There is no reason for Obama to have been surprised. In my book The Complete Infidel’s Guide to ISIS, I show how the Islamic State was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s old al-Qaeda in Iraq group, and had plans as far back as ten years ago or more to establish a caliphate in Iraq. When Obama withdrew American troops from Iraq and left all the power in the hands of the weak U.S.-installed Shia government in Baghdad, it was inevitable that there would be a Sunni reaction, and easy to see that this reaction would likely coalesce around existing jihad groups, with the strongest one establishing its own Sunni state, and the one with caliphate dreams being the best situated to establish such a state.
American intelligence apparently missed all this. Why? In large part because Obama has removed all mention of Islam and jihad from counterterror training and analysis. The establishment analysts who evaluated the situation for Obama at the time of the withdrawal from Iraq were certain that if the Shi’ites were told to include some Sunnis in the Baghdad government, they would comply and all would be well, because they were operating under numerous false and politically correct assumptions about Islam, the Sunni-Shia split, and Islam’s compatibility with democratic rule. If they had dared to throw off their politically correct blinders and evaluate the situation as it actually was, they would have seen the Islamic State coming a mile off.
“ISIS rise surprised Obama, US intelligence,” by Kevin Liptak, CNN, December 7, 2016:
ISIS’ march across Iraq and Syria — a campaign that’s forced President Barack Obama to return small numbers of US troops to the region, even after touting an end to the decade-long ground offensives there — came as a surprise to US intelligence, the President told CNN in a new special report.
The terror organization’s rise in a tumultuous Middle East has provided Obama some of the toughest decisions of his presidency, choices that CNN’s Fareed Zakaria explores in “The Legacy of Barack Obama” airing Wednesday.
“The ability of ISIL to not just mass inside of Syria, but then to initiate major land offensives that took Mosul, for example, that was not on my intelligence radar screen,” Obama told Zakaria, using the administration’s term for the Islamic State terror group.
As Obama’s presidency concludes, it’s clearer than ever he’ll depart the White House with Syrians facing nearly unyielding misery.
The city of Aleppo has become a nightmare for the tens of thousands of Syrians still living there, short on food and medical supplies as cold winter weather sets in. The conflict has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, spurred a destabilizing refugee crisis in Europe, and led to the rise of a terror group that Obama admits he didn’t see coming.
It’s a legacy he says haunts him, but as he explains to Zakaria in Wednesday’s special, the decisions he did make were the best he could muster in a country with no good choices.
Avoiding a large scale ground conflict in Syria “is the smartest decision from a menu of bad options that were available to us,” he told Zakaria for the special, which airs at 9 p.m. ET on CNN.
In interviews with Obama and those who worked in his administration during the early days of the Syrian conflict, a picture emerges of a president conflicted about how best to avoid the bloody reality that eventually emerged….