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Fighters from the al-Qaida-linked Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) during a parade in Raqqa, Syria, undated photo (AP photo by Raqqa Media Center).

In Iraq, Gulf Countries Must Confront ISIS Threat and Their Own Policies

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Helicopters and expanded patrols now monitor Saudi Arabia’s 500-mile long northern border with Iraq. In early July, Riyadh sent 30,000 troops there, apparently steeling itself against the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which now calls itself the Islamic State. To many observers, it was a sign of Saudi Arabia reaping what it had sown.

Private financial support to jihadi groups in Syria such as ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra—al-Qaida’s Syrian affiliate—and others has been widely reported during Syria’s civil war. Funds coming from Saudis and Kuwaitis to the most hardline rebels in the conflict often underscored the lack of international support to the so-called moderate opposition—consisting primarily of battalions of the fractured Free Syrian Army still focused on fighting Bashar al-Assad’s regime—despite pledges from Washington. “Maybe we should all become jihadis,” one such rebel told Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, reporting in the London Review of Books, last year. “Maybe then we’ll get money and support.” ...

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