Islamic State Success Based on Strong Funding, Says Academic ({{commentsTotal}})

Head of the Department of Middle-Eastern and Asian Studies at Tallinn University, Martti Kalda, said there are a number of reasons for the success of the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq, but the main reason is the financial strength of the group.

Kalda told ETV that IS is the richest terror organization, with the majority of the financial resources coming from a religious tax, which is unaccounted for by tax authorities and thus easy to use for terrorism. Other sources include cross-border crime, smuggling and kidnapping, and raiding the central bank in Mosul.

The US has failed to learn from conflicts it has participated in, Kalda said, adding that it is very difficult to fight against an opponent who knows the locals, the region and the geography.

He said it has been clear for years that the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan have been failures.

“I think the US based its actions on one ideology – the export of democracy to everywhere in the world. Policy is forged from this ideology regardless whether it is in the Middle East or Eastern Europe,” he said, adding that if the US focuses on the Middle-East, the less energy is put into Eastern Europe.