by Alejandro Ronard Alem.- It all began with a statement by the European Union´s Ambassador (EU) in Iraq Jana Hybášková , which hinted at the possible purchase of Daesh´s oil by European countries. These rumors, together with the territorial conquest of Daesh (ISIL, ISIS, etc.) and its many financial sources, made the Chamber of Deputies of France to decide the creation of a investigative commission to determine the current state of the different means (financial , military, recruitment, mass media, etc..) that has the terrorist group.
Since February 2016 this investigative group adopted the prerogatives of a Commission of Inquiry -under Article 6 of the ordinance no.58-1100 of 17 November 1958- functioning within the framework of the French Parliamentary Assembly. Some 30 members of the Parliament took part of the Commission chaired by Deputy Jean-Frédéric Poisson. The member who was responsible of carrying the investigation was the Representative Kader Arif, and included members of the Law Commission, Security and Defence of the great French Assembly.
These exceptional powers allowed Mr. Arif to access the data of the French Regulatory and Banking Control Authority , in charge of fighting against terrorist financing. Mr. Arif could access to the normally protected information. One task was to clarify the accusations against the French cement group Lafarge. Accusations made by the newspaper Le Monde, who said the alleged arrangement between Lafarge with Daesh , so that the owned cement plant Al-Jalabiah , could continue producing and exporting cement between spring 2013 and late summer of 2014.
According to Le Monde, Lafarge was paying various taxes to Daesh in exchange for the free movement of their goods and their employees, also obtaining supplies of commodities such as oil or pozzolane. This indirect funding was documented in the post and “mails” sent by the management of Lafarge in Syria, and were published in part by the site-web Zaman al-Wasl and Le Monde could consult.
These elements could be consulted by members of the Commission of Inquiry, which states that there is nothing to establish that the Lafarge Group or local authorities have participated directly or indirectly in financing Daesh. In September 2014 the Lafargue group closed the Cement Factory Al-Jalabiah and forbade his personal to entry and use their facilities.
Some findings of the Commission were the following :
THE FINANCES OF DAESH
The Commission notes that the annual budget of Daesh of nearly two billion dollars is now in net regression . The cause to this regression is the aerial bombardments of the Western Coalition and Russia in the occupied territories , especially in the oil areas. Another element is the drop in international oil prices. At the end of 2015, the theoretical value of the assets controlled by Daesh in the occupied territories were estimated to more than 2000 billion dollars.
Daesh has today access to diverse, flexible and multi-media resources, ranging from the production of 30,000 barrels of oil per day to the sale of stolen art treasures in the black market. The oil revenues represents an annual income of 250 to 600 million dollars (but in 2015 was 4 times less than in 2014). Daesh gets 350 million dollars from the exploitation of gas, about 200 million from agricultural resources and 350 million from the production of phosphates and cement.
Various benefits of trafficking and illegal sale of stolen artworks, estimated at about 150 million dollars. Daesh also get unevaluated revenues from the trafficking in human beings and drugs. On this last point (drugs) the commission found difficulties in verification. Daesh has also a pseudo tax system, that is plain extortion of a commonly called “revolutionary tax” by the press, a parallel with the taxes charged by guerrilla groups (eg in Colombia) in not fully controlled areas & territories. The latter are the only resources that are increasing; 360 million dollars in 2014, reached a figure evaluated between 800 and 900 million in 2015. Imposing new tax rates on water and electricity so far in 2016. Faced with declining use of their means Daesh in the target population under its control as an adjustment variable.
As for the financing from foreign donors, and according to the Commission, the assessed figure of 5 million dollars per year shows another reality different to the one imagined so far.
We asked Deputy Jean-Frédéric Poisson, President of the committee, about the alleged funding from Saudi Arabia and / or Qatar, and Mr. Poisson responded to us: “we do not find these countries acting as donors, and we can only say that there are private donors in these countries, which have financially helped Daesh. On this point, the report states that individuals and organizations identified by the Commission were included in a United Nations UN file, allowing the UN to freeze their bank accounts and property abroad. These sanctions are possible thanks to The Resolution 1267 , that provides the means to fight the financing of Daesh, Al-Qaeda and affiliated groups. Contrary to Daesh that has only 5 (donors), the pro al Qaida organization Jabhat al-Nusra is heavily dependent on these contributions, having up to 14 donors.
And of these 14 donors: 5 are Qatari citizens, four are Kuwaitis, one is Saudi, two are Jordanians, one Pakistani and one Bahraini (Bahrain). First organization included in the UN list is the humanitarioan NGO Al-Aramain and several of its subsidiaries, which demonstrates that terrorist groups continue to be partly financed by “charitable” organizations.
Daesh is different from other terrorist organizations due to their desire to control and manage a territory, to become a State. Under orders from Al-Zarqawi Moussab first and thereafter Abou Bakr Al-Baghadi, a group of army officers of Saddam Hussein are the core on which Daesh (IS) is built.
