It was over a month ago that the United States began launching airstrikes in Iraq to combat militants associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Despite efforts from the U.S. to destroy ISIS, rumors are running rampant in Iraq that ISIS was a creation of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
According to the New York Times, conspiracy theories are circulating from “the streets of Baghdad to the highest levels of Iraqi government that the CIA is secretly behind the same extremists that it is now attacking.”
On Saturday, a demonstration in Iraq was called for by the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr to warn against the possible invasion by American ground troops. Sadr had blamed the CIA for creating ISIS in a prior speech, and continued with the same theory.
The deputy prime minister, Bahaa al-Araji, who was present at the demonstration, referred to ISIS using the Arabic shorthand, “Daesh.”
“We know about who made Daesh,” said Araji. However, when asked if he blamed the CIA for the creation of the Islamic State, the New York Times reported that Araji responded, “I don’t know. I am one of the poor people. But we fear very much.”
Others in attendance at Saturday’s demonstration were also not convinced that President Obama would resist sending ground troops into Iraq. “We don’t trust him,” said Raad Hatem.
“The Islamic State is a clear creation of the United States,” said Haidar al-Assadi, another man present at the rally. “The United States is trying to intervene again using the excuse of the Islamic State.”
Assadi claimed that Shiite militias and volunteers were already answering the call from religious leaders to defend Iraq from the Islamic State without help from the United States, and that they would use the same forces to keep American troops out.
“The main reason Obama is saying he will not invade again is because he knows the Islamic resistance,” said Assadi, referring to the Shiite militia, “and he does not want to lose a single soldier.”
International Business Times explained the Iraqis’ willingness to believe such theories by using the words of a Lebanese man, Amer Murad, who said, “As history has taught us, it is usually the benefactors who are the instigators.”
“Most people here believe the US and Saudi are one, and when it comes strictly down to oil money, the ultimate benefactor from the whole [ISIS] debacle is Saudi [or] the US,” Murad said.