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The Syrian Sniper Myth in American Sniper

Updated on January 23, 2015

The movie, American Sniper, is a GREAT movie. It shows the impact of war on the those who wage it and those families who await for their return. It is a true story about America's greatest sniper who was able to kill at over a mile in range (the usual range is 800 yds) and killed over 130 enemy fighters. The truth ends with the Syrian sniper threat to American soldiers. There was an Iraqi sniper called "Juba" according to some sources claiming to have killed over 100 Americans. But even Juba, is debated. Some in the US military state it was an figment of American soldiers imagination, there was never a single sniper threat. Yes, the enemy did have snipers but no specific iconic sniper as in the movie. ISIS has many videos celebrating Juba, but these are just propaganda pieces and show sniper training. Yet, for some American soldiers, he was real because they witnessed it yet never saw him.

In the movie, Kyle refers to Mustafa, a Syrian man with Olympic credentials. This is because the real Kyle referred to him in his book once or twice. But, it was not like duel between them was happening constantly, if ever. Yes, enemy snipers no doubt tried to kill him because of the $80,000 bounty the enemy placed upon him.

Records show that ONLY Syrian Olympic rifle marksman was in 2000. His name was Mohamed Mahfoud, born in 1957. He was place 53 out of 54 for the 80 yard range using a small bore rifle. He won no medals but did qualify in 2000 Olympic games. Time magazine also looked into this and found nothing to substantiate and when they talked with the screenwriter, the screenwriter all but states the Olympic connection was for dramatic effect only. Also, in Kyle's book, Mustafa is just mentioned and that he really had little to do with him and that he was killed by others! Kyle states he never saw him and that he was Iraqi, not Syrian.

Thus, the enemy sniper was really used in this movie that is setting sales records for dramatic effect. All screenwriters of movies or shows know there must be an antagonist and protagonist in some way, otherwise, there is no tension. Removing this enemy sniper would have made a rather boring film about Kyle's life. The only tension would be between his wife and himself. I think the director made a grave error in not including how Kyle was murdered by a fellow vet with mental issues. The impact of this would be far greater on the viewer than having words indicate the same.


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    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago

      I totally agree, the trial is just starting now. The troubled vet was being taught how to shoot at long ranges. The guy was just a vet who needed a big brother buddy to help get thru Post traumatic combat problems. I don't think really knew him, very tragic.

    • Efficient Admin profile image

      Efficient Admin 

      3 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      I have not seen this movie yet (and want to see it) but I am very surprised that it doesn't include any story the vet who murdered him. That seems to me a very big part of someone's life if an acquaintance or military buddy murders their friend and disappointed they didn't include that in the movie.


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