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How Turkey Exports ISIS Oil To The World: The Scientific Evidence

How Turkey Exports ISIS Oil To The World: The Scientific Evidence thumbnail

Over the course of the last four or so weeks, the media has paid quite a bit of attention to Islamic State’s lucrative trade in “stolen” crude.

On November 16, in a highly publicized effort, US warplanes destroyed 116 ISIS oil trucks in Syria. 45 minutes prior, leaflets were dropped advising drivers (who Washington is absolutely sure are not ISIS members themselves) to “get out of [their] trucks and run away.”

The peculiar thing about the US strikes is that it took The Pentagon nearly 14 months to figure out that the most effective way to cripple Islamic State’s oil trade is to bomb… the oil.

Prior to November, the US “strategy” revolved around bombing the group’s oil infrastructure. As it turns out, that strategy was minimally effective at best and it’s not entirely clear that an effort was made to inform The White House, Congress, and/or the public about just how little damage the airstrikes were actually inflicting. There are two possible explanations as to why Centcom may have sought to make it sound as though the campaign was going better than it actually was, i) national intelligence director James Clapper pulled a Dick Cheney and pressured Maj. Gen. Steven Grove into delivering upbeat assessments, or ii) The Pentagon and the CIA were content with ineffectual bombing runs because intelligence officials were keen on keeping Islamic State’s oil revenue flowing so the group could continue to operate as a major destabilizing element vis-a-vis the Assad regime.

Ultimately, Russia cried foul at the perceived ease with which ISIS transported its illegal oil and once it became clear that Moscow was set to hit the group’s oil convoys, the US was left with virtually no choice but to go along for the ride. Washington’s warplanes destroyed another 280 trucks earlier this week. Russia claims to have vaporized more than 1,000 transport vehicles in November.

Of course the most intriguing questions when it comes to Islamic State’s $400 million+ per year oil business, are: where does this oil end up and who is facilitating delivery? In an effort to begin answering those questions we wrote:

Turkey’s role in facilitating the sale of Islamic State oil has been the subject of some debate for quite a while. From “NATO is harbouring the Islamic State: Why France’s brave new war on ISIS is a sick joke, and an insult to the victims of the Paris attacks“, by Nafeez Ahmed:

“Turkey has played a key role in facilitating the life-blood of ISIS’ expansion: black market oil sales. Senior political and intelligence sources in Turkey and Iraq confirm that Turkish authorities have actively facilitated ISIS oil sales through the country. Last summer, Mehmet Ali Ediboglu, an MP from the main opposition, the Republican People’s Party, estimated the quantity of ISIS oil sales in Turkey at about $800 million—that was over a year ago. By now, this implies that Turkey has facilitated over $1 billion worth of black market ISIS oil sales to date.”

Here’s what former CHP lawmaker Ali Ediboglu said last year:

“$800 million worth of oil that ISIS obtained from regions it occupied this year [the Rumeilan oil fields in northern Syria — and most recently Mosul] is being sold in Turkey. They have laid pipes from villages near the Turkish border at Hatay. Similar pipes exist also at [the Turkish border regions of] Kilis, Urfa and Gaziantep. They transfer the oil to Turkey and parlay it into cash. They take the oil from the refineries at zero cost. Using primitive means, they refine the oil in areas close to the Turkish border and then sell it via Turkey. This is worth $800 million.”

Earlier this month, Ediboglu told Russian media that “ISIL holds the key to these deposits and together with a certain group of persons, consisting of those close to Barzani and some Turkish businessmen, they are engaged in selling this oil” (“Barzani” is a reference to Masoud Barzani, President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region).

But even as Turkey’s ties to the ISIS oil trade have been hiding in plain sight for the better part of two years, the Western media largely ignores the issue (or at least the scope of it and the possible complicity of the Erdogan government) because after all, Turkey is a NATO member.

Unfortunately for Ankara, Erdogan’s move to shoot down a Russian Su-24 near the Syrian border on Tuesday prompted an angry Vladimir Putin to throw Turkey under the ISIS oil bus for the entire world to see. Here’s what Putin said yesterday after a meeting in Moscow with French President Francois Hollande:

“Vehicles, carrying oil, lined up in a chain going beyond the horizon. The views resemble a living oil pipe stretched from ISIS and rebel controlled areas of Syria into Turkey. Day and night they are going to Turkey. Trucks always go there loaded, and back from there – empty. We are talking about a commercial-scale supply of oil from the occupied Syrian territories seized by terrorists. It is from these areas [that oil comes from], and not with any others. And we can see it from the air, where these vehicles are going.”

“We assume that the top political leadership of Turkey might not know anything about this [illegal oil trade although that’s] hard to believe,” Putin continued, adding that “if the top political leadership doesn’t know anything about this, let them find out.”

