We’ve had inklings of this news, but in the April 5, 2015 edition of The Washington Post this article lays out the facts — the hidden hand behind the Islamic State militants is Saddam Hussein’s.

The power of ISIS is the former Baathist Party of Saddam Hussein’s.  Most of the Iraqis involved in the success of ISIS are former Iraqi officers who served under Saddam Hussein, including some who were former Iraqi intelligence officers.  According to The Washington Post article, “Almost all of the leaders of the Islamic State are former Iraqi officers, including the members of its shadowy military and security committees, and the majority of its emirs and princes, according to Iraqis, Syrians and analysts who study the group.”

Sunni Iraqis, who have been left out of governing the new Iraq, that is now being run by Iraqis Shiites, are taking their revenge by lending their expertise to the Islamic State.  They offer ISIS not only military expertise, but also their knowledge of the smuggling networks that allow ISIS to add to their coffers via the illegal oil trading with neighboring countries.

And, we have to remember — the Sunni, under Saddam Hussein, were the educated class, the rulers, and the experts in military matters.  When W. decided to remake the Middle East, I am pretty sure that ISIS wasn’t his goal.  But, ISIS is the result.

One of the early colossal post-invasion mistakes by the W. administration was the decision to purge Saddam Hussein’s Baathist members from the military, to bar 400,000 of their members from holding any government employment (and even denying them their pensions) — and then allowing them to keep their guns — the inevitable insurgency of the Sunni Iraqis began.

The resulting insurgency was initially pacified by American assurances that Sunnis would be included in the new Iraqi government, and by buying off the leaders with American dollars.  Unfortunately, it was assurances that America couldn’t keep — the Shia Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki did not keep his word to form an inclusive government.

“The Americans bear the biggest responsibility. When they dismantled the army what did they expect those men to do” a former Baathist officer asked? “They were out in the cold with nothing to do and there was only one way out for them to put food on the table.”  When U.S. officials demobilized the Baathist army, “they didn’t de-Baathify people’s minds, they just took away their jobs,” he said.

Disbanding the Iraqi army after the invasion in 2003, leading to the Sunni insurgency, and the resulting Shia government’s exclusion of Sunni Iraqis in the running of the country, all led to the Sunni Baathist leaders joining forces with the Islamic State.  “The crisis of ISIS didn’t happen by chance,” according to a former intelligence officer,  “It was the result of an accumulation of problems created by the Americans and the [Iraqi] government.”

Before W.’s invasion of Iraq, Sunni and Shiites lived peacefully there, and even intermarried.  With the collapse of Iraq, the Sunni and Shia conflict in Iraq has spilled outside the country to become an active, hot war all over the Middle East.  American actions took a match and lit the fire of an Islamic Civil War.

Unintended consequences:  “Outcomes that are not the ones intended by a purposeful action,” Wikipedia definition.  NeoCon meddling in Iraq has certainly remade the Middle East — just not the way they intended when they purposefully took action in Iraq.


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