By E. Michael Maloof
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael J. Flynn said the assertion that the rise of ISIS caught the administration by surprise isn’t true.
The White House made a conscious decision, he said, when it sponsored the radical jihadists who later became the Jabhad al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, to fight the Assad regime.
Flynn also said that he backed a 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency document that recently was obtained by Judicial Watch through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The document had been classified Secret/Noforn (no foreign access) and was declassified with major redactions.
Nevertheless, it reveals Western support of Salafists in Eastern Syria, stating “this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime.”
“It was a willful decision to do what they’re doing,” Flynn said in a recent interview with Al Jazeera.
In addition to being a former DIA director, Flynn served as director of intelligence for Joint Special Operations Command.
“Gen. Michael Flynn is very honorable and honest, indeed, courageous; so I credit what he says,” Peter Vincent Pry, a former analyst with the Central Intelligence Agency, told G2 Bulletin in an interview.
Pry now is executive director of the congressional advisory Task Force on National and Homeland Security and the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum.
“The Obama administration should not have been surprised by the rapid rise of ISIS, since it was anticipated by DIA,” Pry said. “Incompetence and ideology probably account for why the administration was surprised. This will not be the first time the administration has ignored the advice of military and intelligence professionals.
The DIA document also projected what the organization that later came to be called ISIS and the Islamic State would do in Iraq:
The opposition forces will try to use the Iraqi territory as a safe haven for its forces taking advantage of the sympathy of the Iraqi border population, meanwhile trying to recruit fighters and train them on the Iraqi side, in addition to harboring refugees (Syria).
If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in Eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran), the document said.
This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters.
ISI could also declare an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.
Indeed, two years later, in June 2014, ISIS declared the creation of an Islamic State, or caliphate, and continues to occupy Mosul and Ramadi, which Iraqi forces still haven’t been able to extricate.