Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two allies of France, reject any political or financial link with the organization Islamic State which claimed the deadly attacks in Paris, but wealthy Gulf donors contributed to the group’s rise to power Jihadist, experts say.
“This question of financing puts France in an uncomfortable situation, when it declared war on terrorism,” says Hasni Abidi Algerian expert, based in Geneva, told AFP.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar categorically deny any relationship with extremists of IE, and officially fighting organization. They are so joined in 2014 at the Washington-led air campaign in Syria, and Qatar is home to Centcom, the command center for anti-EI operations.
Four days after the worst terrorist attacks experienced by France (130 dead, 350 injured), Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Thani, Prime Minister of Qatar, was received at the Elysee, and was providing President Francois Hollande his ” full support “in the fight against the jihadists.
That same morning, the Prime Minister Manuel Valls was questioned about possible links between the Gulf monarchies and EI.
“The power in Saudi Arabia, like Qatar, fight against DAECH (Arabic acronym for the Islamic State). That is indisputable. And I have no reason to doubt today the commitment of both governments, “he said on France Inter radio.
But the great fortunes of the Gulf monarchies, are, too, free of any suspicion? asked the radio.
“There remains the question of all such funding … ‘, suited Manuel Valls, adding:” We could not accept any item that participates terrorism against us. ”
France maintains relations of “friendship” with Saudi Arabia, a country that Wednesday wrote Le Monde in an editorial, “finance Sunni fundamentalism around the world.”
And between France and Qatar, countries supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, the links are strong. The emirate gas bought in May 24 planes battle French Rafale, for 6.3 billion euros (about 8.9 billion US dollars).
Hundreds of millions of dollars
From 2010, the site Wikileaks had carried the knife in the wound, on the issue of financing, issuing a US diplomatic note which said: “Donors (private) in Saudi Arabia remain the world’s leading source Sunni terrorist groups funding” .
At the time this note was especially al-Qaeda, the Iraqi branch is the origin of the Islamic State. It also denounced the laxity of Qatar and Kuwait, in the fight against the financing of jihadists.
“There is no credible evidence that the Saudi government financially supports EI”, which he considers a “direct threat” to its security, last year wrote the analyst Lori Plotkin Boghardt the Washington Institute .
But the “Gulf donors, including the Saudis are said to be the most charitable, have sent hundreds of millions of dollars in Syria in recent years, including the IU and other groups,” she added.
These financial aid necessitate inter alia the “Zakat” alms for Muslims, donations by Islamic foundations or individuals.
“There is no direct funding Riyadh and Doha jihadist groups. But we must remember that at the beginning of the Syrian revolution, there was a green light for everybody to give money to the Syrian opposition, all tendencies. This is the radicalization of DAECH which complicated the situation, “says Hasni Abidi.
“Today, Saudi Arabia and Qatar condemn DAECH which threatens them. Finally, it should be noted that the IU now has less need for external funding, “he added.
“The total value of external donations to the EI is minimal compared to other sources of income”, which are mainly oil, in February highlighted a report by the institution Financial Action Task Force.
“France and Westerners need from the Gulf countries to control these financial flows,” said Hasni Abidi. “We must seek their cooperation, and does not shine.”