IS in Qatar Is Richer Than Ireland And Better At Extortion Than Hamas
THE US-led attack on Islamic State is leading the news cycle. Every report contains the fact that five Arab states are backing the assault. One of them is Qatar.
But who is paying IS?
A small but steady flow of money to ISIS from rich individuals in the Gulf continues, say current and former U.S. officials, with Qataris the biggest suppliers. These rich individuals have long served as ‘angel investors,’ as one expert put it, for the most violent militants in the region, providing the “seed money” that helped launch ISIS and other jihadi groups.
No one in the U.S. government is putting a number on the current rate of donations, but former U.S. Navy Admiral and NATO Supreme Commander James Stavridis says the cash flow from private donors is significant now and was even more significant in the early fund-raising done by ISIS and al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, the al-Nusrah Front.
‘These rich Arabs are like what ‘angel investors’ are to tech start-ups, except they are interested in starting up groups who want to stir up hatred,’ said Stavridis, now the dean of the Fletcher School of Diplomacy at Tufts University. ‘Groups like al-Nusrah and ISIS are better investments for them. The individuals act as high rollers early, providing seed money. Once the groups are on their feet, they are perfectly capable of raising funds through other means, like kidnapping, oil smuggling, selling women into slavery, etc.’
Isil is the richest terrorist organisation in history.
Over the past six months, since the group began sweeping across eastern Syria and into Iraq, experts estimate that its leaders have gained access to £1.2 billion in cash – more than the most recent recorded annual military expenditure of Ireland…
Five captured oilfields provide up to £1.8 million per day in revenue, with much of the oil smuggled across the border into Turkey and Iran.
They are thought to earn up to £5 million a month through extortion of local businesses. In the past year they are estimated to have made £40 million from taking hostages…
Private donations from supporters in the Gulf also contribute to their funding – although Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations have tried to make it harder to do so without government approval. During the war in Afghanistan, Saudi supporters could donate money directly at their mosque with no government supervision.
Qatar’s Foreign Minister Khalid Bin Mohammed Al Attiyah said : “Qatar does not support any extremist groups in any way.
“We do not have any connection with any extremist groups. Do you believe that we would have left journalists be slaughtered and beheaded like this if we had any connection with them? We would have saved James Foley’s life just as we have done so with American journalist Peter Curtis in Syria recently. We are committed to save human lives and retain human dignity and these are the basics of our policies. ”
Asked if wealthy Qatari’s were funding money to ISIS he said: “These accusations lack any evidence. In fact, we are part of the international community and we work along with other countries to support peace in the Middle East. We have very strict laws to regulate the flow of funds and we do monitor them. We, indeed, closely work with international organizations and security agencies involved to prosecute those who break our laws.
“The people of Qatar do not believe in their ideology or their actions. Our people cannot stand seeing someone beheading another human. This is not the Islam we know, or we present.
“If you come to Qatar, you will see that we world-class universities, schools, and institutions to educate our generations how to build the world, not how to destroy it.”
The BBC says:
It is also true that Saudi Arabia and Qatar, believing that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would soon fall and that Sunni political Islam was a true vehicle for their political goals, funded groups that had strongly Islamist credentials…
So has Qatar funded Islamic State? Directly, the answer is no. Indirectly, a combination of shoddy policy and naivety has led to Qatar-funded weapons and money making their way into the hands of IS.
Saudi Arabia likewise is innocent of a direct state policy to fund the group, but as with Qatar its determination to remove Mr Assad has led to serious mistakes in its choice of allies.
The Telegraph looks again at Qatar:
How Qatar is funding the rise of Islamist extremists – The fabulously wealthy Gulf state, which owns an array of London landmarks and claims to be one of our best friends in the Middle East, is a prime sponsor of violent Islamists…
So it is that Qatar buys London property while working against British interests in Libya and arming friends of the jihadists who tried to kill one of our ambassadors. A state that partly owns 1 Hyde Park, London’s most expensive apartment block, and the Shard, the city’s tallest building, is working with people who would gladly destroy Western society.
The remarkable truth is that few in the Middle East would be shocked. From Hamas in the Gaza Strip to radical armed movements in Syria, Qatar’s status as a prime sponsor of violent Islamists, including groups linked to al-Qaeda, is clear to diplomats and experts.
Qatar’s promotion of extremism has so infuriated its neighbours that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates all chose to withdraw their ambassadors from the country in March.
Everyone’s best pal:
On Wednesday, the 34-year-old Emir of Qatar, who was educated at Harrow and Sandhurst, took pains to deny the accusation while standing alongside Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor. “What is happening in Iraq and Syria is extremism and such organisations are partly financed from abroad, but Qatar has never supported and will never support terrorist organisations,” he said.
The credibility of that denial depends partly on how you define a “terrorist organisation”. Qatar has let Hamas, the armed Palestinian movement, base its political leadership in Doha since 2012. Qatar’s government has funded Hamas and the previous Emir paid an official visit to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip in 2012.
As a small country with relatively weak armed forces and 250,000 citizens, Qatar is trying to guarantee its security by reaching in every direction. As well as providing an office for Hamas, Qatar also hosts the forward headquarters of US Central Command and the al-Udeid military airbase, serving as the hub for all American air operations in the region.
Money matters. You need to pay the staff:
The young twenty-something failed to secure himself a government job after graduation, as he once wished. However, he managed to land a job with the Islamic State (IS) that came with a good salary, a weapon and a luxury car. After joining the group he took up the responsibility of recruiting young people in the region where they live.
Follow the money…