Obviously, Putin is being sarcastic. He very clearly believes that the Erdogan government is heavily involved in the transport and sale of ISIS crude. In the immediate aftermath of the Su-24 incident, Putin said the following about Ankara:

  • PUTIN: OIL FROM ISLAMIC STATE IS BEING SHIPPED TO TURKEY
  • PUTIN SAYS ISLAMIC STATE GETS CASH BY SELLING OIL TO TURKEY

As part of our continuing effort to track and document the ISIS oil trade, we present the following excerpts from a study by George Kiourktsoglou, Visiting Lecturer, University of Greenwich, London and Dr Alec D Coutroubis, Principal Lecturer, University of Greenwich, London. The paper, entitled “ISIS Gateway To Global Crude Oil Markets,” looks at tanker charter rates from the port of Ceyhan in an effort to determine if Islamic State crude is being shipped from Southeast Turkey.

*  *  *

From “ISIS Gateway To Global Crude Oil Markets

The tradesmen/smugglers responsible for the transportation and sale of the black gold send convoys of up to thirty trucks to the extraction sites of the commodity. They settle their trades with ISIS on site, encouraged by customer friendly discounts and deferred payment schemes.  In this way, crude leaves Islamic State-run wells promptly and travels through insurgent-held parts of Syria, Iraq and Turkey.

Since allied U.S. air-raids do not target the truck lorries out of fear of provoking a backlash from locals, the transport operations are being run efficiently, taking place most of times in broad daylight. Traders lured by high profits are active in Syria (even in government-held territories), Iraq and south-east Turkey.

The supply chain comprises the following localities: Sanliura, Urfa, Hakkari, Siirt, Batman, Osmaniya, Gaziantep, Sirnak, Adana, Kahramarmaras, Adiyaman and Mardin. The string of trading hubs ends up in Adana, home to the major tanker shipping port of Ceyhan. 


Ceyhan is a city in south-eastern Turkey, with a population of 110,000 inhabitants, of whom 105,000 live in the major metropolitan area. It is the second most developed and most populous city of Adana Province, after the capital Adana with a population of 1,700,000. It is situated on the Ceyhan River which runs through the city and it is located 43 km east of Adana. Ceyhan is the transportation hub for Middle Eastern, Central Asian and Russian oil and natural gas (Municipality of Ceyhan 2015).

The port of Ceyhan plays host to a marine oil terminal that is situated in the Turkish Mediterranean and has been operating since 2006. It receives hydrocarbons for further loading in tankers, which carry the commodity to world markets.

Additionally, the port features a cargo pier and an oil-terminal, both of 23.2m depth that can load tankers of more than 500 feet in length (Ports.com 2015). The annual export capacity of the terminal runs as high as 50 million tonnes of oil. The terminal is operated by Botas International Limited (BIL), a Turkish state company that also operates the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline on the territory of Turkey. 

The quantities of crude oil that are being exported to the terminal in Ceyhan, exceed the mark of one million barrels per day. Putting this number into context and given that ISIS has never been able to trade daily more than 45,000 barrels of oil (see Section 2, ‘The Upstream Oil Business of ISIS’, page 2), it becomes evident that the detection of similar quantities of smuggled crude cannot take place through stock-accounting methods. However, the authors of the present paper believe that there is another proxy-indicator, far more sensitive to quantities of ultracheap smuggled crude. This is the charter rates for tankers loading at Ceyhan.

The Baltic Exchange (2015 a) tracks the charter rates on major seaborne trading routes of crude oil. To render its service more efficient and easily understood, it uses the system of Baltic Dirty Tanker Indices (Baltic Exchange 2015 b). One of these indices used to be the BDTI TD 11, 80,000 Cross Mediterranean from Baniyas, Syria to Laveras, France (see Map VI). Route 11 was discontinued in September 2011, due to Syria’s civil war and soon thereafter, it was replaced by BDTI TD 19 (TD19-TCE_Calculation 2015), of exactly the same technical specifications as BDTI TD 11, with the exception of the loading port of Ceyhan instead of Baniyas.

