SNP Member of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee Alyn Smith has called for full transparency and enforcement of sanctions against sales of oil by the organisation calling itself "Islamic State" (IS) in northern Iraq.
Smith's intervention came after the presentation of a report by Jana Hybášková, the EU representative in Iraq, giving evidence that systematic sanctions busting - involving EU states - has allowed IS to sell considerable amounts of oil for around USD12 per barrel, allowing them to fund their activities and purchase more arms and equipment. This is in clear breach of international sanctions, but is conducted through intermediaries on the black market.
Speaking after the meeting, Alyn said:
"The ongoing tragedy in Iraq has sometimes looked utterly intractable, and I was glad to support the Parliament's resolution on Iraq adopted in July which at least proposed a few constructive ideas to calm tensions and build capacity where it is possible.
"Where perhaps the EU can play a more useful role, however, is in helping to stem the flow of funds to IS through sales of illegal oil. The suspicion voiced by our representative today that some EU states are not looking hard enough at where oil is coming from is a wake up call. The world is well familiar with conflict diamonds and has developed the Kimberley process; it is surely not beyond our wit to ensure that proper sanctions are applied and intermediaries punished in the case of conflict oil too?
"The first step to this would be a greater degree of co-ordination and transparency, and the EU is well placed to ensure the oil imports by its member states are not inadvertently fanning the flames of conflagration. Similarly, the EU, as a whole, has considerable economic clout and can intervene in the trade to increase the pressure on those other states purchasing conflict oil."
A PDF copy of Alyn's full letter is available below
Update 15th October: A PDF copy of Baroness Ashton's response is available below: