Inside the Secret Trump Lobby That Wants to Profit from the Break-up of Iraq

A network tied to Cambridge Analytica, Islamist insurgents, ExxonMobil and Koch convinced Trump to let go of Iraqi unity

By Nafeez Ahmed of Insurge Intelligence

Ex-Bush administration officials with pro-Trump leanings have forged a secret alliance with a former private Iraqi Pentagon contractor who is a member of one of Iraq’s wealthiest dynasties.

Their mission is to promote the break-up of Iraq as the only viable way to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS). They have achieved partial success: on Monday, the Trump administration announced a subtle but seismic shift in US policy toward the possibility of Iraq’s dissolution.

Yet this network has been intimately connected to Cambridge Analytica (the technology firm that ran Trump’s election campaign), entities that have sponsored ISIS and other Islamist militants, as well as to ExxonMobil and the Koch brothers — who might benefit from the break-up of the country.


If you want an inside glimpse into how Deep State 2.0 under Trump is working, this is it. It’s all about networks of influence, vested interests, and manipulation of public opinion: in the US and Iraq, in particular. But it’s also about oil and raw materials— and how in some ways, sectarian tensions represent only the surface of deeper drivers of conflict.

By perusing documents, speaking to sources, and digging into obscure public records, INSURGE intelligence was able to follow a thread that has so far been only been guessed at: what is driving the Trump administration’s thinking on Iraq, a country we invaded and occupied in 2003, and where we’re still fighting an endless ‘war on terror’?

A window into the answer comes from a little-known US-Iraqi network, operating through the front of a supposedly patriotic American campaign group.

The network was active through the latter half of 2016, coinciding with the final stages of US presidential campaigning, and focused on opposing President Obama’s Iraq policy.

The locus of the activity is an organization called the Committee to Destroy ISIS, set up in July 2016 by Sam Patten.

Patten served in the George W. Bush administration as a senior State Department advisor from 2008 to 2009, and previously was Bush’s presidential campaign coordinator in 2000.

He is executive director of the Committee, which describes itself as a group of Americans and Iraqis campaigning for the western Sunni region of Iraq to achieve independence from the central government in Baghdad.

In October 2016, Patten’s Committee to Destroy ISIS provided financial support to the Hudson Institute, a conservative Washington DC think-tank with direct ties to the Trump transition team, to produce a report which calls for the break-up of Iraq along sectarian lines.

The curious implications of the connection between Patten and the Hudson Institute report were first highlighted in October 2016 by Ali Hadi al-Musawi for 1001IraqiThoughts.

The report, West Iraq: The Search for Leaders and Leverage, describes itself as a ‘feasibility study’ of western Iraq becoming an independent or autonomous Sunni statelet. The proposal would end up giving neighbouring Saudi Arabia significant influence on the envisaged statelet

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