From July 2014 until February 2015, the curve of TD 19 features three unusual spikes that do not match the trends featured by the rest of the Middle East trade-routes (see Graph IV):

  1. The first spike develops from the 10th of July 2014 until the 21st, lasting approximately ten days. It coincides with the fall of Syria’s largest oil field, the AlOmar, in the hands of ISIS (Reuters 2014);
  2. The second spike takes place from the end of October until the end of November 2014, lasting one month. It happens at the same time with fierce fighting between fundamentalists and the Syrian army over the control of the Jhar and Mahr gas fields, as well as the Hayyan gas company in the east of Homs province (International Business Times 2014; Albawada News 214);
  3. The third spike lasts from the end of January 2015 until the 10th of February, stretching roughly ten days. It happens simultaneously with a sustained US-led campaign of airstrikes pounding ISIS strongholds in and around the town of Hawija east of the oil-rich Kirkuk (Rudaw 2015);

 

The authors of this paper would like to make it clear from the very beginning that this has not been the case of a ‘smoking gun’. The evidence has been inconclusive. But even if volumes of ISIS crude found their way, beyond any reasonable doubt, to the international crude oil markets via the Ceyhan terminal, this fact would not conclusively point to collusion between the Turkish authorities and the shadow network of smugglers, let alone ISIS operatives.

However, having clarified such a politically sensitive issue, the authors believe that there are strong hints to an illicit supply chain that ships ISIS crude from Ceyhan. Primary research points to a considerably active shadow network of crude oil smugglers and traders (see section 2.1, page 3), who channel ISIS crude to southeast Turkey from northeast Syria and northwest Iraq. Given the existence of Route E 90, the corresponding transportation of oil poses no unsurmountable geographic and topological challenges.

An additional manifestation of the invisible nexus between Ceyhan and ISIS became evident through the concurrent study of the tanker charter rates from the port and the timeline of the terrorists’ military engagements (see section 3.4 on this page). It seems that whenever the Islamic State is fighting in the vicinity of an area hosting oil assets, the 13 exports from Ceyhan promptly spike. This may be attributed to an extra boost given to crude oil smuggling with the aim of immediately generating additional funds, badly needed for the supply of ammunition and military equipment. Unfortunately, in this case too, the authors cannot be categorical.

*  *  *

No, it can’t be categorical and frankly, if the authors claimed to have discovered indisputable proof, we would be immediately skeptical. What they have done however, is identify a statistical anomaly and develop a plausible theory to explain it.

The key thing to note, is that this is a state-run terminal and it certainly seems as though charter rates spike around significant oil-related events involving Islamic State. Indeed, the fact that the authors mention collusion between Turkish authorities and ISIS operatives (even if they do so on the way to hedging their conclusions) indicates that the researchers think such a partnership is possible.

Finally, note that Ceyhan is less than two hours by car from Incirlik air base from which the US is flying anti-ISIS sorties. In other words, ISIS oil is being shipped to the world right down the road from Washington’s preferred Mid-East forward operating base.

Now that we can add what looks like quantitative evidence that ISIS oil is shipped from Turkey to the voluminous qualitative evidence supplied by ex-Turkish lawmakers, investigative reporters, and the Russian government (to name just a few sources), we can now proceed to consider one final question: where does the crude that helps to fund Bakr al-Baghdadi’s caliphate ultimately end up? More on that over the weekend.

zerohedge



42 Comments on "How Turkey Exports ISIS Oil To The World: The Scientific Evidence"

  1. Plantagenet on Fri, 27th Nov 2015 6:29 pm 

    Turkey smuggled Iranian oil when it was under sanction. Its surely no surprise they are smuggling oil for the Caliphate as well.

  2. GregT on Fri, 27th Nov 2015 7:41 pm 

    You are either with US, or you are with the terrorists. Looks like NATO, Turkey, and the USA, are all with the terrorists. Once again.

    How long does this shit keep going on before people wake up.

  3. onlooker on Fri, 27th Nov 2015 7:56 pm 

    Actually Greg the more apt way of saying it is NATO is with the OIL. The terrorists are just convenient side-kicks-allies-distractions

  4. rockman on Fri, 27th Nov 2015 7:58 pm 

    “But even if volumes of ISIS crude found their way, beyond any reasonable doubt, to the international crude oil markets via the Ceyhan terminal, this fact would not conclusively point to collusion between the Turkish authorities and the shadow network of smugglers, let alone ISIS operatives.”

    I don’t know if the author is that f*cking stupid or if he thinks the readers are. LOL. The only proof one needs is to look at a map: the Iraq oil stolen by ISIS has only one way out of the country: thru Turkey. So the Turks wouldn’t notice tens of thousands of oil tanker loads moving across the entire country for more then a year?

    And the US didn’t bomb the tankers sooner because they didn’t want alienate the locals??? How many of the locals ISIS or at least ISIS supporters? Regardless those locals are still facilitating the funding of ISIS. Why not kill them…because they cause bad feelings???

    And the US attacks on the Iraq oil production infrastructure might not have been effective so theY decided to hit hundreds of tankers? Again: how f*cking stupid do they think we are? Everyone knows what I do for a living. But don’t take my word for…go to the web and search it. It would take less ordinance to take out the production and gathering infrastructure ISIS is using to produce the Iraq oil then hundreds of tankers.

