Over the past few months due to the economic downturn, ISIS has been manufacturing and trading drugs to finance itself.
In Italy, police revealed on Wednesday, July 1 that they had seized a huge amount of amphetamine drugs, amounting to 14 tons in the form of 84 million Captagon pills, produced by ISIS to sell in Europe to finance its operations there.
The police stated that this operation took place at the port of Salerno in southern Naples and that the market value of the drugs seized amounted to €1 billion, stressing that it is the largest confiscation of amphetamine globally.
According to the Naples prosecutor’s investigation, the drugs were found in three suspicious containers, which included rolls of paper intended for industrial use and iron wheels.
These rolls, which consist of several layers with a height of about two meters and a diameter of 1.40 meters, made it possible to hide about 350 kg of pills in the inner layers without being detected. Police confirmed that the giant iron wheels were full of pills.
The investigators explained that the pills had to be stamped “Captagon”, which was often used by ISIS operatives before engaging in combat to give them energy.
“We know that ISIS funds its own terrorist activities, especially through the trafficking of drugs manufactured in Syria. For this reason, it has become the world’s largest producer of amphetamines in recent years,” the Italian police statement added.
Two weeks ago, the same investigation unit in Naples, which specializes in organized crime, had detected a container of clothing that contained 2,800 kg of hashish and 190 kilograms of amphetamines in the form of more than a million pills.
The Italian police confirmed that Captagon, which is sold in the Middle East, is popular with extremists to reduce the feeling of fear and pain.
ISIS and drugs
According to recent news reports, ISIS has been involved in the drug trade to compensate for its recent economic losses. An article by Colin Clarke in Fortune magazine discussed the terrorist organization’s financial resources and sources of funding.
Clarke believes that one of the biggest results of the Arab Spring revolutions that swept the Middle East at the geopolitical level is the emergence of new methods and networks for smuggling and drug trafficking in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as criminal groups and terrorist organizations benefitting from the ongoing instability in the main geographical axes in the Mediterranean region.
According to a report in the New York Times, many ISIS elements, especially those who came from Europe, relied on the drug trade as a means of financing.
Financing the caliphate with drugs
According to the Swedish counterterrorism expert Magnus Ranstorp, who called those operations “microfinancing for the caliphate”, these drug revenues offered terrorists in Europe financial flexibility to travel to and from Syria, in addition to saving money to help purchase supplies for terrorist attacks, including weapons, equipment and mobile phones.
Reliance on fatwas
Terrorist organizations, especially ISIS, generally depend on fatwas issued by their legal theorists regarding drug trafficking.
These theorists base their own fatwas on a fatwa concerning the ruling on selling alcohol to warriors that was issued by Sheikh Ahmed bin Abdul Halim ibn Taymiyyah, who died in the early fourteenth century.
Ibn Taymiyyah’s fatwa stipulated that wine and alcohol should be sold to the Tartar army fighting the Muslims, because an unbeliever’s mind slipping from him is good for him and for the Muslims, as it is useful in the event of war.
Ibn Taymiyyah relied on a fundamental principle in Islam that states that necessity permits the prohibited, and that this is a matter of committing that which is less corrupt in order to protect from greater evil.
According to a document released by the CIA and the Center for Combating Terrorism at the US Military Academy at West Point, former senior al-Qaeda leader Atiyah Abd al-Rahman (Jamal al-Misrati) had authorized members of Jaysh al-Islam (Army of Islam) in Gaza to use money gained from the drug trade to finance terrorist operations.