US MERCENARIES, IRAQI HIGHWAYS AND THE MYSTERY OF THE NEVER-ENDING ISIS HORDES | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

US MERCENARIES, IRAQI HIGHWAYS AND THE MYSTERY OF THE NEVER-ENDING ISIS HORDES

Maps of the conflict stretching over the last several years show clear corridors used to reinforce IS positions, leading primarily from Turkey’s southern border and to a lesser extent, from Jordan’s borders.

However, another possible vector may be desert highways in Iraq’s western Anbar province where US military contractors are allegedly to “provide security” as well as build gas stations and rest areas. These highways contributed to the current conflict and still serve as a hotbed for state–sponsored terrorism. Whether these US-controlled and -improved highways pose a significant threat for a reorganized effort by the US and its regional allies to divide and destroy Iraq and Syria seems all but inevitable.

The Islamic State’s de facto invasion of Syria and Iraq was a more massive and dramatic replay of an earlier surge of foreign militants into the region, following the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.

It would be America’s own Combating Terrorism Center at the West Point United States Military Academy in two reports published in 2007 and 2008 (.pdf) respectively that would describe in detail the networks some of Washington’s closest regional allies used to flood post-war Iraq with foreign fighters.

While these fighters indeed attacked US soldiers, what they also did was disrupt a relatively unified resistance movement before plunging Sunni and Shia’a militias into a deadly and costly “civil war.”

Fighters, weapons and cash infiltrated into Iraq from a network that fed fighters from across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region first into Turkey, through Syria via the help of many of the senior leadership of anti-government militant groups now fighting Damascus, and then into Iraq primarily where IS has been based and where the remnants of its militancy remains.

During the more recent conflict, these same networks were utilized successfully until Russia’s intervention in 2015 when these terrorist “ratlines” came under fire by Russian warplanes. The cause and effect of attacking these terrorist ratlines was visible on conflict maps, causing an almost immediate shrinking of IS-occupied territory and a corresponding atrophy of IS fighting capacity.

The Jordanian-Iraqi and Saudi-Iraqi border crossings and the highways running through them represent an alternative means to reorient Washington’s proxy conflict either now or in the near future.

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