    And after probably full time satellite and airborne surveillance the US military didn’t know where ISIS was loading those tank trucks? I could post Google photos of every one of the oil fields I operate. And I could add 1 or 2 X’s on the production infrastructure in each field where a single smart bomb could put the entire operations out of commission for months…in not indefinitely.

    I won’t postulate why the US govt didn’t stop the oil sooner…did that elsewhere. But cruise the web and educate yourselves on how we produce and process oil. And then tell me if you think it’s not easy to knock out production.

  5. Davy on Fri, 27th Nov 2015 8:04 pm 

    Turkey, is the key to this conflict and the danger. We are going to witness a region in turmoil with possible WWIII or true Middle East settlement. It will have to happen through Turkey. It doesn’t look good.

  6. GregT on Fri, 27th Nov 2015 8:31 pm 

    The illegal bombing of the Sovereign State of Syria is being led by the US. Supposedly to fight ISIS. Obviously that was never the real reason.

    Turkey has nothing on Washington DC. Turkey is not the real danger.

  7. Davy on Fri, 27th Nov 2015 8:44 pm 

    DC, does not have the real estate. DC does not have the border. DC is irrelevant once the planes are gone. You can bash the Americans that is easy but at the end of the day these people will have to learn to live together. The key is in Turkey.

  8. Tom on Fri, 27th Nov 2015 8:45 pm 

    There surely is something amiss when the U.S. military says it can’t absolutely destroy in short order the oil production facilities controlled by ISIS. In the Iraq wars we were able to locate and destroy well camouflaged mobile tanks and missiles. All of Syria’s oil production facilities are well identified by Google imagery. And we can’t find them? Apparently the Russians are doing the job that we have chosen not to do.

  9. GregT on Fri, 27th Nov 2015 9:09 pm 

    There is a very good reason for Putin saying that Russia is going after the terrorists, and that NATO has been protesting. The ‘terrorists’ are of the US and NATO’s making. The goal all along has been complete destabilization of the ME, by any means. If DC keeps fucking around, China is going to join in, and like I have been saying for over two years here now, this war will not be fought entirely overseas. It will be coming to the motherland.

  10. Boat on Fri, 27th Nov 2015 9:44 pm 

    GregT
    You live in a false world of black and white while the world lives in a world of grey filled with exceptions and nuances.

  11. makati1 on Fri, 27th Nov 2015 9:46 pm 

    GregT, right on on both counts.

    The Us is playing a game that will eventually blow back on the Us in one serious form or another. Erdogan and his son is profiting from those millions of barrels of oil. THAT is why they are allowed to pass thru Turkey unimpeded. The Us is allowing it as a way to get his support and to support the ISIS brigade of the CIA.

    The US wants to block Russia’s pipeline thru Turkey and use ISIS to do it’s dirty work in other places. Too complicated to go into here, but the US is the cause and support of ALL of the ME troubles. ALL of them. No financial/military/weapons support, and it would all collapse before the new Prez is sworn in in 2017.

  12. freak on Fri, 27th Nov 2015 10:08 pm 

    Who are those mask men? I would not be surprised if some of them are British, American and Israeli special operation military. To better understand the NWO strategy behind the crises we experience like Frances shooting, London bombings and 9/11, it is important you first understand
    “Problem-Reaction-Solution” or the “Hegelian Dialectic”. Al-Qaeda has lost its effect to instill fear so now we have ISIS the new and improved jihadist that the west can use to continue its imaginary war on terror to farther there agenda.

  13. GregT on Fri, 27th Nov 2015 10:08 pm 

    You might live in a grey world full of exceptions and nuances Boat. I do not. I pay attention to what the people in control of your oligarchy have planned. It is all in the public record for anyone who cares to pay attention.

  14. Anonymous on Fri, 27th Nov 2015 10:28 pm 

    LM Lavrov, and President Putin are now saying publicly, what alternative media have been saying all along. The Russian gov’t is now talking openly not only about all that stolen Syrian oil, but more or less openly stating that turkey work with directly with’ISIS’. Now they are not quite willing to say the terrorist US gov’t is running the whole operation(yet), but they are quite happy to imply it heavily and let everyone fill in the blanks.

    Lame-stream media are being forced to cover this ‘angle’ but are downplaying it heavily. Not because they are worried about making turkeys apes-like elites look bad, but because if they pursued the matter to its end, they would find the US, Britain, Israel etc’ sticky fingers in their as well.

    Dont worry though, after some very tepid and limited coverage of the Erdrogen\’ISIS’\stolen oil angle, it will fall down the western media memory hole.

  15. apneaman on Fri, 27th Nov 2015 11:11 pm 

    If only there was some hi-tech way for the authorities to track these nefarious activities.

