Private and Government organizations funding ISIS

Qatar and Kuwait’s involvement with radical Islam, particularly in Syria, is neither new nor limited to these two kingdoms. Initially, these states were joined by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, funding the opposition to the Assad regime in Syria. During the early stages of the Syrian Civil War, this funding was supplied directly by the governments of these states in order to support Assad’s opposition. As the threat of radical Islam grew more imposing in Syria, this official funding was significantly scaled back, and harsh restrictions were placed on the funding of groups like ISIS. While Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been largely successful in restricting private as well as official funding for terrorist organizations, the Qatari and Kuwaiti financial systems remain much less regulated in this regard. This leaves private funds still open to ISIS and other organizations. Unlike Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait’s financial systems do not have the same “red flags” that are raised for suspected interaction with terrorists. While the money does not directly go to ISIS or other groups, it can more easily run through back channels without the stringent oversight present in Saudi Arabia or the UAE. In 2013, Kuwait passed legislation aimed at limiting such transactions through the Financial Intelligence Unit. Such legislation made private funding of terrorist organizations a criminal offense, but the enforcement of this law has been inconsistent at best. In Qatar, support for private funding of terrorist organizations has been much more public, alienating many allies including the Saudis and Egyptians.

In the face of such diplomatic backlash, it is difficult to understand why the gulf monarchies remain lenient on private funding of ISIS and other organizations. Analysts point to both strategic and domestic concerns that drive this indirect support for terrorist organizations. First, Qatar and Kuwait share some limited strategic interests with terrorist groups including ISIS. The previously official funding that went to Syria aimed at toppling Assad, and these goals still motivate the private funding of terrorists in Syria. Furthermore, ISIS’s targeting of Shiite power in Iraq has garnered some support in Qatar and Kuwait (even to an extent in Saudi Arabia), encouraging further funding. Some in Qatar and Kuwait see funding of terrorist organizations as a way of keeping themselves from being targeted. By analyzing such interests, it becomes clear that the gulf monarchies do have something to gain by the limited successes of ISIS and others.

via The Gulf Monarchies and Private Funding of ISIS — SIR Journal


About marypmadigan

Writer/photographer (profession), foreign policy wonk (hobby).
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