warn that "ISIS [is] forming alliances ... with Sunni tribal leaders and members of the late dictator Saddam Hussein's Baath Party." |
|Dec. 10, 2013||@wikibaghdady, a highest level insider to the ISIS machinery whose real identity has never been revealed, makes his first Twitter post. He exposes the real name of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, explains the alliance between the Jihadis and the Naqshbandi Army of Colonel Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri which was instrumental in the rapid takeover of Iraq, and many other things nobody really knows about ISIS at this point.  Bizarrely, @wikibaghdady is using a
Wikileaks logo for this Twitter account.
The Naqshbandi Army consists of former army and intelligence officers of Saddam Hussein, all of whom were thrown onto the street after the U.S. army took over.  These officers generally have high level ties to various Sunni tribal leaders. Considering ISIS is also Sunni, an alliance was formed against the Shiite-dominated Iraqi Central Government. Highly skilled in intelligence, security and infiltration, the Naqshbandi Army has succeeded in infiltrating local government and assassinating many opponents, including opposing Sunni tribal leaders. 
|Dec. 25, 2013||At the time of a Christmas speech of Shiite Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, a latest flurry of widespread protests across Sunni Iraq erupt, protests which are often been violently put down by the Maliki government. In Ramadi black Al Qaeda and ISIS flags are raised, with some protesters shouting, "We are a group called Al Qaeda! We will cut off heads and bring justice!"
During the protests, Sunni Iraqi member of parliament Ahmad al-Alwani states: "My message is for the snake Iran! ... Maliki [is in league with the Iranians, the] Safavids, [the] Zoroastrians! ... Let them listen up and know that those gathered here will return Iraq to its people!" 
|Dec. 28, 2013||Despite parliamentary immunity, Alwani is arrested by the Maliki government, but not without a shootout with Alwani's guards that kills six people, including Alwani's brother.  Alwani's brother is killed. Alwani himself, after suffering abuse in prison, is sentenced to death in November, a sentence that appears to have been commuted after protests of his tribe, which came to fight ISIS alongside the government. |
|Dec. 30, 2013||The ISIS attack on the Iraqi cities Fallujah and Ramadi begins. Alternately, mass Sunni protests have erupted in these cities in which police officers and soldiers, sent in by the Maliki government to break up the protests, are murdered. 44 Sunni members resign from parliament of the government's treatment of Sunnis. |
Timeline Jan. 2014 - Dec. 2015: ISIS takeover and expansion
|Jan. 2014||ISIS is driven out of Aleppo in north-west Syria, its most westward expansion, by Al Nusra (Al Qaeda Syria) and Free Syrian Army units. ISIS is considered too violent and extreme, even against supposed allies. The group moves back east and closer to the Turkish border, attacking rebel strongholds as it goes.|
|Jan. 2014||Founding of Jund al-Aqsa, one of the more important Qatari, Kuwaiti and Turkey-backed Jihadist groups fighting against Assad , along with Ahrar al-Sham and Jaysh al-Islam. Its founder is Abu Abdulaziz al-Qatari, a top Al Qaeda veteran from Afghanistan, Iraq and Chechnya. The group is generally allied with Al Nusra, eventually joins ISIS, and in between tries to sell itself to the West as "moderate".|
|Jan. 2014||The Maliki government has been shelling Ramadi and Fallujah in recent weeks to put down the Sunni protests. Maliki apparently realizes his mistake and withdraws his troops. Within hours ISIS rolls into town, taking over Fallujah and much of Ramadi. Local people claim a lot of the fighters were part of Sunni Jihadist sleeper cells that had been in town all along. 
In north-west Syria, the city of Raqqa is conquered by ISIS and Al Qaeda Syria (the Al Nusra Front). 
Obama does not take any action in Iraq in the form of air strikes. Weeks after Fallujah and Ramadi have been taken over by ISIS, and Obama is quizzed about it, he (infamously) states, "If a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn't make them Kobe Bryant." 
|Mid. Feb. 2014||U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice meets with the intelligence chiefs of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan and has a discussion about the recent rise ISIS and Al Nusra in Iraq and Syria. The Arab countries promise to cease any financing of these groups. Unfortunately, it appears support continues through private individuals and certainly continues to go to other Islamic Front groups. 
At this point, Saudi intelligence chief Bandar bin Sultan ("Bandar Bush") is in the process of being removed from the Syria portfolio. He'll be fired as intelligence chief in late March for reasons not entirely clear. It primarily appears that his opponents are concerned about his virulent support for ISIS, with signs they are about to turn onto the Kingdom. 
|Feb. 11, 2014||In his annual briefing to Congress, DIA director General Michael Flynn, whose agency already warned Obama for the rise of ISIS in August 2012, explains: "ISIL probably will attempt to take territory in Iraq and Syria in 2014, as demonstrated recently in Ramadi and Fallujah." Obama does nothing with the information and boots Flynn from his administration in August 2014, when ISIS has fully taken over. |
|Mar. 2014||The Iraqi Central Government has to shut down the Kirkuk (Iraq) - Ceyhan (Mediterranean / Turkey) pipeline after continuous sabotage attacks of ISIS. The pipeline transports up to 300,000 barrels of oil per day.
Meanwhile, the Maliki government is quietly asking the Americans to start bombing the ISIS training camps. Obama refuses to get involved and so on several occasions over the next several months. A $14 billion arms deal involving F-16s, Apache helicopters and M-16 rifles has been signed, but none of this materiel is ready to be shipped to Iraq until late 2014. 
|May 2014||The Kurds warn Obama and the Iraqi Central Government that ISIS and the Naqshbandi Army have formed a "shadow government" in Mosul and are about to take over the city. The Kurds are ignored, as they are on other occasions in this period when they try to warn Washington, London and the Maliki government of an impending ISIS-Sunni tribal leaders assault in Iraq. 
An Iraqi general later confirms that a Sunni "war of liberation" is in the making that involves an alliance of "ISIL, former Iraqi military officers, former Baathists, a new generation of Sunni tribal sheiks, and Sunni resistance groups like the Naqshbandi Army and the 1920 Revolution Brigade."  Involved in the take-over of Mosul is the Sunni resistance group the General Military Council of the Iraqi Revolutionaries, which claims it is stronger than ISIS. 
Around this time a major ISIS force is moving across the border from Syria through a smuggling route near border town Rabia as a preparation for the coming siege of Mosul and other cities. 
|Jun. 4-5, 2014||ISIS attacks Samarra in a lengthy convoy of Toyota and Ford trucks. It captures part of the city, but is rebuffed the next day.|
|Jun. 7, 2014||Reports are coming in that an ISIS army is amassing an army to the west of Mosul. Shiite prime minister Nouri al-Maliki refuses to take action by sending the army here, even after repeated urgings of Brett McGurk, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Iraq and Iran who is trying to coordinate a counter-attack with Kurdish and local Mosul officials. Kurdish forces are moved to the east of Mosul, but that's it. |
|Jun. 10, 2014||ISIS takes over Mosul after a week of skirmishes. With that, the Jihadist group dominates much of northern Iraq and Syria.
In the process the Iraqi army manages to lose 2,300 America-supplied Humvees to ISIS.  Total worth? Approximately $1 billion. It's so bad that an estimated 30,000 Iraqi soldiers run away from 800 ISIS fighters.  Iraqi army officers just took off their uniforms and ran, leaving behind these vehicles.  52 M198 Howitzers are also captured by ISIS,  as are "at least" 40 M1A1 tanks, an unknown number of Mine Resistant Armored Personnel carriers (MRAPs) and 74,000 machine guns. 
This bizarre spectacle can largely be explained by the many powerful allies ISIS has in the Sunni resistance movement, including the General Military Council of the Iraqi Revolutionaries to which it will soon hand over administration of the city. Reportedly this council does a better job than the Shiite Maliki government, with electricity becoming available for more than 9 hours a day instead of just two. The majority Sunni residents of Mosul are overwhelmingly distraught by the behavior of the Shia-controlled "Maliki Militia" which has been haressing and taunting the Mosul population for years. 
Discontent by the Sunni of the Maliki government appears to have filtered down to the rank and file of the Iraqi army, many of which were Sunni. After the Americans left in 2011 and handed over the administration to the Maliki government - which refused the establishing of permanent military bases - corruption and hundreds of defections per month ensued. Throughout 2014 the Iraqi army will lose 200,000 of its 250,000 soldiers to defections.  In addition, many senior officers had already left town when many of the rank and file were even aware that Mosul was under attack, prompting them to flee as well.  Alternately, it has been reported that many Iraqi army generals, possibly figuring they had a wider Sunni resistance on their hands, told their subordinates to "just figure it out" if they wanted to stay and fight and seemingly got out of there themselves. 
According to the Kurds, the take-over of Mosul actually "was accomplished with ease and without serious fighting after local Iraqi commanders agreed to withdraw [and leave all their materiel behind]." Earlier the Kurds had been warning that Mosul had been taken over by a "shadow government" of ISIS and the Naqshbandi Army. 
Soon after the capture of Mosul, Iraqi soldiers in surrounding cities are "shocked to see waves of Islamist militants coming to battle in [U.S.-supplied] Iraqi military vehicles."  ISIS also wastes no time in turning humvees into an army of super-heavy, nearly unstoppable car bombs.  In order to counter this new threat the U.S., with help from Germany, has to send in thousands of anti-tank missiles, including AT-4 and Milan systems, to the Iraqi Central Government and the Kurds. 
Not U.S. intervention, but Iran's rapid ground response to the Mosul region apparently prevents an even wider spread of ISIS. Under the leadership of General Qasem Soleimani, Iran helps the U.S., Iraqi Central Government and Kurds fight ISIS.  Within months the Iranians are maintaining "an estimated [force of] 100,000 to 120,000 armed men" in Iraq versus just 48,000 Iraqi soldiers.  Iran is trying to dominate Shiite-dominated eastern Iraq, not even shying away from political assassinations , and is also seen as one of the causes of rise of ISIS because of its support for the Shia repression of the Sunnis. 
It is only at this point, in June 2014, that the world at large becomes aware of this apparent monster army of Jihadis.
|Jun. 11, 2014||ISIS takes over Tikrit in Iraq, Saddam Hussein's birth place.|
|Jun. 16, 2014||Tal Afar is conquered by ISIS, which attacked the city with hummers obtained after the fall of Mosul.|
|Jun. 18, 2014||ISIS has taken over Baiji and now claims to have conquered the city's huge but heavily damaged oil refinery as well. However, the battle for the refinery will continue over the coming weeks and months.|
|Jun. 21, 2014||ISIS execution video appears online showing the decapitation/butchering of General Mohammed Quareshi, the former head of the notorious Wolf Brigade (renamed "Freedom Brigade"), a Shia-dominated counter-insurgency force trained by the Americans. |
|Jun. 22, 2014||ISIS in Iraq conquers Qaim, a border town with Syria along the Euphrates. Rawa and Anah, two major towns about 50 miles to the east also fall. So does Husaybah, a town just east of Ramadi. 
Qaim is the most significant town by far. Here the (Shiite) Ninth Brigade had to withdraw within days, because it was not provided with food and water, apparently because the corporation providing them refused to enter war zones. One top commander fled the scene with the excuse he was going to appeal to the Iraqi Central Government for supplies. After their evacuation, soldiers are livid and threaten to kill two of their senior commanders, including a hopelessly corrupt army general of prime minister Nouri Al-Maliki's tribe who had no interest in anything besides handing out water to his troops for media ops. 
Similar to the collapse of Mosul, reading a full account of the collapse of Qaim makes one wonder to what extent it was by design. At the very least it reveals the unprecedented incompetence and corruption of the U.S.-trained and U.S.-equipped military of Iraq at the time.
|Jun. 30, 2014||ISIS in Iraq moves over the border with Syria and conquers Abu Kamal. Having previously conquered Qaim, ISIS now controls both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi border, making it much easier to transport arms. |
|Jun. 2014||Accusations arise within Turkey that the country already has bought $800 million of ISIS oil and that the illegal trade continues uninterrupted.  Tanker trucks are transporting ISIS oil to Turkey, illegally adding it to a pipeline that ends up at the Mediterranean oil tanker port Ceyhan. The smuggling network generates large amounts of goodwill for ISIS with local Syrian and Iraqi tribes. 
In addition, Turkish demolition companies, through intermediaries, are the primary explosives suppliers to ISIS for its IEDs. Empty fuel trucks are often used to smuggle back weapons, but so are other types of trucks. In addition, "Gulf backers send their favourite rebel groups truckloads of munitions over the Turkish border [which also make it into Iraq]." Predictably, the Turkish government refuses to cooperate with any of the inquiries. 
|Early Jul. 2014||Former MI6 head Sir Richard Dearlove states that Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of intelligence chief Bandar Bush from July 2012 to April 2014, and Qatar almost certainly played key roles in the ISIS takeover of Iraq, Mosul in particular:
"The second Saudi incident predates 9/11. It comes from a conversation with Prince Bandar, I believe at the moment the head of the GID [Saudi intelligence]... And that was: "The time is not far off, Richard, in the Middle East when it will be literally 'God help the Shia'. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them." ...
"They are deeply attracted towards any militancy which can effectively challenge Shia-dom. How much Saudi and Qatari money - now, I'm not suggesting direct government funding, but I'm suggesting maybe a blind eye being turned - is being channeled towards ISIS, and reaching it? For ISIS to be able to surge into the Sunni areas of Iraq in the way that has been done recently, has to be the consequence of substantial and sustained funding. Such things simply do not happen spontaneously."
The media gives little attention to Dearlove's statements.  Earlier, a senior Qatari official referred to ISIS as a "Saudi project" to an American journalist.
On October 2, 2014, vice president Joe Biden will claim almost the exact same thing during a Q&A session at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government:
"Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. The Turks... the Saudis, the [United Arab] Emirates, etcetera. ... They were so determined to take down Assad, and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad – except that the people who were being supplied, were al-Nusra, and al-Qaeda, and the extremist elements of jihadis who were coming from other parts of the world. ...
Now Saudi Arabia has stopped the funding from going in. ... The Qataris have cut off their support of the most extreme elements of the terrorist organizations and the Turks ... now they're trying to seal their border."
A firestorm breaks out in the media when Erdogan and UAE deny the allegations. Biden somewhat apologizes to these two countries while Saudi Arabia and Qatar keep quiet.  The Washington Post calls Biden's remarks a "gaffe" and proceeds to largely denounce his claims with help from "authorities" at the Brookings Institution, Carnegie Center, CSIS, and other elite think tanks. However, according to the Post, money and support from Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in particular still ended up with ISIS and other Jihadist groups, at least in the early days and at the very least through sloppiness.  A day later, the BBC is decidedly more protective of Biden's statements. 
Intriguingly, an August 14, 2014 email from Hillary Clinton to John Podesta, which involved a State Department briefing document, read that "Qatar and Saudi Arabia ... are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region." Looking at the contents of the briefing document, the U.S. isn't happy with this support and is trying to force these states into an alternative policy.
|Jul. 3, 2014||Saudi Arabia moves troops to the border with Iraq after reports that Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, a long-time critic of Saudi support for ISIS, has withdrawn his troops from the Saudi border. It appears Maliki is hoping to spawn a conflict between Saudi Arabia and ISIS. |
|Aug. 2014||Reports hit the front pages that scores of U.S-trained Free Syrian Army rebels are joining Al Nusra and ISIS, with all FSA units in eastern Syria having been absorbed into ISIS. FSA units have also sold anti-tank weapons to Al Nusra for $15,000 a piece. U.S., British and French-trained rebels that helped overthrow Gaddafi have also been defecting in large numbers to Libyan Jihadist groups or moved to Syria to join Al Nusra and ISIS. There is widespread laughter in these groups that they're U.S.-trained Jihadis with U.S. military equipment obtained with the fall of Mosul. |
|Aug. 1, 2014||ISIS starts a social media campaign trying to destabilize Saudi Arabia. It appears ISIS has thousands of followers in the Kingdom. It will soon lead to a Saudi crackdown on ISIS, which until recently has been one of the key supporters of the group. |
|Aug. 3, 2014||Sinjar, west of Mosul, falls to ISIS, trapping 200,000 Yazidi Kurds in the area. The Kurds attempt to defend Zummar and Rabia next.|
|Aug. 6, 2014||The first reports of the Iraqi "air force" bombing ISIS targets with Sukhoi SU-25 jets hastily obtained from Russia and Iran, as U.S. bought F-16s (and Apaches) take forever to obtain. Russian, Iranian, and a handful of Iraqi pilots are flying the SU-25s.
