Did The United States Involvement In Syria Create ISIS And The Syrian Refugee Problem?
By now, you have probably heard people say things like “the Syrian refugees are blow-back from the U.S. involvement in Syria,” “everything was fine in Syria until we f**ked it up for them,” or even “it was the U.S. involvement in Syria that created ISIS.” None of these statements have ever been said by anyone who has done any sort of reasonable research to back these statements up. I say that because none of these statement are factually accurate.
Let’s start with ISIS and when and where they started. The answer may surprise most.
ISIS has gone through several names since its founding in 1999. Yes, that is correct, ISIS, or as it was called back then, “The Organisation of Monotheism and Jihad,” was formed in the year 1999. This is far before America’s involvement in Syria in late 2013.
The Organisation of Monotheism and Jihad was formed by a Jordanian named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Zarqawi was most well known for going into Iraq and being responsible for a series of bombings, beheadings and eventually starting a Shia-Sunni civil war. Zarqawi was killed in a targeted strike by a Joint U.S. force on June 7, 2006.
The Organisation of Monotheism and Jihad was also known as “al-Qaeda in Iraq” or AQI, although they rarely called themselves that. In early 2006, the group merged with several other Sunni groups to form “The Mujahideen Shura Council,” which after Zarqawi’s death, then merged with several more factions to establish ad-Dawlah al-ʻIraq al-Islāmiyah, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI). This group was led by Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri.
ISI wreaked havoc throughout the entire Middle East and eventually found their way into Syria in 2012. This was still before America’s involvement in Syria. In the spring of 2013, having established themselves in Syria, ISI decided to change their name to “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL), otherwise also known as “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” (ISIS).
The Arab Spring (Dec 2010) is really where the problems in Syria began. With groups like al-Qaeda and eventually ISIS striving for world domination, and an ever growing problem with political corruption and human rights violations, violent protests and civil-wars broke out in the Arab world, including Syria. These civil-wars displaced thousands upon thousands of Muslims and they were forced out of their countries by their own people. Much of the unrest died down by late 2012, but those same civil-wars are still burning in Syria. By 2015, millions of Syrians have fallen victim to the civil-war and have left their country.
Some will say that the United States has funded and/or trained ISIS and that is why they are so strong. They use the weak evidence of “they are using our weapons” as “proof” of their theory. Again, this is something that has obviously not been researched very carefully.
Did you know that there are many nations and groups around the world that currently have and use our weapons? It’s true! The U.S. has been involved in many conflicts over the years and we have almost always armed and trained our allies in those conflicts. The same goes for the Middle East. Now if our allies that we trained and armed gets defeated in battle by a group like ISIS, who do you think ends up with the weapons that our allies had? You got it, the enemy! This isn’t some super secret conspiracy and it is certainly not something that is hard to understand. A simpler way of saying it is, ISIS and groups like them armed themselves with our weapons by defeating those who were using them.
While there could possibly be an argument that we didn’t help stabilize countries like Syria, to say that we are the ones that destabilized it, that everything was fine before we showed up or that we caused the refugee problem and we are now dealing with the “blow-back” of our actions in the Middle East, is just plain foolish and either ill-researched or willfully ignorant.