The origin story of ISIS may contain major surprises

Isis fighters, pictured on a militant website verified by AP.

What is ISIS? Where did it come from, and how did it achieve so much success so quickly?

The well-respected German news magazine Der Spiegel, citing captured ISIS documents, interviews and intelligence sources, provides a compelling origin story for the organization that I highly recommend. I’m sure it will be dissected and critiqued extensively in the days to come, but if it holds up under that analysis, it will significantly alter our understanding of the group, its goals and perhaps how to fight it.

The short version:

ISIS is not motivated primarily by Islamic fundamentalism. Instead, it is the secret creation of Col. Samir Abd Muhammad al-Khlifawia, a former Iraqi intelligence officer under Saddam Hussein, who created the organization as a means to regain Sunni control of Iraq.  The seeming religious nature of the group was a conscious strategic decision, enabling ISIS to attract fighters from around the globe and distract attention from its secular ambitions.

As Der Spiegel puts it:

“IS has little in common with predecessors like al-Qaida aside from its jihadist label. There is essentially nothing religious in its actions, its strategic planning, its unscrupulous changing of alliances and its precisely implemented propaganda narratives. Faith, even in its most extreme form, is just one of many means to an end. Islamic State’s only constant maxim is the expansion of power at any price.”

Al-Khlifawia was killed in a confrontation with Syrian rebel groups in 2014. Citing documents authored by al-Khlifawia and captured after his death, Der Spiegel argues that he and other Sunni veterans of the Iraqi military organized ISIS along the same security-state model used by Saddam. The person whom we have known as the head of ISIS, the radical cleric Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was in this account hand-selected by al-Khlifawia and his colleagues to serve as ISIS’ “religious face.”

Again, take the time to read the entire piece, if possible, and do so with the understanding that elements of it are certain to be challenged. But it does seem to bolster the case that ISIS is the deadly spawn of our decision to invade Iraq, and of our subsequent incompetent attempt at occupying and “nation-building” that tragic country.

Reader Comments 0

1010 comments
Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

 I’m a single father and I only make $12 an hour; I had to take a second job at a grocery store to make ends meet. But even though I work seven days a week – putting in 70 hours between my two jobs – I can’t manage to pay the rent, buy school supplies for my kids or even put food on the table. I hate to admit it, but I have to use food stamps so that my kids don’t go to bed hungry


Similar situations exist at say Wal Mart and many others


Taxpayers subsidize the low pay and benefits they give their employees


Meanwhile the Walton family heirs own more wealth than 40 percent of America.


One family


But hey they "earned" it right ? ( They didn't. They inherited it. )

honested
honested

It is a good time to have this discussion.


Since it is pledge week on NPR (alive and well despite ronald ray-gun's best attempts to kill it), maybe it is time to make the MIC operate on willful contributions from 'donors'. 

No willing money, no Wars of Choice to protect offshore business interests.

Then, the offshore business interests would have to include their 'externalized costs' into the products they import.

Free market at work 


What a concept!!

Doom Classical liberal
Doom Classical liberal

@honested


"alive and well despite ronald ray-gun's best attempts to kill it)"


Referring to Ronald Magnus as "the great man" will suffice nicely thank you. 


honested
honested

@Doom Classical liberal @honested 

I prefer 'slobbering old fool', 'acting President' or 'electoral aberration'.

If the wrong wing gets their way and puts him on Mount Rushmore, will the drool cup be included?

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

Government has no business propping up a radio outfit -- it can survive on its own.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Philo_Farnsworth And though NPR is widely seen as publicly funded, the majority of its funding does not come (even indirectly) from taxpayers. NPR doesn't receive direct federal funding for operations - the largest chunk of its money comes from program fees and station dues, as NPR's finances page lays out.


They already do

JamVet
JamVet

@Philo_Farnsworth 

Exactly and why the mooches on our airwaves should be made to pay.

ALL of them.

Ironic that Rush is the biggest mooch of them all, huh?

JamVet
JamVet

OF COURSE, Saddam had chemical weapons!

We, meaning Reagan, Bush, Rumsfeld and buddies, sold them to him!

And smiled all the way to the bank.

Think about if for a moment.

You Republican chickenhawks have been f&cking up Iraq for over forty years.

God help us.

Please...

Chemical and biological exports Iraq purchased 8 strains of anthrax from the United States in 1985, according to British biological weapons expert David Kelly. The Iraqi military settled on the American Type Culture Collection strain 14578 as the exclusive strain for use as a biological weapon, according to Charles Duelfer.

On February 9, 1994, Senator Riegle delivered a report -commonly known at the Riegle Report- in which it was stated that "pathogenic (meaning 'disease producing'), toxigenic (meaning 'poisonous'), and other biological research materials were EXPORTED TO IRAQ pursuant to application and licensing by the U.S. Department of Commerce." It added: "These exported biological materials were not attenuated or weakened and were capable of reproduction."

The report then detailed 70 shipments (including Bacillus anthracis) from the United States to Iraqi government agencies over three years, concluding "It was later learned that these microorganisms exported by the United States were identical to those the UN inspectors found and recovered from the Iraqi biological warfare program."

