ISIS; Where did they come from?
As support grows for U.S. involvement against Islamic State (IS, ISIL, ISIS), I thought now would be a good time to refresh our memory of how we got to this point. I want to stress up front, I am 100% for attacks on IS. However, this would be a good opportunity to learn from what I perceive as our past mistakes. Now, on to the quick history lesson
•2011. Members of the Syrian Army defect and create the Free Syrian Army. They start a civil war with suspected support of the U.S. to topple the Assad regime.
•Throughout 2011 and into 2012 the FSA grows larger and casualties grow as the FSA recruits thousands of members and independent protests occur across Syria.
•(early) 2012. Syria launches wide spread attacks on FSA supported with artillery and air support. Casualties surpassed 10,000 before an attempted cease fire in May 2012.
•The United Nations attempts to broker a ceasefire between the FSA and the Syrian army in light of mounting casualties.
•Ceasefire signed April 2012.
•Ceasefire broken by both sides in less than a month.
•May 2012. Syria executes 108 citizens (34 women and 49 children according to a UN report). After defeating the FSA near the Houla Region.
The FSA becomes a faction of the Muslim Brotherhood (a terrorist organization according to the State Department.)
•July 2012. The Red cross estimates casualties of over 16,000 killed in the civil war. US formally authorizes support of FSA.
•(Suspected) Late 2012. The FSA obtains support of radical Muslim groups to support the civil war. (Supported by coordinated assassination of Syrian Intelligence Chief by FSA and Liwa Al-Islam.)
•Late 2012. FSA continues the offensive taking over large parts of Syria.
•December 2012. Syria is accused of launching SCUD missiles loaded with chemical weapons at rebel forces.
•June 2013. Hezbollah formally joins Syrian army with attacks against the FSA.
•July 2013: ISIS attacks the FSA held town of Azaz
At this point ISIS, FSA and the Syrian Army are all fighting against each other with the U.S. providing support to the FSA.
•April 2014. FSA launches large offensive against ISIS and took most of the ISIS held area near Raqqa.
•June 2014. Syria holds presidential elections with President Assad maintaining office.
•August 2014. Syria launches offensive against ISIS retaking several ISIS held cities.
(Suspected) FSA and ISIS agree to coordinated effort against Syrian government.
o FSA acknowledges alignment with ISIS to overthrow Syrian government
o FSA Proposes to fight with U.S. if the U.S. agrees to overthrow Syrian government.
o ISIS beheads 2 American and 1 British citizen
o U.S. authorizes US Airstrikes inside of Syria and approves sending weapons to FSA.
So, as I said initially... IS is no doubt a threat to the U.S. and we have no choice but to neutralize the threat, but as with many of our enemies, they were empowered through our actions, supplied indirectly by the U.S. We could "what if" all day long. But this problem did not "come out of nowhere". (I have fact checked as many of these as I could and many of these come from memory and date checked on ze interwebs, so if any are in accurate or something should be added let me know and I will edit the comment.)