PASADENA, Calif., Dec. 2, 2015 – In what promises to be a story that shocks most Americans, the Washington Post is reporting that many Iraqi militia groups believe that the United States is not so secretly providing ISIS with weapons and support.
One Shiite commander is quoted as saying of the Islamic State, “They are weak. If only America would stop supporting them, we could defeat them in days.”
There is no doubt that the consensus in the United States is that President Obama has not done nearly enough to combat the threat from radical Islam that became even more real after 129 Parisians were murdered as they enjoyed a Friday night on the town.
Regardless of the president’s temerity, this accusation takes takes things to a conspiracy theory level that is simply too outlandish to be taken seriously.
The United States flatly dismissed these reports and labeled them as “beyond ridiculous.”
It is important to note that news doesn’t spread nearly as thoroughly through remote areas of the Middle East as it does in the United States. In the years after 9/11, videos surfaced that showed Afghani men claiming that the Sept. 11 tragedy never took place, and some had never even heard of it.
This is likely the same type of situation where a rumor or misconception spread throughout an entire region and became a truth that it never was in the first place. These rumors are easy to start.
From The Washington Post:
In one typical recent video that appeared on the Facebook page of a Shiite militia, a lawmaker with the country’s biggest militia group, the Badr Organization, waves apparently new U.S military MREs (meals ready to eat) — one of them chicken and dumplings — allegedly found at a recently captured Islamic State base in Baiji, offering proof, he said, of U.S. support.
“The Iranians and the Iranian-backed Shiite militias are really pushing this line of propaganda, that the United States is supporting ISIL,” Warren said. “It’s part of the Iranian propaganda machine.”
Something as trivial as a piece of food dropped from an American plane or stolen from an outpost being found at an ISIS hangout is something that can easily spark a rumor that spreads like wildfire throughout a region that already has major trust issues with the United States.
The last part of this quotation perhaps illuminates the real problem here.
Iran backed fighters have been flooding into Syria and Iraq over the past year, and while allegiances and enemies are very complicated in the region, there is no doubt that Iran and the United States are enemies. It is likely that Iran has helped spread the belief that the United States can’t be trusted.
Whatever is being done to spread this myth. Something is working. It appears that this is not a fringe perception; in fact, the issue has been floated by Shiite politicians on the floor of the Iraqi parliament.
Regardless of the merits, this growing sentiment is something that the United States will not only have to take seriously but also will be forced to counteract as well.
President Obama has made it abundantly clear he has no intention of sending a significant number of American ground troops back into the Middle East, which means that the struggle to defeat ISIS and establish order in Syria and Iraq will be entirely dependent on anti-ISIS forces in the region.
Clearly, a growing number of those forces are becoming suspicious of America’s true motive in the area, as ridiculous as that might seem to everyone in the United States.