    List of USA satellites

    “This is a list of satellites and spacecraft which have been given USA designations by the United States Air Force. These designations have been applied to most US military satellites since 1984, and replaced the earlier OPS designation. It is comparable to the Soviet/Russian Kosmos designation.

    USA designations have been assigned to 246 space missions.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_USA_satellites

  16. Truth Has A Liberal Bias on Sat, 28th Nov 2015 12:52 am 

    The Turkish co that hauls and ships the oil is called BMZ Ltd. it’s a family business of the Turkish Presidents family. They haul and ship oil that they purchase off of ISIS and off of Kurds. It’s easy to find numerous reports. Turkey shot down a Russian plan cuz Russia started bombing BMZ Ltd convoys. USA started bombing them after Russia did.

  17. idontknowmyself on Sat, 28th Nov 2015 2:04 am 

    I read the comments about Turkey working with ISIS.
    So basically this conflict is a resource war for the last good quality oil available.

    Look at how fast Holland put his ear plug out and push Putin out of the state in their latest meeting in Paris.

    Jump to 35:00 to 36:00 minutes.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwLNDXuU2Zg

    Also notice the body language of both. Holland in particular look scare and uncomfortable. Putin look upset like if he is aware that he is being lied to.

    France is properly part of it too.

  18. idontknowmyself on Sat, 28th Nov 2015 2:12 am 

    Wrong video link.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEycSe9IWew

    Also notice the body language of both. Holland in particular look scare and uncomfortable. Putin look upset like if he is aware that he is being lied to. Go to 1:40 to watch both people body language.

    France is properly part of it too don’t want this story to go out especially after the Batclan terrorist attack in Paris.

  19. idontknowmyself on Sat, 28th Nov 2015 2:34 am 

    Remember the air strike French did after the terrorist attack. Well they were bombing empty building. Europe and US are working with IS to steal Syrian and Irag. French are deeply involve in it, why would you bomb an empty building.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/11/syrians-insane-nights-french-bombing-151117052945111.html

    However, a media activist in Raqqa, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that French air strikes had targeted abandoned ISIL bases in the suburbs of the city where there are no civilians or ISIL fighters.

  20. peakyeast on Sat, 28th Nov 2015 6:46 am 

    I totally agree with GregT and boat should try to read that little that has been released from CIA archives so he can get a more correct view of the world.

    I always say: Imagine the worst and you are not even close to what the fuckers in power come up with – and oh boy has that been true.

    Boat why do you trust habitual liars?

  21. JuanP on Sat, 28th Nov 2015 7:18 am 

    This is very simple. The terrorist USA governmented created, armed, and financed IS, just like they have been doing with countless other terrorist groups, like Al Quaeda, since long before I was born. The USA is a terrorist nation. Israel is a terrorist nation. Turkey is a terrorist nation. The KSA, Quatar, Britain, and France are terrorist nations, too.

    The USA and its terrorist “65 country coalition” will lose this fight eventually. The USA is destroying itself in the process. The international community, the free world, the vast majority of the countries of the world, and most of humanity are fighting against the USA and want the USA and its terrorist allies to be destroyed and exterminated. Every day this fight continues brings us closer to the American collapse. Every day that the USA’s power is checked is a victory for all the people in the world who seek truth and justice.

    Je suis Assad. Go Putin! Go Russia! Death to tyranny! Fuck the USA!

  22. JuanP on Sat, 28th Nov 2015 7:24 am 

    Erdogan has to go!

    All living former and present US presidents are terrorists, thieves, murderers, and criminals. Obama must go!

    Yankees come home, you are not liked, wanted,or welcomed elsewhere!

  23. Davy on Sat, 28th Nov 2015 7:36 am 

    Like I said extremism is out of control on this site WTF.

  24. JuanP on Sat, 28th Nov 2015 7:49 am 

    Davy, Kettle? Pot? Black? I consider you the most extremely biased poster in this forum. I believe most of the regular posters here do. We have to treat you like a kid, because you can’t accept the truth. Your parents lied to you, your teachers lied to you, your government lied to you, your friends lied to you. Your country is a terrorist nation. Grow up. And face the truth, man. I know it hurts, but it is worth.

    You are a terrible waste of a brilliant mind and a good education. If I were you, I would seek professional help. You need it. I know because I am very much like you and I recognize the symptoms. If you keep calling people names, you will lose the respect of every member of this board.

    I really appreciate your comments when you are not quacking BS. You can analyze the situation in a systematic way better than anyone else here, but your quacking is the worst problem we have on this forum. Get help, man. I did therapy for many years and it helped me. Every day of the rest of your life would be better if you did.

