News / Middle East

    Syrian Oil Finances ISIL Militants in Iraq

    Syrian Oil Finances ISIL Militants in Iraqi
    X
    Al Pessin
    June 20, 2014 5:28 PM
    The Sunni militant group that has taken over a large area of Iraq has financed its operations in part through an unlikely alliance with one of its enemies - the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. VOA's Al Pessin reports.
    Al Pessin
    The Sunni militant group that has taken over a large area of Iraq has financed its operations in part through an unlikely alliance with one of its enemies - the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.  

    The militant fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) want to impose strict Muslim rule throughout the region, and eventually the entire world. Their initial push in western Iraq 10 years ago failed, and many of them crossed the border to fight the Syrian government.

    In the process, they took over some Syrian oil facilities, potentially a huge source of revenue. But they could only find one customer.

    And, according to Shiraz Maher of London’s King’s College, that customer was their enemy, the Syrian regime.

    “It will act in its own self-interest, and that will mean cutting a Faustian Pact with the fighters of ISIS [ISIL] for the time being," Maher said. "Both sides are being very pragmatic about that.”

    Now, the militants have set their sights on Iraq’s Beiji oil facility, potentially providing another source of revenue to further expand their operations.

    But, in order to keep such facilities going, they need the cooperation of local tribes, and in Iraq they alienated those tribes 10 years ago with their extremism and brutality. That turned the tide of the Iraq war against them.

    So Maher says they’ve come back with a new approach.

    “They’ve gone into these areas and they’ve said, ‘We’ve been told to forgive you because you were led astray by the United States. You were led astray by [Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-] Maliki and have they delivered on their promises? No, they haven’t. They betrayed you and we’re coming back with a gentle handm,’” he said.

    A gentle hand toward Sunnis, perhaps, but the opposite toward Shi’ites, particularly those in the Iraqi Army, which many Sunnis see as an instrument of repression.

    The militants hope their new approach will turn the tide of the current Iraq fighting in their favor, and put them in a stronger position in Syria, too.

    If the plan works, the group will have significant allies, territory and revenue it could use to launch attacks on the West, warns terrorism expert Raffaello Pantucci of the Royal United Services Institute.
     
    “The group may see itself as needing to sort of stamp its authority and show that it is a capable group and the new inheritor of the banner of global jihad," Pantucci said. "And part of that might be to launch an attack against the West.”

    Experts differ on whether the militants will do that in the near term, or focus on consolidating their gains in Syria and Iraq.  But the experts agree on two things - in the long term the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant wants to be a global power, and, with the resources it is acquiring, the West and its allies face a difficult job to stop it.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Van from: Canada
    June 22, 2014 9:29 AM
    Now US faced the dilemma. Which one to support and which one to suppress, Syria government and ISIS militants?

    If US always support the opposition militants to fight with the government (like Syria) that US doesn't like, the oppositions militants may be united with the government (like Syria) to fight with US together.

    US used to support Taliban to fight with Russia, finally it is Taliban who launched 911. US government used to support Iraq (provide Saddam Hussein with weapons, include mass destruction weapons) to fight with Iran, finally US army destroyed Iraq government (Saddam Hussein government) .

    US government, wake up and think about what you have done and what you are doing?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora