A reading list on the history of DA’ESH (ISIS)

This listicle has grown gradually and now needs some re-organisation and sub-headings, which I haven’t done yet.

Summary: the Assad regime actually enabled and cooperated with Al Qaeda in Iraq until 2009. The regime actually setup ISIS in Syria to be their ideal enemy to use in international propaganda in order to confuse international public opinion and maintain international tolerance for him to crush the Syrian revolution. The regime then falsely accuses all their international enemies of doing what they actually did and do in order to make it sound incredible to accuse them of it truthfully. That is a mirror accusation propaganda tactic.

The regime often calls all opposition armed groups and civilians in opposition areas “ISIS” or “Al Qaeda” — this is just propaganda for the international audience. For example, in E Aleppo by the time of the forced displacement in mid December 2016, there were only about 150–200 Hikrut Tahrir al-Sham (formerly an Al Qaeda franchise) fighters in E Aleppo, up to 5000 other fighters, with at least 60,000 civilians, but in regime propaganda they were all “ISIS” — there’s been no ISIS / Daesh in Aleppo since the FSA and YPG kicked them out in 2014. For a survey of armed factions in Syria, see Bellingcat.

There’s an enormous amount of evidence listed below, but the gist is really rather simple:

The regime and its Russian and Iranian allies in particular have a huge network of covert disinformation sites, paid trolls and useful idiots spreading their propaganda online. They also manipulate Google search ranking results so that their sites look more popular and more credible. Their covertly connected sites make it appear as though their lies are widely and independently corroborated. To see this for yourself, see OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) techniques for beginners.

The origins of Daesh

Assad regime support / use of Al Qaeda and Daesh

Assad Henchman: Here’s How We Built ISIS, Roy Gutman, 1 December 16.

How Assad Staged al Qaeda Bombings, Roy Gutman, 2 December 2016.

How ISIS Returned to Syria, Roy Gutman, 5 December 2016.

p.s. added later:

The regime allowed Da’esh to capture Air to Ground Missile (ATGM) systems from their arms stores.

Mufti Hassoun representing the regime in October 2011:

Khaled Aboud, a regime official, in January 2017, explicitly threatened Turkey, saying that they have infiltrated Da’esh leadership and can, and implied maybe they have, direct(ed) attacks in Turkey:

It’s common for pro-revolutionary Syrian civilians who are in positions to know more than just what’s in the media to believe that it is probable, or they claim to know but aren’t yet in a safe place to publish their evidence, that the regime directs, or knows in advance and chooses to do nothing to stop, some Da’esh attacks in Europe, because everytime Da’esh attacks in Europe it reinforces European support or tolerance for the regime.

It’s conspicuous if you look at a map of Da’esh attacks globally that there are none in Iran or Russia, except the one in Russia which was probably actually by the Putin regime to seemingly justify a crackdown on protesters.

P.p.s. An hilarious example of “pro-regime” Syrians attitude to the regime’s official propaganda, even while they’re repeating it:

“Everything is normal here in Damascus, no battles as those liars say. Everything is normal. The media are lying. Everything is normal, look at all these cars [looks around, no cars].” Asks bystander: “Yes, everything is normal, no battles [boom], everything is normal and under control here [boom].”

p.p.s more added later. This list is now out of any sort of logical or chronological order, and getting far too long, but I’ll try to fix that later.

“Western appeasement of the clerical fascist regime in Iran has contributed directly to the Syrian nightmare and to the creation of ISIS. The Iranian regime’s outright support for Bashar al-Assad and his bloody reprisals against innocent civilians paved the way for the rise of ISIS. Iran’s puppet regime in neighboring Iraq, under the genocidal control of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, opened the door for ISIS to seize great swathes of Iraqi territory. As a result, Europe now faces its biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War, as the civil conflict in Syria spirals out of control.”

“New letters obtained by Sky News, in addition to the massive haul of 22,000 files handed over last month, appear to confirm this:

* An agreement with the Syrian regime to withdraw IS weapons from Palmyra.

* A deal between IS and the regime to trade oil for fertiliser and;

* Arrangements to evacuate some areas by Islamic State forces BEFORE the Syrian army attacked.

All appear to be pre-agreed deals and suggest direct evidence of collusion between the Syrian regime and Islamic State chiefs.”

Oil sales

“In March 2015 the FT reported that a Syrian businessman […] George Haswani, [was] a middleman buying oil from ISIL [ISIS] on behalf of the regime.”

In Dec 2016, LCC reported that Hosam Ahmad Al-Qaterji is the regime’s middleman for buying oil from Daesh in Deir ez-Zor-

“Two officials from the regime attended a meeting with ISIS– Talal Ali and Colonel Ahmed Abdel Wahhab, who is serving as head of military intelligence in Qamishli. The meeting was arranged after Ali Mamlouk, head of the Assad National Security Bureau, tasked his representatives with convincing ISIS to increase attacks on the opposition. Following the meeting, ISIS captured Palmyra without facing any serious struggle from regime forces.”