Throughout the ISIS offensive until this point, Iraq only had Cessna planes equipped with Hellfire missiles and maybe two dozen recently acquired Hind and Havoc attack helicopters, some of which appear to have either been shot down or heavily damaged by ISIS. In total, about 70 helicopters of Iraq have been damaged. Already in June Iraq went shopping for an additional 7 Hind gunships in the Czech Republic.  In early October 2014 it is reported that an Iraqi Hind helicopter has been shot down by ISIS with a missile of some kind.
Over the past few years, the U.S. also had a number of Apache helicopters stationed in Iraq, but made no use of them against ISIS due to a lack of search and rescue teams.
|Aug. 6-8, 2014||ISIS captures Makhmour, a town 25 miles / 40 km south-west of Erbil, but loses it again after two days to the Kurds. |
|Aug. 8, 2014||First U.S. airstrikes in Iraq. They are aimed at defending the Yazidi population that fled Sinjar.|
|Aug. 11, 2014||ISIS captures Jalaula, just 40 miles from the Iranian border.|
|Aug. 14, 2014||Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq's corrupt and hardline pro-Shia prime minister (and interior minister) since 2006, resigns, in part because of U.S. pressure. Maliki will remain a dominant force in government and is plotting to return to power.|
|Aug. 17, 2014||U.S. airstrikes to take back the Mosul Dam from ISIS.|
|Late Aug. 2014||ISIS captures Rabia, a key Iraqi border town with Syria, from the Kurds. ISIS will only be able to hold on to the town for just over a month.|
|Aug. 26, 2014||The U.S. sends drones over Syria to map out targets for future airstrikes. No permission is asked from Assad.|
|Aug. - Oct. 2014||On various occasions, although often in private settings, high-level officials and expert scholars make the accusation that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Turkey, as well as Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, have been financially supporting ISIS all these years. |
|Aug. 2014 - Jan. 2015||Gruesome execution videos of ISIS, including those of Jihadi John, start to appear on the internet.|
|Early Sep. 2014||The U.S. conducts airstrikes during ISIS attacks on the Haditha dam, the second largest in the country after the Mosul dam (also not in the hands of ISIS).  Haditha is one of the few cities in the region not conquered by ISIS.|
|Sep. 22, 2014||First U.S. NATO-Arab League airstrikes in Syria against ISIS, without the express permission of Assad. Arab League countries participating include the Sunni states Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, all or most of which have been arming ISIS in past few years.  Turkey, the only Muslim NATO member, refuses to take part in anti-ISIS operations and does not even allow its bases to be used for airstrikes.|
|Sep. 30, 2014||ISIS loses the northern border crossing town Rabia to Kurdish forces again. Apart from U.S. airstrikes, the Sunni Shammar tribe helped the Kurds in taking back the town.|
|Oct. 5, 2014||ISIS conquers Hit, one of a dozen towns between Ramadi and Qaim on the Syria border, in a matter of hours. Witnesses describe how many residents in the city served as sleeper cells who attack the police stations from behind. Soon ISIS cancels "classes in art, music, geography, philosophy, sociology, psychology ... chemistry ... and Christian religion, and asked mathematics teachers to remove any questions that refer to democracy and elections. Biology teachers can't refer to evolution."
Most cities in the region are captured. An exception is Haditha, which houses a large power station and soon cuts off power to Hit and other cities after ISIS canceled food supplies to Haditha. 
|Oct. 7-11, 2014||Erdogan refuses to defend the town Kobani from ISIS, causing a conflict with Obama and NATO.  The town is sitting a mile from its border, but is inhabited by the Kurds, loathed by Erdogan and many Turks. Leading up and during the siege many Kurds, including young children, are murdered, raped and beheaded. Locals also describe how the ISIS fighters are taking pills, which appear to be amphetamines.  In June 2015 Kobani will become subject to an additional ISIS massacre.|
|Nov. 2014||It is reported that the Free Syrian Army has been crushed and taken over by ISIS and Al Nusra all over Syria except in the south at the border with Jordan and small pockets around Aleppo in the north-west. |
|Dec. 24, 2014||ISIS attacks on Iraqi towns Kubaisa and Al-Dulab, staged from conquered Hit. They are repelled. |
|Dec. 2014||The Organisation for the Prohibition and Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is finding traces of sarin and VX gas at Syria's Scientific Studies and Research Centre, where Assad claimed no such research had taken place. OPCW experts relate that "so far [the Syrians] have been unable to give a satisfactory explanation about this finding." They also explain that during the process of verifying if all chemical weapons have been destroyed, they "keep returning [to Syria] with more questions than answers." Just as stunning, it is reported that "last year [Syria] added several new [chemical warfare] facilities it had not initially disclosed to the OPCW." Another major issue is that Assad is blocking OPCW access to several Syrian villages where reports of government chlorine gas bombing have come from.  Soon evidence will also emerge that Assad has been holding doses of sarin gas behind - and is using them in cases of emergency.|
|Mar. 2015||Kurdish forces are dismantling a staggering 45 ISIS-created Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) a day in Iraq and have dismantled a total of 6,000 IEDs at this point. Many of these IEDs are powerful enough to shatter windows a quarter-mile (400 meters or 450 yards) away when they go off. Any place they leave behind, ISIS rigs with these explosive booby traps.  It appears the large amounts of ammonium nitrate fertilizer needed to make these bombs are coming in from Turkey.|
|Mar. 28, 2015||The CFR's Foreign Policy magazine contains an article that explains how the Iran-backed 120,000 men strong Shiite militias under the Population Mobilization Force / Units umbrella, whom the United States is supporting with airstrikes against ISIS, are engaging in ethnic cleansing of Sunni areas conquered from ISIS. The Shiite-dominated Iraqi army is often doing the same thing, and so do Iran's forces in Syria. 
Shiite ethnic cleansing was a major problem in the 2004-2008 and a reaction to indiscriminate Sunni bombings of Shiites. After a period of relative stability from 2008, sectarian violence increased again in 2013 when Sunnis felt too oppressed by the Shiite government.
|Apr. 2015||Putin announces he reopens negotiations to sell S-300 SAMs to Iran despite the fact that Iran has not yet made a nuclear power/weapons deal with Obama yet. Putin also announces Russia will supply China with its even more powerful S-400 SAMs. |
|May 15, 2015||After thirty 2.5 ton suicide truck bombs are unleashed onto Ramadi, the Iraqi army flees and ISIS retakes the city. More than 100 armored vehicles are lost to ISIS, including hummers and an estimated 10 M1A1 tanks.  While often pinned on the Iraqi army, the United States watched the trucks, bulldozers and fighters gather outside the city in the days previous, but refused to take them out with airstrikes. |
|May - Aug. 2015||Despite U.S. bombings ISIS manages to expand all the way to the south of Iraq and Syria.  One reason appears to be that ISIS continues to be able to raise over a billion dollars annually through oil, looting, taxations and extortion.
In Iraq U.S. airstrikes appear to be so restricted, allegedly out of fear of civilian casualties, that "Iraqi officials [complain] the limited American airstrikes have allowed columns of Islamic State fighters essentially free movement on the battlefield."  The above-discussed fall of Ramadi puts the official reasoning of civilian casualties strongly in doubt, however.
In Syria U.S. bombings on ISIS appear to be highly concentrated in the north-west near Aleppo in support of Kurdish and Free Syrian Army troops.  The rest of the country is largely left untouched.
|Jun. 2015||Reports emerge that the U.S. is refusing to bomb ISIS oil wells to prevent widespread famine among the population. The U.S. has only targeted refineries, which has little effect on ISIS profits. Subsequently ISIS cuts off fuel to northern Syria as an economic weapon to undermine support for the Free Syrian Army. |
|Jul. 23, 2015||Three days after the ISIS bombing in Suruc, Turkey, Erdogan finally decides to actively join the war against ISIS. More suicide bombs in Turkey will soon take place.|
|Aug. 16, 2015||Iraq's parliament releases a report accusing former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki and a dozen of his top appointees for the loss of Mosul. Apparently due to nepotism and corruption, Maliki was provided with a false sense of security on the situation.  The report also accuses Turkey's consul general in Mosul at the time, Ozturk Yilmaz, of having maintained ties to ISIS. |
|Nov. 2015 - 2016||Various larger and numerous smaller terrorist attacks take place in Europe and the United States by ISIS.|
Timeline Aug. 2015 - Jan. 2017: Syria conflict in the final Obama years
|Aug. 2015||ISIS and Al Nusra continue to be at their maximum expansion, operating from the north to the south in Iraq and Syria, leaving only a thin stretch of coastal land in the possession of Assad, including the cities Aleppo (partly), Hama, Homs and Damascus. |
|Aug. 2015||NATO-backed, FSA-allied militia Jaysh al-Nasr is founded and begins operations in north-west Syria against ISIS, alongside more than a dozen other FSA umbrella groups that have been fighting Assad's troops for years.|
|Sep. 30, 2015||Russia joins the United States in airstrikes against ISIS, except that over 90 percent of its attacks take place far away from ISIS territory and are targeted against the Turkey-backed Al Nusra / Al Qaeda jihadists and Free Syrian Army units , especially those that have received TOW anti-tank missiles from the United States. Newly-founded groups as Jaysh al-Nasr and Syrian Democratic Forces are among the targets.  TOWs are wrecking havoc against Assad's tanks, of which an estimated 2,300 already were destroyed between November 2011 and July 2013, six months before the rise of ISIS.  Iranian-backed mercenaries and Hezbollah fighters are frequently attacked with them  and even a grounded airplane of Assad has been taken out in this manner.  TOWs
have also been used against Russian "advisors"  and even Russian rescue helicopters.  Newspaper reports on Russia's strategy in Syria cease by December.
While Russia would love to get rid of ISIS, it makes no sense to do this before more moderate forces have been destroyed.
|Oct. 11, 2015||Founding of the NATO-backed, FSA-allied Syrian Democratic Forces, which will be fighting ISIS in the north-west around Aleppo and Raqqa with support from NATO airplanes. The SDF is an alliance of Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian and other militias. The Kurds are the dominant fighting force of the SDF, with the SDF not fully falling under the FSA umbrella.|
|Oct. 18, 2015||Obama signs his nuclear deal with Iran,
an enemy state that is helping Assad fight the Obama-aided Syrian rebels, does its best to control the Shiite-dominated Iraqi central government, used to sent terrorists into Iraq to fight American troops, controlled/controls Lebanon through Hezbollah, and controls Palestine through Hamas. In the past Iran always reluctantly cooperated with the International Atomic Energy Agency. One also has to wonder why it is developing long-range intercontinental missiles, as these are only useful when equipped with nuclear warheads. 
With that deal, apart from worries about secret nuke-building projects, comes a promise to lift $150 billion in sanctions for this enemy state. The deal might be necessary due to the mess the U.S. finds itself in in the Middle East, but it also makes the U.S. look a little desperate.
|Oct. 21, 2015||Start of Operation Tidal Wave II, in which NATO greatly increases the amount of strikes on ISIS' oil infrastructure. It is estimated that ISIS controls 80% of Syria's oil (in contrast to the 8% of Assad's forces) and continues to make roughly $500 million annually from oil sales. Until August 7, the U.S. only conducted 196 strikes against ISIS' oil infrastructure over the course of a year. Most of the damage was repaired within days and turned out to not be very effective.  Only a few weeks ago, on September 29, did the U.S. State Department offer a reward to anyone providing a tip that would effectively reduce ISIS' revenues through oil sales or the selling of antiquities. |
|Nov. 13, 2015||Paris terrorist attack by ISIS, killing 130 people and injuring 368.|
|Nov. 16, 2015||Apparently seizing the moment to make western leaders look bad, Putin presents photos to the G20 demonstrating the extent of ISIS oil smuggling through Turkey and accuses "some G20" of involvement in the financing of ISIS. He claims in total 40 countries are involved in financing ISIS. |
|Nov. 19, 2015||Over a year into the war and coincidentally days after the Paris attack and Putin's accusations, the U.S. decides to hit its first convoy of oil tanker trucks, destroying 116 of roughly 300 trucks and damaging many others. An hour beforehand, leaflets are dropped in Arabic warning truck drivers to run. |
|Nov. 24, 2015||Turkey shoots down a Russian SU-24 plane, claiming it overflew its territory. An alternative reason is that Turkey was protecting anti-Assad Turkmen tribes and Al Nusra units at its border from Russian bombings.  Russia subsequently claims the shoot down is retaliation for its campaign to end the ISIS oil trade through Turkey.  In response to the shoot down, Russia moves its latest S-400 SAM system to Syria, which is able to shoot down planes and missiles over Syria, Lebanon, half of Israel and part of Turkey and Jordan. |
|Nov. 29, 2015||The first T-90 tank, one of several dozen supplied by Russia, is first spotted in Syria. Its armor is considerably harder to defeat than Syria's T-55, T-62 and T-72 models, thousands of which have been destroyed by U.S.-supplied TOWs (old models). T-72s, for example, are estimated to have been reduced from 1,600 to less than 300 at this point.|
|Nov., 2015||The NATO-backed, FSA-affiliate New Syrian Army (NSyA) appears in South-West Syria to combat ISIS. It consists of only 300 fighters and within a year splits up and largely disappears again it appears.
By this time it appears that the United States has become more careful with shipping arms to the Free Syrian Army, considering in the past FSA units used to sell these weapons on to ISIS and Al Qaeda Syria, on top of mass defections from to these extremists. These days, FSA units receive TOW missiles in smaller quantities and generally for specific missions. The crews have to film their attack and return the spent rocket tubes. 
|Dec. 2015||Ramadi, Iraq is retaken by NATO, Iraqi Central Government Forces and Iran's Shiite militias.|
|Late Dec. 2015||Russia spends a week destroying as much as it can of oil tanker truck convoys consisting of an estimated total of 11,775 vehicles moving in and out of Turkey. Immediately after, the number of tanker trucks moving to the oil refinery in the Turkish town of Batman, which sits along the oil pipeline from Iraq to Ceyhan on the Mediterranean coast, is severely diminished. 
Already in mid 2014 , and in a more detailed manner in March 2015 , it was reported that ISIS oil was finding its way to international markets through Turkey's Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline. Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan was personally suspected of facilitating these oil sales. Since then, Iraqi , Syrian  and Russian government officials , as well as a French general , have been making the same accusation against Erdogan. Considering Erdogan is a major enemy of Assad and a key player in arms shipments to extremist factions in the 2012-2013 period, his involvement also makes sense, despite the fact that ISIS turned on him in similar fashion as it did on Al Qaeda and Saudi Arabia.
Interestingly, in 2011 Erdogan controversially handed the Turkish company Powertrans a monopoly on oil imports from Iraq into Turkey (through the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline). Wikileaks-type hacks have confirmed that Powertrans was unofficially overseen by Berat Albayrak, a son-in-law of Erdogan who was appointed energy minister in November 2015.  Erdogan's son, Bilal Erdogan, has also been accused of involvement in the ISIS oil trade.  Erdogan's daughter, Sumeyye Erdogan, has been accused of running a hospital over the border in Syria that treated wounded ISIS fighters. While this last source in particular is not reliable by itself , Sumeyye has been extremely supportive of her father's subversion of Turkish democracy.  And overall it seems quite obvious that Erdogan has played a key role in the rise of ISIS.
