A senior officer in the IDF’s intelligence corps said on Wednesday that “if Israel has intelligence on ISIS targets in Syria – and are asked to share it with the international coalition – I believe that we would cooperate.”
According to the officer, the radical terror group posed a serious threat and would not fade into irrelevance in the near future. “They will likely try now to entrench and disappear ahead of the upcoming campaign against them.”
Sources in the defense establishment believe that ISIS successfully created a contiguous territory for their claimed Islamic State, between western Iraq and east Syria – though they do not see the group as threatening Israeli interests at this stage.
IDF sources say ISIS numbers some 30,000 members in Syria and Iraq. The growing group appends and consumes organization after organization either voluntarily, forcibly, or with bribery.
According to defense establishment figures, the group funds its operations with 60 oil fields it captured in Iraq, which effectively produce 110,000 barrels a day – generating between two to three million dollars per day. The figures don’t include ISIS’ control of 45 percent of Syrian gas reserves, as the group lacks the capability to continue production.
ISIS has also captured four power stations in Syria, with a potential output of 2,310 megawatt. According to the senior officer, Assad has been forced to purchase oil from ISIS, even as his regime battles the radical group.
Aside from its seizure of natural resources, ISIS has diversified its income sources by organizing kidnappings for ransom, robberies and extortion operations, and through its donations from Sunni sheikhs in the Gulf.
“They want to achieve a religious regime to exclude all that is modern and liberal,” said the senior officer.
“ISIS has already established an interior ministry, a finance ministry, nursing, welfare, schools, bakeries, and even police. The difference between ISIS and Hamas, for example, is that ISIS has brought back the religious wars that we thought had ended in the Middle East – which is why you cannot compromise with them, as opposed to groups like Hezbollah and Hamas.”
The officer addressed IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz’s infamous “Anemones Speech” towards the end of Operation Protective Edge, when he concluded the campaign and called for residents to return to their homes.
Read more at Ynet News.