France’s duplicity exposed: firm funded ISIS with govt knowledge

French intelligence agencies used Lafarge’s cooperation with terror groups for its operations in Syria


APP September 12, 2021
A member loyal to the Islamic State waves an IS flag. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD:

The duplicity of France was exposed on Saturday with disclosure of official documents revealing that country’s cement giant Lafarge had been financing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Syria and that the government knew about this pro-terror activity.

The documents obtained by the Turkish-based Anadolu Agency, revealed that the cement firm had constantly informed the French intelligence of its relationship with the ISIS, which also goes by its Arabic moniker of Daesh, in Syria.

Ironically, France has been opposing Pakistan’s removal from Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’s grey list despite the remarkable progress made by the country. Moreover, French president had also been vowing to support anti-ISIS fight in Iraq, but in Syria, they were supporting the same group.

The company is said to have paid Daesh and other militants around $5.6 million between 2012 and 2014 so that production at its plant in northern Syria remained uninterrupted, according to the expose by the Anadolu Agency.

The issue had surfaced in the past as well which was highlighted by the media and courts investigating it. In 2016-17, the French press endorsed the claim that Lafarge financed the terrorist organisation, Daesh, in the Syrian civil war.

On November 18, 2018, a French intelligence officer, codenamed AM 02, admitted in a court that Lafarge was his source of information in Syria and that Lafarge sent cement to all armed groups in Syria, including Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an al-Qaida-linked terrorist group formally known as ‘Nusra Front’.

Documents showed that the French intelligence agencies used Lafarge’s network of relations, its cooperation with the terror groups in Syria and meetings to maintain its operations there to get news from the region.

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With the cement supplied by Lafarge, Daesh is known to have constructed fortified shelters and tunnel networks against the Coalition powers led by the US.

The company also used fake consulting contracts to buy fuel from Daesh, which had then taken control of most of Syria’s strategic oil reserves in 2013.

Bruno Pescheux, Jolibois’ ex-factory chief between 2008 and 2014 admitted that Lafarge paid up to $100,000 a month to Syrian tycoon Firas Tlass, who gave cash to armed factions in order to keep the factory open. ISIS would have received around $20,000, he estimated.

The ruling by the Court of Cassation marks a major setback for Lafarge, which is accused of paying nearly 13 million euros ($15.3 million) to armed groups including the ISIS, to keep its cement factory in northern Syria running through the early years of the country’s war.

The latest revelations about France links with Daesh exposed Western power’s inexcusable manoeuvrings to erode world peace, while killing millions of innocent civilians, especially Muslims in the name of terrorism.

Historically, the powers like France create, sponsor and finance terrorist organisations for their vested interests, the report said. Developing countries are being targeted by the US-led West for sponsoring terrorism, whereas the reality is what meets beyond the eyes.

Now, having been exposed of financing Daesh, the question arises as why France should not be put on FATF black list on the charges of financing and officially sponsoring terrorism.

It is high time for the Western countries to make judicious use of political tools like FATF and forums like G20, Quad or BRICS instead of realising their political gains and target developing countries particularly the Muslims.

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