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Exciting secrets about “significant financial activity” of armed factions in Iraq and Syria

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Exciting secrets about “significant financial activity” of armed factions in Iraq and Syria

Reports and analyzes    Iraq    breaking    Syria    Drugs    smuggling Oil    Shiite militias
2021-07-03 05:03

Shafaq News/
The Global Risk Insight Institute, which specializes in discussing and analyzing global political and economic risks, revealed in a report, today, Saturday , on the details of a large “illegal” financial activity inside Iraq and Syria and on the borders of the two countries.

The report, translated by Shafak News Agency, stated that "the population suffers from property theft, looting and extortion by these various militias, which leads to an increase in sectarian tensions."

He pointed out that "the most prominent aspect of the militias' economic activity is the multiplicity of checkpoints scattered in both Iraq and Syria."

He explained that "financial fees collected from checkpoints and high taxes on goods.

This means that Iraqis and Syrians not only have to wait in long queues at slow checkpoints, but also pay huge sums of money.”

He continued, “Checkpoints are usually exploited in order to control territory, obtain legitimacy and establish ties.” With the local population,” adding that

“these points have a negative impact on the Sunni neighborhoods,

for example, the residents remember hundreds of young men who went missing at the Al-Razzaza checkpoint in Anbar, where these residents find that Shiite militants are terrorizing them,” according to the description of the report.

The report also indicated that "Sunni residents of Mosul are disturbed by the seizure of the properties of the Sunni endowment by Shiite militias in the Popular Mobilization, such as Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq and Saraya al-Khorasani."

For example, the report says, "The Bala market in Mosul, which was affiliated with the Sunni Endowment, is now under the control of the Shiite Endowment, with residents being intimidated to pay the rent."

He pointed out that "in both Iraq and Syria, the lands recovered from ISIS have not been returned to their original owners, as the displaced and refugees are treated with skepticism and marginalization.”

He added that “in Syria, the Tiger Forces’ restoration of control over the town of Morek led to the theft of many lands.

One of the local residents had to pay a member of the Tiger Forces up to $5,000 to get his land back.”

In addition, the report adds, “the militias establish real estate empires.

In Iraq, for example, the militias took control of important offices such as the registry office.

Land in order to acquire lucrative real estate, while in Syria property theft and reconstruction efforts overlap and the regime and its affiliates exploit massive demographic changes in order to achieve their own wealth.”

For example, the report noted that “those practices It includes the largest reconstruction project in Syria currently, which is (Marota City).

The economic gains are directed to the regime-linked businessmen who dominate the Syrian private sector, while the residents are evicted against their will without being able to claim property rights.”

On both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border, the report says that “the local population They feel unstable due to the heavy presence of Iranian-backed groups, such as Harakat Hezbollah, Al-Nujaba, Ansar Allah movement, and Liwa Fatemiyoun,” according to the report, which described them as “groups involved in the Syrian conflict.”

The report considered that “this scene It creates a volatile situation, because the communities on the border area between Iraq and Syria enjoy strong clan and family ties, in addition to Sunni and nationalist sentiments."

The report pointed out that "any provocative actions by the Iranian-backed militias could give ISIS an opportunity to exploit this existing dissonance."

National Effects

According to the report, "along the borders" Syrian and Iraqi, especially in the border cities of Al-Qaim - Al-Bukamal, the phenomenon of cross-border oil and gas trade, and the smuggling of weapons, people and goods.”

He continued, “The Iraqi militias, especially those backed by Iran, impose their monopoly on the important smuggling routes.” From and to Iran, Syria and Turkey.

He explained that “oil smuggling achieves the largest financial profits from money through sales of up to 10,000 barrels per day, which are transported from Anbar to Syria.”

At the same time, the report indicated that “the extent of the militias’ involvement in cross-border drug smuggling is not clear, but since the emergence of ISIS, drug use has increased rapidly.”

"In Syria, the use of Captagon is being shared by armed actors to improve focus, energy and courage driven by the drug," he said.

However, what is worse, according to the report, is the use of "crystal meth", which has spread in Iraq in recent years, and which constitutes 60% of the drug trade in Iraq, most of which comes from the porous Iranian border., as it can be Well-connected smugglers or who pay big bribes, cross through the border control points of a PMF unit, with large, unmonitored shipments.

Drugs unit commander Muhammad Alwan estimates that his area of Baghdad contains up to 10% of the The population addicted to drugs, mostly “crystal meth.”

The report warned that with 60% of Iraq’s population under the age of 25, and youth unemployment reaching 36%, “it seems that years of war, despair and societal decay have pushed young people Iraq towards drugs as a means of escape.”  

Regional Effects

The report mentioned the “shabiha” phenomenon, which was initially known to smuggle across the Syrian-Lebanese border during the eighties, noting that they are now one of the many actors associated with The regime, which has been operating there since the start of the Syrian civil war.

The strict US sanctions targeting the Syrian regime through the "Caesar Act" have contributed to a significant increase in smuggling activity.

The report explained that along the Lebanese border, around the city of Hermel, all kinds of goods are being smuggled, especially those supported by the Before the Lebanese state, such as fuel, bread, milk and sheep.

According to the investigations of France 24 correspondents, this smuggling activity costs the Lebanese economy a huge amount of $15 million per day.

The report concluded by noting that in the meantime, the regime in Syria succeeds in staying under the weight of sanctions, while the continuation of illegal activities and their integration into the economy is likely to strengthen Iran’s control over Iraq and Russia’s control over Syria.

He concluded that while the illegal trade resonates internationally, as evidenced by Italy’s discovery last year of 84 million Captagon pills sourced from Syria, efforts to confront illegal economies at the local level, as part of efforts to tackle regional lawlessness, have increased in importance.

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