France’s support to terror group exposed even as they worked against Pakistan in FATF

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France's support to terror group exposed even as they worked against Pakistan in FATF

Sept 12, 2021: France’s duplicity was revealed on Saturday by the disclosure of official documents stating that the country’s cement giant Lafarge was financing the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria and that the government knew about the activities of the terror group.

Documents obtained by the Turkish-based Anadolu Agency reveal that the cement firm had constantly alerted French intelligence to its relationship with ISIS.

Ironically, France is opposed to removing Pakistan from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) gray list, despite significant progress by Pakistan in eradicating scope for economic terrorrism.

In addition, France’s president has vowed to support the fight against ISIS in Iraq, but in Syria he has been supporting the same group. The company paid about $5.5 million to ISIS and other militants between 2012 and 2014 to keep production at its plant in northern Syria uninterrupted, according to the Anadolu Agency.

The case has surfaced in the past, highlighted by the media and the courts investigating it. In 2016-17, the French press confirmed the claim that Lafarge had financed the terrorist organization ISIS in the Syrian civil war.

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

Documents show that French intelligence agencies used Lafarge’s network of contacts, its cooperation with terrorist groups in Syria, and meetings to maintain its operations in the region to obtain news.

With cement provided by France’s Lafarge, ISIS has built strongholds and a network of tunnels against US-led coalition forces. The company also used bogus consultancy agreements to buy fuel from ISIS, which took control of most of Syria’s oil reserves in 2013.

Between 2008 and 2014, Bruno Pescheux, the former factory head of Jolibois, admitted that Lafarge paid $100,000 a month to Syrian tycoon Firas Tlass, who paid armed factions cash to keep the factory open. It is estimated that ISIS would receive about $20,000.

The French Court of Cassation’s decision is a major blow to Lafarge, who is accused of paying about 13 million euros to armed groups, including ISIS, to take over his cement factory in northern Syria.

Revelations about France’s links to ISIS have exposed the unforgivable measures of the Western powers, which are destroying world peace and killing millions of innocent civilians, especially Muslims, in the name of war against terror.

The report said that historically, powers such as France have formed, sponsored and financed terrorist organizations for their own interests.

Developing countries are being targeted by the US-led West for sponsoring terrorism. Now, with their ISIS financing coming to the fore, the question arises as to why France should not be blacklisted by the FATF for allegedly financing and officially sponsoring terrorism.

Now is the time for Western countries to make good use of forums like FATF and G20, Quad or BRICS instead of realizing their political benefits and target developing countries especially Muslims.

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