Who benefits from the Islamic State?

Eurasia News

Who benefits from the Islamic State?
Editor Note:
This article written by Michael Stevens was first published on July 2, 2015 at UK based publication “The Proreview”.


There is a strange war in the Middle East. States that are shouting about the threat of the terrorist organization Islamic state destroy those who can fight back the militants. Moreover, on the side they earn billions of dollars on the war.

Who benefits from the Islamic State?
ISIL Organization (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or just Islamic State), according to many experts, was established by Kuwait in opposition to Al-Qaeda which was founded and secretly supported by Saudi Arabia. However, it seems that today even Riyadh is quite pleased with the existence of the ISIL.
The reason is that under the auspices of ISIL the countries of the region can promote their own geopolitical (and most importantly) economic interests. The Islamic State today – is the control of the oil flows (on which it’s earned millions of dollars). Nevertheless, the main thing that the Middle East conflicts show today is a redistribution of influence spheres in the world.
So who is fighting against the militants of the Islamic state today? De jure, there are a lot of states: the US and the EU, Russia and almost all countries in the Middle East withstand the ISIL. But this is only theoretical. Barack Obama, for example, cannot support Damascus in the fight against IS, as he is funding political opponents of Assad. France, frightened by the explosions in Paris, prefers to deal only with blocking militants on its own territory. Britain prefers to solve its internal problems. As well as Germany that is now busy with only trying to establish economic relations with Moscow. Moscow tries not to provoke a conflict and prefers to call for peace.
As a result, there are very few countries, which try to resist the militants. Shiite police, Iranians and Kurds help Baghdad to fight against the IS. Hezbollah and Iran supported Damascus by providing weapons and people in the war of Bashar al-Assad against ISIL and “Al Qaeda”.
But some countries that are theoretically against the IS militants de facto stand on the side of the terrorists, fighting with their enemies. In particular, we are talking about the operation of Saudi Arabia against Huthis in Yemen. Officially, Saudi Arabia and state-members of the coalition had decided to punish Huthis (Shiites) for overthrowing of the Sunni government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi. In addition to this Riyadh accuses Tehran of supporting Huthis with weapons and money. Yemen turned out to be a platform for confrontation of Saudi Arabia and Iran. However in fact, the number of involved participants is a lot more.
Western countries supported Riyadh unanimously. British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond “understood” the concerns of Riyadh “about the possibility of establishing of Shiite regime in Yemen like in Iran”. US President Barack Obama has openly called Iran a “state sponsor of terrorism”.
It seems like under the flag of Saudi Arabia the West is supporting ISIL by trying to sideline Iran, which struggles against the IS. It means that the West is blocking the opponents of the Islamic State, untying the hands of the latter.
And now there is the most interesting part. Besides the Arab countries of the region, the coalition, which bombed Yemen, was entered reportedly by Pakistan and Turkey. Why is that? It is quite far from Yemen to the boundaries of either Turkey or Pakistan. Pakistan denies its armed involvement as it has no reason to intervene in the shiite-sunni conflict when there are too many problems with the Taliban on its own territory.
Having the IS forces on its boundaries Turkey would better support Huthis and Iran, which could serve as a military force against the Islamic state.
But …
Not only does not Turkey prevent the development of the Islamic state, but also supports the terrorists. Officially, the Turkish authorities have not recognized the IS as a terrorist organization. Instead, Ankara is buying (of course secretly) diesel fuel from the Islamic State, which is the main source of income of the ISIL. Monthly income from the transit of at least 4,000 tonnes of fuel from the IS to Turkey is about 15 million dollars.
Hundreds of supporters of the Islamic state penetrate to the occupied territories of Syria through Iraq. Many of the wounded fighters of the ISIL are treated in Turkish public hospitals.
Moreover, during the aggression of the terrorist group of the IS against the Kurdish-populated Kobani city the Turkish authorities in every way hampered the fight of Kurdish against the IS and acted contrary to their national interests.
One would assume that this attitude of Ankara to the terrorists – the result of rampant corruption in the country. And Islamic state just paid it for interference. But Turkey – is a NATO member. In addition, Turkey could hardly show this loyalty to the terrorists without the support of the major players of Alliance. This is evidenced, for example, by the hints that the coalition led by Saudi Arabia after the «situation» with Huthis will help the ISIL to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad. This is what White House was not able to do.
Nevertheless, Ankara has led the game for very long time. So maybe it has decided to play with its cards here.
Turkey has claimed for leadership in the Turkic world for many years. Having very ambitious irremovable leaders in a number of other Turkic countries (Islam Karimov in Uzbekistan and Nursultan Nazarbayev in Kazakhstan), it is still quite difficult to do. But the expansion of the ISIL to Afghanistan and Central Asia can help to strengthen the influence of Turkey. Even now, militants took the 30-kilometer border between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan along the river Murgap. There is an attack in the Afghan province of Kunduz near the border with Tajikistan. The main terrorist organization in the region – the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan announced that the organization had joined the “Islamic state” last autumn. Official Tashkent has already informed neighbors about a start of a mass flow of militants through the borders of the region.
Pressure situation happens with the direct participation of Turkey. The Central Asian states have repeatedly accused Ankara of preparation of radical islamists. Moreover, some of the countries in the region were forced to forbid their citizens to study in certain religious institutions of Turkey. This happened because in these countries it had been seen the rise of radical Islamic sentiments since their return to the homeland.
Many billions of income from the transit of heroin fuel the interests of Ankara. Maybe that is why Turkey made a bid to the ISIL, which is starting an active fight against the Taliban by gradually capturing their territories of influence.
In fact, today Turkey – a hidden stronghold of terrorists. Even if Ankara is working under pressure and as a conduit for Western interests.
Activating of the IS in Central Asia with indirect support of Ankara and the Saudi Arabia has a direct aim – to undermine the arc of instability in the Caspian region. The direct customer of it can be Washington with its anti-Russian dislike. (Turkey is a political ally of Washington and it adopted pro-Western position in relation to the Crimea joining the Russian Federation). Seven years ago, Washington lobbied some color revolutions in this area. So far, with the support of Moscow the region could stand against it. But the one thing is to oppose political attempts of influence, and another thing – the militants.
It turns out that by means of Ankara and Saudi Arabia there are created the forces that are interested in destabilizing the situation in the region. In exchange, they perhaps promised Turkey some political support and long-awaited membership in EU. As well as the expanding of the boundaries of political influence and quite a lot of economic benefit.
Anyway, today in the Middle East it has begun something, which many people call the “third world war”. It has involved directly or indirectly the majority of countries on three continents.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Dispatch News Desk International and Eurasian News. Assumptions made within the analysis may not reflective of the position of Eurasian News Desk of Dispatch News Desk.