A local militia recently uncovered ISIS documents near Mosul that instructing jihadists not to attack US coalition aircraft in Mosul or the surrounding area.
During US election season, WikiLeaks confirmed what many already suspected, that the US government, or at least certain members of it, were implicitly aiding ISIS with some politicians even accepting millions from the very same governments who fund the notorious jihadist group. Despite this, Mosul, an ISIS stronghold in Iraq, has been the target of a much-publicized US-Iraqi joint military campaign to liberate the city from ISIS control. Yet prior to the campaign’s launch, the US, along with ISIS-funding Saudi Arabia, allowed over 9,000 ISIS fighters safe passage from Mosul to Syria. This move suggested that the US sees ISIS as a means to an end, shuffling fighters away from Iraq – where the US can then declare “victory” over ISIS in the area – while moving thousands of jihadists to Syria to support the US’ overarching goal of regime change in that country.
Recent developments suggest that the cooperation between ISIS and the US government goes both ways. Just days ago, the Nineveh Plain Protection Unit, a local Assyrian Christian militia, made an interesting discovery in the recently-liberated Iraqi city of Bakhdida, 19 miles (32 km) from the city of Mosul. The militia acquired documents from a so-called ISIS “mobilization center,” which ISIS sets up in cities they control in order to mobilize the local population and train new recruits. One of the documents found there explicitly tells ISIS fighters not to attack any coalition aircraft. The document itself reads: “It is strictly forbidden to shoot down, using any weapons whatsoever, any aircraft that is in the air, no matter what height they are flying at, even if the aircraft lands on the rooftop of houses.” The decree was signed by local ISIS leader Abu Muawia.
Though the decree refers to all aircraft in the area, the only active military aircrafts in and around Mosul are US-coalition planes. If ISIS is so intent on holding onto Mosul in Iraq, why would they not try to defend their territory by any means necessary? Why are US coalition planes being excluded? The answer could lie in how coalition planes, tasked with hitting ISIS targets, are frequently accused of hitting local militias and the Iraqi military instead, making their continued incompetence (or complicity, depending on your perspective) useful to the jihadist group.
For example, last month, a pro-government Iraqi militia was bombed by coalition planes near Mosul after they had successful repelled an ISIS offense, killing 21 and allowing ISIS to regain lost territory. The same has been true in Syria, where the US’ “Anti-ISIS” bombing campaign allowed ISIS to triple their land-holdings, that is until Russia joined the conflict and actually began targeting ISIS encampments on behalf of the Syrian government. As long as the US remains involved in military operations targeting ISIS, their true intentions will continue to remain dubious at best, especially if more evidence is uncovered that hints at coordination between the two.