John R. Houk
© October 22, 2015
An email sent by ACT for America highlights the reality that ISIS (ISIL, IS or Daesh) uses oil fields they have captured to finance their terrorist war machine that targets non-Muslims (primarily Christians and Yazidis) for slaughter, rape, pillaging and dhimmitude. The email links to a very informative article entitled, “Isis Inc: How Oil Fuels the Jihadi Terrorists” co-written by Erika Solomon, Guy Chazan and Sam Jones originally sourced at the Financial Times but cross posted on the ACT for America website.
The ACT for America email introduction to the entitled article is a pitch for Americans to support the House Bill Fuel Choice for American Prosperity and Security Act of 2015 (HR 2418). After reading HR 2418 that Bill actually has little to do with targeting ISIS’ oil financing of their terrorism agenda to establish an Islamic Caliphate. The Bill focuses on providing incentives to power vehicles with alternative resources other than fossil fuels that would reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases that pollutes the air we breathe.
ACT for America’s support for HR 2418 as a tool that would lessen the marketability of ISIS oil misses a short term targeting of ISIS. The thing for me is that it seems any actual effect on ISIS oil production would occur way down the road on any timeline hurting an ISIS oil economy. Apparently if the Bill became law the standards would not go into effect until 2018. HOWEVER on a long term basis in time, the design of HR 2418 would affect America’s dependence on foreign oil from nations that might have a contrary agenda to the USA’s National Security and national economy.
The FT article suggests the best way to slow down ISIS terrorism is to demolish any ISIS infrastructure – especially oil production – that provides material support for the existence of ISIS. I don’t have a problem with a long term plan to stifle American dependence on foreign oil in our economy; however to begin placing nails in ISIS’s coffin in a quicker time frame, it would be more advisable to attack any infrastructure controlled by ISIS.
America should provide air support to the Syrian rebels that do not have an immediate Radical Islamic agenda (I’m no friend of Islam in any form because of its antichrist/anti-Jew emphasis in the religion’s Quran and other revered writings [Hadith & Sira]) AND begin destroying the ISIS infrastructure and the Jew-hating Assad’s Syrian infrastructure.
Thanks to Obama Foreign Policy fecklessness the Russians have entered the Syria-Iraq-ISIS conflict to the favor of Assad’s Syrian dictatorship who is an ally of Iran, Hezbollah terrorists and probably Hamas terrorists. This means providing direct air support to protect the non-Islamist Syrian rebels will undoubtedly place America and Russia in a crisis that could be a situation comparable to the Kennedy-Khrushchev Cuban Missile Crisis that placed the USA and Russia on the brink of nuclear war in the early 1960s.
We all know who would blink in an Obama-Putin faceoff. Thus if such a crisis of supporting diverging allies in the conflict in Syria-Iraq-ISIS under Obama’s watch I am fairly confident that Russia will turn that region over to a cabal of Hezbollah, Assad and Iran. Guess which ally of America this affects the most in the Middle East? That would be Israel!
So if or when Obama a Middle Eastern chunk of land to Putin’s Russian designs, what do you think Obama will do to protect our ally Israel?
I think Obama will do his best to sell out Israel before he leaves Office in January 2017 making difficult for a new President to set things aright to reestablish American military superiority in the region without probable occurrence of a global war igniting. God help America and our exceptionalism that makes the world a safer place for Americans and our allies.
ISIS Inc: How Oil Fuels the Jihadi Terrorists
Email Sent: ACT for America
Sent: 10/21/2015 7:03 AM
There is a “silver bullet” when it comes to stopping jihadi terror around the world: cut off their money supply.
See the important article below to learn more about how “oil is the black gold that funds Isis’ black flag — it fuels its war machine, provides electricity and gives the fanatical jihadis critical leverage against their neighbors.”
Then help do something about it, by taking action today.
Please contact your U.S. Representative to register your strong support for H.R. 2418, the Fuel Choice for American Prosperity and Security Act. We’ve done all the work for you, all you need to do is send the e-mail.
H.R. 2418 will help reduce the strategic importance of oil worldwide — while at the same time using an “all of the above” approach to transportation fuel that will provide consumer choice and create jobs. No preferred fuels, no mandates, no tax dollars.
It’s a win win — for our security, for our nation, and for the world.
