In an article for Al Monitor, Eye on ISIS founder Jason Pack discusses the impact of Haftar’s seizure of the oil crescent, and the political power he has subsequently gained from this move, on the Misratan-led campaign against Islamic State in Sirte. He argues that Haftar’s growing power could lead to an increase in jihadist recruitment fuelled by anti-Haftar sentiment, or it could lead to a tacit peace and stability between Misrata and the LNA, increasing the likelihood of defeating ISIS in Sirte.
August 24, 2016
EOIL’s first major publication drawing upon our thousands of pages of primary source materials and hundreds of categorized webposts dating back to 2014, has been released by the Norwegian think tank, Hate Speech International.
In the report “Who pays for ISIS in Libya?” (which you can access by clicking here) James Roslington and Jason Pack look at the Libyan group’s sources of seed capital and how its financial model differs in key ways from that of the parent organization in Iraq and Syria.
We conclude that ISIS’s financing mechanism in Libya appears to have failed long before the local group suffered its military reversals over the past few months. The Libya case study also reveals the importance of financing to ISIS’s and other jihadi organisations’ sustainability and organizational models throughout the world.
Our findings were also timely. As Sirte is being progressively liberated, ISIS lucre is being uncovered. We write:
As central Sirte was falling to anti-ISIS fighters in late August 2016, they discovered various caches of ISIS loot acquired from Sirte’s formerly wealthy class in mid-2015 which revealed quite a bit about how the group acquired its war chest. Gold, jewelry, and foreign cash were stashed in ISIS’s so-called Dar al-Muhasaba (Accounting Department).
These seizures are reminiscent of how the Nazi regime utilized pillaged Jewish property — both doling it out as favours to loyalists and using it for state building purposes. Also reminiscent of totalitarian regimes is the extent to which groups of Sirte’s inhabitants that were willing to acquiesce to ISIS’s state building efforts could benefit from them financially. The key to getting on ISIS’s good side was paying tax and adhering to its social norms.
RUSI held a launch of this paper at 61 Whitehall, London on September 5th. Presentation of the research findings and their implications for policymakers in the UK and across Europe was followed by a panel discussion with Mary Fitzgerald and Abdul Rahman al-Ageli about the current situation in Libya and the ongoing military campaign against ISIS more widely. The discussion was chaired by report author Jason Pack. We are following this up with other events in DC and Oslo about ISIS’s finances.
April 21, 2016
Tripoli Cannot Impose Unity on Libya
Libya is a consensus-driven society. It requires bottom-up conflict resolution to end the hostilities and refocus attention on rebuilding the country. The greatest obstacle to consensus, however, is fear among militias that they and their hometowns will not get a fair share of the spoils when the conflict ends. This, rather than religious or ideological concerns, is what motivates most militias.he threat of attack on oil ports, wells and pipelines from the ISIS-controlled towns of Bin Jawad and Nawfaliyah remains extreme. After the ISIS attacks on al-Bayda field on 2 April, three key oil fields were evacuated on 8 and 9 April at the request of the Marada Martyrs brigade, an LNA-affiliated militia, due to the ISIS threat.A deal between Haftar and the new government could be perceived as allowing him dominate eastern Libya. This has the potential to stoke opposition and strain whatever coalition the GNA can build in the west, where there is much opposition to Haftar. This puts the GNA in a bind. Without some kind of accord with Haftar, there is little possibility of establishing even nominal GNA authority in the east.
To read the full article, click here.