Bizarrely, in late 2016, after discontent when the United States refused to extradite Fethulah Gulen, he announced to the world to have "concrete documentary proof that the West is backing ISIS."  Since that time Erdogan has also been antagonizing Austria , Germany  and the Netherlands , in addition to trying to blackmail Europe over the immigration crisis. 
To illustrate just how what a megalomaniacal dictator-to-be Erdogan is, as for the Netherlands, he is told not to send his ministers over here to lobby for his new presidential system. Erdogan refuses, so a minister has to be turned back, leading to violent riots with the police in the Netherlands with the oh-so-well integrated Turks. Subsequently Erdogan starts to accuse the Dutch government of Nazi practices and of having butchered the citizens of Srebrenica back in the late 1990s. He wants apologies, demands sanctions and days later numerous Dutch Twitter accounts get hacked and plastered with the hashtag #NaziHollanda. Erdogan is hard on his way to become the umpteenth dangerous Middle East dictator.
On war maps we see the Kurd-dominated, U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, founded weeks before, starts to take over all of the northern Syria. Possibly this new, expanding front is also having an effect on the ISIS oil trade, but no more reports about it appear in the media.
|Jan. 3, 2016||ISIS launches a major on Haditha in Iraq, one of the few cities not conquered in the region in 2014. It is repelled by two local Sunni tribes and the Iraqi Central Government.|
|Mar. 2016||Assad's forces, aided by Russian airstrikes, is able to recapture Palmyra from ISIS. Only when it is in fully in Assad's favor, do the Russians attack ISIS.|
|Apr. 2016||Based on the number of ISIS casualties, Israeli analysts accuse Assad of having used Sarin gas to prevent ISIS from overrunning two air bases located north-east of Damascus. Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) experts continue to suspect that Assad is still hiding batches of Sarin gas. |
|Apr. 2016||The first batch of Russian S-300 SAMs arrive in Iran.|
|May 2016||Russia and Assad are found to make extensive use of cluster bombs. A large number of cluster submunitions are gathered by civilians in cities as Aleppo and Idlib.|
|Jun. 2016||Russia bombs a base of the South-East Syria-located, NATO-backed New Syrian Army with cluster bombs. During the attack, the Russians purposely provoke the Americans by waiting for F/A-18s to refuel and then strike the base again. |
|Jun. 2016||Fallujah, Iraq is retaken by NATO and Iraqi Central Government forces. A convoy of 127 ISIS vehicles is destroyed by Iraqi Hind helicopters at it tries to flee into Syria. |
|Jul. 2016||A military coup takes places against Erdogan, which fails after Erdogan is able to gain access to public television and appeal to the public to rise up. In subsequent weeks it turns out that the Gulen organization, which ISGP discussed in 2013 as an organization with close ties to the CIA, played an important role in the coup. Within six weeks, 80,000 Gulen supporters and political enemies of Erdogan, including thousands of judges, are arrested, sacked, or suspended. Erdogan is unusually autocratic and has all the traits of a religious, megalomaniacal dictator. He even cut down a small forest to build a giant 1,150 room palace for himself.
Within days the Erdogan government releases the information that Army General John Campbell and an 80-member CIA team oversaw the coup in which $2 billion in CIA funds and the Gulen Organization was used to help turn Turkish officials against Erdogan. 
Campbell retired on May 1, 2016 as NATO commander in Afghanistan. In late June 2016 he joined the "operating executive board" of J.F. Lehman & Company  of top superclass member John F. Lehman, Jr., a former 9/11 Commission member and Pilgrims Society member. Coincidentally, in 2004 John Lehman, at that already chairman of J.F. Lehman & Co., was the number one alternative to the position of CIA director if Porter Goss wasn't acceptable to Senate Democrats.  Goss was able to get his confirmation, however.
In September 2016 Erdogan will meat with Trump's national security advisor General James Flynn, the former CIA director, about the possible extradition of Fethullah Gulen from the United States. Flynn's neocon ally James Woolsey was part of Flynn's detail. 
|Aug. 24, 2016||Turkey sends its military into North-Syria to drive ISIS from the border and prevent the Kurds, the backbone of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, from taking over all of northern Syria.  In subsequent months various skirmishes occur between the Turks and Kurds.|
|Sep. 12, 2016||Ceasefire between Syria's military and Russia on the one hand and Free Syrian Army (FSA)-affiliated group apart from ISIS and Al Nusra. The idea is to provide citizens in the major cities of Syria with seven days of reduced violence, so that aid convoys can help the people. After seven days of this ceasefire, the idea is to set up a "Joint Implementation Center" to coordinate Russian and U.S. airstrikes against Al Nusra / Al Qaeda and primarily ISIS. How Russia and the U.S. are ever going to cooperate in this effort is a good question. 
Russia specifically demands that Free Syrian Army needs to stop fighting their supposed Kurdish allies. 
Soon Russia alleges that various FSA units have increased their number of attacks against the Syrian regime. 
|Sep. 16, 2016||General Lloyd J. Austin III, the head of the United States Central Command, testifies to John McCain's Senate Armed Services Committee that only "four or five" U.S.-trained New Syrian Forces (Division 30) units remain in the fight with ISIS today. New units, one of 54 graduates and another of 75, keep getting abducted or robbed at gunpoint by Al Nusra. Graduates of the program tend to end up with a variety of existing but less trusted Free Syrian Army militias or the Syrian Democratic Forces.
Because of this, the media claim that the $500 million program to train 5,000 to 12,000 anti-ISIS Sunni Arab fighters is not working at all.  However, it appears these reports are somewhat misleading, considering the U.S.-backed, FSA-allied and Kurd-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces is making huge gains in northern Syria against ISIS, a variety of somewhat moderate FSA units remain in the battle, and a number of other units have been trained/aided by the U.S., such as New Syrian Army (NSyA) and the 5,000 men strong Jaysh al-Nasr.
|Sep. 17, 2016||On the fifth day of the ceasefire, U.S.-coordinated NATO F-16s and A-10s "accidentally" attack a Syrian military unit consisting of a tank, vehicles and dozens of soldiers at the airport of the north-eastern city of Der Zor, where a pocket of Syrian military units has been completely surrounded by ISIS for more than a year. Close to 100 Syrian army soldiers are killed and another 110 are wounded.
Immediately after the "friendly fire" attack, ISIS storms the Der Zor air base - the main thing keeping the Syrian army resupplied and alive in Der Zor. Eventually the ISIS attack is repelled, but a permanent wedge is driven between the air base and many Syrian forces.
Assad and Putin are convinced the strike is not an accident and are labeling it as proof that the West is still using ISIS against the Assad regime.  The ceasefire immediately begins to unravel.
From a strategic point of view it would make sense for NATO to destroy the Syrian army's stronghold in Der Zor. At this point, it's Assad's last stance in all of mid and eastern Syria. It would also break the ceasefire and thus prevent any intelligence-sharing with a ridiculously unreliable Russia within a "Joint Implementation Center".
|Sep. 19, 2016||A convoy of the United Nations and Syrian Arab Red Crescent aid - as per the ceasefire agreement - is destroyed. The West blames Russia and Syria, who in turn blame the U.S. for the attack in an attempt to create a diversion for the Der Zor attack two days earlier. Putin and Assad deny, but considering the NATO attack two days ago, their primitive urges, and the fact that they prefer that all citizens leave Aleppo as soon as possible so they can retake the city,
gives us a few hints as to who was behind the attack.
The ceasefire is off the table, as is any talk of a "Joint Implementation Center" to coordinate anti-ISIS and anti-Al Qaeda strikes between Russia and the U.S.
|Early Oct. 2016||As the NATO powers are discussing to use force against Assad to stop him and Russia from carrying out more large-scale bombings in Aleppo, Russia sends its S-300 air defense system to Syria  and warns the West that it might come to the aid of Assad. Russia specifically threatens that "the range of [our S-300 and S-400 SAM sites] may come as a surprise to any unidentified flying objects."  These state-of-the-art surface to air missiles can shoot down NATO planes as far as Israel and also counter ballistic missiles as the Tomahawk that would come in over the Mediterranean.|
|Oct. 2016||Russia agrees to sell its S-400 SAMs to India, deliveries starting in 2020. China will be supplied with the missile in 2018.|
|Oct. 19, 2016||The NATO-Iraqi Central Government siege of Mosul begins. Russia is complaining that through a secret deal involving the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, that thousands of ISIS forces are going to be allowed to escape to Syria.  While there are reports that the ISIS leadership has skipped town, which U.S. troops are reporting to ISIS fighters in order to undermine morale, apparently the amount of fighters that have escaped is in the hundreds; not the thousands. 
As the siege of Mosul begins, foreign ISIS fighters are using thousands of civilians as human shields.
|Nov. 26, 2016||The Iraqi parliament, with its majority Shiite, vote to make the massive amount of Iran-backed Shiite militias fighting under the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) in Iraq an official, fully legalized force that falls under the Iraqi military.
Unfortunately, these militias have been involved in ethnically cleansing Sunnis from areas "liberated" from ISIS. They're also extremely anti-U.S., giving Iran even more influence in Iraq. Shiite death squad activity against Sunnis has been ongoing since 2004.
While a number of Sunni militias are also allowed in the new, official PMU, Sunnis claim that the government is being much more selective with the inclusion of these Sunni units. The Sunni block of politicians walk out of parliament in protest. 
|Dec. 19, 2016||Russian ambassador Andrei Karlov is assassinated in Turkey during a speech. A police officer on his security detail who supposedly belongs to the Gulen organization executes him. Putin refers to it as a "provocation" , indicating he suspects a political plot of Turkey or the United States. The latter is shielding Fethullah Gulen from extradition to Turkey.|
|Mid Dec. 2016||While Assad and Russia are in the process of launching a major assault in the north-east against the last ISIS strongholds in Aleppo, ISIS launches a major counter-offensive at Palmyra, recapturing the ancient city within days, and pushing Assad's forces and Russian observers out again. They have to retreat about 50 km east before stopping the ISIS onslaught. Russia blames the U.S. for the recapture, complaining that the U.S. allowed thousands of ISIS fighters to escape Mosul and scaling down its campaign against Raqqa, also freeing up ISIS resources. 
Soon ISIS continues to blow up two-millenia-old monuments that they missed last time, such as the Roman theater.
For the coalition forces it would make sense to not aid Assad and Russia anywhere outside the absolute north and south-west. ISIS needs to keep them busy and limited to the west as long as possible.
|Dec. 23, 2016||Assad, the Russians and Hezbollah launch a massive attack on the Al-Fijah Spring to the north-west of Damascus, a small area where Al-Nusra has a stronghold. The regime offers to transport the Jihadis and their families to Idlib. Twice they refuse. In between, the regime levels whole villages with shelling and bombing with napalm, chlorine and everything else. Hospitals, telecommunications and even the spring itself is bombed, depriving 100,000 people in the region and millions of people in Damascus from water. The regime claims the rebels have poisoned the water, a lie that falls through quickly.  A government official trying to negotiate a temporary ceasefire to repair the well is shot dead. A technician working on the well is also killed. Everybody is blaming everybody else for sabotaging the repairs.|
|Dec. 30, 2016||A ceasefire is negotiated at the valley for engineers to repair the Al-Fijah Spring.|
|Jan. 12, 2017||Israel is suspected of another strike in Syria after explosions at a military airport in Damascus. |
|Jan. 15, 2017||Repairs at the Al-Fijah Spring fail. Negotiators and engineers are shot dead left right, with all sides blaming each another. Shelling and bombardments of the Assad regime restart.  The water price in Damascus goes up to $750 per month while even senior civil servants only make about $150 per month. |
|Jan. 20, 2017||Barack Obama steps down as U.S. president and is replaced by Donald Trump.
At this point the Kurd-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which doesn't fully fall under the Free Syrian Army umbrella, is slowly taking over the whole north of Syria from ISIS, with major Free Syrian Army pockets in the West of Syria focusing on the fight with Assad. In contrast to the Kurds, traditional FSA armies have no desire to ISIS as long as Assad remains in place.
Among the long-time FSA units in the West fighting Assad is Jaysh al-Ezzah, one of the groups in the Jaysh al-Nasr network. Founded in 2013 by an army commander who defected from Assad, it is considered moderate, has a force of 800-1500 soldiers, receives TOW missiles from the U.S. and is operating at this point north of Hama. With these TOWs FSA units as Jaysh al-Ezzah continue to wreck havoc on Assad's tank forces. 
Jan. 2017 -: ISIS conflict during the Trump era
|Jan. 20, 2017||Donald Trump gets into office, but, despite his claims during his election campaign, does not make any drastic changes to U.S. policy in Syria. He lets the generals do their thing for the time being.|
|Mar. 17, 2017||Israeli jets are shot at with Syrian SAMs while carrying out bombings in Syria. The SAM missiles are intercepted by Israel's Arrow anti-missile system. Because the Syrians claim to have downed an Israeli jet, Israel provides a rare confirmation to have carried out bombings in Syria, but that none of their planes have been shot down.|
|April 2017||Israeli airstrikes on targets in Syria continue at an even higher pace. The strikes are largely targeting advanced Russian and Iranian anti-aircraft missiles and Hezbollah targets.|
|May 22, 2017||Terrorist bombing of ISIS at a concert of Ariana Grande in Manchester, England. 23 people are killed and 116 injured.|
|May 29, 2017||Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces, the government-backed alliance of mainly Shia militias, have pushed on to the Syrian border at al-Baaj in North-East Iraq. Al-Baaj is the last supply line for ISIS Syria to ISIS Iraq.|
|Late May 2017||Reports in the British media begin to surface that the publication of a Home Office report on the funding of jihadist groups as ISIS is purposely being delayed time and again. |
APPENDICES: OBAMA's FAILURES AND ACHIEVEMENTS
Appendix A: Countries involved in funding ISIS
As far as ISGP has seen reliable sources of, all of which are discussed and listed in ISGP's timeline here:
|7.||Montenegro||16.||United Arab Emirates|
Appendix B: Sources for ISIS financing by Turkish and Arab League "allies"
More sources can be added and have been used in this article, but this is very decent selection.
- January 21, 2015, Jerome Corsi for WorldNetDaily, 'Generals conclude Obama backed al-Qaida'. This article, produced by an anti-Obama ultraright-wing clique of intelligence-connected individuals, is about Libya and the fall of Gaddafi in 2011. Therefore it is listed here first. (link)
- August 2012: Defense Intelligence Agency report (link).
- October 14, 2012, New York Times, 'Rebel Arms Flow Is Said to Benefit Jihadists in Syria'.
- February 25, 2013, New York Times, 'Saudis Step Up Help for Rebels in Syria With Croatian Arms'.
- March 24, 2013, New York Times, 'Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From C.I.A.'.
- June 21, 2013, New York Times, 'In Turnabout, Syria Rebels Get Libyan Weapons'.
- July 27, 2013, National Review, 'Contra Senator Paul's critics, Islamic supremacism pervades Assad's opposition'.
- June 23, 2014, The Atlantic, ''Thank God for the Saudis': ISIS, Iraq, and the Lessons of Blowback':
""Thank God for the Saudis and [Saudi intelligence chief] Prince Bandar ["Bandar Bush"]," John McCain told CNN's Candy Crowley in January 2014. "Thank God for the Saudis and Prince Bandar, and for our Qatari friends," the senator said once again a month later, at the Munich Security Conference. ...
"McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham had previously met with Bandar to encourage the Saudis to arm Syrian rebel forces. ...
"By mid-April, just two weeks after President Obama met with King Abdullah on March 28, Bandar had also been removed from his position as head of Saudi intelligence... Sources close to the royal court told me that, in fact, the king fired Bandar over his handling of the kingdom’s Syria policy and other simmering tensions...
"The United States, France, and Turkey have long sought to support the weak and disorganized FSA, and to secure commitments from Qatar and Saudi Arabia to do the same. When Mohammed bin Nayef took the Syrian file from Bandar in February, the Saudi government appeared to finally be endorsing this strategy. ...
