ISIS Skimming Millions Off Government Salaries
The Islamic State is making tens of millions of dollars each month by skimming an estimated 30 percent from Iraqi government employee salaries.
Baghdad uses couriers to carry the salaries in order to avoid transferring money into banks overseen by the Islamic State, but ISIS reps still tax those couriers as they cross into contested regions, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The terrorist organization’s tax on money couriers entering their territory presents a dilemma for U.S. and Iraqi officials seeking to stem the flow of funds ahead of the offensive to retake the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul later this year.
If they [U.S. officials] intervene and try to direct the Iraqi government to stop paying certain employees so as to prevent Islamic State from stealing a portion of the money, they could prevent hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis in Mosul from receiving any pay and potentially trigger a humanitarian crisis.
The Shiite-led, Iraqi government is seeking to maintain a connection with Sunni communities in Mosul, according to a State Department official who spoke to The Daily Caller News Foundation. Part of the reason the Islamic State, a Sunni terrorist organization, gained ground so quickly in Iraq, was by exploiting disgruntled Sunni communities who felt ostracized by the government of then-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Baghdad also wants to ensure there is an infrastructure in place once the Islamic State has been ousted from Mosul.
None of the millions in U.S. aid to Iraq enters the country’s private sector, so it couldn’t have ended up in Islamic State hands, according to the official. Most aid is designated for defense equipment and maintenance, he added. America also provides humanitarian aid, channeled through international organizations such as the United Nations.
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