‘You created ISIS!’ Press conference scandal mars Kerry’s visit to Italy

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) speaks next to Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni during a news conference following a ministerial meeting of the so-called "anti-Islamic State coalition" in Rome, Italy, February 2, 2016. © Nicholas Kamm
US Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Italy was disrupted by a cry of protest at his joint press conference with Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni, when a woman in the audience shouted, “it’s you who created Daesh!”

The press conference was coming to an end, when the woman stood up from the public, her head covered up by a black veil.

“It’s you who created Daesh!” she shouted at the two ministers, using another name for the terror group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), reported the Italian state-owned television channel RAI. 

The woman was dragged away from the conference by the Carabinieri.

After meeting with Gentiloni, Kerry said he was convinced that the US-led international coalition would “crush ISIS” eventually. His Italian counterpart expressed much more caution.

“There have been steps forward on the ground with respect to the Paris summit. But no triumphalism is warranted, we must continue the armed effort in Iraq," Gentiloni said.

He added that in the fight against IS “important progress has been made,” although “we are faced with a very resilient organization and therefore we must not underestimate it.”

The protester in Italy is not the first to accuse Washington of aiding the rise of IS. One former US Marine has blamed the self-proclaimed caliphate on the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. 

“I knew what I was seeing was wrong, I knew it was immoral, I knew it was unjust, I knew it was illegal,” Vincent Emanuele told RT in December 2015,“ and I knew that we would pay severe consequences in the form of the blowback as we are seeing with groups like ISIS.”

In 2012, the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) warned the government that “there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria… and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime.”

The Obama administration made a “willful decision” to ignore the warning, former DIA Director Lieutenant General Michael Flynn told Al Jazeera in August of last year.