Saudi Arabia Is Funding Remaining 10,000 ISIS-Loyalists In Iraq And Syria
While the number of active fighters on the battlefield is probably in the range of 1,000 to 1,500, the actual number of ISIS-loyalists in Iraq and Syria is closer to 10,000, expert says.

Despite the Iraqi government has declared ISIS caliphate’s collapse, experts both in and outside the U.S. government warn that there are many ISIS loyalists still on the scene.

Earlier in October, the U.S. president Trump said: “ISIS is now giving up, they are giving up, there are raising their hands, they are walking off. Nobody has ever seen that before.”

The Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn once said the conversation about ISIS terrorists should begin with “Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states that have funded and fuelled extremist ideology,”.

The House of Saud has been accused of financing ISIS. The cache of emails leaked from the office of Hillary Clinton, who was U.S. Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013 can be the most powerful indication of Saudi’s financial links with ISIS. The messages were published by Wikileaks and contained an unambiguous statement by her campaign chairman, John Podesta:

“We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical groups in the region.”

Earlier in 2009, Wikileaks published diplomatic cables from the U.S. State Department which spelled out the same concerns.

“Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to terrorist groups worldwide,” the documents said: “While the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) takes seriously the threat of terrorism within Saudi Arabia, it has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority…”

“More needs to be done since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaeda, the Taliban, LeT, and other terrorist groups which probably raise millions of dollars annually from Saudi sources.”

Read More: “It Is Hard To Tie Down Exactly Where They Are”; Government Lost Track Of Hundreds Of British ISIS Fighters

Last week, at least 27 people were killed in a double suicide bombing in central Baghdad and about 100 people were wounded. Experts warn that although the number of active ISIS fighters in Syria and Iraq have dropped below 3,000, the group may reemerge once more.

Hassan Hassan, a senior fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy and co-author of the book “ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror,” estimates that some 7,000 ISIS-loyalists remain.

“They operate as a terrorist and insurgent organization almost purely now, versus as a conventional fighting unit,” Hassan said: “There are still so many in Syria, in the Abu Kamal and Deir al-Zour areas. A lot of them are Iraqis who fled across the border.”

An adviser to the Iraqi government in the battle against ISIS, Hisham al-Hashimi told NBC News that while the number of active fighters on the battlefield is probably in the range of 1,000 to 1,500, the actual number of ISIS-loyalists in Iraq and Syria is closer to 10,000.

Some U.S. officials believe ISIS had 45,000 fighters active in the area where the U.S. led coalition is operating. Daniel Glasser, the Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for terrorist financing under former President Barack Obama said: “There is a big difference between defeating them militarily on the battlefield and eliminating ISIS as a terrorist organization,”

In December, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also said the “war is not over.” and emphasized that much work remained to prevent the emergence of what he called “ISIS 2.0,”.

“We told you that the [ISIS] caliphate was going to go down,” Mattis added: “and as we sit here today at the end of 2017, the caliphate is on the run, we’re breaking them.”

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