November 23, 2015 by John Crapper
This last Sunday I was doing some exercise as is my usual habit while watching Meet the Press.
I find that program a good gauge of mainstream media messaging but not a great program for what is really happening in our world. Of course, the program this last Sunday was a special one totally dedicated to the Paris attacks and what can and should be done to defeat ISIL, ISIS or whatever you call it in your circle.
I was struck by the dearth of new ideas in the analysis. The same tired arguments we’ve heard now for years were spouted off by the guests (more boots on the ground, more Special forces, more training of the locals to take up the fight, more coalition partners, a no-fly zone). Throughout the entire program not one new idea was heard.
Since watching there has been a gnawing in my mind urging me to write about what was troubling me. So I decided to forego making progress on a book I’m scripting and put some thoughts on paper. I know it won’t make any difference but with the Paris Climate Summit just around the corner at least I’ll feel better for getting these ideas out there.
An article appearing in Reuters I read this morning while eating breakfast entitled Climate change root cause of Syrian war: Britain’s Prince Charles decided the issue for me. Prince Charles was quoted as saying:
“And in fact there’s very good evidence indeed that one of the major reasons for this horror in Syria, funnily enough, was a drought that lasted for about five or six years, which meant that huge numbers of people in the end had to leave the land but increasingly they came into the cities.”
“We never deal with the underlying root cause which regrettably is what we’re doing to our natural environment,” he said, noting that far greater problems lay ahead if climate change was not addressed immediately.
I’m not going to dive into the numerous references that substantiate the validity of what Prince Charles is saying. Just as anthropogenic climate change is established scientific fact so too is the connection between the drought in Syria and the current political situation.
My purpose in this diary is to look into the “underlying root support” we give to ISIL which regrettably is daily strengthening the terrorist organization and “will cause us far greater problems if not addressed”. That support comes from oil and our meddling in their countries largely as a result of the need to maintain access to that oil not only for us but our business coalition partners around the world.
They derive their income from numerous sources such as kidnapping, theft and drug trafficking but in this diary I want to examine ISIL’s funding coming from oil sources. There has been an ebb and flow to the amount of their funding coming from oil but my purpose here is not to nail down the current amount. The only point I want to make is oil has been a steady component.
By February 2015 oil was no longer the primary way that the Islamic State (IS) funded its terrorist operation. Pentagon spokesperson Rear Admiral John Kirby said during a press briefing on 04 February 2015.
“We know that oil revenue is no longer the lead source of their [the Islamic State’s] income in dollars. So, they are changing,” Kirby said. He said that donations and the group’s “black market program” were likely new ways the terrorist organizations was relying on funding.
US officials said in October 2015 Islamic State militants were gaining at least $50 million per month from illegally selling crude oil from occupied oil fields in Iraq and Syria. The jihadists were selling the ‘black gold’ at extremely low prices. The extremists were reportedly selling crude oil at $35 per barrel, sometimes as little as $10 per barrel, four Iraqi intelligence officials told AP.
It is interesting to note that the US-led coalition refrained from bombing the oil trade “lifeline” of Islamic State. Russia, in contrast, in November 2015 destroyed some 500 ISIS tankers over the past few days, disrupting the flow of illegal petrodollars to the terrorist group, which, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin, was selling oil to some 40 states.
In June, 2014 Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s office issued a statement accusing Saudi Arabia of giving ISIL “financial and moral support. State funding by Saudi Arabia was complicated to prove but private giving was not. There were many private donations coming out of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. Does anyone doubt that this private source of funding was/is rooted in petrol dollars?
From 2006 to 2009, ISIL raised roughly $2 billion by extorting payoffs from employees at the Beiji oil refinery in northern Iraq .
The above documents a steady history of funding coming from petroleum.
And what countries does the Middle East sell its oil? Well Asia depends on the Middle East for 66% of its oil imports.
So climate change plays a part in Syria’s drought which has directly influenced current events happening there. There is a link between terrorism and climate change. Oil is an important source of ISIL funding and the Middle East has a history of donating money to ISIL related organizations.
Now does anyone seriously doubt that a lot of the US past and current activities in the Middle East revolve around maintaining our own and our coalition business partners’ access to Middle Eastern oil? Does anyone seriously believe that our primary motivation in the Middle East is to bring democracy to the area and win the hearts and minds of the people? If you do I really want what you’re smoking!
Yet I have yet to hear one so called expert call for a plan to stop buying oil from the Middle East to choke the flow of money flowing from this source to ISIL.
I wish I’d heard something like this on Meet the Press last Sunday.
Of course we need to keep doing all the things we’ve been doing in our war on terrorism. But we can do more. We can ask the American people to do more. We can ask all civilized people around the world to do more and we can improve our lives and our long-term security in numerous other ways besides the defeat of terrorism.
1. The United States should do whatever it takes to stop buying oil from middle eastern countries. We should encourage our coalition partners to do the same. We should launch an immense effort to transition to non-polluting renewable energy sources.
We should declare war on our fossil fuel energy dependency setting a goal of being totally free of our need to import foreign oil in 10 years.
We should implement an emergency nation-wide commuter program. It has been done before in emergency situations.
October 31, 2012:
NEW YORK—New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he would restrict car traffic coming into Manhattan to vehicles carrying three or more passengers until Friday in an attempt to cut down on congestion in the city.
Bloomberg, speaking on Wednesday at a news conference to address the impact of massive storm Sandy, said restrictions would be in place from 6 a.m. to midnight for bridges and tunnels excluding the George Washington Bridge.
“I know it’s an inconvenience for a lot of people, but the bottom line is the streets can only handle so much,” he said.
If this kind of action can be taken during times of emergency it might be time to consider the same for day to day commuting.
2. Do whatever it takes but get out of middle eastern countries in ALL areas of contact. It is a clash of cultures and separation would mitigate the irritation.
Continuing to live life in our western countries without any change in our lifestyle to show we are not “scared” is really foolish. It is not a sign that “they have won” if we change the way we live. On the contrary, it is a sign of the fossil fuel companies continuing success in convincing us to keep on doing what we’re doing.
It might be time to jump out of the box in our thinking in our war on terror and ask people to actually do something other than be vigilant and keep living life without making any changes.
We need to drastically change the way we live in terms of our energy use for many other environmentally sound reasons but we also need to do it to even begin to make the world safe from terror.
Oh, but we won’t do any of this because it might hurt our economy and each of us might have to sacrifice a little like ration gasoline or carpool to work. We might have to do something more than “be vigilant”.
I’m just dreaming, I know. We’re not going to hear any of this coming from anybody except maybe Bernie.
But I feel much better getting this out there. Now I’ll return to writing my book which projects what havoc climate change will cause us if we continue to do what we are doing at present.