"Qatar's military and economic largesse has made its way to Jabhat al-Nusra, to the point that a senior Qatari official told me he can identify al-Nusra commanders by the blocks they control in various Syrian cities. But ISIS is another matter. As one senior Qatari official stated, "ISIS has been a Saudi project." ... ISIS, in fact, may have been a major part of Bandar’s covert-ops strategy in Syria."
- September 16, 2014, CNN, 'Defense Leaders Testify on Capitol Hill on ISIS':
"GENERAL MARTIN DEMPSEY [Chairman of the Joint Chiefs]: It really comes down to building a coalition so that the Arab Muslim world sees is them rejecting ISIS.
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: They already reject ISIL. Do you know of any major Arab ally that embraces ISIL?
GENERAL MARTIN DEMPSEY: I know major Arab allies who fund them."
- October 31, 2013, Washington Times, 'Syria becomes largest home to al Qaeda; jihadists find safe haven to plot attacks'.
- July 7, 2014 YouTube upload by "RUSI", speech of former MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove, 'Sir Richard Dearlove on Re-appraising the Counter-Terrorist Threat' (link).
- August 17, 2014, 3:40 P.M., Hillary Clinton (firstname.lastname@example.org) email to John Podesta (email@example.com), as leaked by Wikileaks in 2016:
"Note: Sources include Western intelligence, US intelligence and sources in the region. ...
While this military/para-military operation is moving forward, we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region. This effort will be enhanced by the stepped up commitment in the KRG. The Qataris and Saudis will be put in a position of balancing policy between their ongoing competition to dominate the Sunni world and the consequences of serious U.S. pressure. By the same token, the threat of similar, realistic U.S. operations will serve to assist moderate forces in Libya, Lebanon, and even Jordan, where insurgents are increasingly fascinated by the ISIL success in Iraq."
- August 18, 2014, New York Times, 'The terrorists fighting us now? We just finished training them.'
- September 2, 2014, Senator John McCain on Fox News' On The Record program, 'McCain: 'The rise of ISIS 'didn't have to happen ... We're paying an incredible price for Pres. Obama's leading from behind'' (also on YouTube) (note: bizarrely, not a single mainstream media outlet challenged or mentioned this statement about arming ISIS):
MCCAIN: Kill 'em [ISIS]. They've got to be destroyed. ...
Hillary Clinton has described already the meeting in the White House over two years ago [which would be mid 2012]: everyone in the national security team recommended arming ISIS [note: probably means the moderate FSA rebels, which would be true]. And the president, by himself, turned it down. Like, by himself, he [also] decided not to strike Syria after he'd said they'd crossed the red line [in August 2013].
There is no credibility. If the president and John Kerry keep talking about coalitions, how are you going to form a coalition with people who do not trust you? Who know you are totally unreliable? There has to be a Restoration of American credibility. ...
HOST: General Dempsey [chairman of the Joint Chiefs] and Secretary [of Defense Chuck] Hagel about two weeks ago when they were so strong on [intervention in] Syria, it almost seems as if they were going a little bit rogue because the president wasn't in town. And now they have dialed it back in.
MCCAIN: They were reeled back in. ... I think [Obama] is trying to stick to his campaign [promises]... were he said, "We're going to lead from behind. We're gonna get out of everywhere." ... Bill Clinton changed his strategy after Srebrenica. Jimmy Carter changed his. George W. Bush changed his after seeing we were failing in Iraq. And he can too. But apparently - I don't understand, because the facts on the ground dictate it."
- October 2, 2014, U.S. vice president Joe Biden during a Q&A session at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government (transcript from YouTube video):
"Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. The Turks were great friends, and I have a great relationship with Erdogan, [who] I just spent a lot of time with, [and] the Saudis, the Emirates, etcetera. What were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad, and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad – except that the people who were being supplied, were al-Nusra, and al-Qaeda, and the extremist elements of jihadis who were coming from other parts of the world.
"Now, you think I'm exaggerating? Take a look. Where did all of this go? So now that's happening, all of a sudden, everybody is awakened because this outfit called ISIL, which was al-Qaeda in Iraq, when they were essentially thrown out of Iraq, found open space and territory in [eastern] Syria, [and they] work with al-Nusra, who we declared a terrorist group early on. And we could not convince our colleagues to stop supplying them. ...
"And so what do we have for the first time? Now Saudi Arabia has stopped the funding from going in. Saudi Arabia is allowing training on its soil of American forces under Title 10: open training. The Qataris have cut off their support of the most extreme elements of the terrorist organizations and the Turks - President Erdogan is an old friend - said, "You were right. We let too many people [jihadis] through." Now they're trying to seal their border." [giant fake smile]
- January 23, 2016, New York Times, 'U.S. Relies Heavily on Saudi Money to Support Syrian Rebels'.
- July 27, 2016, The Guardian, 'Revealed: the £1bn of weapons flowing from Europe to Middle East'.
- August 2, 2016, National Review, 'Hillary Clinton's Benghazi Debacle: Arming Jihadists in Libya . . . and Syria'.
- September 21, 2016, reluctant words of Obama's secretary of state John Kerry during a private talk at United Nations headquarters to a group of anti-Assad Syrian activists:
"The [Jihadist and "moderate"] groups, the armed groups in Syria, got a lot of support. Not just from the United States, but from other partners. ... Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia - a huge amount of money was coming in. ...
"We were watching. We saw that Daesh [ISIS] was growing in strength. And we thought Assad was threatened. We thought, however, that we could probably manage, you know, that Assad might then negotiate and instead of negotiating, he got Putin to support him."
Appendix C: Obama's enabling of ISIS: a summary
As soon as the rise of ISIS In Syria and Iraq was a fact by June 2014, President Obama came under continuous attack by the conservative right of having been the leading cause of it. In fact, accusations of the looming rise of jihadist elements in the Syrian-Iraqi border area already were reported on publicly by September 2012. While the right-wing media in particular cannot be trusted for its frequent use of manipulations, there's no doubt that the Obama government has played a key role in the rise of ISIS. Correct accusations, for example, have included that the Obama administration:
- supported dissent against the Assad regime before and during the Arab Spring of 2011, which soon led to Sunni-Alawite sectarian war and brutal crackdowns of the Syrian government;
- allowed Turkey and the Arab League to ship looted Egyptian weapons to anti-Assad armies in Syria, including ISIS and Al Qaeda Syria, starting in January 2012;
- allowed Turkey's Erdogan to buy billions of dollars in illegal ISIS oil in the 2012-2015 period and add it to the regular oil pipeline that ends at the Ceyhan oil tanker port on the Mediterranean coast;
- almost certainly played an important role in coordinating the sale of $1.5 billion in arms that found its way to the Syrian rebels in the 2012-2016 period;
- ignored reports that arms solely meant for the "moderate" Free Syrian Army in fact were sold on by this same Free Syrian Army to their Al Qaeda Syria (Al-Nusra) and ISIS "brothers";
- ignored large-scale defections from western-trained "moderate" Free Syrian Army and Libyan anti-Gaddafi forces to Al Qaeda Syria (Al-Nusra) and ISIS, to the point that the Free Syrian Army hardly existed anymore in late 2014 (and had to be rebuild);
- didn't do much with reports that Turkey and Arab League countries, which were coordinating the arms shipments, were supportive of Al-Nusra (Al Qaeda Syria) and ISIS, at least during the early years;
- ignored common sense in general that "moderism" in the Arab world is a very relative concept just by looking at the enormous and widespread support for Sharia law, attacks on American troops, and the total lack of democracy;
- allowed Iran and the corrupt, sectarian, Shiite prime minister Nouri al-Maliki to break the constitution in March 2010 by not insisting that the rightfully chosen and pro-West Ayad Allawi was instated as the new prime minister of Iraq;
- continued to ignore warnings of his own Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) since at least August 2012 that the situation in both Syria and Iraq was most likely going to deteriorate rapidly if arms would continue to flow to rebels in Syria;
- continued to ignore ISIS' "breaking the walls" campaign in Iraq from July 2012 to July 2013, as detailed in ISIS' own Clanging of the Swords video series;
- ignored an extensive October 31, 2013 report in the Washington Times which details that roughly 12,000 jihadis are running their own kingdom in eastern Syria based on extortion and oil profits and are bringing heavy weapons into Iraq to fight the government of Shiite prime minister Nouri al-Maliki;
- refused to listen to the Kurdish leadership in late 2013 that an alliance of ISIS, Sunni tribal leaders and the underground Naqshbandi Army of former Saddam Hussein loyalists was about to take over western and northern Iraq;
- refused to act when ISIS and allies rapidly took control of the Iraqi cities Ramadi and Fallujah in January 2014;
- refused Iraq's March 2014 requests to bomb ISIS and Al Qaeda training camps inside Iraq;
- continued to ignore the Kurds in May 2014 when they warned that a "shadow government" had been formed in Mosul by ISIS and allies and that they were about to take control;
- still did not take immediate, forceful action when ISIS and allies took over Mosul and other Sunnite cities in Iraq in June 2014.
- allowed ISIS and allies to capture roughly 2,300 U.S.-supplied humvees, 50 pieces of M198 howitzers, 10 M1A1 tanks and other U.S. vehicles, primarily, but not exclusively, in the fall of Mosul.
After Obama finally began to bomb ISIS on August 8, 2014, we can find additional peculiarities that have made many people doubt if the true aim of the United States has been to destroy ISIS. For example:
- ISIS oil smuggling routes into Turkey were not not effectively dealt with until November 2015, days after the Paris terrorist attack by ISIS. And to be realistic, we don't know to what extent allies or even Russia has dealt with it since then.
- 10 months into the U.S.-NATO bombing campaign, starting in May 2015, ISIS, most likely in large part due to its oil trade with Turkey, still was able to massively expand its territory towards the south in Iraq and Syria, pushing all the way to the outskirts of Syria's capital, Damascus. Were it not for massive support of Russia and Iran, Assad may well have fallen at that point. In Syria NATO's action was largely limited to the north-west of Syria while in Iraq officials were complaining that U.S. restrictions on airstrikes (supposedly out of fear of hitting civilians) allowed armed ISIS columns, including huge numbers of ISIS trucks, to move unhindered. This policy led to Ramadi being overrun with ISIS truck bombs in mid May 2015.
- The territorial expansion of ISIS was soon followed by an unprecedented wave of terrorist attacks in Europe and the U.S., during which liberal establishment elites always were quick to point out that these attacks should not lead to "Islamophobia" and questions surrounding Muslim immigrants.
- As late as September 17, 2016, when ISIS' influence was declining, a NATO strike managed to end a delicate ceasefire with a massive "unintended" blow to a major stronghold of the Syrian Army in the east of the country, in Der Zor. It killed close to 100 of Assad's soldiers and almost led to ISIS overrunning a crucial airbase. Yes, Assad and Russia retaliated by attacking an aid convoy, but would anybody have expected anything less?
Appendix D: Achievements of Obama in the Middle East
The previous appendix, of course, takes a very negative view of Obama's Middle East policy, as his actions and inactions played a crucial role in the rise of ISIS. However, Obama is not solely to blame for that. Arguably the primary person to blame is President George Bush, who invaded Iraq over knowingly false claims. Obama inherited the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War and the whole super-expensive War on Terror from Bush and had to make the best of it.
As for achievements in the Middle East, Obama:
- helped remove Gaddafi in 2011, a long-time dictator who supported terrorism, developed chemical weapons, tried to develop nuclear weapons, attempted to blackmail the European Union with refugee streams moving through his country, and actively attempted to undermine French and NATO power in Africa and the Arab world ;
- decimated Assad's giant tank army since late 2011 by allowing Libyan anti-tank missiles into Egypt, followed by shipments of (outdated, surplus) TOW missiles to rebel groups;
- was able to get 1,300 tons of chemical weapons out of Syria, making the country considerably less risky to attack, especially for Israel;
- staved off Iran successfully developing a nuclear weapon until at least 2027, and with that prevented dragging the West into another costly war;
- and stopped the Bush practice of directly invading countries with ground armies (under false pretenses), which ruined the United States financially;
Obama also had his failures, of course, especially with regard to the rise of ISIS (and allowing its refugees to the West en masse), but at the very least he recognized something that neocons do not: the U.S. economy is important. The national debt may have almost doubled under his two terms from roughly $10 to $20 trillion, but most of that was the result of the ongoing Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the War on Terror as a whole. Also, the economy took a huge downturn right when Obama came into office.
Appendix E: The 2015 Obama-Iran nuclear energy deal: facts without spin
The nuclear energy deal Obama signed with Iran in November 2015 has been extremely controversial. Much of this has to do with party politics, as well as the fact that Iran is a pro-terrorist "Axis of Evil" state that is extremely hostile to the United States and Israel.
It also doesn't speak in Obama's favor that he kept key sections of the deal secret. When leaked in July 2016, it revealed that key controls over the Iranian nuclear program fall away as soon as January 2027.
Below the pros and cons of the nuclear deal can be found. ISGP's conclusion on it is that Obama's nuclear power deal with Iran might be uncomfortable and it may make the United States look weak, but it is also necessary in a time that U.S. debt has risen to record levels, with a population tired (and skeptical) of war, and commitments in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and an increasingly dangerous North Korea.
With the Obama-Iran nuclear energy deal, Iran agreed to:
- continuous monitoring by the IAEA for 15 years (2030), including live cameras and routine and random inspections;
- continued monitoring by the IAEA of Iran's centrifuge production for 20 years (2035);
- continued monitoring by the IAEA of Iran's uranium mines and mills for 25 years (2040);
- continued monitoring by the IAEA of Iran's nuclear program beyond 25 years (2040) at a more intrusive level than has been the case before the deal;
- lose 98% of its stockpile of enriched uranium for 15 years (2030);
- enrich uranium no more than 3.67%, enough for nuclear power but not for nuclear weapons (90%);
- bring its number of uranium centrifuges (for enrichment) down from 19,000 down to 6,100;
- maintain no more than 5,100 old, inefficient centrifuges at its Natanz facility until, it appears, January 2027;
- maintain no more than 1,000 (largely inactive) centrifuges at its hardened, underground Fordo facility for 15 years (2030);
- dismantle its one plutonium reactor and thus curb production of plutonium;
- not protest that sanctions not related to nuclear power continue to be in place.
To summarize, even though key provisions start to run out as early as 2027, the nuclear deal has allowed the West much better insight into the Iranian nuclear program than it had before. And it gives us some time to save up for another war.
Disadvantages of the Obama-Iran nuclear energy deal with Iran. Iran:
- is allowed to have nuclear energy (and gain expertise with it), meaning that one temporary lapse in western oversight means Jihadist Iran will have nuclear-tipped ICBMs that can destroy Israel and the West;
- can look forward to key aspects of the oversight starting to fall away as soon as 2027 and more in the early 2030;
- refused to curb ICBM research as part of the deal and immediately exploited this by continuing its tests;
- insisted on and got 6,000 centrifuges, instead of 500 to 1,500, or 4,000 as a later compromise, suggested by the West;
- gets to keep its remaining 13,000 centrifuges as spares;
- receives help from Russia as part of the deal that will make its new centrifuges 20 times more effective by the time it is allowed to expand the number of centrifuges ;
- can keep using its fortified underground Fordow facility instead of closing it, as was initially demanded;
- received up to $150 billion in lifted sanctions;
- will be able to deny, harass, follow, intimidate and otherwise obstruct inspectors to a degree, because at least 5 of 8 countries overseeing the deal need to agree that protocol has been broken, which can take up to 24 days to vote on. 
On top of that, the deal with Iran makes the U.S. look weak, because Iran is one of the biggest enemies in the world of the U.S., if not the biggest. Details on this can be found in the next appendix.