Donald Riegle, Chairman of the Senate committee that authored the aforementioned Riegle Report, said:

U.N. inspectors had identified many United States manufactured items that had been exported from the United States to Iraq under licenses issued by the Department of Commerce, and [established] that these items were used to further Iraq's chemical and nuclear weapons development and its missile delivery system development programs. ... The executive branch of our government approved 771 different export licenses for sale of dual-use technology to Iraq. I think that is a devastating record.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control sent Iraq 14 separate agents "with biological warfare significance," according to Riegle's investigators.

Doom Classical liberal
Doom Classical liberal

I’m a single father and I only make $12 an hour; I had to take a second job at a grocery store to make ends meet. But even though I work seven days a week – putting in 70 hours between my two jobs – I can’t manage to pay the rent, buy school supplies for my kids or even put food on the table. I hate to admit it, but I have to use food stamps so that my kids don’t go to bed hungry.http://crooksandliars.com/2015/04/senate-cafeteria-cook-goes-strike-shine"


That's almost 44,000 a year, well above the FPL. And with 2 or 3 kids he probably gets all or most of his tax money back.Plus the child tax credit. Plenty of people out there who have it tougher than him. 

Doom Classical liberal
Doom Classical liberal

@HeadleyLamar


He's got it better than he would in most other places. If not then I'm sure there are plenty willing to brave the southwestern desert to get here to get his job. Millions of em in fact. And the irony is that he probably votes for the party that wants these people to come and compete for his job. Oh but the irony...

td1234
td1234

@Doom Classical liberal The real question is why is this person complaining about the situation he is in instead of taking responsibility for the actions he took to place himself in the situation? 

Doom Classical liberal
Doom Classical liberal

@SFM_Scootter


He might make more. He might make less. I'm just guessing its the same. In any event he at least gets food stamps to help out with things and probably medicaid for the kids. 

Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@Doom Classical liberal "That's almost 44,000 a year, well above the FPL"


Seriously, Doom, I lived in NoVA for a couple of years, and $44K -- even tax-free -- isn't JACK around there.


Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@Doom Classical liberal @Tuna Meowt "True. But he'll just have to commute a little further and get a cheaper apartment. "


You'd have to commute from frickin' West Virginia to be able to raise a family on $44K.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@td1234 @Doom Classical liberal Id say working two jobs and raising a family IS taking responsibility for his situation


but hey that's just me


No one working full time or two jobs in this country should be on food stamps


In effect us taxpayers subsidize his low pay.

hamiltonAZ
hamiltonAZ

Commute from farther away? Luxury! We used to dream of living in a shoebox on the side of the road, waking up to a hearty breakfast of gravel...

hamiltonAZ
hamiltonAZ

Sounds like he's doing some heavy lifting. Perhaps Oligarchical leavings should be a tad larger

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

This may have been brought up already, but DAYUmmmm...

Obama: Warren Wrong On TPP. Warren: Why Can't We See The Deal?

On Wednesday, Warren responded via Twitter.

"The Obama Admin says I'm wrong — we shouldn't worry about TPP. So why can’t the American people read the deal?" she questioned.

It was a direct attack against the administration's handling of the negotiations, which liberals say have lacked transparency.

http://crooksandliars.com/2015/04/obama-warren-wrong-tpp-warren-why-cant-we

I suppose it's a matter of trust and obey?

schnirt 

honested
honested

@FIGMO2 

I do wish the President would stop pandering to the chamber of commerce.

The plutocrats will still get to screw us, why shouldn't they pay a little coin to keep the republic running along the way?

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

"Who do you think you are that others on this blog should have to prove themselves to you? "


"You don't have to believe me if you don't want to.  But you could stand to be less of a Richard about it.  After all, I don't believe much you have to say about yourself, either.  XD"


Tuna, FWIW, I do believe your military service, however, I thought I'd take the opportunity to shove your own game right back in your face.  On numerous occasions, you've accused me and others on this blog of lying about their jobs, their education, etc. based on nothing more than your need to try to make yourself feel superior.  Let this be a lesson to you, Tuna, nobody on this blog has any more responsibility or reason to believe anything you post than you do them.  If you don't like that two way street, that's your problem, not mine.


Pumpkin.

Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@fiftythreepercenter "On numerous occasions, you've accused me and others on this blog of lying about their jobs, their education, etc."


Sure have.  :D


"based on nothing more than your need to try to make yourself feel superior."


Well, that's where you're wrong.   XD


"Let this be a lesson to you, Tuna"


Oh, Pumpkin, if I'm going to be taught a lesson, it won't be by you.  Perhaps you should take your own lesson about feeling superior and condescending to others to heart -- since that's your *entire* modus operandi here.


"nobody on this blog has any more responsibility or reason to believe anything you post than you do them."


I *know* that already.  You seem to think that you've somehow hurt my feelings by not believing me.  Whether you believe me or not, believe me, you haven't.  XD


"If you don't like that two way street, that's your problem, not mine."


It suits me just fine.  The fact that you posted this bleating complaint is fine evidence that *you* are a lot more upset about not being trusted than *I* am.   (giggling)  XD


JamVet
JamVet

@Yes_Jesus_Can @fiftythreepercenter 

What a fraud you are.

What was that your new age, supply side savior said?

Something about the log in your own?

Matthew 7:4"Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5"You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. 6"Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

Can we start calling them DAESH?  


It's used all over the Middle East and Europe to describe this group. 


I like ISIS as an Egyptian goddess (or spy entity on Archer). 

Doggone_GA
Doggone_GA

@LogicalDude Personally, I prefer ISIS...it amuses me to call them by the name of a Pagan Goddess