Isis Inc: How Oil Fuels the Jihadi Terrorists
By Erika Solomon in Beirut, Guy Chazan and Sam Jones in London
Originally: Financial Times
On the outskirts of al-Omar oilfield in eastern Syria, with warplanes flying overhead, a line of trucks stretches for 6km. Some drivers wait for a month to fill up with crude.
Falafel stalls and tea shops have sprung up to cater to the drivers, such is the demand for oil. Traders sometimes leave their trucks unguarded for weeks, waiting for their turn.
This is the land of Isis, the jihadi organisation in control of swaths of Syrian and Iraqi territory. The trade in oil has been declared a prime target by the international military coalition fighting the group. And yet it goes on, undisturbed.
Oil is the black gold that funds Isis’ black flag — it fuels its war machine, provides electricity and gives the fanatical jihadis critical leverage against their neighbours.
But more than a year after US President Barack Obama launched an international coalition to fight Isis, the bustling trade at al-Omar and at least eight other fields has come to symbolise the dilemma the campaign faces: how to bring down the “caliphate” without destabilising the life of the estimated 10m civilians in areas under Isis control, and punishing the west’s allies?
The resilience of Isis, and the weakness of the US-led campaign, have given Russia a pretext to launch its own, bold intervention in Syria.
Despite all these efforts, dozens of interviews with Syrian traders and oil engineers as well as western intelligence officials and oil experts reveal a sprawling operation almost akin to a state oil company that has grown in size and expertise despite international attempts to destroy it.
Minutely managed, Isis’ oil company actively recruits skilled workers, from engineers to trainers and managers.
Estimates by local traders and engineers put crude production in Isis-held territory at about 34,000-40,000 bpd. The oil is sold at the wellhead for between $20 and $45 a barrel, earning the militants an average of $1.5m a day.
“It’s a situation that makes you laugh and cry,” said one Syrian rebel commander in Aleppo, who buys diesel from Isis areas even as his forces fight the group on the front lines. “But we have no other choice, and we are a poor man’s revolution. Is anyone else offering to give us fuel?”
Oil as a strategic weapon
Isis’ oil strategy has been long in the making. Since the group emerged on the scene in Syria in 2013, long before they reached Mosul in Iraq, the jihadis saw oil as a crutch for their vision for an Islamic state. The group’s shura council identified it as fundamental for the survival of the insurgency and, more importantly, to finance their ambition to create a caliphate.
Most of the oil Isis controls is in Syria’s oil-rich east, where it created a foothold in 2013, shortly after withdrawing from the north-west — an area of strategic importance but with no oil. These bridgeheads were then used to consolidate control over the whole of eastern Syria after the fall of Mosul in 2014.
When it pushed through northern Iraq and took over Mosul, Isis also seized the Ajil and Allas fields in north-eastern Iraq’s Kirkuk province. The very day of its takeover, locals say, militants secured the fields and engineers were sent in to begin operations and ship the oil to market.
“They were ready, they had people there in charge of the financial side, they had technicians that adjusted the filling and storage process,” said a local sheikh from the town of Hawija, near Kirkuk. “They brought hundreds of trucks in from Kirkuk and Mosul and they started to extract the oil and export it.” An average of 150 trucks, he added, were filled daily, with each containing about $10,000-worth of oil. Isis lost the fields to the Iraqi army in April but made an estimated $450m from them in the 10 months it controlled the area.
While al-Qaeda, the global terrorist network, depended on donations from wealthy foreign sponsors, Isis has derived its financial strength from its status as monopoly producer of an essential commodity consumed in vast quantities throughout the area it controls. Even without being able to export, it can thrive because it has a huge captive market in Syria and Iraq.
Indeed, diesel and petrol produced in Isis areas are not only consumed in territory the group controls but in areas that are technically at war with it, such as Syria’s rebel-held north: the region is dependent on the jihadis’ fuel for its survival. Hospitals, shops, tractors and machinery used to pull victims out of rubble run on generators that are powered by Isis oil.
“At any moment, the diesel can be cut. No diesel — Isis knows our life is completely dead,” says one oil trader who comes from rebel-held Aleppo each week to buy fuel and spoke to the Financial Times by telephone.
