Ever since the stunningly rapid arrival of ISIS on the global scene, there has been speculation that this spin-off of Al-Qaeda, itself a "terrorist" organization if not created by the CIA then certainly funded by Langley courtesy of Operation Cyclone in its "freedom fighter" stage, has had the implicit or explicit backing of either the US or Israel intelligence service. Nowhere is such speculation more vocal than in the one country that has suffered the most from ISIS: Iraq, or rather what is left of the country now that it is split into southern Iraq, the Islamic State, and a Kurdish region that quietly sells crude to unknown buyers at blue light special prices. To the Iraq locals there is no mystery: “It is obvious to everyone that the Islamic State is a creation of the United States and Israel” says Omar al-Jabouri, 31, a Sunni Muslim from a predominantly Shiite neighborhood of Baghdad. His view echoes what a vast number of his peers think.
“We know about who made Daesh,” said Bahaa al-Araji, a deputy prime minister, using an Arabic shorthand for the Islamic State on Saturday at a demonstration called by the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr to warn against the possible deployment of American ground troops. Mr. Sadr publicly blamed the C.I.A. for creating the Islamic State in a speech last week, and interviews suggested that most of the few thousand people at the demonstration, including dozens of members of Parliament, subscribed to the same theory. (Mr. Sadr is considered close to Iran, and the theory is popular there as well.)
When an American journalist asked Mr. Araji to clarify if he blamed the C.I.A. for the Islamic State, he retreated: “I don’t know. I am one of the poor people,” he said, speaking fluent English and quickly stepping back toward the open door of a chauffeur-driven SUV. “But we fear very much. Thank you!”
Smart guy: there could have been an armed and ready Predator drone flying overhead.
But why would the locals be gripped by this "conspiracy theory", at least until it is a proven fact? According to the NYT, the prevalence of the theory in the streets underscored the deep suspicions of the American military’s return to Iraq more than a decade after its invasion, in 2003. The casual endorsement by a senior official, though, was also a pointed reminder that the new Iraqi government may be an awkward partner for the American-led campaign to drive out the extremists.
In short, the US has zero credibility abroad, even with the US-puppet government is just put in power to replace the US-pupet government preceding it:
Mr. Obama has pledged not to send combat troops, but he seems to have convinced few Iraqis. “We don’t trust him,” said Raad Hatem, 40. Haidar al-Assadi, 40, agreed. “The Islamic State is a clear creation of the United States, and the United States is trying to intervene again using the excuse of the Islamic State,” he said.
Shiite militias and volunteers, he said, were already answering the call from religious leaders to defend Iraq from the Islamic State without American help. “This is how we do it,” he said, adding that the same forces would keep American troops out. “The main reason Obama is saying he will not invade again is because he knows the Islamic resistance” of the Shiite militias “and he does not want to lose a single soldier.”
To be sure, it is not just the US which is blamed: some of the fault is reserved for the government of the former president, Maliki, who as a reminder, was a puppet initially put in his post by none other than the US.
Many at the rally in Baghdad said they welcomed airstrikes against Mr. Baghdadi’s Islamic State but not American ground forces, the position that Mr. Sadr has taken. Many of the 30 lawmakers backed by Mr. Sadr — out of a Parliament of 328 seats — attended the rally.
Mr. Sadr’s supporters opposed Mr. Maliki, the former prime minister, and many at the rally were quick to criticize the former government for mistakes like failing to build a more dependable army. “We had a good army, so where is this army now?” asked Waleed al-Hasnawi, 35. “Maliki gave them everything, but they just left the battlefield.”
But few if any blamed Mr. Maliki for alienating Sunnis, as American officials assert, by permitting sectarian abuses under the Shiite-dominated security forces.
Omar al-Jabouri, 31, a Sunni Muslim from a predominantly Shiite neighborhood of Baghdad who attended the rally and said he volunteers with a Shiite brigade, argued that Mr. Maliki had alienated most Iraqis, regardless of their sect. “He did not just exclude and marginalize the Sunni people; he ignored the Shiite people, too,” Mr. Jabouri said. “He gave special help to his family, his friends, people close to him. He did not really help the Shiite people, as many people think.”
And while sentiment is mixed toward the local politicians, there is no debate when it comes to the greatest terrorist scourge since bin Laden:
... the Islamic State was a different story, Mr. Jabouri said. “It is obvious to everyone that the Islamic State is a creation of the United States and Israel.”
Maybe to everyone in Iraq...