  25. rockman on Sat, 28th Nov 2015 9:39 am 

    Juan – “Yankees come home, you are not liked, wanted,or welcomed elsewhere!” Right on, bro! That’s exactly how we Texans feel about all the northerners that have moved here. LOL

  26. BobInget on Sat, 28th Nov 2015 12:01 pm 

    Listen to Rockman. He, better then anyone here knows how intricate, how involved,
    how complicated it is convincing oil to surface.

    Add the element of extreme, uncontrollable,
    threats of instant, un warned sky death,
    finding competent workers becomes impossible.

    Don’t forget, American so called bunker buster bombs penetrate hardened sites
    miles below earth’s surface. The facts are plain to see, if IS oil supplies get destroyed
    IS will return the favor.

    For the last several decades KSA has been paying “protection” money to so called terrorists of every stripe to protect infrastructure. As proof I’ll offerer in evidence
    the following web link, a history of Iraqi pipeline explosions beginning 2003.

    http://www.iags.org/iraqpipelinewatch.htm

    Next, we ask Google to list such attacks on Saudi infrastructure from 2013 to present.

    I came up with no such (successful) attacks.
    http://csis.org/files/media/csis/pubs/060227_abqaiqattack.pdf

    Lots of What if’s;

    http://www.jamestown.org/programs/tm/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=685&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=181&no_cache=1#.Vlnq8t-rS8o

  27. BobInget on Sat, 28th Nov 2015 12:04 pm 

    Correction, I intended to write 2003 to present.

  28. rockman on Sat, 28th Nov 2015 4:35 pm 

    Bob – “Don’t forget, American so called bunker buster bombs penetrate hardened sites miles below earth’s surface.” And that what makes any claims that the US military was able to decimate ISIS with an air campaign from the start incredibly foolish IMHO.

    We don’t need bunker busters. In fact we don’t need manned aircraft frying off carriers in the Med. We have Predator drones armed with two anti-tank Hellfire missiles. It has a ceiling of 25,000′ and a range of almost 500 miles. It has a laser target designator with infra-red capability. Within the ISIS controlled territory for the last year we could have destroyed every military vehicle, communication center, pickup truck with a heavy weapon in the back, every oil tanker and the production infrastructure of every well ISIS was stealing oil from. And never put a single member of the US military in harms way.

    And it isn’t as if the US doesn’t have a history of successful Predator strikes outside of our designated “combat theaters” in Iraq and Afghanistan: an estimated 500. So back to the same question: why hasn’t the US done anything significant in the last year to stop the ISIS oil sales?

    The US govt was aware ISIS was receiving a lot of revenue from selling Iraq oil. As reported by the NY Times more than a year ago:

    “The Obama administration is struggling to cut off the millions of dollars in oil revenue that has made the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria one of the wealthiest terror groups in history, but so far has been unable to persuade Turkey, the NATO ally where much of the oil is traded on the black market, to crack down on an extensive sales network.

    Western intelligence officials say they can track the ISIS oil shipments as they move across Iraq and into Turkey’s southern border regions. Despite extensive discussions inside the Pentagon, American forces have so far not attacked the tanker trucks, though a senior administration official said Friday that remains an option.”

    So it was an option in SEPTMEBER 2014 ACCORDING TO THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION. So we knew how the oil was being transported from Iraq through Turkey. We “believed” the very militarized and brutal authoritarian Turk govt was incapable of stopping thousands of tank trucks from crossing the entire country and delivering the oil to export facilities at the ports run by the govt. We knew they were using tank trucks and we knew where the oil production facilities were located. And had the capability to destroy the production and transportation infrastructure ISIS relied upon. And yet little happens until the Russians intervene.

    And from the same NYT piece in Sept 2014: “Mr. Obama says he is aware of the “political price” he pays for being deliberate. In public, the administration has been unwilling to criticize Turkey, which insists it has little control over the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq and Syria across its borders, or the flow of oil back out. One senior official, calling President Obama’s recent conversations with Turkey’s president, Erdogan, “sensitive,” said the decisions about what the country will do to counter ISIS “will be theirs to make.”

    So we spends $TRILLIONS and thousands of our military’s lives because we think Iraq is harboring terrorists. But the administration decided to let the Turk govt, which they also admit appears to be unable/unwilling to deal with the ISIS oil flow, to call the shots?

    But now, the Russians decide they don’t care what the Turks will or won’t do, including risking the lives of their pilots. And suddenly the US seems OK with going after the tankers. After several hundred $MILLION in funding to ISIS but better later then never, eh? LOL

  29. theedrich on Sat, 28th Nov 2015 4:44 pm 

    Turkey is turning theocratic as well.  In the December 2015/January 2016 issue (p. 6) of Free Inquiry, a periodical for freethinkers, editor Tom Flynn reveals that Turkey’s former (2003-2014) prime minister and now president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and his Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi, or AKP) have “dramatically accelerated the replacement of secular schools with imam-hatips, in which about a third of class hours are devoted to the study of Sunni Islam.  Just sixty-five thousand students attended such schools when the AKP took power in 2002;  now nearly a million do.”  Flynn further states that AKP cofounder Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat, having abandoned the party in 2011, “told Newsweek that he feared that Erdoğan’s program for the schools was part of a broader agenda to ‘manipulate society towards a more religious way of life’.”  Writes Flynn:

        “‘We want to raise pious generations,’
        Erdoğan declared in 2012.  By 2015,
        he was equating terrorism with atheism
        and declaring, ‘We have only one concern.
        It is Islam, Islam, and Islam’.”

    Over each of the past five years, this so very democratic ally of America has also “presided over a stunning multiyear media crackdown,” so that Freedom House has reduced its press-freedom ranking to “not free.”  Meanwhile over 300 journalists, columnists and media workers have lost their jobs and, according to the independent Turkish press agency Bianet, an estimated 22 journalists and 10 editors had been imprisoned by the end of 2014.  The editor-in-chief of Hurriyet, an opposition newspaper, was also forced to resign.  A columnist and TV commentator for the newspaper, Amhet Hakan, was severely beaten by four men, three of them linked to the AKP, and whom the AKP later naturally disavowed.  And so forth.

    Erdoğan is also manipulating the elections.  According to Flynn, “June’s general election was the first since 2002 in which the AKP did not attain a solid majority of seats in the Grand National Assembly, frustrating Erdoğan’s plans for dubious constitutional reforms.  He responded by calling a snap election for November 1.”

    But before the election, a conflict unsurprisingly arose with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in which nearly 150 security personnel were killed and, on 2015 Oct 12 in Ankara, 102 peace-rallying people were killed by two suicide bombers.  According to Wikipedia, “Critics accused the government of deliberately sparking the conflict in order to win back votes.”  And win back it did, winning big in a “shock” election.

    Now that Erdoğan has told Russia it is “playing with fire” in attacking Turkish rebels in Syria, we can expect yet more fun from this theocratic friend of “American interests” in Syria.

  30. rockman on Sat, 28th Nov 2015 4:44 pm 

    Obviously meant the “US military WASN’T ABLE…”

  31. theedrich on Sat, 28th Nov 2015 6:23 pm 

    Yes, Rock, that was clear.  (I have made my share of typos, too.)  “Our” government seems always to be in “golly, gee whiz” mode.

  32. theedrich on Sat, 28th Nov 2015 7:03 pm 

    Yet another murder by Erdoğan’s agents in Turkey:  Öldürülen Tahir Elçi, president of the Turkish bar association in southeastern Diyarbakir province, was shot dead by “unidentified” gunmen just after giving a public speech on 2015 Nov 27.  This, only a day after super-Musselman Erdoğan, America’s fiendish “friend” had just had two more journalists arrested for exposing his arms deliveries to various anti-Assad groups in Syria.  Onward, Mohammedan soldiers!

  33. apneaman on Sat, 28th Nov 2015 7:49 pm 

    Erdogan’s Russian Roulette–Was It Only About Oily Revenge?

    “First it’s important to look closely at Turkey’s role in facilitating the illegal oil smuggling that is reportedly the major funding source for IS terror gangs in Syria and Iraq. In August in an article I wrote for this website I documented the fact that the Harvard-educated 35-year-old son of Turkish President Erdogan, Bilal Erdogan, was up to his eyeballs in smuggling stolen Iraqi oil via Turkey to select markets. That illegal oil finances the major activities of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, a point of which Russia’s Putin gently reminded US President Obama and others at the recent Antalya, Turkey G-20 meeting. Fourteen months of alleged US bombings of ISIS targets never once went after the oil chain from Mosul and other ISIS occupied sites through Turkey onto tankers owned by Bilal Erdogan’s tanker companies.”

    http://journal-neo.org/2015/11/28/erdogans-russian-roulette-was-it-only-about-oily-revenge/

  34. Davy on Sun, 29th Nov 2015 6:02 am 

    What could be messier than what we now have in Syria? Military operations between major powers, terrorist, corruption, and oil. Mission creep is leading to a show down. We may have a classic situation of a draw in chess or a “shoot-out at the OK corral” in the making. The latest in escalations are the sanctions Russia has initiated. Russia and Turkey have significant economic connections that will further cause tension in Turkey. What is more important ISIS oil revenue or the much greater trade and economic relations with Russia? A rational look at that question is Russia but nothing is rational in the Mid-East.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-11-28/russia-retaliates-putin-reveals-sanctions-against-turkey

