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Global cooperation needed to defeat ISIS rebels: Experts

Amanda Fisher
Filed on September 10, 2014

The ISIS is essentially an organised crime syndicate that grew out of Iraqi and US mismanagement, according to regional experts.

Jaafar Altaie, the managing director of oil consultancy Manaar Energy, was previously an economic advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Oil where he advised the post-invasion Iraq government, said the ISIS was profiting from the proceeds of black market oil that it was smuggling out of Iraq into Syria, Iran and Turkey.

Altaie was speaking as part of a panel at Dubai’s Capital Club on the regional economic impacts of Iraq’s latest crisis.

“They’re taking advantage of a black market…ISIS is essentially a mafia…it’s very mysterious, deliberately mysterious, but it’s…an organised crime syndicate.” He also said he did not believe ISIS was “beatable militarily”.

“I don’ think that ISIS is a new phenomenon that came suddenly…Syria is definitely one of the reasons but mismanagement in Iraq is also another reason and mismanagement from the US is yet another reason.” He likened ISIS to the complex supporter-owned football club FC Barcelona, in which “everyone has a vested interest”.

“This is the reason why it’s impossible to fight ISIS, because everyone’s involved in ISIS…it’s become a rejection of the West, it’s become a reflection of years of mismanagement in Iraq.”

In order to counter ISIS, a global approach to tackle the roots that led to its genesis was needed – contrary to the military response that was being discussed in forums like Nato.

Altaie said to stop extremism, ordinary Iraqis needed to start benefitting from the abundant precious resource that dwelled beneath them: oil. “Fight fire with fire, you’re going to end up with fire…it needs a political strategy, that political strategy needs an economic component, that economic component is the energy sector.” He said within this insurgency, contradictory elements sat side by side, such as Baathist former Saddam Hussein henchmen and radicals. “ISIS is a marriage of inconvenience…it is many groups, it is a reaction to the failure of Iraq, to the dysfunctionality of Iraq, really.”

Chairman and CEO of strategic consultancy Dragoman Partners Ali Khedery outlined a pessimistic vision for the future of Iraq.

The Middle East specialist, who helped draft the new Iraqi constitution and consulted the US during its Iraqi occupation, apportioned blame for the current situation on the US for failing to stop “a really toxic brew”, that its intelligence sources identified post-2003. The US and Iran backed former prime minister Nouri Al Maliki, who was ousted two days ago (Sept. 8) for a second term when it should have included Saddam’s Baathist party in government, as it had promised to do in return for their help in defeating Al Qaeda.

“The guarantees that we made to them were please turn your guns away from fighting the United States Army…turn them toward Al Qaeda.”

While the Baathists fulfilled their end of the bargain, Washington ignored its commitment “despite the pleas of myself and some other senior colleagues” and Maliki continued his “dictatorship and sectarian agenda”.

Which is why the West had lost these important allies to ISIS – probably for good, he said.

“Will they be willing to trust the United States or its regional allies or the international community (again?)…no.

“The reason is we did not fulfil our end of the bargain in 2010 and so the US…defeated itself.”

amanda@khaleejtimes.com





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