The New York Times is the premier war propaganda newspaper. It pawned off neocon lies about Iraqi WMDs, the absurdity of aluminum tubes and al-Qaeda in bed with Saddam Hussein.
These lies, fed to columnist Judith Miller and other NYT and corporate media stenographers, helped sell the invasion of Iraq to the American people and contributed to the murder of over a million Iraqis.
Now the Times is foisting another lie on the American people: Saddam Hussein is responsible for the emergence of the Islamic State.
The Washington Post tried to float this half truth back in April when it reported the leadership of the Islamic State consists of members formerly part of Saddam Hussein’s inner circle.
The Times argues Saddam was basically a closet Islamist who deviated from the Ba’ath Party and embraced the Muslim Brotherhood in an effort to undermine rival Syria.
“Mr. Hussein did not hold down religious militancy and sectarianism, but incubated them and prepared the ground for an armed Salafist movement” that would morph into the Islamic State following his execution, according to Kyle W. Orton, an associate fellow at the Henry Jackson Society.
The Henry Jackson Society is a British trans-Atlantic think tank supported by a roster of warmongering neocons, most notably Max Boot, Richard Perle, Michael Chertoff, William Kristol, James Woolsey, Robert Kagan, David Frum and others.
According to a Hussein biography by Efraim Karsh and Inari Rautsi, Saddam feared religious fundamentalism would undermine the Ba’ath movement. “No such doctrines were… to be allowed to infiltrate the masses. They had to be immediately uprooted,” Karsh and Rautsi write. Primarily aimed at Shi’ite fundamentalism, Saddam also mistrusted Sunnis.
The US interrogation of Hussein’s righthand man, Tariq Aziz, revealed Saddam was not a believer in Islam and couldn’t tolerate Osama bin Laden, a Sunni.
“It is self-evident that president for life Saddam Hussein was a Sunni Muslim-in-name-only till the last seconds of his life. In fact, he was a bigot, an Arab Ba’ath Party secular nationalist,” writes Muhammad Dawud.
Religion was a direct threat to Saddamiya—the personality cult created by Hussein—and his government actively promoted the “cult of Saddam… by depicting the leader as embodying ‘the whole Iraqi people … as the heir and equal, indeed, sometimes superior to great Mesopotamian figures’” at the expense of Islam, writes Ariel I. Ahram.
In a sense the neocons at the Times are correct. Saddam Hussein did exploit Sunni Islam, especially during the Iran-Iraq War, but he was not a true believer and sincerely mistrusted religion. He also opportunistically appealed to the Sunnis during the Gulf War.
The slant of the Times article, however, is that “Iraq’s foreign policy toward an alliance with Islamists” set the stage for the emergence of the Islamic State.
The Islamic State began with a Pentagon PSYOP—admitted by General Kimmitt of CENTCOM—consisting of the largely mythical Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the putative leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq who supposedly rose to prominence after the fall of Hussein.
“Let us remember that Iraq under the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein had no Zarqawi, bin Laden, nor al-Qaeda of any kind,” writes Octavia Nasr.
Minus the restraining hand of the dictator Hussein and his police state, the stage was set to create the ultimate terror group from the remnants of al-Qaeda in Iraq and elsewhere in the Arab Middle East.
“Since 2003, Anglo-American power has secretly and openly coordinated direct and indirect support for Islamist terrorist groups linked to al-Qaeda across the Middle East and North Africa. This ill-conceived patchwork geostrategy is a legacy of the persistent influence of neoconservative ideology, motivated by longstanding but often contradictory ambitions to dominate regional oil resources, defend an expansionist Israel, and in pursuit of these, re-draw the map of the Middle East,” writes Nafeez Ahmed.
Evidence of this geostrategic imperative abounds, but you will not find it mentioned on the pages of The New York Times. Instead, we are told the Islamic State is a purely Islamic creation with elements of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist regime now in leadership roles.
“We came to power on a CIA train,” Ali Saleh Sa’adi, the Baath Party secretary general, admitted after a coup in 1963. Following the coup Saddam and the CIA controlled al-Jihaz al-Khas, the clandestine Ba’athist Intelligence organization.
The fingerprints of the CIA and US military intelligence are all over the regime of Saddam Hussein and subsequently the Islamic State. These facts, as usual, do not warrant a mention by The New York Times.
The latest propaganda effort by the newspaper of record is to disassociate US intelligence from any connection to the terrorist group and portray it as a leftover from the Hussein era while ignoring the presence of the CIA every step of the way.