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Video: Patrick Cockburn says the Islamic State 'did not act alone' in Iraq and Syria

The Independent's Patrick Cockburn discusses the Islamic State, its operations in the region and relationship with Saudi Arabia
Patrick Cockburn speaks to Middle East Eye about the Islamic State (MEE/Alex MacDonald)

The Independent's Patrick Cockburn spoke to Middle East Eye about the rise of the Islamic State (IS), explaining that it could not have acted without international support. 

While the group is a "fighting machine" that is gaining political clout for succeeding militarily against the odds, Cockburn believes the far reaching IS Iraq offensive could only have gone ahead with the backing of donors in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Gulf. 

Since launching a large-scale offensive last month and capturing Iraq’s second city Mosul, the militant group has stirred widespread global intrigue, with the world’s analysts and policy-makers striving to find out the extent of their strength and appeal.

Before joining The Independent, Cockburn was a leading Middle East correspondent for the Financial Times and has written several books on Iraq's recent history.

Support for IS comes from private donors, says Cockburn, and the funding has continued to flow because Gulf states are "likely turning a blind eye." 

Saudi Arabia, however, has an almost "schizophrenic policy" toward these kinds of groups, Cockburn explains: 

"It quite likes jihadists when they are outside Saudi Arabia...but the Saudi attitude has always been different within the kingdom," he said.