Financing Jihad – The ISIL Money Trail

ISIL-insurgents( Near the end of 2013, Syrian rebels were combating a major uprising of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL. Donors, for years, had been providing financial support to anti-regime groups. Ironically, now some of those groups are at war with ISIL.

After attempting to unify the anti-regime groups against Bashar Al Assad, Syria’s President, it became clear the unification was going to be a failed mission. At the beginning of the year, Mohammed Haif, Kuwaiti donor, began urging ISIL to withdraw from Syria, as the effort had failed.

Tweets became rampant about the missions of the ISIL and how they sought to bring down other Syrian jihadists. Donors became perturbed after giving hundreds of millions of dollars to the rebels. Until 2013, there were no laws in place to prevent terrorism funding.

Now, ISIL has taken over great portions of Iraq, making it appear militarily successful, and therefore more attractive to donors and investors who were previously skeptical. It appears to be a vicious cycle, as more military success makes the group more independent.

With its growing independence, comes a shrinking ability to control the organization from the outside. There’s an abundance of fingers to point for blame, as Iraq, in part, blames Saudi Arabia for its support. However, Saudi Arabia itself has officially called ISIL a terrorist organization and increased legal repercussions for any of those involved with the group.

In addition to its funding and military success, it appears thousands of recruits from around the globe have given the man power needed for the group to take down forces several times its size. It’s boosted its power so much so, that now an abundance of weaponry and armored vehicles, produced by the U.S. and given to Iraq, have now been captured by the Islamic group.

Another Kuwaiti donor has spent recent years visiting Syria to see just where his money is going. According to his twitter, he believes the ISIL movement is a much needed revolution for Iraq, who has been under “oppression and tyranny.” Those linked to the Muslim Brotherhood are proclaiming the same, that this is simply the result of previous Iraqi policies and corruption.

Even if these assumptions are wrong and donors continue to pull back as in recent years, ISIL has a specific goal for self sufficiency. From oil smuggling to bank robberies, the group doesn’t appear to have a concern for financing. Mid-month, ISIL’s funds increased to over $2 billion after raiding a $425 million government vault.

Unlike Al-Qaeda, to which the group is often compared, ISIL is more of a militia. Al-Qaeda typically carries out terrorist attacks, while ISIL has a motive to use them and other means to capture the areas and actually govern them. Iraqi security forces are seen on social media as being executed or throwing down weapons to surrender in horror of the terrorist group. Beheadings, crucifixions and captured soldiers and civilians are not uncommon now in the region. It’s certainly unclear how long the battle with ISIL will last, while they attempt to win over the population with religious inspiration, failed promises and propaganda.


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  1. As a former US military veteran and military analyst, in my opinion, ISIL has made a huge strategic mistake. It continues to take on more territory than it can safely control. It continues to stretch supply and communication lines, thus leaving itself vulnerable to attacks on supply lines. It has brought the US special forces into this situation with their ability to gather intelligence, conduct surveillance, and attack, if necessary from many different positions at once. The ISIL compared to US special forces is operating totally blind when it comes to battlefield assessment and situation analysis. Given time, they will be surrounded and unable to withdraw because this is what US special forces will be planning. US special forces will take their time and strike when they have the advantage. The only thing that will save ISIL is political intervention. If Obama does not see them as a major threat to US security and orders the special forces to hold back, then ISIL forces may have a chance to retreat safely back into Syria or remain where they are unharmed. ISIl definitely are poor military strategists.

  2. Erwin:

    You do make a great point. When they invaded I wondered how such a small
    force could capture such a large area. Then I realized that like Most Arabic
    Armies the Iraqis melted away when confronted. Islam is not based on Nationalism as we all know now. If Iraq had a “Special Forces” or “Saddam Guard” Unit they would have made short work of the Terrorists. Of course it should be an embarrassment to both the USA & Iraq that they do not have an Air Force trained to fly missions. Really? How dumb does a country have to be. The Iraqis (Shias essentially) evicted the USA and the USAF that would have been there to protect their borders. Do the Sadr Shia morons have a few helicopters that they can fly against the hated Sunni Caliphate ???

    I have to say I favored the War in Iraq because I am a conservative but
    it does look like No Islamic Land can have a democratically headed Govt
    because of the nature of the beast. Now we should realize why the USA
    (and Euro’s in particular GB) preferred dealing with Dictators than the
    masses of Moronic Muslims taking orders from Uneducated Hashish
    Smoking Mullahs!!

  3. Then I realized that like Most Arabic Armies

    Hezbollah is an Arab army, it is more like the Zionist chickened out. The IS never expected that the Russians and Iran would so rapidly send airplanes to tackle these monsters and savages, want be long before they get completely annihilated. The problem is that the Zionist with their FED ATM, can print money from thin air, this money is then used to bribe leaders and generals. That is how Israel wins it’s wars, corruption and greed. I think you are over estimating the USA Special Forces, it is very clear in Syria that the AL Quds force tactics are far superior to NATO, Zionist forces.

  4. arabs have never been fighters – they are nomadic peasants.
    everything in the world has always surrounded power of some kind – usually sex or money through which control is usually exerted.

    @Hans & Erwin
    arabs use islam to control their femal population – they can not touch, look, see, smell, even make eye contact – so what happens all that pent up frustration becomes an islamic tool and they also become homosexuals in the process.
    now you know why there is such a hogh number of homosexuals in the arab world.

    Us Kurds have always been the backbone of islam – we save islam numerous times from being wiped out, all thes SO-CALLED great islamic armies had Kurds as their main fighting force;
    in the turks; in the iranians; in the arabs.

    Now look at these peasents who BTW are all nomads and only Kurds have been in that region for the last 12,000 years.

    most of the gulf, kuwait, iraq were marsh lands and most had nomads – not until 1917 was there any real borders (thanks to Winston {being bummed by a jew} Churchill who was taking his orders from Lord Balfour who in turn was on Lord Rothchilds payroll as he was a jew and could not publicly come out and say what he wanted to do).

    Salaha-Deen was probably the worlds greates fighter/leader/general/commander – which ever because he was feasome and a great tactician. Most of all he was humble, had humility, showed consideration and understanding to all his “enemies.”
    I do not know of any other eader/fighter/general etc that has ever been like that.

    Islam in Kurdistan is practised with purity – if did ever experience it you would understand that islam is a great tool for life; BTW I am not very religious myself and consider myself to be Kurdish before anything.

    [email protected] these arabs and iranians and turks – it is also the turks that facilitate IS and treat them for free when they are wounded – but they do not treat their own citizens for free!
    Did you know that??

  5. ISIS committed a strategic failure, by capturing more areas of Iraq , that could reduce their strength to withstand attacks from all side at a time. Instead they have to protect captured area with strong intelligence and communicative systems to beat western strategy and propaganda against them.
    This wider area, will be a threaten to ISIS where , they cant control and be failed to ineffective communication with various groups among them .Real reason behind these fights , after the assassination world Muslim hero, Mr Saddam a large group could not enjoy the benefits and and advantage of government that resulted a large group of Sunnis to support this group and they believe an era as saddam was their to come again hopefully.
    Arabic countries are not convinced and they are dancing for the USA , like united Arab Emirates, Why should they support America and be with them to bomb in Iraq and syiria , instead focusing exact reason behind it. political insecurity and undemocratic governments are the root cause of this battles.

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