Still, Trump's subsequent desire in mid 2017 to end the deal is even more ridiculous, because for at least another 10 years Iran is not going to be a problem. Trump's policy has everything to do with the fact that Israeli hardliners want Iran bombed to the stone age. The Iranian regime might deserve it, but with $20 trillion in debt after an utterly pointless War on "Terror" and two failed, pointless invasions, in addition to North Korea threatening to nuke the United States and its allies almost every day, one would think that there are other priorities than Iran.
Appendix F: Why Iran's Ayatollah-ran theocracy is evil
Apart from the benefits of the November 2015 nuclear "peace" treaty with Iran, it also has to be recognized that Obama signed this deal with a country that:
- has its military and security services controlled by a permanent Ayatollah theocrat with jihadist proclivities rather than temporary, elected presidents;
- under the leadership of the Ayatollah, brainwashed its population during the Iran-Iraq War to the point that huge numbers of children "volunteered" or "were volunteered" to sacrifice themselves on the battlefield by running into mine fields and enemy lines, sometimes tied together with ropes or strapped with explosives ;
- in general pioneered the use of suicide bombings during the beginning stages of the Iran-Iraq War, with the Iraqi embassy in Beirut bombing of 1981 being the first major one ;
- used to sent terrorists into neighboring Iraq to fight the Americans, along with Syria;
- controls the terrorist group Hamas, which controls Palestine and carries out suicide bombings against civilian targets as public buses and shopping streets;
- controls the terrorist group Hezbollah, which controls Lebanon and similarly carries out suicide bombings against civilian targets;
- finances the Houthi rebels in Yemen who fight a guerrilla and terrorist war against Saudi Arabia, a country that has not been a threat to the West in terms of attempting to create weapons of mass destruction;
- has more than double the amount of foot soldiers in Iraq than the Iraqi Central Government;
- has a large number of militias fighting alongside Assad against U.S.-backed Free Syrian Armies;
- never fully cooperated with nuclear inspections;
- was involved in a secret joint Iranian-Syrian-North Korean project in Syria to build nuclear weapons - until Israel bombed the project into oblivion in September 2006;
- immediately used a loophole in Obama's deal to continue its development of ICBM ballistic missiles, which are only useful when equipped with nuclear warheads.
Appendix G: Why Syria's Assad regime is evil
Syria, ran by the Assad family for many decades is a country that:
- built one of the largest tank armies in the world, with which it has been suppressing its population;
- occupied Lebanon until it was kicked out in 2005 with support from the West (Hezbollah remains very strong here);
- alongside Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran, built up the Hezbollah terrorist group, which has targeted military and civilian targets alike;
- along with Iran, used to sent terrorists into neighboring Iraq to fight the Americans;
- set up a secret nuclear bomb project in coordination with North Korea and Iran, which Israel bombed into oblivion in September 2006;
- developed 1,300 tons is sarin, VX and mustard gas - all of which cause horrendous deaths - until it was forcibly removed in 2013-2014;
- appears to be hiding secret caches of VX and sarin gas from United Nations inspectors since 2014;
- has continued to drop improvised chlorine gas bombs on military and civilian targets, even after it was forced to hand over its chemical weapons stores in 2013;
- potentially has continued to use sarin gas in emergency situations against ISIS;
- potentially was behind the August 2013 Ghouta sarin attack in Damascus that killed more than 400 children with a total of 1,400 deaths;
- has been starving, torturing and murdering political dissidents by the tens of thousands after the 2011 "Arab Spring", and on a smaller scale before that ;
- alongside Russia, has been bombing entire city blocks in its war against ISIS, Al Nusra and Free Syrian Army units in major city centers, alongside Russia;
- has purposely targeted Damascus' water supply in December 2016, only to blame the rebels for it;
- bombed a major aid convoy for civilians in September 2016 as reprisal against a NATO military attack on its troops in Der Zor.
|||The no-fly zone tactic was mentioned in a Wikileaks-released State Department paper to Hillary Clinton's email address: "Arming the Syrian rebels and using western air power to ground Syrian helicopters and airplanes is a low-cost high payoff approach." The wrong date (November 30, 2015) is listed for this paper. Based on the content, the paper was produced within May 2012 - April 2013 period. A hawkish U.S. strategy for overthrowing Assad is detailed: the U.S. should train and arm the Syrian opposition in conjunction with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Turkey. Eventually the U.S. has to deny Assad the use of his air force.|
|||September 14, 2015, Washington Post, ' A startling number of Americans still believe President Obama is a Muslim'.|
|||*) April 15, 2013, CNN, 'Why the war in Iraq was fought for Big Oil'.
*) This article makes a reference to the 2004 book of Bush's treasury secretary Paul O'Neill, The Price of Loyalty, in which O'Neill explains that just 10 days into Bush's presidency on January 30, 2001, the agenda for an Iraq invasion was set. For more details, visit the Abstract: all key suspects and reasons section of ISGP's The Supranational Suspects Behind 9/11.
|||March 24, 2004, The Guardian, 'Bush team 'agreed plan to attack the Taliban the day before September 11''.|
|||July 15, 2012, CNN, 'Ex-Syrian ambassador calls for foreign military intervention'.|
|||October 22, 2010, New York Times, 'Leaked Reports Detail Iran's Aid for Iraqi Militias'.|
|||May 12, 2004, CNN, 'U.S. hits Syria with sanctions'.|
|||March 6, 2013, The Guardian, 'From El Salvador to Iraq: Washington's man behind brutal police squads', includes the 51 minute documentary.|
- General Muntadher al-Samari, commanding officer in the Iraqi Interior Ministry 2003-2005 (tried to stop abuses and Steele later visited him in Jordan to figure out if he had anything incriminating on him): "A directive by General Petraeus ordered the formation of these units, but the people who were directly supervising us were Colonel Coffman and the advisor, James Steele."
Narrator: "General Adnan Thabit ... now headed the special police commandos, which were financed by a $2 billion fund controlled by General Petraeus."
- General Adnan Thabit (a Sunni imprisoned by Hussein), commander of special police commandos 2004-2006 and uncle of Falah Hassan al-Naqib, Iraqi interior minister June 2004 - April 2005 and CFR member:"General David Petraeus visited me and starting joking with my soldiers... And after that he send me two advisors: Steele and Colonel Coffman. After this first visit by General Petraeus, he promised he would help us in every possible way. And the first help we received from him was, he sent me a shipment of 150 Dodge pickup trucks."
- Colonel James Steele bio: Counter-insurgency commander in Cambodia, then El Salvador 1984-1986 and Panama. Vice president Enron. Send to Iraq by Donald Rumseld as the country's top counter-insurgency specialist mid 2003 - April 2005 in the provisional government under Paul Bremer. Initially posed as an energy consultant. Counselor to Ambassador John Negroponte, who was in the country from June 2004 to April 2005.
|||June 9, 2005, New York Times, 'Q&A: Iraq's Militias'.|
|||March 26, 2006, New York Times, 'Bound, Blindfolded and Dead: The Face of Revenge in Baghdad'.|
|||March 6, 2013, The Guardian, 'From El Salvador to Iraq: Washington's man behind brutal police squads', includes the 51 minute documentary. General Muntadher al-Samari, commanding officer in the Iraqi Interior Ministry 2003-2005: "The Ministry of the Interior had 14 to 15 prisons. They were secret, never declared. But the American top brass and the Iraqi leadership knew all about these prisons. The things that went on there: drilling, murder, torture - the ugliest sorts of torture I have ever seen."|
|||Ibid. Mowaffak al-Rubaie, national security advisor of Iraqi 2004-2009: "James Steele, for me, was a mysterious guy. We sat in the meeting and he came at the end, pulled the chair and sat there. He did not introduce himself to me. He did not introduce himself to me. You don't get anybody in these meetings. There were only [General Ricardo] Sanchez [head of U.S. forces in Iraq], [Paul] Bremer [head of Iraq's transitional government until June 28, 2004], myself, minister of defence, and minister of interior, and him. Full Stop. He was very respected by others and they listened to what he has to say."|
|||January 27, 2015, Daily Mail, 'US loans fueled insider deal, failed power plan in Liberia'.|
|||July 10, 2005, New York Times, 'The Enigma of Damascus': "This February, the administration recalled its ambassador, who has not returned to Damascus. It acted after a powerful bomb in Beirut killed Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister and a critic of the Syrian regime."|
|||February 10, 2015, New York Times, 'The Hezbollah Connection'.|
|||November 18, 2005, Counterpunch, 'Faking the Case Against Syria': "Lebanese riot police allowed this unprecedented pre-Cedar rehearsal without arrests because of a deal worked out beforehand with US Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman."|
|||*) Ibid. The Counterpunch article has gathered numerous different sources into one article.
*) March 12, 2005, Mary Wakefield (present in Beirut) for Spectator.co.uk, 'Cover Story: A revolution made for TV'.
|||*) See previous two notes.
*) May 2006, Bassem Chit for Socialist Review, 'Lebanon: Some Things That Money Can't Buy': "During the "cedar revolution" US ambassador Jeffrey Feltman invited many of the leaders of the anti-Syrian movement to dinner parties. The US embassy also had a direct hand in fomenting the anti-Syrian protests."
|||March 8, 2005, New York Post: "US intelligence sources told The Post that the CIA and European intelligence services are quietly giving money and logistical support to organizers of the anti-Syrian protests to ramp up pressure on Syrian President Bashar Al Assad to completely quit Lebanon. Sources said the secret program is similar to previous support of pro-democracy movements in Georgia and Ukraine, which also led to peaceful demonstrations."|
|||*) May 2006, Bassem Chit for Socialist Review, 'Lebanon: Some Things That Money Can't Buy': "Included in this support were the billboard sized electronic "Freedom Clock" for "Freedom Square" in order to mark the "countdown to freedom" - all supplied by the Pulse of Freedom organisation, funded by the NGO Spirit of America."
*) November 18, 2005, Counterpunch, 'Faking the Case Against Syria': "A registered charity, Spirit of America exemplifies the regime change industry. Advised by US Ambassador Mark Palmer, Vice Chairman of the Board of Freedom House, and co-founder of the National Endowment for Democracy, Palmer served as speech-writer to three US Presidents and six Secretaries of State. He also helped the US government destabilize Slobodan Milosevic and Muammar Qaddafi."
|||The name Center for Democracy in Lebanon instantly sounds like U.S.-funded NGO. Although nothing can be found on its precise activities in the Cedar Revolution, it is striking that its founder and president, Elie D. Al-Chaer, has been citing Zbigniew Brzezinski's 'The Grand Chessboard', has been linking to George Soros' International Crisis Group, works at the American University in Beirut, and has been published by the Brookings Institution:
****) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cedar_Revolution (accessed: January 27, 2017): "Groups involved in the revolution: ... - The Center for Democracy in Lebanon ... - The Global Organization of Democratic Believers..."
****) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Position_of_Lebanon _in_the_2006_Lebanon_War (accessed: January 27, 2017): "On 25 July, the Center for Democracy in Lebanon, a Lebanese group which was involved in the Cedar Revolution movement, called for an immediate ceasefire and proposed a Roadmap to Normalization."
****) brookings.edu/author/elie-d-al-chaer/ (accessed: January 27, 2017): "The Dilemma of Democracy in Lebanon, Bilal Y. Saab and Elie D. Al-Chaer, Tuesday, November 6, 2007."
****) researchgate.net/profile/Elie_Al-Chaer (accessed: January 27, 2017): "American University of Beirut, Department of Anatomy, Cell Biology, and Physiology. Beirut, Lebanon"
****) August 25, 2011, Elie Al-Chaer for his democracyinlebanon.org, 'Going… Going… Gone? Not Quite Yet! The Assad Regime on the Middle East Geopolitical Chessboard': "As Zbigniew Brzezinski  puts it in his book The Grand Chessboard..."
****) godb.org, website of Global Organization of Democratic Believers, but a complete copy in design and content of Center for Democracy in Lebanon (accessed: January 27, 2017): "International Articles/Reports on Lebanon: ... Lebanon at a Tripwire (International Crisis Group)."
|||April 17, 2011, Washington Post, 'U.S. secretly backed Syrian opposition groups, cables released by WikiLeaks show': "The U.S. money for Syrian opposition figures began flowing under President George W. Bush after he effectively froze political ties with Damascus in 2005. The financial backing has continued under President Obama, even as his administration sought to rebuild relations with Assad."|
|||May 2006, Bassem Chit for Socialist Review, 'Lebanon: Some Things That Money Can't Buy': "Now the country is awash with dubious NGOs. Among them is the United States Committee for a Free Lebanon, headed by Ziad Abdel Nour. The son of wealthy right wing Lebanese MP, Nour let the cat out of the bag when he declared, "... Let Lebanon be the 52nd state. And if the Arabs don't like it, tough luck." ...
A few months after the protests I received a call from a friend telling me that a US NGO called Freedom House wanted to meet "Lebanese activists". ... A few of us were invited to an expensive British restaurant in one of Beirut's trendy neighbourhoods.
An American-Lebanese woman representing Freedom House was accompanied by a "retired revolutionary" from Ukraine. The guy was eager to get us on board, and boasted of the joys of being "US-funded" - he added that after Ukraine's Orange Revolution he even had the opportunity to "meet George Bush." He obviously thought that was enough to close the deal. ...
Earlier this year we got a sense of our role as the 52nd state. The Chicago Tribune reported that US army officers were in the country to assess the capabilities of the Lebanese military to confront Hezbollah, the resistance movement that drove the Israelis out of south Lebanon. ...
The slogan that marked the revolution, "We have had enough of your lies, now leave", is still being chanted, but now its is not aimed at the Syrians but at the US-backed politicians that run the country."
|||July 23, 2014, New York Times, 'Why we stuck with Maliki — and lost Iraq'.|
|||linkedin.com/in/ali-khedery-46ab86104/ (accessed: April 4, 2017).|
|||April 28, 2014, New Yorker, 'What We Left Behind; An increasingly authoritarian leader, a return of sectarian violence, and a nation worried for its future.'.|
|||June 29, 2014, New York Times, 'Before Shooting in Iraq, a Warning on Blackwater'.|
|||April 17, 2011, Washington Post, 'U.S. secretly backed Syrian opposition groups, cables released by WikiLeaks show'.|
|||Spring 2011, Middle East Policy Council (MEPC) journal, 'Iraq's Tribal 'Sahwa': Its Rise and Fall'.|
|||December 2, 2013, New York Post, '2013 Iraq death toll passes 8,000, return of death squads feared'.|
|||Spring 2010, Middle East Policy Journal, 'Dams and Politics in Tukey: Utilizing Water, Developing Conflict'.|
|||June 2013, Smithsonian Magazine, 'Is a Lack of Water to Blame for the Conflict in Syria?'.|
|||Spring 2011, Middle East Policy Council (MEPC) journal, 'Iraq's Tribal 'Sahwa': Its Rise and Fall'.|
|||April 28, 2014, New Yorker, 'What We Left Behind'.|
|||April 17, 2011, Washington Post, 'U.S. secretly backed Syrian opposition groups, cables released by WikiLeaks show'.|
|||July 12, 2012, The Guardian, 'The Syrian opposition: who's doing the talking?': "In September 2005, Kodmani was made the executive director of the Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) – a research programme initiated ... by a group within the CFR called the "US/Middle East Project". ...
