by Saeed Sahen Mufti
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A committee investigating Kurdish officials smuggling cars, food and fuel across territories held by the Islamic State (ISIS) said that the illegal trade amounted to $1 million a day. Report Rudaw.
According to a final report by the committee on the smuggling, a number of officials from the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Peshmerga have been involved in the illegal trade.
Firsat Sofi, a KDP member of the Kurdish parliament said the identities of people arrested for involvement in the smuggling had not been disclosed by the committee.
“We asked about the identity of those detainees. Some of them were tanker drivers, senior political members and merchants. Even if we knew the names we would not reveal them since that would be illegal, since the judiciary must deal with this issue and we will see the verdicts soon.”
Fakhraddin Qadir, another Kurdish MP who is from the Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal) said: “We believe that any kind of relationship with ISIS is treachery, and we will hold a meeting in the parliament concerning the smuggling cases if we are asked.”
The investigative committee includes the KRG’s interior minister and natural resources minister.
KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani has warned that anyone caught smuggling with ISIS would be punished.
“Anyone caught smuggling with ISIS should be considered a traitor and the government must punish them,” he has said.
The autonomous Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq sits on a border with ISIS that is more than 1,000 kilometers long. The insurgent group blazed across Iraq’s mainly Sunni territories in June, capturing a third of the country.
According to US-based Foreign Policy magazine, ISIS has become the world’s richest terrorist group through oil smuggling, theft, human trafficking and hostage-taking.
Intelligence officials and private experts say the group has become a self sustaining financial force and is said to be earning more than $3 million from these activities.