It’s all a ruse, some Iraqis say, nothing more than a carefully thought-out plan to destabilize their bloodied country even more.

Twelve years after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and three years after U.S. forces pulled out, the U.S. role in fighting the Islamic State group here is met with great distrust.

Conspiracy theories abound, with many Iraqis insisting that the United States is actually funding and supporting the Sunni extremist group in order rip apart what’s left of the country and strengthen Iraqi reliance on the West.

“I think ISIS is something that the United States made up,” Aia al-Marsoumy, a 25-year-old dentist in Baghdad, told The WorldPost. “They want their army to be in Iraq. They want Iraq to be helpless without the support of the United States.”

Hundreds of American military advisers are currently training Iraqi security forces to join the fight against ISIS after the country’s military nearly crumbled last summer. When ISIS launched an assault on the northern city of Mosul in June, Iraqi forces ran for their lives, stripping off their uniforms on the side of the road.

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