“On December 6, 2015, in a televised interview with the Ukrainian news program ТСН Тиждень (TSN Tyzhden, Ukrainian for TSN Weekly), a former FSB officer admitted that Russia is behind ISIS while ostensibly opposing it.

Former FSB officer codenamed “Yevgeniy” (shown, back toward camera) revealed that Russia’s FSB security services was, at the very least, complicit in the Paris attacks carried out by ISIS, and most shockingly that the FSB was involved in the creation of ISIS, which it influences through its agents who staff it as well as other related Islamic terrorist organizations. […]

Tsaplienko asked, “Is there any proof which suggests that the Russian special services were involved in the terrorist attacks on Paris, or at least they knew about them in advance?”

“there was no way that Russia could not have known of the attacks in advance considering the FSB’s active presence within the Muslim communities throughout Europe. The high probability that Russia knew of the attacks in advance but yet did not warn proper European and French authorities, Yevgeniy suggests, is indicative that Russia wanted the Paris terrorist attacks to occur or at the very least was okay with them happening.[…]

Regarding ISIS, Tsaplienko asked, “Can one claim that Russia, the Russian special services are involved in the creation of ISIS?”

“Definitely, and I know that exactly, the Russian special services believed that if a terrorist organization was set up as an alternative to Al-Qaeda and it created problems for the United States as [the heavily ethnic-Russian populated region of Ukraine known as the] Donbas does for Ukraine now, it would be quite good,” Yevgeniy said.[…]

Given Russia and the FSB’s past history regarding international terrorism, supposed “Chechen” terrorism, and the revelations by the late-FSB defector Alexander Litvinenko that al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was trained at an FSB base in Dagestan in 1998, Yevgeniy’s revelations of a Russian FSB role in both ISIS and in particular and “Muslim” terrorism in general should be taken seriously and not simply dismissed.”

Weapons supplies and military cooperation with Daesh

“There have been dozens of cases since 2014 in which Assad’s troops and IS have apparently been coordinating attacks on rebel groups, with the air force bombing them from above and IS firing at them from the ground. In early June, the US State Department announced that the regime wasn’t just avoiding IS positions, but was actively reinforcing them.

Such cooperation isn’t surprising. The rebels — in all their variety, from nationalists to radical Islamists — represent the greatest danger to both Assad and IS. And if the two sides want to survive in the long term, the Syrian dictator and the jihadists are useful to each other. From Assad’s perspective, if the rebels were to be vanquished, the world would no longer see an alternative to the Syrian dictator. But the rebels are also primarily Sunni, as are two-thirds of the Syrian populace — meaning that, from the IS perspective, once the rebels were defeated, the populace would be faced either with submission and exile, or they would join IS.

In short, a Syria free of rebels would put both Assad and Islamic State in powerful positions, though not powerful enough to defeat the other. Still, such a situation would be vastly preferable to the alternatives: Being toppled from power (Assad), or being destroyed (IS).

Relative to those two camps, the Syrian opposition in the West is hardly being paid attention to anymore. That is in part a function of their confusing structure: There are dozens of larger rebel groups and hundreds of smaller units, mostly at a local level. They cooperate, but alliances often crumble due to the ideological differences of their foreign supporters.”

“During a successful offensive on Palmyra, ISIS fighters “captured” Russian army base with a huge number of weapons:

36 tanks
7 Infantry fighting vehicles (IFV)
8 army cargo truck
6 122mm cannons artillery
7 23 mm twin-barreled autocannons
Several BPM-97 “Vystrel” — new model of Russian mine-resistant, ambush protected vehicle
Several hundred AK rifle
unknown number of mortars
500 tonn [Sic] ammunition for all this weapon

[surely they can’t mean 500 tonnes?!]

Russian military just left their base, leaving everything without any battle.”

Two batches of papers: one captured from Daesh actual organisational founder, Samir Abd Muhammad al-Khlifawi, a former Iraqi Ba’ath army officer, codenamed Haji Bakr, who was appointed by Assad to prepare and establish Daesh; and the second batch of papers recovered from Daesh’s offices by al-Tawhid Brigade when they were forced out of Aleppo in January 2014 faster than they could burn all their files.


The Archivist: Unseen Islamic State Financial Accounts for Deir az-Zor Province.

“This article analyses documents taken from ISIS administrators and shows, through its own accounts, its sources of income.”

“The “Islamic State” terrorist group wants to present itself as a state but is little more than a mafia regime.”

International support, real and fake

First of all get some clarity about all the factions:

BBC examines claims of ideological and funding links with Saudi Arabia:

  • Ideological links are historical and now they’ve diverged into enemies.
  • Funding links in SA are non-State private donors, but private donor income is only about 5% of Daesh’s total income.

Coalition countries including KSA have already cracked down on private donor funding to Daesh probably as much as they practically can, but even if they could do more, it could only reduce their income by about 5%.

There may be some funding from Saudi Arabia to Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham or some parts of it, and they are problematic, but very different from Daesh.