Chem-armed ISIS being funded through US?
Well, probably not, but maybe we can get some hits by throwing cold water on the inflammatory claims. Russia Today of course jumps on a report in Pakistan's Express-Tribune Jan. 28 claiming that the ISIS commander for the country confessed under interrogation that he has been receiving funds through the United States. Authorities said Yousaf al Salafi was arrested in Lahore Jan. 22—although "sources" said he was actually arrested in December and it was only disclosed on Jan. 22. An anonymous "source" also said: "During the investigations, Yousaf al-Salafi revealed that he was getting funding—routed through America—to run the organization in Pakistan and recruit young people to fight in Syria." Unnamed "sources" said al-Salafi's revelations were shared with the US Secretary of State John Kerry during his recent visit to Islamabad, and with CentCom chief Gen. Lloyd Austin during his visit earlier in January. "The US has been condemning the IS activities but unfortunately has not been able to stop funding of these organizations, which is being routed through the US," the "source" taunted. OK, could be, but we are a little tired of the current craze for anonymous and therefore unverifiable sources.
CentCom is meanwhile boasting that Jan. 30 air-strikes near Mosul killed an ISIS chemical-weapons expert. Salih Jasim Muhammed Falah al-Sabawi AKA "Abu Malik" was said to have worked with the Saddam Hussein regime at al-Muthanna chemical complex, and joined the local al-Qaeda organization in 2005. "His death is expected to temporarily degrade and disrupt the terrorist network and diminish ISIL's ability to potentially produce and use chemical weapons against innocent people," the statement said. Kerry days earlier said "half of the ISIS leadership" has been killed in the more than 1,800 US-led air-strikes since August. (Rudaw, Al Arabiya, AP, Jan. 31)
Daily Beast hyperbolizes that Malik was "gathering equipment" before he was killed, in the words of an anonymous (of course) US "intelligence official." But this really isn't news. There were frighteningly credible reports last July that ISIS had seized chemical materials in Iraq—although finding a means to deliver them is another question. Fox News on Oct. 24 touted not-so-credible claims from Iraqi officials that ISIS had actually used chlorine-filled shells in combat north of Baghdad—specifically the towns of Duluiya and Balad. But there was no mention of casualties. Desperate for aid, Iraqi officials would have every reason to invent such claims, and Fox its own obvious agendas for hyping them.