Does this mean that some bankers will finally get the punishment they deserve?
After seeking doctors, lawyers, and engineers, The Islamic State – expanding on its desire to launch a gold-backed currency – is reported to have opened its first bank in the Iraqi city of Mosul and delivered a budget for its ‘territory’. All this is being done, according to Al Jazeera, in an effort to move beyond its image of a terrorist organisation and consolidate its aim of becoming a legitimate state (perhaps stop beheading western media?)
“A strategy to make concrete decisions and actions to create a nation state is in place,” notes one professor, pointing out the ‘legitimacy’ of the Taliban government in Afghanistan as an example of ISIS’ roadmap.
But as one Mosul trader explains, “compared to past rulers, ISIS is a lot easier to deal with. Just don’t piss them off and they leave you alone.”
Al Jazeera reports:
Can you imagine opening the financial pages of your local news website and reading about the latest financial news from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant? Well, if ISIL is to be believed, that is exactly what the group envisages happening.
Reports that the group has opened its first bank in the Iraqi city of Mosul and delivered a budget for the territory that it controls are difficult to confirm, but a Mosul religious leader speaking to Al-Araby Al Jadeed website says that is exactly what they have done. And it shouldn’t surprise you.
ISIL is desperate to move beyond its image of a terrorist organisation and consolidate its aim of becoming a legitimate state. The budget is reportedly around $2bn with a $250m surplus. It includes salaries for its fighters and the kinds of civil services it provides in territories in Iraq and Syria: things like construction, waste management and education.
It seems that the group’s thinking is to act like a nation state to become a nation state.
For Mahjoob Zweiri, a professor of Middle Eastern History at Qatar University, history may provide a reason for ISIL’s budget.
“Look at Afghanistan and the Taliban government there. They made similar moves, issuing budgets which helped legitimise them. Of course, Afghanistan was a recognised state with borders. ISIL doesn’t have those borders and the state is split between Iraq and Syria,” he said.
“However we can say that with this and other actions, including the propaganda videos that they release, a strategy to make concrete decisions and actions to create a nation state is in place.”
The message, according to Professor Zweiri, seems to be clear: “I think ISIL is developing a message to sympathisers outside of Iraq and Syria. That it can provide jobs and lives for people wishing to move to the terroritories it controls and that’s always been an ISIL aim, to get Muslims to move to the Islamic State. What must be questioned is whether they have the knowledge and ability to deliver what they have promised.”
If they have set up a bank that will require banking experts and we know from former recruits that ISIL fighters have come from backgrounds that could provide that kind of knowledge.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.