The most quoted of the opposition spokespeople are the official representatives of the Syrian National Council. ... The most senior of the SNC's official spokespeople is the Paris-based Syrian academic Bassma Kodmani. Kodmani is a member of the executive bureau and head of foreign affairs, Syrian National Council. Kodmani is close to the centre of the SNC power structure, and one of the council's most vocal spokespeople. This year was Kodmani's second Bilderberg. At the 2008 conference, Kodmani was listed as French"
|||April 23, 2013, New York Times, 'Dozens Killed in Battles Across Iraq as Sunnis Escalate Protests Against Government'.|
|||February 12, 2016, CFR's Foreign Policy journal, 'Report The Road to a Syria Peace Deal Runs Through Russia'.|
|||November 7, 2013, The Guardian, 'Syria crisis: Saudi Arabia to spend millions to train new rebel force; Riyadh 'fighting two wars in Syria' as new force Jaysh al-Islam excludes al-Qaida affiliates in bid to defeat Assad regime'.|
|||June 28, 2016, State.gov, '[John Kerry] Remarks at the Aspen Ideas Festival and Conversation with Walter Isaacson'; July 12, 2016, Washington Post, 'Kerry touts the Russian line on Syrian rebel groups'.|
|||May 26, 2016, Daily Pakistan, 'Syrian terrorist entered US to meet lobbyists, researchers; US denies'.|
|||October 21, 2011, The Guardian, 'Iraq rejects US request to maintain bases after troop withdrawal'; April 28, 2014, New Yorker, 'What We Left Behind'.|
|||*) July 26, 2013, New York Times, 'Reading the Refuse'.
*) September 7, 2011, New York Times, 'Heat-Seeking Missiles Are Missing From Libyan Arms Stockpile'.
*) September 27, 2011, Fox News, '20,000 Heat-Seeking Missiles Reportedly Feared Missing From Libyan Warehouse'.
|||June 24, 2011, New York Times, 'U.S. contractors face dangers in Iraq; 1 killed in bombing'; December 12, 2011, New York Times, 'Premier's Actions in Iraq Raise U.S. Concerns'.|
|||June 21, 2013, New York Times, 'In Turnabout, Syria Rebels Get Libyan Weapons'.|
|||February 12, 2016, CFR's Foreign Policy journal, 'Report The Road to a Syria Peace Deal Runs Through Russia'.|
|||October 7, 2015, New York Daily News, 'Toyota, U.S. clueless about how ISIS got hundreds of brand new pickup trucks'.|
|||June 17, 2014, World Net Daily, ''Blowback! U.S. Trained Islamists Who Joined ISIS; Secret Jordan base was site of covert aid targeting Assad' (refers to its own, as well as Reuters, The Guardian and Der Spiegel sources).|
|||March 2012, ISIS' propaganda video Clanging of the Swords: Part 2.|
|||March 24, 2013, New York Times, 'Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From C.I.A.'|
|||April 28, 2014, The New Yorker, 'What We Left Behind'.|
|||April 15, 2013, CNN, 'Why the war in Iraq was fought for Big Oil'.|
|||April 28, 2014, The New Yorker, 'What We Left Behind'.|
|||*) September 14, 2012, The Times, 'Syrian rebels squabble over weapons as biggest shipload arrives from Libya'.
*) October 25, 2012, Fox News, 'Was Syrian weapons shipment factor in ambassador's Benghazi visit?'.
|||August 2, 2016, National Review, 'Hillary Clinton's Benghazi Debacle: Arming Jihadists in Libya . . . and Syria': "When Mrs. Clinton testified about the Benghazi massacre before a Senate committee in early 2013, she claimed to have no knowledge of any transfers of weapons from Libya to Turkey, Syria, or any other countries."|
|||*) June 29, 2016, Daily Mail, ''Let's move on': Hillary's blithe response after devastating Congress report reveals she lied and lied again about what caused US Ambassador to die in Bengazi': "- Slams the Obama administration for pretending publicly that the attack was a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Islam video made in the U.S. [note: such a protest only happened in neigboring Egypt]...
- Hillary Clinton, then the secretary of state, told her family members and foreign leaders that the administration knew it was a planned terror attack.
- Pentagon didn't send any military forces to help, leaving the victims to be rescued by a militia loyal to the deposed dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
- Detailed timelines offers no explanation on why and says committee has 'questions left in the aftermath' of massive investigation."
*) September 11, 2016, Greg Hicks for Fox News (demoted within the State Department for his whitsleblowing), 'What the Benghazi attack taught me about Hillary Clinton': "Last month, I retired from the State Department after 25 years of public service as a Foreign Service officer. As the Deputy Chief of Mission for Libya, I was the last person in Tripoli to speak with Ambassador Chris Stevens before he was murdered...
The Benghazi Committee's report graphically illustrates the magnitude of [Hillary Clinton's] failure. It states that during August 2012, the State Department reduced the number of U.S. security personnel assigned to the Embassy in Tripoli from 34 (1.5 security officers per diplomat) to 6 (1 security officer per 4.5 diplomats), despite a rapidly deteriorating security situation in both Tripoli and Benghazi. Thus, according to the Report, "there were no surplus security agents" to travel to Benghazi with Amb. Stevens "without leaving the Embassy in Tripoli at severe risk." ...
Ambassador Stevens' July 2012 request for 13 additional American security personnel [had been] rejected by Clinton appointee Under Secretary of State for Management Pat Kennedy... The law ... states specifically that the [security] waiver decision cannot be delegated [by the secretary of state]...
Her decision to allow the Benghazi consulate to be separate from the CIA annex divided scarce resources [even more]... The division of our security resources in Benghazi is the root cause of the "stand down" order controversy... "
|||April 17, 2014, vol. 36, no. 8, London Review of Books, pp. 21-24, 'The Red Line and the Rat Line; Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdogan and the Syrian rebels'.|
|||January 21, 2015, Jerome Corsi for WorldNetDaily, 'Generals conclude Obama backed al-Qaida'.|
|||April 17, 2014, vol. 36, no. 8, London Review of Books, pp. 21-24, 'The Red Line and the Rat Line; Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdogan and the Syrian rebels'.|
|||*) February 25, 2013, New York Times, 'Saudis Step Up Help for Rebels in Syria With Croatian Arms'.
*) March 24, 2013, New York Times, 'Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From C.I.A.'.
*) June 21, 2013, New York Times, 'In Turnabout, Syria Rebels Get Libyan Weapons'.
*) January 23, 2016, New York Times, 'U.S. Relies Heavily on Saudi Money to Support Syrian Rebels'.
|||March 24, 2013, The Guardian, 'John Kerry urges Iraq to help stop Iranian arms shipments to Syria; US secretary of state asks for Iraq to ground planes for inspection to ensure they are carrying humanitarian supplies'.|
|||July 27, 2016, The Guardian, 'Revealed: the £1bn of weapons flowing from Europe to Middle East'.|
|||October 14, 2012, New York Times, 'Rebel Arms Flow Is Said to Benefit Jihadists in Syria'.|
|||*) April 14, 2014, Daily Beast, 'Obama Stifled Hillary’s Syria Plans and Ignored Her Iraq Warnings for Years'.
*) August 5, 2014, Washington Post, 'Obama is an unreliable ally'.
*) August 10, 2014, The Atlantic, 'Hillary Clinton: 'Failure' to Help Syrian Rebels Led to the Rise of ISIS'.
*) September 11, 2014, Politifact, 'John McCain says Barack Obama went against national security team's advice to arm Syrian rebels'.
|||April 13, 2014, New York Times, 'Dozens Killed in Battles Across Iraq as Sunnis Escalate Protests Against Government'.|
|||September 12, 2013, Mother Jones, 'Who's a "Moderate" Rebel in Syria? Check the Handwritten Receipts'.|
|||April 1, 2014, Public Radio International (PRI.org), 'This one Toyota pickup truck is at the top of the shopping list for the Free Syrian Army — and the Taliban': "Recently, when the US State Department resumed sending non-lethal aid to Syrian rebels, the delivery list included 43 Toyota trucks. Hiluxes were on the Free Syrian Army's wish list."|
|||October 6, 2015, ABC News, 'US Officials Ask How ISIS Got So Many Toyota Trucks': "Toyota's own figures show sales of Hilux and Land Cruisers tripling from 6,000 sold in Iraq in 2011 to 18,000 sold in 2013, before sales dropped back to 13,000 in 2014. ... A spokesman for former owners of the Toyota dealership in Syria said its sales operation was halted in 2012."|
|||August 11, 2013, The Independent, 'Revealed: What the West has given Syria's rebels; Britain has so far handed over equipment worth £8m - but can it help on the front line?'.|
|||April 17, 2014, vol. 36, no. 8, London Review of Books, pp. 21-24, 'The Red Line and the Rat Line; Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdogan and the Syrian rebels'|
|||September 2, 2013, Wall Street Journals, 'U.S. Still Hasn't Armed Syrian Rebels'.|
|||July 27, 2013, National Review, 'Contra Senator Paul's critics, Islamic supremacism pervades Assad's opposition'.|
|||August 18, 2016, Reuters, 'U.N. chemical weapons inspectors to start work in Syria on Monday': "A team of U.N. chemical weapons experts have arrived in Damascus and will start work on Monday to investigate the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria's civil war."|
|||April 19, 2015, CBS News: 60 Minutes video interview of Scott Cairns, the United Nations chemical warfare team leader in Syria at the time, 'A Crime Against Humanity; Scott Pelley reports on the 2013 sarin gas attack in Syria that U.S. intelligence estimates killed more than 1,400 civilians': "[Narrator:] As fate would have it, Scott Cairns would see evidence of that for himself. He was in Damascus with a team the day of the assault. They'd arrived days before to investigate other alleged chemical attacks.
Scott Cairns: I'd just gotten up and what I thought I'd heard was another regular bombardment of conventional weapons to the east of Damascus.
[Narrator:] He had heard the rockets in route to the largest sarin massacre of civilians since Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 1988. Cairns demanded access. They raced in, in U.N. trucks and the shooting started. ...
Never before had investigators arrived at a chemical crime scene so soon. ...
But if Assad was the triggerman there is one thing odd about the timing. Why would anyone launch the largest chemical weapons attack in decades while chemical weapons inspectors are in town?
Scott Cairns [brief smile/smirk on his face]: I ask myself that a lot. I don't know."
|||August 23, 2015, CBS: 60 Minutes, 'Did Assad order the sarin gas attack? In this 2013 interview, Syria's President Assad answers questions from Charlie Rose about the sarin gas attack on the suburbs of Damascus'.|
|||April 19, 2015, CBS News: 60 Minutes video interview of Scott Cairns, the United Nations chemical warfare team leader in Syria at the time, 'A Crime Against Humanity; Scott Pelley reports on the 2013 sarin gas attack in Syria that U.S. intelligence estimates killed more than 1,400 civilians': "[Narrator:]
But if Assad was the triggerman there is one thing odd about the timing. Why would anyone launch the largest chemical weapons attack in decades while chemical weapons inspectors are in town?
Scott Cairns [brief smile/smirk on his face]: I ask myself that a lot. I don't know."
|||*) September 9, 2013, The Guardian, 'Assad did not order Syria chemical weapons attack, says German press'.
*) January 19, 2014, RT, 'MIT study of Ghouta chemical attack challenges US intelligence'.
*) April 17, 2014, vol. 36, no. 8, London Review of Books, pp. 21-24, 'The Red Line and the Rat Line; Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdogan and the Syrian rebels'.
*) October 23, 2015, Counterpunch, 'Hersh Vindicated? Turkish Whistleblowers Corroborate Story on False Flag Sarin Attack in Syria'.
*) August 28, 2016, Welt.de, 'Frieden mit Assad?'.
*) August 28, 2016, MoonOfAlabama.org, 'German Pro-Atlantic Paper Admits: Ghouta Sarin Attack Committed By Syrian Al-Qaeda'..
|||*) August 18, 2016, Reuters, 'U.N. chemical weapons inspectors to start work in Syria on Monday': "Washington said in June it believed Assad's forces have used them on a small scale, while in July Moscow said rebels fired sarin gas near Aleppo in March."
*) August 19, 2014, armscontrol.org (Arms Control Association), 'Timeline of Syrian Chemical Weapons Activity, 2012-2016'.
|||September 9, 2013, The Guardian, 'Assad did not order Syria chemical weapons attack, says German press'.|
|||August 31, 2013, The Obama White House YouTube channel upload, 'President Obama Speaks on Syria'.|
|||September 14, 2013, The Guardian, 'Syria crisis: US and Russia agree chemical weapons deal'.|
|||October 22, 2013, Reuters, 'Saudi Arabia warns of shift away from U.S. over Syria, Iran'.|
|||September 17, 2013, Jerusalem Post, ''Israel wanted Assad gone since start of Syria civil war''.|
|||October 31, 2013, Washington Times, 'Syria becomes largest home to al Qaeda; jihadists find safe haven to plot attacks'.|
|||August 22, 2013, Middle East Forum, 'Bay'ah to Baghdadi: Foreign [Ideological] Support for Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham'.|
|||October 29, 2014, Robert Baer for CNN, 'Is killing ISIS leader a good idea?'.|
|||June 14, 2014, BBC, 'Iraq conflict: 'We are stronger than ISIS''.|
|||June 23, 2014, The Atlantic, ''Thank God for the Saudis': ISIS, Iraq, and the Lessons of Blowback'; July 12, 2014, Patrick Cockburn for The Independent, 'Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country'.|
|||June 24, 2014, The Daily Beast, 'Washington and London Ignored Warnings about the ISIS Offensive in Iraq'.|
|||June 18, 2014, The Daily Beast, 'Someone Is Spilling ISIS's Secrets on Twitter'.|
|||August 8, 2015, Haaretz, 'ISIS Top Brass Is Iraqi Army's Former Best and Brightest'|
|||April 28, 2014, New Yorker, 'What We Left Behind: An increasingly authoritarian leader, a return of sectarian violence, and a nation worried for its future'.|
|||December 28, 2013, BBC, 'Iraq MP Ahmed al-Alwani arrested in deadly Ramadi raid'.|
|||November 24, 2014, Daily Star (Lebanon), 'Sunni ex-MP sentenced to death in Iraq'.|
|||December 31, 2013, Al Jazeera, 'Dozens of Iraqi MPs quit over Anbar violence'.|
|||August 25, 2015, New York Times, 'In Syria, Potential Ally's Islamist Ties Challenge U.S.'; November 18, 2016, FDD's Long War Journal, 'Analysis: Jund al Aqsa's deep Gulf roots'.|
|||April 28, 2014, New Yorker, 'What We Left Behind: An increasingly authoritarian leader, a return of sectarian violence, and a nation worried for its future'.|
|||June 18, 2014, The Daily Beast, 'Someone Is Spilling ISIS's Secrets on Twitter'.|
|||January 27, 2014, The New Yorker, 'Going the Distance: On and off the road with Barack Obama'.|
|||*) February 18, 2014, Washington Post, 'David Ignatius: Regional spymasters make tactical changes to bolster Syrian moderates'.
*) June 23, 2014, The Atlantic, ''Thank God for the Saudis': ISIS, Iraq, and the Lessons of Blowback'.
|||*) April 16, 2014, The Guardian, 'End of an era as Prince Bandar departs Saudi intelligence post'.|
|||June 6, 2015, Daily Beast, 'The ISIS Conspiracy That Ate the Web'.|
|||June 11, 2014, New York Times, 'U.S. Said to Rebuff Iraqi Request to Strike Militants'.|
|||*) June 24, 2014, The Daily Beast, 'Washington and London Ignored Warnings about the ISIS Offensive in Iraq'.
*) December 8, 2016, Washington Times, 'Obama blames U.S. intelligence for missing rise of the Islamic State'.
|||June 23, 2014, Yahoo News, 'Iraq's Sunni 'war of liberation''.|
|||June 14, 2014, BBC, 'Iraq conflict: 'We are stronger than ISIS''.|
|||June 23, 2014, Yahoo News, 'Iraq's Sunni 'war of liberation''.|
|||July 24, 2014, Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing of Brett McGurk, deputy assistant secretary of state for Iraq and Iran.|
|||June 1, 2015, The Guardian, 'Isis captured 2,300 Humvee armoured vehicles from Iraqi forces in Mosul'.|
*) November 17, 2015, Vox News, '18 things about ISIS you need to know: Iraqi forces are much stronger than ISIS, but the Iraqi army is kind of a mess'.
|||June 1, 2015, The Guardian, 'Isis captured 2,300 Humvee armoured vehicles from Iraqi forces in Mosul'.|
|||July 15, 2014, Washington Times, 'ISIL captured 52 U.S.-made howitzers'.|
|||June 2, 2015, Reuters blog, 'Dude, where's my Humvee? Iraq losing equipment to Islamic State at staggering rate'.|
||| *) June 25, 2014, Middle East Monitor, 'Why did the people of Mosul welcome ISIS?'.
