Jihadists ‘selling oil to Assad’, says France

Jihadists ‘selling oil to Assad’, says France

By Claude Salhani - Trend:

The Islamist movement that took the Middle East by storm two weeks ago, capturing large swaths of Syria and Iraq, is reportedly selling oil to the Syrian government, the very people they are fighting to overthrow, according to the French foreign minister.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Monday that the sale was evidence of the "confusing" nature of the escalating conflict in the Middle East in which Syrian President Bashar Assad and the jihadists are in theory on opposing sides.

The main rebel group was known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - ISIL - or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria -ISIS- but on Monday the group declared a "caliphate", shortening its name to the "Islamic State."

It named the group's leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi as the new caliph.

"We have proofs that when ISIL has taken over oil it has sold oil to the (Assad) regime," Fabius told a news conference in New Delhi. He did not offer any more details.

Referring to how the rebels in Syria and the Assad regime use each other to derive legitimacy, Fabius said: "Officially they are combating each other but in fact they are very often helping each other."

The situation in Iraq is "very, very, very worrying," he added.

"Why? Because it is probably the first time that a terrorist group -- and a ferocious terrorist group -- is in a position, if there is no reaction, to take over the whole country, and a rich country, with enormous consequences for the region and the world," he said.

The solution is for Iraq to unite behind the government and the army to drive out the jihadists, he said.

An estimated amount of $3.2 billion is reported to have been taken from banks in Mosul, along with vast amounts of weapons and munitions abandoned by the Iraqi army in their hasty retreat from Mosul and other cities in the north.

While this group represents a very real and present danger for the security of the entire region and beyond, there is particular fear for the oil and gas producing regions of Syria and Iraq, areas now under the control of ISIL.

The continual flow of oil and gas will give the group a steady income of hard cash.

However, some experts believe that ISIL may have in fact over extended itself and now in fact face the same problem that the U.S. forces faced when they tried to pacify Iraq: capturing and holding the cities, towns and regions captured.

ISIL has managed to capture certain cities, including Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, but holding them requires large numbers One estimate places the number of fighters currently available to ISIL to be around 10,000. That is hardly enough to capture and hold cities. Additionally, the fighters that stormed Mosul are not all with ISIL. There are a number of rival groups, including former Baath Party cadres who are in no fashion at all Islamist, but rather see here a marriage of convenience in fighting the government of Nuri al-Malaki.

There are very good chances that the various rivalries between the different Islamists (and the secularists like the Baathists) will eventually clash as ISIL will try to impose itself as the sole authority.

Al-Baghdadi has already potent enemies such as Osama bin-Laden's successor Ayman al-Zawahiri, the new al-Qaida chief, who's orders al-Baghdadi ignored and proceeded with plans to create a caliphate.

Despite the usage of Islamic names and religious terms implied by the ISIL, there is in fact little, if any, real legitimate religious authority found in this group.

A caliphate is an Islamic state led by a supreme religious and political leader - a caliph, or successor to the Prophet Mohammad. By decreeing himself caliph and demanding that all Muslims swear allegiance to him, al- Baghdadi is directly challenging the authority of the kings of Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Morocco who respectively carry the titles of "Sherif of Mecca," Custodian of the two holy mosques," and "Commander of the faithful."

Following ISIL's Monday declaration dictating that the areas under their control are to be henceforth called the "Islamic State" and that all Muslims pledge allegiance to the new caliph and to the 'Islamic State,' strangely enough we have not heard any substantial language dealing with any theological differences that exists between the warring parties.

Yet "Caliph Ibrahim," as he now wants to be called, has no theological training. This would be the equivalent of naming an altar boy as Bishop of Rome.

An indication that there is more to this conflict than is generally explained in over-simplified terms as a conflict of opposing Sunni and Shiites, is the position adopted by Iraq's Kurds. The Kurds, who have practically established their own state in the northern part of the country, are overwhelmingly Sunni. Yet they are siding with the Shiites against fellow Sunnis. Why?

Could it be because the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant hides behind a badge of religion?

Claude Salhani is a political analyst and senior editor at Trend Agency in Baku, Azerbaijan. You can follow him on [email protected]

