The Islamic State runs a self-sustaining economy across territory it controls in Syria and Iraq, pirating oil while exacting tribute from a population of at least eight million, Arab and Western officials said, making it one of the world’s richest terror groups and an unprecedented threat.
“Can you prevent ISIS from taking assets? Not really, because they’re sitting on a lot of assets already.”
That illicit economy presents a new picture of Islamic State’s financial underpinnings. The group was once thought to depend on funding from Arab Gulf donors and donations from the broader Muslim world. Now, Islamic State—the former branch of al Qaeda that has swallowed parts of Iraq and Syria—is a largely self-financed organization.
Money from outside donors “pales in comparison to their self-funding through criminal and terrorist activities,” a U.S. State Department official said, adding that those activities generate millions of dollars a month.
“So you must disrupt the network of trade. But if you disrupt trade in commodities like food, for example, then you risk starving thousands of civilians.”
For Western and Arab nations that are striving to stop Islamic State, the group’s local funding sources pose a conundrum: A clampdown on economic activity that helps fund the group, counterterrorism officials and experts said, could cause a humanitarian crisis in the already stressed areas it controls. Read the rest of this entry »
Government security forces fought to regain control of Iraq’s largest oil refinery in a decisive test of Baghdad’s ability to protect an economic pillar from Sunni Muslim insurgents. Matt Bradley reports.
[VIDEO] Bush’s Prediction Comes True: Warned This Would Happen in Iraq if Troops Are Withdrawn Too SoonPosted: June 16, 2014
To begin withdrawing before our commanders tell us we are ready … would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to al Qaeda. It would mean that we’d be risking mass killings on a horrific scale. It would mean we’d allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan. It would mean increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous. [EMPHASIS ADDED].
Well just an hour ago, the Washington Post reported:
President Obama said Thursday it is now clear Iraq will need help from the United States as the situation there deteriorates, adding that he wouldn’t “rule out anything,” including drone strikes and air strikes, but not ground troops.
2007 President Bush Warned U.S. Troops Would Have To Return To Iraq If Withdrawn Too Soon
“What we’ve seen over the last couple of days indicates the degree to which Iraq’s going to need more help,” Obama said during a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the White House. “So my team is working around the clock to identify how we can provide the most effective assistance to them. I don’t rule out anything, because we do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria, for that matter.”
“What we’ve seen over the last couple of days indicates the degree to which Iraq’s going to need more help.”
He’s not ruling anything out, you see – except ground troops. He’s ruling that out.
[Note: The Cuckoo Bananas Loony Left, as well as the Institutional Left is having fits trying to spin this. They want failure in Iraq, they want it to be ‘Bush’s Viet Nam’, and will do anything to prevent success, and promote failure, for self-serving partisan reasons, and political cover for Obama’s foreign policy failures. Good luck with that]
Let’s recall that Obama inherited a pacified Iraq, where al Qaeda had been defeated — both militarily and ideologically. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the editors at Foreign Policy was pushing me yesterday to say more about Iraq, despite my feeling of numb wordlessness.
OK, here goes. My question is, Why the hell is everyone so surprised ? Was this not inevitable? Perhaps it was foretold on the day we removed Sunni power from Baghdad, and so took down the bulwark that prevented the westward expansion of Persian power. Certainly it looked likely from the time Maliki decided to attack the Sunni towns to the west of Baghdad. Read the rest of this entry »
For The Independent, Patrick Cockburn reports: Iraq is breaking up. The Kurds have taken the northern oil city of Kirkuk that they have long claimed as their capital. Sunni fundamentalist fighters vow to capture Baghdad and the Shia holy cities further south.
“The whole of Kirkuk has fallen into the hands of peshmerga. No Iraqi army remains in Kirkuk.”
— Peshmerga spokesman Jabbar Yawar.
Government rule over the Sunni Arab heartlands of north and central Iraq is evaporating as its 900,000-strong army disintegrates. Government aircraft have fired missiles at insurgent targets in Mosul, captured by Isis on Monday, but the Iraqi army has otherwise shown no sign of launching a counter-attack.
The nine-year Shia dominance over Iraq, established after the US, Britain and other allies overthrew Saddam Hussein, may be coming to an end. The Shia may continue to hold the capital and the Shia-majority provinces further south, but they will have great difficulty in re-establishing their authority over Sunni provinces from which their army has fled.
It is unlikely that the Kurds will give up Kirkuk. “The whole of Kirkuk has fallen into the hands of peshmerga [Kurdish soldiers],” said the peshmerga spokesman Jabbar Yawar. “No Iraqi army remains in Kirkuk.”
Foreign intervention is more likely to come from Iran than the US. The Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran would act to combat “the violence and terrorism” of Isis”. Iran emerged as the most influential foreign power in Baghdad after 2003. As a fellow Shia-majority state, Iraq matters even more to Iran than Syria. Read the rest of this entry »