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Bribery: The secret weapon used by ISIS to ensure victory

June 26, 2014 15:33 IST

Bribery: The secret weapon used by ISIS to ensure victory

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Using their deep cash reserves amounting to at least $1.3 billion (about Rs 7,800 crore), the militants are bribing military commanders to stay away from the battle, enabling them to take over Iraqi towns easily. They also use their money power to gain crucial information from the military, thus helping them spread their influence over the nation. Vicky Nanjappa reports

How is it that a group of 8,000 rebels from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria are being able to fight the military might of a nation and take over strategic towns in the country? Is it their brute force that is allowing them to go toe to toe with the military and come out on top?

According to a report released by American intelligence, the ISIS is being able to tackle the military by bribing Iraqi commanders to stay away from the war and also pass on crucial information.

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Image: A fighter of the ISIS stands guard at checkpoint near the city of Baij, Iraq
Photographs: Reuters

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ISIS, which is the richest terror group, has adopted this method from the Taliban. In 1996, Osama bin Laden also used the same method to take over the cities of Kabul and Jalalabad.

The report states that from 2011 to 2013, the terror organisation has received $4 billion (about Rs 24,000 crore) from donors spread across the United Kingdom, Turkey, Kuwait and most importantly, Saudi Arabia. 

With two watering holes based out of Dubai and the United Kingdom, what the ISIS has managed to do is channel 4 billion dollars which is used to bribe the Iraqi commanders to stay away from the war and also pass on information crucial to a battle. What is even more surprising was that the entire process was done through regular banking channels.

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Image: A member of Iraqi security forces fires a cannon during clashes with the al Qaeda-linked Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in Jurf al-Sakhar south of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.
Photographs: Alaa Al-Marjani/Reuters

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Explaining the process, an official said that agents sitting at Dubai and UK channel the money to the militants in Iraq, who then use the funds to bribe commanders and military officials.

The militants make sure that the commanders leave their posts at crucial moments so that they can then take over the spot with ease. In both, the battle for Tirkit and Mosul the Iraq army was found lacking and this was largely to do with the fact that the ISIS had information before hand of where the military was posted and their strength.

Experts in the United States of America point out that the ISIS is without a doubt the wealthiest terrorist group today. According to them, despite their heavy spending, they still have a cash reserve of $1.3 billion. That includes $875 million (about Rs 5,200 crore) it accumulated in Syria before its advance into Iraq, in part by seizing oil reserves.

Hannah Allam of McClatchy DC Washington Bureau, a news agency in the US, says that during the fall of Mosul last month, they made $420 million (about Rs 2,500 crore) from the banks.


Image: Iraqi soldiers take their positions during a patrol in Sulaiman Pek, 160 km north of Baghdad.
Photographs: Mohammed Adnan/Reuters

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