What do they know that we don’t, because it wouldn’t be so surprising that he actually does support ISIS.
For nearly two years, U.S. airstrikes, military advisers and weapons shipments have helped Iraqi forces roll back the Islamic State.
The U.S.-led coalition has carried out more than 5,000 airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq at a total cost of $7 billion since August 2014, including operations in Syria. On Tuesday, a U.S. Navy SEAL was the third serviceman to die fighting ISIS in Iraq.
But many Iraqis still aren’t convinced the Americans are on their side.
Government-allied Shiite militiamen on the front-lines post videos of U.S. supplies purportedly seized from ISIS militants or found in areas liberated from the extremist group.
Newspapers and TV networks repeat conspiracy theories that the U.S. created the jihadi group to sow chaos in the region in order to seize its oil.
Despite spending more than $10 million on public outreach in Iraq last year, the U.S. government appears to have made little headway in dispelling such rumors.
An unscientific survey by the State Department of Iraqi residents last year found that 40 percent believe that U.S. policy is working to ‘destabilize Iraq and control its natural resources,’ and a third believe America ‘supports terrorism in general and (IS) specifically.’
Skepticism about U.S. motives is deeply rooted in Iraq, where many still blame the chaos after the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein on American malice rather than incompetence.
The conspiracy theories are also stoked by neighboring Iran, which backs powerful militias and political parties with active media operations.
Among the most vocal critics is al-Ahad TV – a 24-hour satellite channel funded by Asaib Ahl al-Haq, an Iranian-backed militia allied with the Iraqi government.
The channel airs front-line reports and political talk shows where the allegedly harmful role of the U.S. government frequently comes up.