World Bulletin / News Desk
A man arrested by Iraqi forces, known within the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group as Abu Hajjar, finally cracked after a fortnight of interrogation and given up the head of the ISIL's military council two days before Mosul fell to the group.
"He said to us, 'you don't realise what you have done'," an intelligence official recalled. "Then he said: 'Mosul will be an inferno this week'.'
Several hours later, the man he had served as a courier and been attempting to protect, Abdulrahman al-Bilawi, lay dead in his hideout near Mosul. From the home of the dead man and the captive, Iraqi forces hoovered up more than 160 computer flash sticks which contained names and noms de guerre of all foreign fighters, senior leaders and their code words, initials of sources inside ministries and full accounts of the group's finances.
Prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, allowed Kurdish forces to seize control of the disputed city of Kirkuk and galvanised a Shiite fightback along sectarian lines.
"By the end of the week, we soon realised that we had to do some accounting for them," the official told the Guardian newspaper. "Before Mosul, their total cash and assets were $875m [£515m]. Afterwards, with the money they robbed from banks and the value of the military supplies they looted, they could add another $1.5bn to that."
"They had itemised everything," the source said. "Down to the smallest detail."
Over the past year, foreign intelligence officials had learned that the ISIL secured massive cashflows from the oilfields of eastern Syria, which it had commandeered in late 2012, and some of which it had sold back to the Syrian regime.
Foreign rebels, many from Europe, were among those who stormed into Mosul and have spread through central Iraq ever since. Most of their names were already known to the intelligence agencies which had tried to track their movements after they arrived in Turkey, but noms de guerre given to the new arrivals had left their trails cold.
"We will eventually find them," said the Iraqi official. "We knew they had infiltrated the ministries and the most frustrating thing about that flash [stick] was it only had initials. We are focusing on the initials that had the annotation 'valuable' next to them."
The past week has also been an advanced education in its capabilities and ambitions. "Now we have to catch up with them," the official said.Last Mod: 16 Haziran 2014, 12:46