ISIS gets men and $800 million from TurkeyJuly 8, 2014
Jihadist recruits and millions of dollars have slipped through the sieve-like border between Turkey and Iraq, says Middle East expert Daniel Pipes. This is purposeful not negligent. Pipes argues that this is because Prime Minister Recep Erdogan’s twin interests in toppling Assad in Syria and fighting the Kurds in Iraq are both served by an ascendant Al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Again, ISIS didn’t wake up one day and seize Mosul by chance. The combination of funding, number of foot soldiers, and strategy leaves almost no doubt that state sponsorship is involved.
Via Algemeiner on Jun. 22:
…Ankara may deny helping ISIS, but the evidence for this is overwhelming. “As we have the longest border with Syria,” writes Orhan Kemal Cengiz, a Turkish newspaper columnist, “Turkey’s support was vital for the jihadists in getting in and out of the country.” Indeed, the ISIS strongholds not coincidentally cluster close to Turkey’s frontiers.
Kurds, academic experts and the Syrian opposition agree that Syrians, Turks (estimated to number 3,000), and foreign fighters (especially Saudis but also a fair number of Westerners) have crossed the Turkish-Syrian border at will, often to join ISIS. What Turkish journalist Kadri Gursel calls a “two-way jihadist highway,” has no bothersome border checks and sometimes involves the active assistance of Turkish intelligence services. CNN even broadcast a video on “The secret jihadi smuggling route through Turkey.”
Actually, the Turks offered far more than an easy border crossing: they provided the bulk of ISIS’ funds, logistics, training and arms. Turkish residents near the Syrian border tell of Turkish ambulances going to Kurdish-ISIS battle zones and then evacuating ISIS casualties to Turkish hospitals. Indeed, a sensational photograph has surfaced showing ISIS commander Abu Muhammad in a hospital bed receiving treatment for battle wounds in Hatay State Hospital in April 2014.
One Turkish opposition politician estimates that Turkey has paid $800 million to ISIS for oil shipments. Another politician released information about active duty Turkish soldiers training ISIS members. Critics note that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has met three times with someone, Yasin al-Qadi, who has close ties to ISIS and has funded it.
Why the Turkish support for wild-eyed extremists? Because Ankara wants to eliminate two Syrian polities, the Assad regime in Damascus and Rojava (the emerging Kurdish state) in the northeast.
Regarding the Assad regime: “Thinking that jihadists would ensure a quick fall for the Assad regime in Syria, Turkey, no matter how vehemently officials deny it, supported the jihadists,” writes Cengiz, “at first along with Western and some Arab countries and later in spite of their warnings.”
Regarding Rojava: Rojava’s leadership being aligned with the PKK, the (formerly) terrorist Kurdish group based in Turkey, the authoritative Turkish journalist Amberin Zaman has little doubt “that until recently, Turkey was allowing jihadist fighters to move unhindered across its borders” to fight the Kurds…