Kuwait, not Saudi, ISIS' terror bank?

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Bengaluru, Aug 8: The arrest of Kuwaiti national Abdullah Hadi last week, who is accused of having financed Indian recruits into the ISIS, has raised a curious question. Is Kuwait, not Saudi Arabia as believed, the great Jihad funding ground? Hadi was arrested by Kuwaiti police after a tip off from India.

Hadi's name had surfaced during the questioning of Areeb Majeed, the youth from Maharashtra who had joined the ISIS but returned complaining that Indian recruits to the ISIS were only given menial tasks -- Majeed says he himself cleaned toilets.

Also read: ISIS module in Kabul attracts many from Kerala

Kuwait, not Saudi, ISIS' terror bank?

Hadi's arrest has brought the focus squarely on finances being generated in Kuwait for the ISIS.

Epicentre of funding

Back in June 2013, a group known as the Kuwaiti Scholars' Union (KSU) announced what it called a 'Great Kuwait Campaign' and proclaimed that it was preparing to send 8,700 'Mujahideen' into Syria.

The KSU ran a series of campaigns on television, social media and websites seeking funds to pay and arm these 'Mujahideen', actually Sunni fighters being sent out to kill Shias and weaken the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

The KSU campaign collected millions of dollars, according to an Indian intelligence report that OneIndia has accessed and which speaks of a 'Great Jihad Funding Bazaar'. The KSU openly said it would use the money to buy rocket-propelled grenades and anti-aircraft missiles. The money and the arms were routed to the ISIS, some even to the al-Qaeda.

Another Kuwaiti campaign was called 'Liberate the Coast' and was aimed at collecting funds for ISIS fighters in the Syrian port of Latakia. They had been sent out to massacre Shia Muslims in the region as the ISIS had made the destruction of Shias its primary agenda.

Urged by the United States to act, the Kuwaiti establishment began a crackdown on these fund raisers, but by then millions had been raised and channeled to the ISIS.

The Indian link

The arrest of Hadi is significant in the Indian context. He is believed to have sent funds to Indian recruiters of the ISIS. Some part of the millions raised in Kuwait was sent to Hadi to fund the Indian recruitment operations.

While his name cropped up during the interrogation of Maharashtra's Majeed, the agencies are looking into whether Hadi funded ISIS recruitment in Kerala, too, where some 21 people have gone missing, at least 19 of whom are on the radar for links to the ISIS.

A police examination of the bank accounts of these people have shown unexplained deposits into some of them. The bank account of Yasmin Ahmad, who was arrested recently in Delhi while she was attempting to leave for Kabul allegedly to join the ISIS module there, had Rs 2 lakh, which the police believe was given to her by Abdul Rashid, the Kerala-based man who is accused of being an ISIS recruiter.

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