Back in June of 2014, ISIS – which at the time hadn’t yet rampaged its way into the world’s collective consciousness – took over Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city and home to more than 2 million people.
When the city fell, it became immediately apparent that the group was quite serious about its stated goal of creating a medieval caliphate and bringing Sharia Law to the entire region.
The victory wasn’t purely symbolic. ISIS fighters captured 2,300 Humvees parked in the city and looted more than $400 million from Mosul’s central bank.
Just like that, the brainchild of Abu-Mus’ab al-Zarqawi that grew in post-invasion Iraq and garnered support from regional Sunni benefactors once it began to operate in Syria, was the richest, most well-armed terror group on the planet.
So in the short space of a decade, the US managed to take a largely stable (if autocratic) state and turn it into a smoldering wasteland partially occupied by a brazen group of terrorist desert bandits who Washington and its regional allies were simultaneously using to destabilize neighboring Syria.
Now, two years since the fall of Mosul and five years since the start of Syria’s bloody conflict, the US has come full circle. Washington allowed an al-Qaeda offshoot to grow and prosper in hopes of destabilizing the government in Damascus only to end up fighting the very same group years later in the most hilariously absurd example of blowback the world has ever witnessed.
In the latest boondoggle being pitched by the media as a “win” in the fight against ISIS, a US airstrike destroyed an Islamic State “money center” in Mosul this week.
“We hit a cash storage facility. We have hit one or two previously,” an unnamed official told Newsweek. “Not sure how much dollars but estimate in the millions,” he added.
“The bulk cash distribution site was used by [ISIS] to distribute money to fund terrorist activities,” Lieutenant Commander Ben Tisdale, said in a statement.
“We estimate in the millions of dollars … from all their illicit stuff: oil, looting, extortion,” Tisdale said.
CNN called the strike “extremely unusual” for the apparent blatant disregard shown for civilians. Two 2,000-pound bombs were dropped on the building in central Mosul. “US commanders had been willing to consider up to 50 civilian casualties from the airstrike due to the importance of the target,” CNN said. “But the initial post-attack assessment indicated that perhaps five to seven people were killed.”
“Only” five to seven innocent Iraqis killed. No big deal apparently. It could have been 50.
Here’s a video of the aftermath:
So let’s just recount the ridiculous chain of events that led directly to this strike and countless others.
During the Soviet-Afghan war, the US armed and funded the fighters who would eventually grow into al-Qaeda. Years later, al-Qaeda attacked the US and so the US went to the same country where Washington used to support the fighters to kill them. The US then invaded Iraq, creating the conditions for al-Qaeda to thrive there. Al-Qaeda in Iraq became ISIS and thanks to the fact that the US decimated the Iraqi military, the group was able to take Mosul and steal $400 million. Two years later, the US bombs Mosul and destroys the money.
There you have it America: your taxpayer dollars hard at work in a never-ending cycle of foreign policy blunders.