This 7-page document contains several revelations, any one of which is news — or would be if the press were more willing to report truths uncomfortable to the US government. Here are what I see as the biggest takeaways.
US Intelligence Foresaw the Rise of ISIS and the Creation of an Islamic state as early as 2012. The document states: “IF THE SITUATION UNRAVELS THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA…” This puts the lie to the always ridiculous notion that the US didn’t see the rise of ISIS coming.
Countries Backing the Opposition — Including “Western Countries” — Wanted an Islamic state to Emerge. Building on the sentence in the previous item: “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. The “supporting powers” are identified as: “WESTERN COUNTRIES, THE GULF STATES AND TURKEY.”
It Was the War in Syria that Turned Islamic State into a Power. There’s been an effort to attribute the ascendance of ISIS simply to “Sunni grievances” and the sectarianism of former Iraqi president Maliki. This document is evidence that it was the war in Syria — specifically, Islamic State of Iraq’s participation in the foreign-backed insurgency in Syria — that spawned the Islamic State as we know it today.
US Intelligence Foresaw the Devastating Impact on Iraq. The document was produced more than a year before Islamic State of Iraq took Fallujah in January 2014, allegedly “shocking” the west. But this document shows that such an outcome was not only predictable but predicted: “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.”
Fox News, the one MSM outlet that’s reported on this document, says: “While the report was circulated to the CIA, State Department and senior military leaders, among others, it’s not known whether Obama was ever briefed on the document.” That would no doubt be President Obama’s defense were he ever actually questioned about it, that he never saw the document. He would also likely say that this was just one intelligence report among hundreds.
But many people without access to intelligence reports have long argued what this document merely confirms: that the US and its allies knew an Islamic state was coming and that they saw it as a way to weaken the Syrian government.