By Nick Bernabe
ISIS, the world’s most infamous terror group, has shocked the interwebz again after posting a new propaganda video that showcases its massive arsenal of tanks and heavy artillery. The video shows tank after tank, artillery piece after artillery piece, and Toyota truck after Toyota truck rolling triumphantly by, all in an effort to recruit radical Islamic youth to the caliphate’s cause. If some of those arms look oddly familiar, it’s because many — if not most of them — are American-made weapons.
This leaves us with many questions regarding where ISIS obtained all of these Western-supplied weapons of war. The most obvious answer lies in ISIS’ early military victories in Northern Iraq, namely Mosul, where caliphate forces easily trounced the Iraqi army and captured enormous amounts of military assets. In the battle of Mosul alone, ISIS captured 2,300 American-made Humvees worth over $1 billion.
However, prior to the capture of Mosul, the groups, which eventually became ISIS, were receiving weapons from U.S. allies in the region — including Saudi Arabia and Turkey — in an attempt to use Islamist fighters to overthrow the Russian-backed Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad. The weapons these Sunni states were supplying to ISIS, then in its infancy, were being sold by the West to the Gulf countries. The largest seller was the Unites States, followed by the United Kingdom — two countries that are now bombing ISIS. Sound confusing? That’s because it is.
And we can’t forget about the “moderate” Syrian opposition that the U.S. and its allies have been training and arming since 2013. According to a new report from Amnesty International, many of ISIS’ arms have come from units defecting from the Free Syrian Army, as well as other rebel groups previously aligned with the United States and its plan to oust Bashar al-Assad. “ISIS has also gained access to weapons from other sources through the capture or sale of Syrian military stocks supplied to armed opposition groups in Syria by countries including Turkey, the Gulf States and the U.S.,” concluded CNN.
According to the Amnesty International report, the calamity of Western arms ending up in the hands of ISIS can also be partially blamed on “decades of irresponsible arms transfers to Iraq and multiple failures by the U.S.-led occupation administration to manage arms deliveries and stocks securely, as well as endemic corruption in Iraq itself.”
Despite these troubling findings, the Obama administration recently committed to providing even more weapons to the Syrian opposition — and even loosened its vetting procedures for who can receive American arms.
In the end, the West’s fight against ISIS is against insurgents using the West’s own weapons — and against fighters that were, in fact, created by the West’s own policies. As we’ve covered extensively at Anti-Media, prior to ISIS’ reemergence into Iraq from Syria, the group was considered a useful tool to accomplish U.S. foreign policy goals in Syria in the form of destabilizing — and ultimately overthrowing — the Russian-backed Syrian government. To understand why the West wants Assad gone (and why Russia doesn’t), continue reading here.
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