  35. theedrich on Mon, 30th Nov 2015 4:03 am 

    The recent spotlight on genocide-denying Turkey has had at least one desirable effect:  it has exposed the fact of the corrupt hypocrisy of the Ø administration in using not only the corrupt Turks, but above all ISIL, to do its dirty work.  All of the money spent “fighting ISIL” is a sham to fool American voters and enrich the “defense” contractors.  Also noteworthy is the fact that the D.C. regime has not put any serious pressure on the dictatorships of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait (whose royal family we reinstalled after Saddam Hussein had dislodged it from power) or Qatar to accept Mohammedan refugees or send troops to fight ISIL.  It also happens that these three very oil-rich countries are clandestinely sending big bucks to their ideological cousins in the new caliphate.  The so-called “mess” in Syria is completely calculated and intentional.  Although I disagree vehemently with Bernie Sanders on his socialism, I must give him credit for being the only candidate to recognize these facts.

  36. rockman on Mon, 30th Nov 2015 6:31 am 

    Davy – ” What is more important ISIS oil revenue or the much greater trade and economic relations with Russia?” I’m not sure most of the oil revenue for ISIS/Turkey is still on the table. In addition to the recent Russian attacks I see reports that they are mobilizing a significant naval force into the Med.

    Besides getting competing oil out of their market place it also allows them obvious justification to bring in more assets to support for Assad into the theater. Assets aimed at local Syrian “rebels” as well as ISIS. In some ways the Turk attack on the Russian jet appears to have been a gift to Putin.

  37. rockman on Mon, 30th Nov 2015 6:37 am 

    And along that same thought: what if Assad’s military had shot down a US jet that was targeting ISIS. President Obama wouldn’t not have much voter support to escalate in Syria before such an attack. Imagine what it would be like if CNN ran a repeated loop of a US jet going down in flames along with a graphic of a pilot being shot while still floating down in his chute.

    I’m sure Putin has had similar videos
    running non-stop on Russian TV.

  38. Davy on Mon, 30th Nov 2015 7:27 am 

    Sure Rock, Putin is the most capable leader today bar none. I just wonder when or if he will have his Waterloo or Gettysburg. If he doesn’t he will change the world definitely in Russia’s favor. Let us hope it changes for the better. We need a post Pax Americana to make the global changes that are needed to lessen collapse. The Americans are the problem now Putin is changing that.

    I would argue he has been the best thing to happen for the world because his leadership is a clear check and balance on the US and Nato. Now will Putin get his check and balance? Neither side should be let loose. I see all sides as megalomaniacs in a great game currently playing “chicken”.

    Putin is a thief and a killer but a brilliant one. He is far superior to anything in DC. He is definitely less dangerous being more rational and calculating but he is still dangerous and absorbed in his personal power that is now global. Russia is Putin. That is dangerous.

    Was this Russian plane that was shot down a false flag? Was it the product of a game of chicken Putin used for just such a string of event? Putin is a classic chess player type. He thinks far ahead before he moves. He knows just such an event will play out in his favor. If it was planned or anticipated he will use it to its fullest effect. Putin is a genius. Putin is in charge of these events but he is walking a mine field of dangers for him and for humanity.

  39. rockman on Mon, 30th Nov 2015 8:15 am 

    davy – I didn’t say Putin “was”capable”…I just alluded how I thought he was capable of responding.. And from the new story above I’m not the only one:

    Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: “It could well be that this is going to work out so much in Russia’s favor that Putin will send a letter of thanks to the Turkish President and say, “Thank you very much. You’ve done us a huge favor. We lost a pilot and a naval marine but we sure have gained a lot. That was only two deaths for winning a war.”…

  40. Davy on Mon, 30th Nov 2015 8:24 am 

    Rock I am saying he is capable and the most capable of anyone out there. He is the greatest of leaders on the world stage today. The future will be a future shaped by Putin if he lives that long. He may die. Remember the Ides of March and Caesar. Who knows where this Putin period will lead. He is just a man and men die.

  41. Boat on Mon, 30th Nov 2015 9:54 am 

    Davy,
    I don’t comment against many nations policies much and do not hate any. But as an outsider I fail to see any Putin greatness. Their population averages less than $7,000 per year. Interests rates are at 11%. Inflation is at 15%
    If I lived in Russia I would have the same complaints as I do in the US. Why are we spending money on conflict when there are pressing needs at home.
    Moving into the Middle East is a good idea? Tell me which country has moved in military and had a good outcome.

  42. Boat on Mon, 30th Nov 2015 10:02 am 

    BTW,

    This is all the better they can do with all those tremendous resources at their disposal? Seems to me Russia is severely mismanaged. What posters on here cheer about in the long run is wasted money. They should be investing in education of their children and moving in the direction technology to avoid the worst of climate change. How does more conflict bombing people in other countries make him such a competent man.

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