*) June 14, 2014, The Telegraph, 'Iraq crisis: despite decapitations and deaths thousands return willingly to city held by ISIS terrorists; Many residents of Mosul say they prefer life under ISIS to that under Iraqi army control'.
|||November 17, 2015, Vox News, '18 things about ISIS you need to know: Iraqi forces are much stronger than ISIS, but the Iraqi army is kind of a mess'.|
|||*) June 14, 2014, Vice News, 'Iraqi Soldiers Fleeing ISIS Claim They Were 'Abandoned' by Senior Officers'.
*) September 4, 2014, Times of Israel, 'How did a few thousand fighters on pickup trucks manage to frighten the world?'
|||June 25, 2014, Middle East Monitor, 'Why did the people of Mosul welcome ISIS?'.|
|||June 24, 2014, The Daily Beast, 'Washington and London Ignored Warnings about the ISIS Offensive in Iraq'.|
|||July 6, 2014, Wall Street Journal, 'Insurgents in Iraq Seizing Advanced Weaponry; Arms Turning Up in Battles and Military-Style Parades in Iraq and Syria'.|
|||June 5, 2015, Yahoo Finance (original source: Business Insider), 'ISIS is turning US Humvees into Iraq's worst nightmare'.|
|||November 14, 2015, New York Times, 'Kurds in Iraq Face Fast and Erratic Threat in ISIS Suicide Drivers'.|
|||October 6, 2014, Terra.com.pe (original source: bbc.com/mundo), El iraní Qasem Soleimani, "el hombre más poderoso en Irak"' ('Iranian Qasem Soleimani, "the most powerful man in Iraq"'): "The crisis in Iraq has put two archenemies on the same side: Iran and the United States. ...
A senior Iraqi official told the BBC that when the city of Mosul fell, Iran's rapid reaction, rather than the American bombings, prevented a more widespread collapse. ...
"Iran sent 16 trucks loaded with weapons, heavy artillery and monitors, two large missile launchers, three or four smaller and a battalion of mortars," Peshmerga commander Jafar Mustafa Marouf told the BBC. ...
However, many Iraqis fear that their country is becoming a subject of Tehran, that militias that provide security are becoming an instrument of Iranian political control. ...
In Lebanon, Soleimani has cultivated the Hezbollah Shiite group; In Syria, he has strengthened President Bashar al Assad."
|||February 15, 2015, Washington Post, 'Pro-Iran militias' success in Iraq could undermine U.S.'|
|||March 11, 2015, Wall Street Journal, 'Iran Occupies Iraq'.|
|||October 27, 2014, USNews.com, 'Iran's Shadow War in Iraq'.|
|||March 6, 2014, The Guardian, 'James Steele: America's mystery man in Iraq - video' (51 minute documentary on Steele).|
|||June 22, 2014, CNN, '4 western Iraqi towns fall to advancing ISIS militants'.|
|||July 1, 2014, New York Times, 'After Retreat, Iraqi Soldiers Fault Officers'.|
|||July 3, 2014, New York Times, 'A Rogue State Along Two Rivers'.|
|||December 3, 2015, Sputnik News, 'Dead to Rights: More Nations Confirm Turkey's 'Dirty' Oil Trade': "The oil produced by Daesh (group also known as ISIL or the Islamic State) is definitely being smuggled to Turkey, according to Deutsche Welle.
DW points out that in 2014, similar accusations were brought up on several occasions. For example, in June 2014 Ali Ediboglu, a representative of the Turkish Republican People's Party (CHP) said that by that time Turkey had purchased a total of $800 million worth of oil from territories controlled by Daesh.
In August 2014 the Turkish daily Taraf reported that about 1,500 metric tons of fuel from Syria is being smuggled to Turkey every day."
|||*) December 15, 2015, David L. Phillips (Director of the Program on Peace-building and Rights, Columbia University's Institute for the Study of Human Rights) for The World Post (partnership between the Huffington Post and Berggruen Institute), 'Research Paper: Turkey-ISIS Oil Trade': "Smuggled oil finds its way into Turkey's export facilities and onto tankers in Ceyhan bound for international markets. There is no "smoking gun" linking the Government of Turkey or Erdogan directly to ISIS oil sales. It is apparent, however, that Turkey turned a blind eye to ISIS oil trade. Turkey failed to seal its border, facilitating ISIS oil exports. Turks have profited at stages of the supply chain."
*) March 12, 2015, George Kiourktsoglou (visiting lecturer, University of Greenwich, London) and Dr. Alec D. Coutroubis (principal lecturer, University of Greenwich, London) for the London Shipping Law Centre, Maritime Business Forum, 'ISIS Export Gateway to Global Crude Oil Markets'.
|||*) November 30, 2015, Financial Times, 'Isis: The munitions trail'.
*) February 25, 2016, Reuters, 'Islamic State bomb supply chain includes firms in 20 countries including India - report'.
||| *) July 7, 2014 YouTube upload by "RUSI", 'Sir Richard Dearlove on Re-appraising the Counter-Terrorist Threat'.
*) July 12, 2014, Patrick Cockburn for The Independent, 'Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country'.
|||October 6, 2014, CNN, 'Vice President Joe Biden apologizes to Turkey, UAE'.|
|||October 6, 2014, Washington Post, 'Behind Biden’s gaffe lie real concerns about allies' role in rise of the Islamic State'.|
|||October 7, 2014, BBC, 'Joe Biden apologised over IS remarks, but was he right?'.|
|||July 4, 2014, Die Welt, "'Saudi stance toward ISIS is divided'''.|
|||*) August 18, 2014, Washington Post, 'The terrorists fighting us now? We just finished training them';
*) December 2014, Middle East Security Report 25, Jennifer Cafarella, 'Jabat Al-Nusra in Syria; An Islamic Emirate for Al-Qaeda', p. 20.
|||August 4, 2014, Fox News, 'ISIS terrorists turn to social media crowdsourcing to target Saudi intel officials'.|
|||June 22, 2014, War is Boring, 'Iraq Is Running Out of Hind Gunships ISIS has shot up dozens of helicopters, so Baghdad is going shopping'.|
|||*) August 6, 2014, english.alarabiya.net, 'Kurdish forces, ISIS clash near Arbil'.
*) November 20, 2016, rudaw.net, 'When ISIS captured Makhmour'.
|||See appendix B.|
|||September 8, 2014, Time magazine, 'Iraq's Battleground Dams Are Key to Saving the Country from ISIS'.|
|||September 22, 2014, New York Times, 'Airstrikes by U.S. and Allies Hit ISIS Targets in Syria'.|
|||March 18, 2015, Patrick Cockburn for Counterpunch, 'The One-Day Siege: ISIS's Conquest of Hit'.|
|||October 7, 2014, 'Turkish Inaction on ISIS Advance Dismays the U.S.'.|
|||October 11, 2014, The Mirror, 'Inside Kobane: Drug-crazed ISIS savages rape, slaughter and behead children'.|
|||November 13, 2014, Reuters, 'Syria rebels in south emerge as West's last hope as moderates crushed elsewhere'.|
|||December 24, 2014, anbardaily.blogspot.nl, 'Daily Updates from Anbar'.|
|||May 8, 2015, Reuters, 'Exclusive: Weapons inspectors find undeclared sarin and VX traces in Syria - diplomats'.|
|||March 19, 2015, Buzzfeed, 'The Hidden Enemy In Iraq'.|
|||March 28, 2015, Foreign Policy, 'Argument The U.S. Is Providing Air Cover for Ethnic Cleansing in Iraq; Iran's Shiite militias aren't a whole lot better than the Islamic State.'|
|||October 6, 2015, Asia Times, 'Iran says Russia to deliver S-300 missile defense system'.|
|||May 20, 2015, Military.com, 'ISIS Captures Hundreds of US Vehicles and Tanks in Ramadi from Iraqis'.|
|||May 31, 2015, The Politicus, Update: CENTCOM watched 30 ISIS truck bombs roll on Ramadi and did nothing. May 14th? A bloodbath'.|
|||Progress of the Syrian war is best seen day-by-day at syria.liveuamap.com.|
|||May 26, 2015, New York Times, 'U.S. Caution in Strikes Gives ISIS an Edge, Many Iraqis Say'.|
|||Ibid. Concluded by looking at the locations of daily allied bombing raids throughout 2015 and 2016.|
|||June 18, 2015, Financial Times, 'Isis imposes fuel blockade on rebel-held northern Syria'.|
|||February 25, 2016, The Independent, 'Isis in Iraq: The fall of Mosul to the jihadists was less of a surprise to Baghdad than many were led to believe. Special report: Key figures involved say Nouri al-Maliki's government brushed aside increasingly urgent calls for help in the run-up to the 'surprise' attack and reveal the frustration that detailed warnings were ignored'.|
|||August 19, 2015, TRT, 'Turkey condemns Maliki comments, Iraqi parliament report'.|
|||Progress of the Syrian war is best seen day-by-day at syria.liveuamap.com.|
|||October 7, 2015, Vox Media, 'Russia says it's bombing ISIS in Syria. This map shows it's lying': "This map of Russian airstrikes in Syria so far, put together by the Levantine Group, tells a very different story [of what Russia is bombing]." Map included in the timeline.|
|||December 14, 2015, Reuters, 'Free Syrian Army rebels deny Russian support': "The Free Syrian Army groups targeted in Russian air strikes in western Syria have frequently been those that have received U.S.-made TOW missiles...
"Today our headquarters in Jabal Akrad were bombed by Russia. Yesterday our headquarters in rural northern Aleppo were destroyed. I have 10 wounded. This is Russian support," said Hassan Haj Ali, head of a prominent FSA group...
"Putin and his generals are a bunch of liars," said Haj Ali, who commands the Liwa Suqour al-Jabal group.
Mohamed Rasheed, spokesman for Jaysh al-Nasr, another group represented at the opposition meeting in Riyadh, said: "This is totally untrue. On the contrary, the Russian warplanes are bombing our headquarters on a daily basis.""
|||*) Surprisingly little info is available on Assad's tank losses over the years.
*) November 17, 2013, 'How to Take Out 1,800 Tanks in Two Years; Syrian rebels have disabled, captured or destroyed 25 percent of the government's armored vehicles—but does it matter?': "Before the civil war, Al Assad's Syrian Arab Army possessed 1,600 T-72s, some 1,000 T-62s, 2,250 T-55s and 2,450 BMPs, according to the U.S.-based Washington Institute for Near East Policy. ...
All told, Al Assad has lost no fewer than 1,836 armored vehicles ... between October 2011 and March 2013...
Increasingly the regime relies on the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah for ground troops—and Hezbollah is strictly a light infantry force that has never practiced combined arms."
*) 2013, Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), table revealing Assad's tank and BMP losses from March to July 2013: 534 tanks and 77 BMPs. The number of monthly kills also sharply increases after May 2013, rising to almost 150 tanks per month.
*) December 13, 2014, Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans for Oryx Blog (spioenkop.blogspot.nl), 'Syria's Steel Beasts: The T-72': "A captured T-72 is considered as a sort of treasure by the rebels. Around 300 are still believed to be operated by mainly the Republican Guard and the Syrian Arab Army's elite 4th Armoured Division. ... it's commonly believed Syria operated around 1500 T-72s."
|||YouTube uploads of "Clear Vision", 'FSA blows up vehicles used by Iranian and Hezbollah death squads at Aleppo, Syria 17/07/2016', 'FSA captures 48 of Al Assad and Hezbollah mercenary gangs north of Aleppo, Syria 19/02/2015', etc. There are numerous other videos.
February 25, 2016, War Is Boring, 'Syrian Rebels' Message to America — Send More Tank-Killing Missiles': "More recently, rebels have used TOWs not only to slow Syrian army ground offenses, but to thwart attacks from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards who have fought alongside government forces.
"The Iranians have their own weapons. The Iranian, Iraqi and Afghan militias come to Syria independently," Muhammad Abu Yaman, a journalist in Damascus, told War Is Boring in an email interview. "They have their own operations rooms separate from the Syrian government, much like the Russian military in Syria.""
|||October 13, 2016, YouTube upload of "Clear Vision", ' Only in Syria a TOW missile can destroy Russia's warplanes' (involves a January 12, 2015 incident).|
|||July 24, 2016 YouTube upload of "Clear Vision", 'FSA blows up Russian officers during installation of Radio Jamming Devices, Aleppo, Syria 23/07/2016'. The missile used here actually is a Kornet 9M133, not a TOW.|
|||*) November 24, 2015, The Independent, 'US-armed Syrian rebels 'hit Russian helicopter with missile' as it searched for downed plane pilots; Helicopter was searching for the pilots from a jet downed by the Turkish military on the Syrian border'. The linked video shows a group of rebels firing a TOW missile at a grounded helicopter, its rotor off, followed by the usual screams of "Allahu Akhbar" when the helicopter is hit.
*) September 2, 2016 YouTube upload of "Clear Vision", 'Free Syrian Army destroys Russian helicopter using TOW missile at Hama in Syria 02/09/2016'. The video shows a helicopter hovering stationary about 20 feet above the ground, at which point it is struck by a TOW missile (also in camera view). Again the direct hit is followed by screams of "Allahu Akhbar".
|||May 26, 2016, Times of Israel, '8 Iranian missile launches since nuke deal signed, expert tells US Congress'.|
|||November 17, 2015, FactCheck.org, 'Trump on Bombing ISIS Oil Fields'.|
|||September 29, 2015, State.gov, 'Rewards for Justice - Reward Offers for Information that Leads to Disruption of Financing of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)'.|
|||November 18, 2015, AlterNet, 'Vladimir Putin Reveals That ISIS Is Funded by 40 Countries — Including G20 Members The Russian president also reiterated the need to stop the illegal oil trade by ISIS'.|
|||November 19, 2015, NPR, 'Hitting ISIS Where It Hurts By Striking Oil Trucks': "[Bagdad-based U.S. military spokesman Col. Steve] Warren says they're an important part of the distribution chain: "We've looked at these trucks for some time and decided finally it's time to strike those trucks." ...
The U.S. dropped the leaflets about an hour before the strikes. Many — but not all — drivers left their trucks and ran away, Warren says."
|||November 30, 2015, Middle East Eye, 'The real reason for Turkey's shoot-down of the Russian jet'.|
|||November 26, 2015, The Telegraph, 'Turkey shooting down plane was 'planned provocation' says Russia, as rescued pilot claims he had no warning - latest'.|
|||December 1, 2015, BBC, 'Russia S-400 Syria missile deployment sends robust signal'.|
|||February 25, 2016, War Is Boring, 'Syrian Rebels' Message to America — Send More Tank-Killing Missiles'.|
|||December 26, 2015, Express (UK), 'Watch: Russian fighter jets smash ISIS oil tankers after spotting 12,000 at Turkish border'.|
|||See note 134.|
|||See note 135.|
|||November 28, 2015, Sputnik News, 'Iraqi Politician Claims Turkey Lets ISIL Sell Oil for Meager $20 a Barrel': "Turkey allows the Islamic State terrorist group to sell Iraqi and Syrian oil for just $20 a barrel, Iraq's former National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie wrote on Saturday."|
|||November 27, 2015, Sputnik News, 'Erdogan Downed Su-24 to Revenge Son's Disrupted Oil Business - Damascus': "Turkey shot down Russia's bomber as revenge for the destruction of oil smuggling business that belongs to Recep Tayyip Erdogan's son, a Syrian minister stated. ...
