The kickbacks are either paid by foreign or local nongovernmental organizations tasked with distributing the aid, or by the Turkish or Syrian transportation companies contracted to deliver it.
The State Department official said he, too, was conflicted about the programs… “Are we helping indirectly the militants to build their caliphate? I wrestle with this.”
– From Sunday’s Daily Beast article: U.S. Humanitarian Aid Going to ISIS
The Daily Beast has been at the forefront of exposing the bizarre emergence of the latest terror threat known as ISIS, which is being used to take away civil liberties at home, and fuel more chaos and destruction abroad.
It was their work in June that first highlighted the fact that ISIS was and is being funded and supported by U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf.
I commented on the absurdity of the situation in my piece, America’s Disastrous Foreign Policy – My Thoughts on Iraq, in which I noted:
But in the years they were getting started, a key component of ISIS’s support came from wealthy individuals in the Arab Gulf States of Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Sometimes the support came with the tacit nod of approval from those regimes; often, it took advantage of poor money laundering protections in those states, according to officials, experts, and leaders of the Syrian opposition, which is fighting ISIS as well as the regime.
“Everybody knows the money is going through Kuwait and that it’s coming from the Arab Gulf,” said Andrew Tabler, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Studies. “Kuwait’s banking system and its money changers have long been a huge problem because they are a major conduit for money to extremist groups in Syria and now Iraq.”
Well, the Daily Beast has done it again. This time courtesy of Sunday’s excellent article, U.S. Humanitarian Aid Going to ISIS. Just in case you think American foreign policy incompetence couldn’t get any worse, I present to you the following excerpts.
Read it and weep:
GAZIANTEP, Turkey—While U.S. warplanes strike at the militants of the so-called Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq, truckloads of U.S. and Western aid has been flowing into territory controlled by the jihadists, assisting them to build their terror-inspiring “caliphate.”
The aid—mainly food and medical equipment—is meant for Syrians displaced from their hometowns, and for hungry civilians. It is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, European donors, and the United Nations. Whether it continues is now the subject of anguished debate among officials in Washington and European. The fear is that stopping aid would hurt innocent civilians and would be used for propaganda purposes by the militants, who would likely blame the West for added hardship.
Quite the reverse, the aid convoys have to pay off ISIS emirs (leaders) for the convoys to enter the eastern Syrian extremist strongholds of Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, providing yet another income stream for ISIS militants, who are funding themselves from oil smuggling, extortion, and the sale of whatever they can loot, including rare antiquities from museums and archaeological sites.
“The convoys have to be approved by ISIS and you have to pay them: The bribes are disguised and itemized as transportation costs,” says an aid coordinator who spoke to The Daily Beast on the condition he not be identified in this article. The kickbacks are either paid by foreign or local nongovernmental organizations tasked with distributing the aid, or by the Turkish or Syrian transportation companies contracted to deliver it.
“I am alarmed that we are providing support for ISIS governance,” says Jonathan Schanzer, a Mideast expert with the Washington D.C.-based think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “By doing so we are indemnifying the militants by satisfying the core demands of local people, who could turn on ISIS if they got frustrated.”
Aid coordinators with NGOs partnering USAID and other Western government agencies, including Britain’s Department for International Development, say ISIS insist that the NGOs, foreign and local, employ people ISIS approves on their staffs inside Syria. “There is always at least one ISIS person on the payroll; they force people on us,” says an aid coordinator. “And when a convoy is being prepared, the negotiations go through them about whether the convoy can proceed. They contact their emirs and a price is worked out. We don’t have to wrangle with individual ISIS field commanders once approval is given to get the convoy in, as the militants are highly hierarchical.” He adds: “None of the fighters will dare touch it, if an emir has given permission.”
What becomes even more bizarre is that while aid is still going into ISIS-controlled areas, only a little is going into Kurdish areas in northeast Syria. About every three or four months there is a convoy into the key city of Qamishli. Syrian Kurds, who are now defending Kobani with the support of U.S. warplanes, have long complained about the lack of international aid. Last November, tellingly, Syrian Kurds complained that Syria’s Kurdistan was not included in a U.N. polio-vaccination campaign. U.N. agencies took the position that polio vaccines should go through the Syrian Red Crescent via Damascus when it came to the Kurds.
The really tragic part is that if the U.S. should be helping anybody, it is the Syrian Kurds in Kobani. As noted in a Huffington Post article from yesterday, this community has created a globally unique experiment in radically decentralized government. Naturally, America is singling them out to be massacred.
It’s hard to know whether the U.S. government is intentionally helping ISIS, or if it is just that incompetent. Either conclusion is terrifying.
But don’t worry, ebola is under control, the economy is just fine and the NSA isn’t spying on you.
Move along slaves.