Conspiracy paranoia update: “Suspicions Run Deep in Iraq That C.I.A. and the Islamic State Are United,” by David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, September 20, 2014:
BAGHDAD — The United States has conducted an escalating campaign of deadly airstrikes against the extremists of the Islamic State for more than a month. But that appears to have done little to tamp down the conspiracy theories still circulating from the streets of Baghdad to the highest levels of Iraqi government that the C.I.A. is secretly behind the same extremists that it is now attacking.
“We know about who made Daesh,” said Bahaa al-Araji, a deputy prime minister, using an Arabic shorthand for the Islamic State on Saturday at a demonstration called by the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr to warn against the possible deployment of American ground troops. Mr. Sadr publicly blamed the C.I.A. for creating the Islamic State in a speech last week, and interviews suggested that most of the few thousand people at the demonstration, including dozens of members of Parliament, subscribed to the same theory. (Mr. Sadr is considered close to Iran, and the theory is popular there as well.)
When an American journalist asked Mr. Araji to clarify if he blamed the C.I.A. for the Islamic State, he retreated: “I don’t know. I am one of the poor people,” he said, speaking fluent English and quickly stepping back toward the open door of a chauffeur-driven SUV. “But we fear very much. Thank you!”
The prevalence of the theory in the streets underscored the deep suspicions of the American military’s return to Iraq more than a decade after its invasion, in 2003. The casual endorsement by a senior official, though, was also a pointed reminder that the new Iraqi government may be an awkward partner for the American-led campaign to drive out the extremists.
The Islamic State, also known by the acronym ISIS, has conquered many of the predominantly Sunni Muslim provinces in Iraq’s northeast, aided by the alienation of many residents to the Shiite-dominated government of the former prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. President Obama has insisted repeatedly that American military action against the Islamic State depended on the installation of a more inclusive government in Baghdad, but he moved ahead before it was complete….
The leader of the Islamic State, for his part, declared on Saturday that he defied the world to stop him.
“The conspiracies of Jews, Christians, Shiites and all the tyrannical regimes in the Muslim countries have been powerless to make the Islamic State deviate from its path,” the leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared in an audio recording released over the Internet, using derogatory terms from early Islamic history to refer to Christians and Shiites.
“The entire world saw the powerlessness of America and its allies before a group of believers,” he said. “People now realize that victory is from God, and it shall not be aborted by armies and their arsenals.”…
Omar al-Jabouri, 31, a Sunni Muslim from a predominantly Shiite neighborhood of Baghdad who attended the rally and said he volunteers with a Shiite brigade, argued that Mr. Maliki had alienated most Iraqis, regardless of their sect.
“He did not just exclude and marginalize the Sunni people; he ignored the Shiite people, too,” Mr. Jabouri said. “He gave special help to his family, his friends, people close to him. He did not really help the Shiite people, as many people think.”
But the Islamic State was a different story, Mr. Jabouri said. “It is obvious to everyone that the Islamic State is a creation of the United States and Israel.”