Iraqi Fighters Believe US is Supporting the Islamic State

Ashton Carter
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter / AP

Iraqi forces combatting the Islamic State believe that the United States is supporting the terrorist group in Iraq.

The Washington Post reports:

Iraqi fighters say they have all seen the videos purportedly showing U.S. helicopters airdropping weapons to the militants, and many claim they have friends and relatives who have witnessed similar instances of collusion. Ordinary people also have seen the videos, heard the stories and reached the same conclusion–one that might seem absurd to Americans but is widely believed among Iraqis–that the United States is supporting the Islamic State for a variety of pernicious reasons that have to do with asserting U.S. control over Iraq, the wider Middle East and, perhaps, its oil.

Shiite politicians have accused the U.S. of working with the Islamic State during parliament meetings. However, Iraqi government officials maintain that they do not believe the allegations but that the suspicions arise from America’s inaction in the fight against the Islamic State.

"We don’t believe the Americans support Daesh," spokesman for the Iraqi Defense Ministry Naseer Nouri said, using another name for the terror group. "But it is true that most people are saying they do, and they are right to believe that the Americans should be doing much more than they are. It’s because America is so slow that most people believe they are supporting Daesh."

U.S. military spokesman Col. Steve Warren, who is based in Baghdad, called the widespread allegations "ridiculous."

"There’s clearly no one in the West who buys it, but unfortunately, this is something that a segment of the Iraqi population believes," Warren said.

A video allegedly produced by the office of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei last month also accused the U.S. of creating the Islamic State. The brief film also blamed the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris on America.

On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said that the U.S. will send a special operations force to Iraq to support the fight against the Islamic State in the country. The Pentagon has already sent a small number of special operations forces into Syria to bolster the fight against the terror group there.

In response to Carter’s admission, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi insisted that U.S. troops are not needed on the ground to fight the Islamic State.

"There is no need for foreign ground combat troops," al-Abadi said in a statement late Tuesday. "Any such support and special operations anywhere in Iraq can only be deployed subject to the approval of the Iraqi Government and in coordination with the Iraqi forces and with full respect to Iraqi sovereignty."