Essays

ISIS: Do They Really Receive US Funding?

isis4Be careful when encountering seductive, reductionist Internet memes; Former IS Commander Yousaf al-Salafi on funding for IS and the persisting context of conflation of interests

by Organon tou Ontos

IN JANUARY 2015, Yousaf al-Salafi, an IS commander and purported leader of IS forces in Pakistan, was arrested along with other IS members. Subsequent reports, articles, and videos appeared online claiming that al-Salafi confessed to IS receiving direct and support from the US government. This is a distortion of what was actually said, and like other false claims regarding IS and its leaders, its circulation hinders rather than helps the nationalist project of bringing attention to actual Zionist projects and influence.

Yousaf al-Salafi was arrested and detained by Pakistani authorities in December 2014, with other IS members, two allegedly involved in recruiting for IS. Al-Salafi was an IS leader and purportedly the head commander of IS forces in the whole of Pakistan. After his arrest, al-Salafi was interrogated by Pakistani authorities, and reports of information he divulged in his questioning were subsequently released online. In his answers to Pakistani authorities, al-Salafi said that IS had received financial support funneled through US channels.

The exact quote from al-Salafi, which appears in numerous articles, is as follows:

“The US has been condemning the IS activities but unfortunately has not been able to stop funding of these organizations, which is being routed through the US…” [1]

Al-Salafi makes two points, here: 1) He sees the US as actively trying, but failing, to stop funding of IS, and 2) that some of this funding has reached IS using US financial and banking channels. The international banking system is saturated by US economic links. Wealthy individuals in the Middle East and abroad who support IS have used economic channels in America to funnel money to IS leaders. However, since early 2015, some online reports have reworded and distorted al-Salafi’s comment, changing its meaning.

For example, in this video posted by ‘Conspiracy Realism’ on YouTube from a Russia Today report, was given the misleading title, “ISIS Leader Admits We Are Being Funded by Obama Administration.” It gives the impression that al-Salafi confessed to IS having received direct material and economic aid from the US government, which is not at all what he said. Not surprisingly, given its history of distorting facts, Veterans Today gave the same impression, rewording al-Salafi’s quote in its article title: “Kerry Told ISIS Funded from US”.

The wording and phrasing is crucial, and the difference may seem subtle, but the meaning is completely different. The claim that money “is being routed through” America implies that the money comes from elsewhere; wealthy Muslims overseas and other sources. This is a very different statement than the one the video above and the Veterans Day report’s title implies: The claim that IS “is funded by” America or “from US” implies the US government is directly supporting IS with money, and this not what is implied by al-Salafi’s quote.

Nationalists would benefit, and in turn benefit the nations they are trying to save, by entering into assessments of IS that do not collapse into radical reductionism and oversimplification. One historical comparison lies in the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia, which in 1975 was able to seize power in the entire nation because of Nixon’s intervention and US bombing. Though Pol Pot’s regime owed the conditions of its existence to US interventionism, the Khmer Rouge was, nevertheless, a distinct movement with its own vision for Cambodia.

IS is an Islamic movement that aims to erect a Caliphate minimally spanning all existing Muslim nations and imposing Sharia law within its confines. Taking this movement seriously, and resisting Zionist reductionism, allows us to assess it soberly and objectively.

There are ways the existence of IS serves US and Israeli interests: The growth of IS, made possible by the 2003 invasion of Iraq, threatens Israel’s enemies, including Syria and Iran. Israel has exploited the destabilizing factor IS represents, just as Turkey exploits IS opposition to the Kurds. However, IS also threatens friends of Israel, including Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, IS has ambitions well beyond the region surrounding Israel: The long term aim of IS includes the creation of an Islamic Caliphate including all Muslim nations.

Finally, insisting on conflating and identifying the interests and aims of IS and Israel distorts other aspects of reality, and oversimplifies relations between peoples. Afghan Mujahideen were not “CIA operatives” because they received massive aid from America, anymore than Hussein’s Iraq in the 1980s was a “shill” for America because it was supported in its war with the new fundamentalist regime in Iran. The existence of a movement or nation may serve the goals of another nation, but it is important to see how they diverge.[2]

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Notes

[1] A search of “Yousaf al-Salafi” will turn up several articles with this quote. Also, notice the tone and the structure of the first part of the statement; it clearly indicates that, in his opinion, the US is trying but failing to halt funding for IS from different sources.

[2] A similar claim continues to be made about Hitler. That Hitler received sources of aid from different interests, this claim goes, implies that he was their puppet. Being a beneficiary of support from an interest does not mean that one’s own goals are not real.

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Source: Ur-Fascist Analytics

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