Implementation of drilling operations continue in Iran's oil fields
Implementation of drilling operations continue in Iran's oil fields
Iran's NIDC declares number of drilled oil & gas wells
Iran's NIDC declares number of drilled oil & gas wells
Iran's Marun Oil & Gas Production Company manufactures certain equipment
Iran's Marun Oil & Gas Production Company manufactures certain equipment
Loading Bars
Latest
Mexican authorities recover 19 bodies, some shot and burned, in remote area
Israel bans international flights to curb coronavirus spread
Turkey to receive 6.5 million doses of China's vaccine next week
Dutch police arrest alleged Asian drug syndicate kingpin
Georgia reports 546 coronavirus cases, 1 456 recoveries, 17 deaths
Germany ready to assist Kyrgyzstan in implementing green economy policies
President Rouhani: Iran's economic ties entering new phase
UK detects 77 cases of South African COVID variant, nine of Brazilian
Azerbaijan shows footage from Ashaghi Aybasanli village of Fuzuli district (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Implementation of drilling operations continue in Iran's oil fields
China sees fall in new COVID-19 cases amid strict local lockdowns
Iran's NIDC declares number of drilled oil & gas wells
Iran unveils details of exports via Bilasuvar border checkpoint
Uzbekistan to launch charter flights from Russia to Tashkent
Chinese smartphone maker discloses amount invested in opening factories in Turkey
Buy/sell operations at Iran Mercantile Exchange revealed
Georgia's import of tubes, pipes, hollow profiles from Turkey increases
Body of Azerbaijani citizen killed on Turkish ship to be sent to his homeland soon - Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry
Israel to start COVID-19 vaccination for high school students
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for January 24
Azerbaijan confirms 568 more COVID-19 recoveries
Portugal votes for new president at height of pandemic
Expert talks promoting import of electric and hybrid vehicles to Azerbaijan
Turkmennebit opens tender for purchase of various equipment
Azerbaijan shows footage from Jomerd village of Kalbajar district (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Sales of goods at Iran Mercantile Exchange spike
Iran reveals amount of loans issued to manufacturing companies
Georgia increases export of marine mammals, fish fats, oils and their fractions to Turkey
S&P talks about Azerbaijan's GDP growth in 2022-2024
Turkey set to receive second vaccine shipment from China soon
Russia records over 21,100 daily coronavirus cases
Weekly review of Azerbaijani precious metals market
Kazakhstan's exports volume to Georgia increases multifold
Azerbaijan's strategic foreign exchange reserves increase year on year
Iran announces volume of sprat caught in Caspian Sea
Azerbaijan shares footage from Ashaghi Veysalli village of Fuzuli district (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Consumption of steel products in Iran increases
3 injured as blast hits vehicle in Kabul
Weekly review of Azerbaijani currency market
Georgia reveals data on exports of semi-finished products of iron or non-alloy steel to Turkey
Iranian companies join UN CTCN
Kazakhstan’s daily COVID-19 case count stands at 1,584
Weekly review of main events in Azerbaijan's transport sector
UK to quarantine visitors from nations with high COVID-19 risk
China rescues first person from Shandong gold mine: state media
Over 2 mln coronavirus cases registered in Colombia
Israel reports 4,550 new COVID-19 cases, 593,578 in total
Iran's Marun Oil & Gas Production Company manufactures certain equipment
Iran to begin COVID-19 vaccinations in coming weeks: President Rouhani
France registers 23,924 new COVID-19 cases, 230 deaths in one day
Turkmenenergo to sign new contracts with foreign companies
7.0-magnitude quake hits South Shetland Islands: CENC
Turkey reports 5,856 new COVID-19 cases, 2,424,328 in total
After first phone call, UK PM Johnson looks forward to working with Biden
UK records another 33,552 coronavirus cases, 1,348 deaths
WHO reports over 600,000 new daily cases of COVID-19
Azerbaijani, Turkish FMs discuss pirate attack on ship
Top Spanish general resigns over allegations of vaccination queue-jumping
Pirates hijack Turkish ship off coast of Guinea, one person killed
BMB Trade Group and Uzbek Saffron Research Center discuss saffron cultivation and processing
Trend TV shares video report from plundered during Armenian occupation Azerbaijani Zangilan
Belarus, Kazakhstan seek closer cooperation in exchange trade
Management of Azerbaijan's State Oil Company being improved - Decree
New staff of Azerbaijani SOCAR's Supervisory Board approved
Georgia's external merchandise trade down 14.8% in 2020
Turkey halts flights from Brazil due to new COVID-19 variant
Gas pressure in Iran's South Pars gas field projected to decrease
Iran's gas processing potential to increase
Portugal holds presidential election as COVID-19 cases spiral
Italy reports 488 coronavirus deaths and 13,331 new cases
Italy to rethink vaccine roll out if supply problems persist
US broadcaster, journalist Larry King dies aged 87
Russia signs deal with Turkey on vaccine production
Azerbaijani MoD issues footage from Kalbajar district's Gamishli village (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Manat exchange rate against dollar to remain unchanged - Standard & Poor's
Bahar Azadi gold coin price again falling in Iran
Azerbaijan considering issues of regional schools damaged during Karabakh War
Iranian Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on January 24
State subsidy to increase from 10 to 15 GEL per 50 kg of wheat flour in Georgia
Goods transit via Iran's Bileh Savar on rise
Tax authorities of Kyrgyzstan, Russia discuss launch of joint project
Japan's COVID-19 death toll exceeds 5,000 as total cases surpass 360,000
Indian gov't confirms outbreak of bird flu
Azerbaijani president expresses condolences to Ukranian counterpart
Bulgaria to ease some COVID-19 rules, restaurants closed for now
COVID-19 vaccine delays may slow wider Irish roll-out, says PM
Azerbaijan confirms 705 more COVID-19 recoveries
WHO office in Azerbaijan discusses project on preventing deaths from COVID-19 pandemic
Uzbek-Korean Uz-Kor Gas Chemical to buy spare parts for water purifier via tender
Georgia increases import of vehicles from Turkey
Geostat reveals volume of ferroalloys exported from Georgia to Turkey
Iran oil export never reached zero - Iran's Oil Minister
Azerbaijani expert talks impact of recycling old cars on traffic jams
Weekly review of highlights in Azerbaijani ICT sector
Uzbekistan’s Uzpromstroybank reveals plans for strategic dev’t in 2021
WHO chief thanks India, PM Modi for 'support to global Covid-19 response'
Yukselish competition organizes webinar presented by Azerbaijani president's assistant (PHOTO)
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for January 23
Azerbaijan shares footage from Ashaghy Maralyan village of Jabrayil district (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Turkmenistan taking measures to further increase volume of cotton production
All news