Who benefits from the war on IS?

Who benefits from the war on IS?
Comment: Many countries benefit from the existence of the Islamic State group despite claiming to be at war with the terrorist organisation, writes Ali Anouzla.
4 min read
26 Nov, 2015
Many countries benefit from IS, write Ali Anouzla [Anadolu]

There are many conspiracy theories about origins of the Islamic State group (IS), its funders and protectors, however these theories lack the hard evidence to support them, and perhaps one day the reality of IS might be uncovered.

Yet, even without knowing how the group was created and how it is funded, we can identify those who stand to benefit from the existence of IS and its terror activities and those who are its victims.

     The main IS beneficiary is the regime of Bashar al-Assad

The list of IS beneficiaries is long even if they claim to be at war with the organisation. They are countries and regime that oppose IS in public but greatly enjoy the numerous political benefits afforded to them due to the existence of IS.

Syria's Bashar Assad

The main IS beneficiary is the regime of Bashar al-Assad that protected the group's stronghold in Raqqa and spared it the barrel bombs it indiscriminately drops on civilian neighbourhoods.

The Assad regime wanted the group to grow in order to convince the world that the Syrian regime was fighting "terrorists" from the start of the Syrian revolution.

Therefore it is not surprising to hear the German Chancellor Angela Merkel try to appease Bashar al-Assad by saying that striking an alliance with his is important, after IS terror attacks hit in the heart of Europe and flooded the continent with hundred of thousands of refugees.


The second beneficiary is the Iranian regime that has been able to force the west into signing a nuclear deal that preserves its nuclear programme after years of protracted negotiations.

After the northern Iraqi city of Mosul fell into the hands of IS, the west was petrified of the group's expansion and rushed to work hand in hand with Iran's Mullahs to stop the growing IS threat.

However, after a year of Iranian involvement in the war against IS, it has become clear that Iran has only bolstered the sectarian regime in Baghdad and protected itself against western criticism, especially in concerning Iran's human rights abuses.

Russia's Putin

The third beneficiary is Russia and its President-cum-Tsar Vladimir Putin, who has succeeded in making the west forget his crimes in Ukraine and his annexation of Crimea and is slowly dismantling the western sanctions imposed on his empire.

Today, Putin has managed to win France over after it had spearheaded the campaign to impose sanctions against Russia for its involvement in the Ukraine.

     The victims of IS include millions of Arabs in Europe who are viewed as possible terrorists until they prove their innocence by going back to where they came from.

However, France now begs Russia to coordinate airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, which mostly target opposition groups described as moderate, while most of its victims are civilians and IS fighters go largely unscathed.


The fourth beneficiary is Israel, which has taken advantage of the world's distraction by the IS group's brutality to implement its expansionist policies and commit its own brutal crimes that are no less heinous than those of IS away from the cameras.

Israel has been aided in the suppression of the third Palestinian Intifada by the IS terrorist attack in Paris, as it was able to continue its brutal suppression of Palestinians while the world was distracted elsewhere.

The fifth beneficiary is every authoritarian regime in the Arab world that has used the "war against terrorism" to further suppress its population without much care for the lone voices of criticism coming from the west.

IS victims

As for the victims of IS and its nihilistic wars - the list is long. They are primarily the innocent Syrians and Iraqis who have fallen under IS rule or those who are killed by the bombs of western countries that have thronged to save them.

The victims of IS are the displaced refugees who are drowning in the sea and suffering hunger and cold while they wait at closed borders.

The victims of IS are the ones being killed in occupied Palestine away from the gaze of the world.

The victims of IS are also the men and women killed in Paris streets, cafes and theaters.

The victims of IS include millions of Arabs in Europe who are viewed as possible terrorists until they prove their innocence by going back to where they came from.

Ali Anouzla is a Moroccan journalist and writer, and the editor of Lakome. He founded and edited several Morocan newspapers. He received POMED's 'Leaders for Democracy' award in 2014.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.