Many Iraqi fighters and civilians, of both Sunni and Shia faiths, believe that the United States is secretly supporting the Islamic State group in order to assert control over the Middle East and possibly its oil, according to The Washington Post. The belief isn't just held by a few fringe Iraqis, but is widespread and based on stories and videos that have been circulated showing U.S. helicopters airdropping weapons, water and other supplies to Islamic State positions, the Post reports.
"It is not in doubt," said Mustafa Saadi, a Shiite commander in northern Iraq. The Islamic State group is "weak" and "almost finished," and could be defeated in days "if only America would stop supporting them."
Iraqis noticed that America consistently fails to achieve its foreign policy goals, and apparently don't believe it is possible for the U.S. to be so incompetent and ineffectual. So they started looking for more plausible explanations for U.S. failures in the Middle East, and have concluded that the U.S. isn't really failing, but carrying out a carefully calculated strategy to support the Islamic State group, according to The Daily Caller.
"The reason is that the Americans aren't doing the job people expect them to do," said Mustafa Alani, director of the Dubai-based Gulf Research Center. "Mosul was lost and the Americans did nothing. Syria was lost and the Americans did nothing. Paris is attacked and the Americans aren't doing much. So people believe this is a deliberate policy. They can't believe the American leadership fails to understand the developments in the region, and so the only other explanation is that this is part of a conspiracy."
Col. Steven Warren, the U.S. military's spokesman in Iraq, told the Post the allegations are ludicrous, saying, "It's beyond ridiculous. There's clearly no one in the West who buys it, but unfortunately, this is something that a segment of the Iraqi population believes."
However, a declassified Defense Intelligence Agency report from 2012 claims that, at least in Syria, the U.S. supported the group al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI) - which was eventually renamed to ISIS - and wanted an Islamic State to form because it would help weaken the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Former DIA Director Michael Flynn confirmed this to Al Jazeera, saying that the decision to support extremists in Syria and allow an Islamic State to form was a "willful decision," rather than a result of ignorance or looking the other way.