Who is financing the IS?

Anwer Mooraj

SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)

Has there ever been a greater mess in the Middle East? Or a bigger headache for the United States and its allies in Europe who see the Islamic State (formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) not only as a threat to the whole of the Middle East and the Maghreb but also to Europe? Conspiracy theories and opinions are being expressed at every nook and corner. The latest sapling that has sprouted from the fertile minds of the analysts is in response to the 64-dollar question: just who is financing the Islamic State? Gerd Mueller, Minister of German Development Aid, has said without batting an eyelid that it is the Government of Qatar. In spite of the fact that Germany has been burdened by a history of aggression in two World Wars, they have sent much-needed weapons to the Kurds who are totally outclassed and outnumbered by the 10,000-strong IS militia.

The IS should not go around beheading people, especially Frenchmen unless they want to invite Gallic retribution. Though the old French Foreign Legion has folded its wings they have still got a jolly good air force that has been itching to get some target practice. An email I received stated that the rebels should watch out if they behead a German national. Merkel might get so riled and incensed she might just decide to do the Teddy Roosevelt and send in the Panzer Divisions. For those readers of The Express Tribune who were born after 1981 and decided to skip history and geography along with four other subjects at O levels, it was the Panzers of the Third Reich that kept the collective might of 19 nations at bay for a whole year after the Normandy landing … until the Germans were finally defeated by the Red Army.

One local group in the land of the pure is jogging on a completely different track. Mindful of the fate that eventually befell the mujahideen mercenaries who had been hired by the CIA and the ISI to fight the Russians in Afghanistan, believe it was the Americans who cobbled together the rebel group in Iraq and Syria. Their intention was the overthrow of the government of Bashar al-Assad who belongs to Syria’s Alawite minority. It is, therefore, the Americans who still continued to support the insurgents. Another group says it has to be Saudi Arabia, not officially, of course, but secretly through a clutch of princes. This has also been endorsed by a German academic by the name of Gunter Meyer of Mainz. There is, however, a more plausible explanation. And that is that the IS is probably financing itself from the money that was looted from Iraqi banks and oil installations amounting to around two billion dollars.

Of course, all this took place before the arrival of John Kerry who, in recent times, has broken all travel records by covering more air miles than any other diplomat. Exercising his customary charm and persuasion skills he mobilised the tacit support of the Gulf sheikhdoms to re-think their original policy of supporting the IS, while quietly letting it be known that they still want to oust Assad. The penny finally dropped and the Gulf Sheikhs suddenly realised that the rabble that is spreading might one day turn against their benefactors and turf them out. And so overnight they turned against the monster they had allegedly created. Winston Churchill would have described what is happening in Iraq and Syria as a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.


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