Islamic State reaps profits from organ trafficking

Al MonitorAl Monitor | December 5, 2014

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The success of the Islamic State (IS) in sustaining its battles on more than one front in both Syria and Iraq, while fighting in several other countries, highlights that the group has multiple and significant sources of funding.

According to data, there are two funding sources: internal and external. The latter includes a wide variety of funding schemes, including through medical facilities, oil and human trafficking mafias. According to sources in Mosul, the money supplied internally is allocated to local and foreign fighters, to encourage them to join up and continue fighting. IS took control of Mosul in June and then expanded in August to control large swaths of the country.

Residents of Mosul say that the sale of oil extracted from wells controlled by the organization in both Iraq and Syria has provided a sustained source of funding. The organization also opened trade canals through Kurdish [territories in] Iraq and Turkey, with the help of Kurdish, Turkish and Iranian traders.

In addition to oil sales, a secondary source of funding stems from the imposition of royalties on residents in IS territories. Members of the organization collect 50,000 dinars [$41.60] from each family as service and protection fees. The amount doubles for families whose sons did not join IS. One of the prominent tribal figures in Nineveh province, Sheikh Mohammad Abu Thayyab, said, “The IS gangs imposed 50,000 dinars worth of royalties on every family if one of their sons did not join these terrorists.”

Sources in the city say that oil prices have skyrocketed. The price of gas tanks used for cooking has reached 75,000 dinars, [about $62] while coal oil is sold at 5,000 dinars a liter [$4.16]. Meanwhile, the price of food has quadrupled.

The third funding source was exposed by otolaryngologist Siruwan al-Mosuli. He said that lately he noticed unusual movement within medical facilities in Mosul. Arab and foreign surgeons were hired, but prohibited from mixing with local doctors. Information then leaked about organ selling. Surgeries take place within a hospital and organs are quickly transported through networks specialized in trafficking human organs. Mosuli said that the organs come from fallen fighters who were quickly transported to the hospital, injured people who were abandoned or individuals who were kidnapped.

He said that organ sales yield large profits. A specialized mafia is engaged in these operations, in addition to medical institutions working in other countries. Without coordination among these parties, such a trade cannot be sustained, he said. According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the organization sells bodies and organs of injured people they arrest...


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