US Aid In Syria Going To ISIS
— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 14, 2014
As if it was not tragic enough that much of the military equipment and munitions ISIS is using is supplied by the US via the Iraqi National Army, now it has been revealed that much of the humanitarian aid being provided by the US is also going to ISIS. In order to operate in Syria the health networks pay a portion of the aid and bribes to ISIS in the form of a tax. ISIS, which calls itself the Islamic State (IS), considers itself a government and therefore collects taxes in the area it controls.
The payoffs come from networks that are transporting aid provided by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The payoffs from the health networks are used to feed ISIS fighters or, in the case of food and medicine, sold to fund ISIS operations. The health networks reportedly hide the payoffs on their books in fear that they would lose support if it became known that aid provided by the US and others was strengthening ISIS.
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…
At a minimum, the aid means ISIS doesn’t have to divert cash from its war budget to help feed the local population or the displaced persons, allowing it to focus its resources exclusively on fighters and war-making, say critics of the aid.
One of the more prominent critiques of US policy in the Middle East is that without US intervention in Iraq in 2003 there would be no ISIS. While that is certainly true, another point that is worth considering vis a vis US policy and ISIS is could ISIS maintain itself without indirect US support?
If we put the full picture together, the US is indirectly supplying the arms and supplies helping to keep ISIS forces in the field. If the US had not supplied the Iraqi National Army nor provided aid from USAID then ISIS would be in a much weaker position in Syria and Iraq. ISIS’ only support would then be from the gulf states which could arguably not provide the level of assistance needed to have taken such large amounts of territory or battle so resiliently.
It’s time to stop supplying weapons to the region – especially the Iraqi army – as well as changing how aid is delivered to avoid ISIS payoffs. Otherwise the US government will remain ISIS’ most important resource and the war in Syria and Iraq will continue in perpetuity.