By Annisa Essack
French Industrial Company Lafarge helped finance Daesh to run its cement factory in war-torn Syria in Jalabiya. But this is not the most fantastic part of the revelation.
Reports now reveal that the financing of Daesh by Lafarge was done with the approval and later with the assistance of the French Intelligence Services, part of the French Government.
The documents obtained by the Anadolu Agency in Turkey shows the depth of the relationship between the terror group and the French Intelligence Services. The company is accused of paying at least €13,000,000 to the terrorist organisation.
Stunning as the revelation is, the French Intelligence Services may never face a criminal trial. The French apex court has merely referred the matter back to the lower courts for investigation.
This proves France contributed to the rise of extremism in Syria, which caused the displacement of millions of Syrians and the direct killing of others. It also exposes its blatant Islamophobia as it refuses to accept an increased number of refugees and blames Muslims for the dire situation that they are the creators of and profit from.
Despite knowing of the dealings by French Company Lafarge and the French Intelligence Services, the French have funded extremism whilst demonising Islam and Muslims to cover up their own shameful dealings. Emmanuel Macron accused Turkey of supporting Daesh when it now seems that the support came from France.
Lafarge paid ISIS to run its cement factory in war-torn Syria in Jalabiya, approximately 150 km northeast of Aleppo. Daesh eventually seized the cement plant, and Lafarge then chose to leave Syria.
The documents reveal the plans from 2014. However, the scandal began around 2012. In January 2014, a Lafarge Director emailed the Ministry of Interior’s intelligence directorate, requesting assistance from “local actors” as Lafarge was still operating inside Syria.
An Intelligence Officer from the French Service said that the French took advantage of the Lafarge factory while giving court testimony. The Officer further added that Lafarge sold cement to all armed groups, including Daesh and Nusra Front (Al-Qaeda Syria).
Anadolu Agency, which broke the story, revealed that documents showed more than 30 meetings between Lafarge and various branches of French Intelligence services, including French domestic, foreign and military intelligence services in 2013 and 2014 alone.
The relationship included other areas such as material and fuel purchases, as well as financing.
Lafarge’s plant manager Bruno Pescheux testified that after Daesh took over the region, the factory began paying the group $20,000 each month. They opposed the factory’s closure and called the Lafarge factory “France’s most important investment” in Syria.
As the United Nations decided to pursue financial ties with terror groups in Syria, the relationship between Daesh and France was deepening. Lafarge continued operating in Syria after 2011 when other international companies left. During this time, Lafarge paid Daesh $20,000 per month and purchased raw materials from the group’s factory. Lafarge used go-betweens and fake invoices to arrange purchases of the raw materials, ensuring that any upper-level funding was kept under wraps.
On June 29, 2014, The New York Times reported that ISIS declared a caliphate in Syria and Iraq. On that same day, the factory’s senior risk manager informed his superiors of a meeting he had scheduled with a “head of the Islamic State.” According to the court documents, the meeting ensured that Lafarge’s deals with the group would be maintained.
A fortnight later, The New York Times reported that Daesh had “detonated a truck bomb at a Turkish-owned cement plant.” – the French Plant remained untouched!
These revelations raise questions regarding the role of France in pointing fingers at Islam and the Muslim world for extremism, whilst maintaining a covert but intimate relationship with the terror group that the vast majority of ordinary Muslims oppose and reject.
It is crucial now for the world to demand that France release all documents that show the dirty financial dealings with ISIS.