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    Who Funds The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham “Part 2”

    EQTSAD | 2013-11-06
    Who Funds The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham “Part 2”


    We have, in the first part of this report, presented the theory that Syrian opposition accept the most, which assumes Syrian regime and the Syrian-Iranian allies support and finance Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham “ISIS” and uses it as a Trojan Horse to defeat the revolution and defame the rebels.

    Despite the logic in this theory, nevertheless there are other assumptions about funding “ISIS”.

    The Gulf support, either governmental or non-governmental, for ISIS is another logical theory and Syrian regime adopts. Especially on the ground of the well known support for al-Qaeda by some Gulf countries. The other theory is the self-fund, which is explained by ISIS’s attempts to control Border crossing points, especially Syrian-Turkey and Syrian-Iraqi crossing points. 

    The fund and support provided by Gulf Countries, especially Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, the regime’s supporters believe and circulate. However, even without deep analysis of  the official media in Qatar, especially Al-Jazeera, the Qatari TV channel, it is clear that al-Jazeera ignores ISIS in its reports, and shows interest and glorifying of al-Nusra front achievements. Even the written media in Qatar, criticize ISIS and its actions.

    Moreover, it seems that there is no benefit for Qatar from ISIS’s action, where it tends to control the liberated areas, and fights other battalions, besides keeping the regime away from its fire. All that contradicts with Qatar’s goals in supporting the Syrian Revolution.

    The same can be said about the official media in Saudi Arabia, where it systematically condemn ISIS, and there is no advantages Saudi Arabia can get from prolonging the war, and supporting a radical organization in Syria.

    The role of other Gulf countries seems to be minimum and not effective.

    On the other hand, there is Gulf non-governmental support for ISIS by businessmen and affluent people who like al-Qaeda principles; they support ISIS in many ways.

    Abdel bari Atwan, the former Editor for al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper, confirmed that many Arab and Gulf businessmen, strongly believe in al-Qaeda principles and support ISIS  directly and indirectly in  top secret ways.

    Abdel Bari Atwan, pointed out that funding al-Qaeda members does not need that great deal of money, as they are not demanding and usually live simple life.

     Self-fund theory seems to be a complementary for the non-governmental support theory.

    Al-Qaeda strategy for self fund, is considered the strongest logically with ground evidence.

    Al-Hayat newspaper from London, published a study the newspaper became aware of, which  “Abo Mohammed al-Fateh al-Joulani” presented to “Abo Bakr al-Baghdadi” the head of ISIS in Iraq, in the mid of 2011, after a tour al-Joulani had in the countryside of middle and northern Syria. As a result, al-Nusra front was established, and al-Joulani became the head of it.

    Later on, a disagreement between al-Joulani and al-Baghdadi happened, and al-Nusra front separated from ISIS in Iraq, then al-Baghdadi formed the Syrian branch of ISIS in Syria, which announced its presence in Syria this year.

    The most important points of the study  was al-Joulani's expectation about the difficulties of the the international military interference in Syria. He thought that Syria would become a battle field for strategic conflict between Shiites and Sunni.   

    In the mentioned study, al-joulani suggested controlling the costal and northern parts of Syria to provide fund and financial support. The latest attack on the coastal areas some Islamic groups, including al-Nusra front had few months ago, support this theory.

    On the other hand, it seems that ISIS has separated completely from al-Nusra front, and it tries to control the border crossing points in the north of Syria with Turkey and Iraq. Besides providing fund and financial support, ISIS aims from that  to control delivering weapon, passing fighters and depriving other battalions from resources, especially those ISIS does not trust, as it wants to prevent repeating what happened in Iraq when al-Sahwat with western support fought al-Qaeda and defeated it in many occasions.

    A report published by Sky News Arabic, reported that ISIS control a wide area in Syria, starts in the East at the Syrian Iraqi borders, and reached to Dier Ezzor, Raqqa, Jarablus, Menbij, al-Bab, Azaz, and North Idlib near Syrian Turkish borders. The latest fighting between the North Banner and ISIS in Azaz was part of ISIS's plans to control the border areas.

    ISIS is not supported by the Sunni allies which is Turkey part of, and closing one of the crossing point between Turkey and Syria after being controlled by ISIS, is a strong evidence for that. beside, the threat of suicide bombing inside Turkey followed by adopting the attack on  the security centre in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi  Kurdistan by ISIS, because their leader al-Barazani expressed his intention to fight Jihadists in Syria.  

    Another source to provide fund, ISIS tries to control the oil field, where it with al-Nusra front control al-Safa city near al-Hasakah, after severe fighting with PKK and regime forces. Smuggling petrol could be a great stand-by source to support ISIS in case the recent support and sources stopped.

    In Summary we can say that self-fund  is the strongest theory logically acceptable,  with tangible evidence, to explain the ISIS’s source of support, while the Gulf governmental support is not acceptable logically  at all. On the other hand, the non-governmental support could be true, with previous experience in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia and Yemen.

    Supporting ISIS by the Syrian-Iranian allies, still strongly logically acceptable theory, with many supporting events on ground, but there is no solid evidence to support it.

    Read the original Article in Eqtsad, the Busness online newspaper of Zaman Alwasl; Translation by Yusra Ahmed

     


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