US humanitarian aid going to Islamic State

Jamie Dettmer, writing in the Daily Beast, says that US and western humanitarian aid is being delivered to IS controlled territories, and that local NGO's delivering the aid pay off Islamic State emirs thus giving the terrorists another source of revenue.

The aid, delivered under the auspices of USAID, consists mostly of food and medical supplies. IS makes sure that the people receiving the aid believe it's from the terrorists, which cements the loyalty of  IS subjects to the government.

The aid—mainly food and medical equipment—is meant for Syrians displaced from their hometowns, and for hungry civilians. It is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, European donors, and the United Nations. Whether it continues is now the subject of anguished debate among officials in Washington and European. The fear is that stopping aid would hurt innocent civilians and would be used for propaganda purposes by the militants, who would likely blame the West for added hardship.

The Bible says if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him something to drink—doing so will “heap burning coals” of shame on his head. But there is no evidence that the militants of the Islamic State, widely known as ISIS or ISIL, feel any sense of disgrace or indignity (and certainly not gratitude) receiving charity from their foes.  

Quite the reverse, the aid convoys have to pay off ISIS emirs (leaders) for the convoys to enter the eastern Syrian extremist strongholds of Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, providing yet another income stream for ISIS militants, who are funding themselves from oil smuggling, extortion and the sale of whatever they can loot, including rare antiquities from museums and archaeological sites.

“The convoys have to be approved by ISIS and you have to pay them: the bribes are disguised and itemized as transportation costs,” says an aid coordinator who spoke to The Daily Beast on the condition he not be identified in this article. The kickbacks are either paid by foreign or local non-governmental organizations tasked with distributing the aid, or by the Turkish or Syrian transportation companies contracted to deliver it.

And there are fears the aid itself isn’t carefully monitored enough, with some sold off on the black market or used by ISIS to win hearts and minds by feeding its fighters and its subjects. At a minimum the aid means ISIS doesn’t have to divert cash from its war budget to help feed the local population or the displaced persons, allowing it to focus its resources exclusively on fighters and war making, say critics of the aid.

IS takes full advantage of the situation, forcing NGO's to employ Islamic State bureaucrats who then negotiate the aid packages that can move through their territory:

Aid coordinators with NGOs partnering USAID and other Western government agencies, including Britain’s Department for International Development, say ISIS insist that the NGOs, foreign and local, employ people ISIS approves on their staffs inside Syria. “There is always at least one ISIS person on the payroll; they force people on us,” says an aid coordinator. “And when a convoy is being prepared, the negotiations go through them about whether the convoy can proceed. They contact their emirs and a price is worked out. We don’t have to wrangle with individual ISIS field commanders once approval is given to get the convoy in, as the militants are highly hierarchical.” He adds: “None of the fighters will dare touch it, if an emir has given permission.”

The State Department is wringing its hands, claiming that if the aid is cut off, IS will simply blame the west for the hardship. So it's better for the people to be grateful to IS for feeding them? Christian charity aside, perhaps someone should remind the State Department that there's a war on and the people we're fighting could give a fig about our values.

During World Wars I and II, we blockaded Germany to prevent food from coming into the country. German propaganda portrayed the blockade as cruel and evil while trying to do the exact same thing to the island nation of Great Britain, who also heaped propaganda scorn on Germany. The point is, if you're going to worry what people think of you for fighting to win a war, you've already lost. People in IS controlled territories are going to have to understand that the only way they will be able to feed themselves is to get rid of the terrorists.

If they end up hating us at the same time, so be it.

Jamie Dettmer, writing in the Daily Beast, says that US and western humanitarian aid is being delivered to IS controlled territories, and that local NGO's delivering the aid pay off Islamic State emirs thus giving the terrorists another source of revenue.

The aid, delivered under the auspices of USAID, consists mostly of food and medical supplies. IS makes sure that the people receiving the aid believe it's from the terrorists, which cements the loyalty of  IS subjects to the government.

The aid—mainly food and medical equipment—is meant for Syrians displaced from their hometowns, and for hungry civilians. It is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, European donors, and the United Nations. Whether it continues is now the subject of anguished debate among officials in Washington and European. The fear is that stopping aid would hurt innocent civilians and would be used for propaganda purposes by the militants, who would likely blame the West for added hardship.

The Bible says if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him something to drink—doing so will “heap burning coals” of shame on his head. But there is no evidence that the militants of the Islamic State, widely known as ISIS or ISIL, feel any sense of disgrace or indignity (and certainly not gratitude) receiving charity from their foes.  

Quite the reverse, the aid convoys have to pay off ISIS emirs (leaders) for the convoys to enter the eastern Syrian extremist strongholds of Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, providing yet another income stream for ISIS militants, who are funding themselves from oil smuggling, extortion and the sale of whatever they can loot, including rare antiquities from museums and archaeological sites.

“The convoys have to be approved by ISIS and you have to pay them: the bribes are disguised and itemized as transportation costs,” says an aid coordinator who spoke to The Daily Beast on the condition he not be identified in this article. The kickbacks are either paid by foreign or local non-governmental organizations tasked with distributing the aid, or by the Turkish or Syrian transportation companies contracted to deliver it.

And there are fears the aid itself isn’t carefully monitored enough, with some sold off on the black market or used by ISIS to win hearts and minds by feeding its fighters and its subjects. At a minimum the aid means ISIS doesn’t have to divert cash from its war budget to help feed the local population or the displaced persons, allowing it to focus its resources exclusively on fighters and war making, say critics of the aid.

IS takes full advantage of the situation, forcing NGO's to employ Islamic State bureaucrats who then negotiate the aid packages that can move through their territory:

Aid coordinators with NGOs partnering USAID and other Western government agencies, including Britain’s Department for International Development, say ISIS insist that the NGOs, foreign and local, employ people ISIS approves on their staffs inside Syria. “There is always at least one ISIS person on the payroll; they force people on us,” says an aid coordinator. “And when a convoy is being prepared, the negotiations go through them about whether the convoy can proceed. They contact their emirs and a price is worked out. We don’t have to wrangle with individual ISIS field commanders once approval is given to get the convoy in, as the militants are highly hierarchical.” He adds: “None of the fighters will dare touch it, if an emir has given permission.”

The State Department is wringing its hands, claiming that if the aid is cut off, IS will simply blame the west for the hardship. So it's better for the people to be grateful to IS for feeding them? Christian charity aside, perhaps someone should remind the State Department that there's a war on and the people we're fighting could give a fig about our values.

During World Wars I and II, we blockaded Germany to prevent food from coming into the country. German propaganda portrayed the blockade as cruel and evil while trying to do the exact same thing to the island nation of Great Britain, who also heaped propaganda scorn on Germany. The point is, if you're going to worry what people think of you for fighting to win a war, you've already lost. People in IS controlled territories are going to have to understand that the only way they will be able to feed themselves is to get rid of the terrorists.

If they end up hating us at the same time, so be it.