Thursday, June 12, 2014

Not everything you read about ISIS is true

The headline on International Business Times screams

Mosul Seized: Jihadis Loot $429m from City's Central Bank to Make Isis World's Richest Terror Force

As is the way of such things, the headline gets repeated and embellished.

It's obviously difficult to fact-check everything coming out from Iraq, but there are some details here that could be challenged. Mosul doesn't have a central bank, because it's not the capital of Iraq. It does have a branch of the Baghdad-based Central Bank of Iraq, but it stretches credulity to think that a central bank branch would have that much cash on hand. The story then bobs and weaves about whether the money was robbed from the central bank or commercial banks, but reports on the ground in Mosul say that ISIS is not robbing banks and indeed is guarding them to ensure that they open.