"All of the oil was delivered to a company that belongs to the son of Recep [Tayyip] Erdogan. This is why Turkey became anxious when Russia began delivering airstrikes against the IS infrastructure and destroyed more than 500 trucks with oil already. This really got on Erdogan and his company's nerves. They're importing not only oil, but wheat and historic artefacts as well," al-Zoubi told RIA Novosti in an interview.""
|||November 25, 2015, Sputnik News, 'Lest You Forget: Lavrov Reminds Turkey of Its Involvement in ISIL Oil Trade': "Turkey's decision to shoot down a Russian bomber involved in an anti-terror mission against the self-proclaimed Islamic State terrorist group means that Ankara has effectively sided with IS."|
|||December 3, 2015, Sputniks News, 'Turkey Has Ambivalent Policy Toward Daesh – Retired French General': "According to the retired general, Ankara is using ISIL as a pretext for defeating the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which aims to create an independent Kurdish state within Turkey.
"However, the fact that Turkey helps Daesh, allowing the transfer of militants across the border and enriching Daesh owing to oil trade, is an absolutely scandalous manner of behavior," [General Dominique] Trinquand stressed."
|||October 17, 2016, WorldPolicy.org, 'Hacked Emails Link Turkish Minister to Illicit Oil': "Powertrans was granted the privileges to carry oil from northern Iraq through Turkish oil pipelines and ports.
As the Islamic State oil became available in 2014, Powertrans took the opportunity to set up schemes to transfer the [ISIS] oil to the Batman refinery in Turkey and to the Turkish international ports of Mersin, Dortyol, and [eventually] Ceyhan [on the Mediterranean coast]. ...
Turkish Nokta news journal published a detailed investigative article about Powertrans' business, claiming that Çalık Holding and its CEO Berat Albayrak were behind the company. Albayrak immediately denied this allegation.
The documents released by RedHack provide evidence that Albayrak was, and still is, unofficially running the company. ...
Based on the Russian satellite images, Islamic State oil entered Turkey via three different paths. ... The northern path is a busy one, with oil coming from Deir ez-Zor and transferred to Turkey by tankers. One satellite image from Oct. 18, 2015 shows 1,722 tankers in a queue carrying oil. The eastern path involved oil from the northeast of Syria transferred to northern Iraq and then sent to Turkey through Cizre... A satellite image from Nov. 14, 2015 shows 1,104 tankers along this route. Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov stated that over 8,500 tankers transporting up to 200,000 tons of oil used to enter Turkey and Iraq from Islamic State-controlled territories daily. In order for oil to be transported along these routes, a large network of operations must have been set up in Turkey."
|||February 17, 2016, The Telegraph, 'Son of Turkish president accused of money laundering in Italy': "Bilal, who is one of President Erdogan's four children, has commercial interests in shipping and oil tankers. In December Russian accused him and his family of profiting from the illegal smuggling of oil from territory held by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. He denied that..."|
|||July 22, 2015, World Net Daily, 'Turkish leader's daughter heads secret ISIS hospital; Report': "A former nurse has revealed she was employed at a secret Turkish hospital used to treat wounded ISIS soldiers near the Syrian border, run by Sumeyye Erdogan, daughter of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The nurse, who did not reveal her name for fear of retaliation, is a member of the Alawite faith, a minority offshoot of Shia Islam, according to an investigative report released by the Montreal-based [conspiracy disinformation outlet] Center for Research on Globalization."
|||December 27, 2016, The Daily Caller, 'Erdogan's Daughter Tells US Muslims That Gulen Movement Is 'More Dangerous' Than ISIS [VIDEO]': "[Sumeyye Erdogan] spent the first part of her speech defending Turkey as a beacon of democracy and tolerance in the Middle East. She shot down accusations that her father's government is clamping down on the press and marginalizing political opponents."|
|||December 27, 2016, Daily Mail, 'Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan claims to have concrete documentary proof that the West is backing ISIS'.|
|||February 27, 2017, Nu.nl, 'Oostenrijk wil niet dat Erdogan campagne komt voeren'.|
|||March 5, 2017, The Guardian, 'Erdogan accuses Germany of 'Nazi practices' over blocked political rallies'.|
|||*) March 4, 2017, Nu.nl, ''Nederland kan campagne voerende Turkse politici niet tegenhouden''.
*) March 14, 2017, Nu.nl, 'Erdogan: 'Nederland maakte achtduizend Bosniërs af in Srebrenica''.
*) March 15, 2017, Nu.nl, 'Turkse hackers plaatsen swastika's op populaire Twitter-accounts': "Tal van populaire Twitter-accounts hebben op de verkiezingsochtend Turkse berichten met swastika's geplaatst. De tweets, die de hashtag #Nazihollanda gebruikten...
Onder meer Amnesty International, War Child, weekblad Donald Duck, zangeres Caro Emerald en het Europees Parlement plaatsten de Turkse tweets, waarin ook Duitsers voor nazi's worden uitgemaakt ...
De tweets lijken een reactie te zijn op het diplomatieke incident rond Turkse ministers die in Nederland geen campagne mochten voeren. De Turkse minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Mevlut Cavusoglu mocht niet in Nederland landen, en zijn collega Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya werd uiteindelijk het land uitgezet."
|||November 25, 2016, Reuters, 'Erdogan warns Europe that Turkey could open migrant gates'.|
|||May 17, 2016, The Telegraph, 'Assad's forces have 'used sarin nerve gas' for the first time since Syria's notorious 2013 massacre'.|
|||June 20, 2016, The Telegraph, 'US jets in showdown with Russian warplanes over Syria after bombing of Pentagon-backed rebels'.|
|||June 30, 2016, Almasdar News, 'Iraqi Air Force destroys 127 ISIS vehicles fleeing Fallujah for Syria: video'.|
|||July 25, 2016, YeniSafak.com, 'US Commander Campbell: The man behind the failed coup in Turkey; The organizer and financial distributor of the coup attempt turns out to be an ISAF ex- US commander, investigation reveals'; July 25, 2016, Russia Today, 'Former NATO commander ‘behind failed coup against Erdogan' – Turkish daily': "The paper is known for its loyal support of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was the target of the coup attempt."|
|||June 27, 2016, PR Newswire, 'J.F. Lehman & Company Welcomes General John F. Campbell, U.S. Army (Ret.) to its Operating Executive Board'.|
|||July 7, 2004, United Press International, 'Lehman being considered for top CIA job'.|
|||March 25, 2017, CNN, 'Woolsey: Flynn discussed sending Erdogan foe back to Turkey'.|
|||August 24, 2016, The Guardian, 'Turkey sends tanks into Syria in operation aimed at Isis and Kurds'.|
|||March 4, 2017. Nu.nl, 'Syrian ceasefire: Is it all over?'.|
|||September 12, 2016, Reuters, 'Russia calls on Free Syrian Army to stop fighting Kurds ahead of ceasefire'.|
|||September 12 2016, Deutsche Welle, 'Syrian rebels send mixed signals on planned truce'.|
|||September 16, 2014, New York Times, 'Few U.S.-Trained Syrians Still Fight ISIS, Senators Are Told'.|
|||September 17, 2016, Sputnik News, 'Russian MoD Confirms US-Led Coalition's F-16, A-10 Jets Attacked Syrian Army'.|
|||October 4, 2016, Russia Today, 'Moscow delivers S-300 missile system to Syria for defense of Russian naval base'.|
|||October 17, 2016, Washington Post, 'Russian air defense raises stakes of U.S. confrontation in Syria'.|
|||October 13, 2016, The Sun, ''Secret Terror Deal' America ‘plotting to allow 9,000 ISIS fighters to escape terror capital Mosul so they can attack Russian troops', Moscow outrageously claims'.|
|||October 19, 2016, The Guardian, 'Islamic State leaders are fleeing Mosul, says US general'.|
|||*) November 26, 2016, U.S. News, 'Iraq's parliament adopts law legalizing Shiite militias'.
*) December 1, 2016, Al-Monitor.com, 'Why Iraq's Sunnis fear new PMU law'.
|||December 19, 2016, Moscow Times, 'Putin Says Assassination of Russian Ambassador in Turkey Was a 'Provocation''.|
|||October 12, 2016, The Hill, 'Russia blames U.S. after ISIS recaptures Palmyra'.|
|||*) January 17, 2017, UPI, 'Damascus goes dry as Syria's grim water wars intensify': "It was initially reported by pro-regime websites on Dec. 22 that the rebels who have held Wadi Barada since mid-2012 had deliberately polluted the waters of Ain al- Fijah, which forced the authorities to cut off the water supply.
The sabotage story was used as a pretext to launch a major ground offensive against militants at the spring to seize control of the water supply despite a nationwide cease-fire proclaimed on Dec. 30.
Hours later, the armed opposition in Wadi Barada produced a video on social media networks, showing heavy damage to the water infrastructure at the spring, clearly caused by exploding missiles. ...
The regime had attacked the spring, they claimed, to force the rebels to surrender, which they did not. This fell in line with similar [starve or surrender] tactics used by the regime since 2011..."
*) January 12, 2017, Middle East Eye, 'Water war: Wadi Barada and Assad's latest weapon': "Just after recapturing Aleppo, the Syrian regime's army and Hezbollah, and with no advance warning, launched an assault on 23 December  to recapture the strategic valley ... Wadi Barada, northwest of Damascus. ... The regime initially targeted the media, telecommunications and health centres.
Today, the valley, which has been partially besieged since 2011, has neither electricity nor telecommunications. Around 100,000 civilians in the area – including tens of thousands who have arrived from other besieged communities - are suffering from food, water and heating gas shortages.
Despite the Turkey-Russia-brokered ceasefire that came into effect across Syria on 30 December, the regime's army and Hezbollah are targeting the area with barrels bombs loaded with chlorine and napalm, rockets, snipers and mortars from the tops of surrounding hills.
How many people have been killed or wounded is unknown as army snipers target civilians who even move out of their homes. ...
A few days after the assault began, the regime accused "terrorists" of polluting with diesel the Fijah Spring that, along with the Barada Spring, supplies at least four million people in Damascus with 80 percent of their drinking water.
Then the regime said the valley was a haven for terrorists. Finally, the story changed once again, saying the terrorists had blown Fijah Spring up.
None of these allegations was backed up with evidence even though on the hills where the regime's army is currently positioned, it can look down into the Fijah Spring and could film it around the clock.
And after all that, several videos and pictures from rebels published in recent days appear to show that regime jets bombed the spring.
The regime offered the rebels a "reconciliation" a second time in which they surrender and get transported to Idlib. However, the rebels refused the offer again and, instead, asked for technicians to fix the spring. When the regime sent the technicians, Hezbollah restricted them from entering the valley. The Russians, therefore, intervened.
On 7 January, a Russian military committee threatened the valley's local negotiation committee with "flattening the valley with Russian aircraft" if the rebels do not hand the spring over. ...
Regime outlets have aired songs for the army and its heroism. Newspapers praise the "sacrifices of the army martyrs" that died while "fighting against terrorism"."
|||January 13, 2017, alaraby.co.uk, 'Suspected Israeli strikes hit Damascus military airport'.|
|||*) January 12, 2017, Middle East Eye, 'Water war: Wadi Barada and Assad's latest weapon': "Abu Khaled al-Hennawi, a retired plumber, was fixing a well in Wadi Barada valley last Thursday when an army missile shot him dead."
*) January 15, 2017, Middle East Observer, 'Syria: “Water truce” near Damascus failed again': "The Observatory confirmed that repair crews had reached the Ain al-Fijah spring and that the Syrian flag had been raised in the area. However, this ceasefire failed and the clashes erupted again. ...
Sources said that the clashes were resumed after the death of the government official who negotiated a deal to restore water to Damascus.
Ahmed al-Ghadban had been on his way to the main Ain al-Fijah spring with government maintenance teams when he was killed.
Opposition fighters and government officials have traded blame over the killing of the retired army officer, who had assumed his duties on Saturday.
However, Ahrar al-Sham rebel group said Jabhat Fatah al-Sham is behind Ghadban's death to undermine the truce deal as it refused it. Other sources said Ahrar al-Sham itself may have been behind this to keep the crisis in Wadi Barada as a pressure card against the regime..."
|||January 17, 2017, UPI, 'Damascus goes dry as Syria's grim water wars intensify': "The water crisis spread panic and anger among the war-swollen population of about 9 million people in Damascus and its surrounding countryside. ...
Private water vendors are selling water at black market prices of 2,500 Syrian pounds — $5 a barrel — a crippling price because the average Damascus household consumes about 100-150 barrels of water per month, for drinking, washing and sanitation. Water costs ordinary Syrians $500-$750 a month, devastating for a city in which a senior post in the public sector, which employs millions of Syrians, pays no more than $150 monthly."
|||When one looks at the progress map at syria.liveuamap.com for January 2017, it is possible to spot regular successful TOW attacks on Assad's forces by FSA units, including Jaysh al-Ezzah.|
|||May 31, 2017, The Guardian, ''Sensitive' UK terror funding inquiry may never be published'.|
|||January 12, 2016, Vice News, 'Libyan Oil, Gold, and Qaddafi: The Strange Email Sidney Blumenthal Sent Hillary Clinton In 2011': "Two weeks after France began bombing Libya, in March, 2011, Hillary Clinton's old friend and advisor Sidney Blumenthal passed her an intelligence memo that supposedly revealed France's true — and quite unflattering— motivations for toppling Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi. While France's then-President Nicolas Sarkozy publicly said he wished to free the Libyan people from tyranny, Blumenthal's memo argues that he was driven by a cocktail of less lofty incentives, including a desire for Libyan oil, and a fear that Qaddafi secretly planned to use his vast supply of gold to displace France's primacy in the region. ...
Both [former CIA operative Tyler] Drumheller and Blumenthal worked with a Libyan company called Osprey, a start-up that hoped to profit off medical and military contracts in the chaos after the war."
|||September 16, 2015, Times of Israel, 'Iran: Russia to help us improve our centrifuges'.|
|||July 16, 2015, Politifact.com, 'Deal puts Iran's nuclear program under lock, key and camera 24/7, says Rep. Don Beyer'.|
|||*) March 23, 1984, The Age, 'Iran using children to clear minefields'.
*) 2011, Mordecai Dzikansky, Gil Kleiman and Robert Slater, 'Terrorist Suicide Bombings: Attack Interdiction, Mitigation, and Response', p. 26: "The first modern suicide bombing took place in Iran in 1980 when a 13-year-old boy blew himself up while running up to an Iraqi tank early in the Iran-Iraq War."
*) The December 1981 bombing of the Iraqi embassy in Beirut bombing preceded the April 1983 U.S. embassy in Beirut bombing and the October 1983 Beirut barracks bombing. The latter killed 241 U.S. and 58 French servicemen. The bombings not only were retaliation for U.S. involvement in Lebanon, but also for its support of Iraq in the Iraq-Iran War of the 1980s.
|||*) December 13, 2014, Daily Mail, 'The 'flying carpet', 'tyre' and 'German chair': How ISIS are turning feared torture techniques pioneered by brutal Assad regime in Syria into an 'art form'': "- Punishment methods have been used by Syrian government for DECADES".
*) October 2, 2015, Daily Mail, ''People had deep cuts, some had their eyes gouged out, their teeth broken': New book reveals the grotesque torture and murder meted out by Syrian dictator Assad – the man Russia's Putin is helping to keep in power'.
*) December 16, 2015, Human Rights Watch (HRW.org), 'If the Dead Could Speak: Mass Deaths and Torture in Syria's Detention Facilities'.
*) February 8, 2016, The Guardian, 'UN report: Syrian government actions amount to 'extermination''.
*) May 22, 2016, Vice News, '60,000 People Have Died in Assad's Prisons During Syria's War, Monitoring Group Says'.
*) August 18, 2016, Amnesty International (amnesty.org), 'Harrowing accounts of torture, inhuman conditions and mass deaths in Syria's prisons'.
*) February 8, 2017, Daily Mail, 'Inside Assad's death chamber: Three minute trials... then torture and hangings as report says Syrian regime 'exterminated' 13,000 captives'.