And in relation to Daesh fighters you can distinguish three major geographical areas; 1) Arab Gulf countries and the Maghreb, 2) Europe and 3) Russia and some of its neighboring republics. From the total, about 5000 to 6000 are Saudis, around 4500 Tunisians , the European contingent represents about 5000 people of which most part are French. Four thousand (4000) are of Russian origin, of which half part are from Central Asia and the Caucasus. In the case of the personal guard of Al-Baghdadi , they are an elite unit , part from Chechnya and part from Libya, in total about 700-1000 fighters that are protecting Al – Baghdadi.
According to the Commission, Daesh operationally has the equivalent of a Motorized Infantry Unit. This comparison is done to assess the real firepower of Daesh. With lightweight vehicles Daesh can have speed and flexibility in their movements, but being mostly unarmored vehicles, it opens significant flanks of insecurity in combat. These teams come essentially from the Iraqi and Syrian arsenals.
By May 2016, Daesh has some 60,000 Assault rifles, the majority are estimated to be type M 16. , AKM 7.62 mm assault rifle (designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is a common modernized variant of the AK-47 rifle developed in the 1940s) or M80 (a portable anti tank weapon) of Chinese origin, a Croatian sniper rifle EM-992 type, also other type of weapons such as the Browning semiautomatic weapons or Glock type of Belgian origin or Croatian, Anti tank weapon M 79 of Yugoslav origin. By fighting in Baiji in 2015 Daesh took some Kornet anti-tank guided missile system, of Russian origin.
In regard to heavier hardware, Daesh has 100 lightweight protected vehicles , the have less than 40 tanks, about 40 pieces of heavy artillery and 100 mortars caliber 120mm , also some 23mm antiaircraft guns used also in surface to surface shots. Some of the tanks are the T-55 or T-72 type, of Russian origin.
But complementary supply circuits also exist. The materials used are first individual; assault rifles, pick-ups, trucks. improvised explosives (IED Improvised Explosive Device English) and chemical weapons have already been used (eg in areas of Aleph). The Commission noted the existence of other weapons, such is the case of ammunition of Chinese origin or Bulgarian but essentially of Soviet-type. The second most used ammo is the 5.56×45 mm ammunition (is the NATO standard), which are the weapons left behind by the Iraqi security forces. Daesh decided to use Russian calibres, most commonly used in the region, reserving their new ammo for propaganda weapons. But in Kobanî some other ammo have been found recently (2014-2015) manufactured in China, USA, Russia and Iran. In Ayn al-Arab, experts could identify rocket launcher type 69 40mm HE, manufactured in China in 2013.
To meet their growing needs, due to Daesh´s withdrawal from occupied territories, the terrorist organization systematically undermine all routes and roads and houses, that is why Daesh installed factories producing explosives (including chemical) in the middle of urbanized centers, including in former university premises. They hidden the ex-factories among civilians, which make it more difficult for aerial bombardment.
Daesh Army had 35,000 fighters, but this number lowered during 2015/2016, today is 12,000.
Intelligence services have led to figure the number of 600 French enrolled of which 200 are women.
After May 2016 have had major military defeats included the retaking of Fallujah on June 23, but Daesh is well established in Raqqa and in Mosul, two predominantly Sunni cities whose population despite being subjected to a reign of terror fear even more Shiite militias working in coordination with Iraqi forces. Daesh continues its combat and extended it to other areas such as Yemen, Libya, Turkey. And this reality has been followed with extreme vigilance by the Commission. On the arrangements proposed by France in the war against Daesh, we will report what France is doing to counter Daesh´s propaganda war machine, but in another analysis.
THE INTERNET and ISIS.
Finally, we note the wake-up call of the Commission on the preponderant role of the numerical vector. In relation to the “pro Daesh” content on the Internet, and subsequently non-reaction to the terrorist threat by the Internet company operators; the deputy Olivier Falorni member of the Commission strongly denounced this situation by saying “our Parliamentary Commission had interviews with representatives of Facebook, Twitter, Google and Dailymotion. In February 2016 Twitter publicly stated that since 2015, the company suspended 125,000 accounts of terrorists or affiliates primarily concerning Daesh. And in spite of Daesh´s omnipresence in social media, the company operators and media intranet, defend Daesh´s debauchery activities in the Internet, by making a religion of the first article of the US Constitution, they interpret extensively freedom of expression and the right to information. This leads to say that by not deleting these terrorist contents from Internet social media, constitutes a clear vindication of terrorism. In order to strengthen Daesh´s terror propaganda it is necessary that operators use more staff and resources in verifying online content. ”
To strengthen international cooperation in this field, first at the European level, authorities must make more effective the platform European Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) created in July 2015 within EUROPOL, and this is one of the suggestions of the Commission´s extensive report.