Ten years after US troops took down Saddam Hussein and two years after the US-led coalition started its operation against Daesh in Iraq, Iraqis are still disinclined to believe the US is on their side.
With some 65 states (numbers may vary), and more than 5,000 airstrikes, the US-led coalition against Daesh displayed less-than-stellar results. Compared to the success of taking down Saddam Hussein, then-leader of Iraq, in two weeks, current military operation raises more questions than gives answers.
According to reports, Iraqi people still can’t get their head around the fact that US is actually fighting Daesh, with some openly accusing the US of aiding it. While reported proofs vary, from discovering US boots and uniforms on Daesh troops and territory to cases of dropping shipments on enemy territory, the inability of such massive coalition to decisively wipe out a group of low-tech belligerents summons confusion that spreads across Iraqi population.
There are a number of videos uploaded to the Web that show American supplies found among Daesh forces. These include uniforms, boots and US military MREs (standard issue army meals). Such merchandise can be purchased legally and should not be seriously considered as a proof of American involvement in Daesh operations. The weapons, however, is a more serious issue, especially when it comes to heavier armaments, such as anti-tank missiles Daesh fighters used to destroy Russian rescue helicopter in Syria. US-made weapons, ammo and other supplies have been reportedly dropped over the militant-held territory, causing Daesh’s adversaries to believe that the US deliberately assists the terrorist organization.
With this in mind, Atheer al-Tariq, spokesman of al-Ahad TV Channel, asks if it is “logical to believe that America, the source of technology and science, could fire a rocket or drop aid materials in a mistaken way?”
The US military advertised its precision airborne warfare for years, but apparently it still fails to precisely target its supply drops.
The efforts of the US-coalition to change the tide of war on Daesh are so unimpressive to Iraqis that it summons beliefs that the US fights Daesh with one hand and support it with another. Many view the coalition’s true intentions as “destabilizing” Iraq, providing a constant level of chaos for both oil resources control and constant demand on weapons shipment.
And now the US struggles to convince Iraqis they are the good guys. According to US Army Colonel Steve Warren, the coalition spokesman, “The Iranians have something to say every day, the Russian have something to say every day, ISIL has something to say every single day, so we need to make sure that this coalition and this Iraqi government is also saying something every day.”
In their search for something to say every day, the coalition information fighters resorted to claims that US oil interests in Iraq are “rumors” and “conspiracy theory”. Instead, they measure their involvement in money, with $7 billion being the number of expenditures for the operation since 2014. While this number can be impressive, there is little information about how effective these expenditures turned out, as it is very important to choose the right weapon against such an elusive enemy as Daesh (or any other militant group). There are numbers of pitiful examples when poor choice of weapons cost states dear, both in human losses and money.
Now the US must fight not only the belligerents out in the desert, they also have to spend time, money and efforts to fight bad reputation and rumors they didn’t exactly strived to prevent in the first place.