In short, Iraq’s ambassador to the United Nations revealed some disturbing information yesterday to the media: poorly buried and recently discovered cadavers in his home country are reportedly missing their organs. The AP reports:
Ambassador Mohamed Alhakim told reporters that in the last few weeks, bodies with surgical incisions and missing kidneys or other body parts have been found in shallow mass graves.
"We have bodies. Come and examine them," he said. "It is clear they are missing certain parts."
That’s appalling, but not necessarily "uncommon" in war zones an expert told CNN:
The plunder of bodies for usable organs and tissues is widespread, according to Nancy Scheper-Hughes, director of Organs Watch, a University of California, Berkeley-based documentation and research project.
"Organ theft during wars, civil wars, dirty wars, wars involving undisciplined armies is not uncommon," Scheper-Hughes, chair of Berkeley's doctoral program in medical anthropology, said in an email.
The article goes on to explain that since ISIS now controls huge swaths of land as well as airports, there’s nothing stopping them from engaging in human trafficking worldwide. And since selling human organs can be a lucrative enterprise -- and remember, ISIS has an abundance of dead bodies thanks to their sadism -- it’s not a stretch to believe these reports are true. Even if they aren't true, however, ISIS' leadership already has sophisticated methods in place to raise cash.
A study last year found that through hostage negotiations, illegally plundering oil, and robust fundraising efforts online the terrorist group is able to properly and generously care for their “employees.” Inevitably, these perks, as the president said yesterday, draw disillusioned and hopeless young people into their army.
Still, it’s not confirmed yet if ISIS is actually selling their victims’ organs to deepen their pockets. But if and when these rumors turn out to be true, it will perhaps signal a major shift in strategy: ISIS is no longer killing for sport and to intimidate, but rather to provide a steady stream of revenue for their apocalyptic empire.