A US intelligence report reveals that Western support for Syria’s rebels aided and abetted the rise of the ‘Islamic State’ – and the Pentagon won’t deny it
A newly declassified Pentagon report provides startling high-level confirmation that the US-led strategy in Syria contributed directly to the rise of the Islamic State (IS).
The secret US Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) document, obtained by Washington DC law firm Judicial Watch, reveals that the emergence of an “Islamic State” across Iraq and Syria was foreseen by the Pentagon, as early as three years ago.
According to the internal report, which was distributed throughout the US intelligence community, this was seen as a likely consequence of the West’s efforts to destabilise Bashir al-Assad’s regime in Syria.
Despite that, Western governments continued to coordinate financial, military and logistical support to largely Islamist militant rebel groups in Syria, through allies Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Jordan and Turkey, among others.
A sectarian insurgency
Dated August 2012, the report states that the “major forces driving the insurgency in Syria” comprise “the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [al-Qaeda in Iraq].”
Immediately after, the document states that these forces are being supported by a Western-led coalition: “The West, Gulf countries and Turkey support the opposition.”
Throughout, the document does not suggest a distinction between “moderate” Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels and Islamist militant groups, nor between the insurgency and the opposition.
Rather, the document shows that opposition forces engaged in fighting the Assad regime consisted of a combination of overlapping Islamist forces. Singling out al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the document says the terror group “supported the Syrian opposition from the beginning” due to its belief that Assad was “targeting Sunnis”.
The report further describes the insurgency as a “sectarian uprising,” whose increasingly sectarian character attracts “volunteers” from across the region to “support the Sunnis in Syria”.
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