A national oil company
Isis’ strategy has rested on projecting the image of a state in the making, and it is attempting to run its oil industry by mimicking the ways of national oil corporations. According to Syrians who say Isis tried to recruit them, the group headhunts engineers, offering competitive salaries to those with the requisite experience, and encourages prospective employees to apply to its human resources department.
A roving committee of its specialists checks up on fields, monitors production and interviews workers about operations. It also appoints Isis members who have worked at oil companies in Saudi Arabia or elsewhere in the Middle East as “emirs”, or princes, to run its most important facilities, say traders who buy Isis oil and engineers who have worked at Isis-controlled fields.
Some technicians have been actively courted by Isis recruiters. Rami — not his real name — used to work in oil in Syria’s Deir Ezzor province before becoming a rebel commander. He was later contacted by an Isis military emir in Iraq via WhatsApp.
“I could choose whatever position I wanted, he promised me,” he said. “He said: ‘You can name your salary’.” Sceptical of the Isis project, Rami ultimately turned down the offer and fled to Turkey.
Isis also recruits from among its supporters abroad. In the speech he gave after the fall of Mosul, Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi called not only for fighters but engineers, doctors and other skilled labour. The group recently appointed an Egyptian engineer who used to live in Sweden as the new manager of its Qayyara refinery in northern Iraq, according to an Iraqi petroleum engineer from Mosul, who declined to be named.
The central role of oil is also reflected in the status it is given in Isis’ power structures.
The group’s approach to government across the territories it controls is highly decentralised. For the most part, it relies on regional walis — governors — to administer territories according to the precepts laid down by the central shura.
However, oil — alongside Isis’ military and security operations and its sophisticated media output — is centrally controlled by the top leadership. “They are organised in their approach to oil,” said a senior western intelligence official. “That’s a key centrally controlled and documented area. It’s a central shura matter,” he added, referring to Isis’ ruling “cabinet”.
Until recently, Isis’ emir for oil was Abu Sayyaf, a Tunisian whose real name, according to the Pentagon, was Fathi Ben Awn Ben Jildi Murad al-Tunisi, and who was killed by US special forces in a raid in May this year. According to US and European intelligence officials, a treasure trove of documentation relating to Isis’ oil operations was found with him. The documents laid bare a meticulously run operation, with revenues from wells and costs carefully accounted for. They showed a pragmatic approach to pricing too, with Isis carefully exploiting differences in demand across its territories to maximise profitability.
Oversight of the oil wells is carefully controlled by the Amniyat, Isis’ secret police, who ensure revenues go where they should — and mete out brutal punishments when they do not. Guards patrol the perimeter of pumping stations, while far-flung individual wells are surrounded by protective sand berms and each trader is carefully checked as he drives in to fill up.
At the al-Jibssa field in Hassakeh province, north-eastern Syria, which produces 2,500-3,000 bpd, “about 30-40 big trucks a day, each with 75 barrels of capacity, would fill up”, according to one Hassakeh oil trader.
Isis’ distribution network
But the biggest draw is al-Omar. According to one trader who regularly buys oil there, the system, with its 6km queue, is slow but market players have adapted to it. Drivers present a document with their licence plate number and tanker capacity to Isis officials, who enter them into a database and assign them a number.
Most then return to their villages, shuttling back to the site every two or three days to check up on their vehicles. Traders say that towards the end of the month, some people come back and set up tents to stay close to their trucks while they wait their turn.
Once in possession of al-Omar’s oil, the traders either take it to local refineries or sell it on at a mark-up to middlemen with smaller vehicles who transport it to cities further west such as Aleppo and Idlib.
Isis’ luck with oil may not last. Coalition bombs, the Russian intervention and low oil prices could put pressure on revenues. The biggest threat to Isis’ production so far, however, has been the depletion of Syria’s ageing oilfields. It does not have the technology of major foreign companies to counteract what locals describe as a slow drop in production. Isis’ need for fuel for its military operations means there is also less oil to sell in the market.
For now, though, in Isis-controlled territory, the jihadis control the supply and there is no shortage of demand. “Everyone here needs diesel: for water, for farming, for hospitals, for offices. If diesel is cut off, there is no life here,” says a businessman who works near Aleppo. “Isis knows this [oil] is a winning card.”
Potential Ways to Defeat ISIS and Assad
John R. Houk
© October 22, 2015
ISIS Inc: How Oil Fuels the Jihadi Terrorists
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