The NYT has published yet another story
intended to give gullible, confused readers the impression that Assad and ISIS are pals rather than enemies. And they're bringing Russia into the mix as well...
The Treasury Department on Wednesday announced sanctions against a Syrian construction executive it said was helping President Bashar al-Assad buy oil from the Islamic State, as well as against a Russian businessman who leads the World Chess Federation and who is accused of having financial dealings with the Syrian leader.
The moves are the latest attempt by the administration to financially squeeze Mr. Assad, who President Obama has said must step down to bring an end to the four-year-old Syrian civil war, and to choke off the Islamic State’s cash flow. It is also the first time that the American government has issued sanctions against an individual for helping Mr. Assad do business with the militant group.
Where to start?
First: Assad is the legitimate leader of Syria, so this businessman -- his name is George Haswani -- should be free to do all the deals he wants with Assad. After all, we
do business with the monsters who run Saudi Arabia.
Second: While it has indeed been widely alleged that Assad has been forced to buy oil from the very rebels who are trying to topple him, we should note that ISIS also sells to the Kurds
. Like Assad, the Kurds are fierce enemies of ISIS. Unlike Assad, the Kurds are supposed to be our allies.
But the vast majority of ISIS oil goes elsewhere. Specifically: Turkey.
This is a huge scandal. But you're not going to hear about that in the NYT, because Turkey is an ally.
The man who is getting filthy rich handling all of that sweet, sweet ISIS-brand oil is Bilal Erdogan
, the son of ultra-corrupt Turkish president Recep Erdogan. (Bilal is pictured on the right.) Here
is a brilliant piece (by F. William Engdahl) which details the unholy alliance between the Erdogan family and ISIS.
More and more details are coming to light revealing that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, variously known as ISIS, IS or Daesh, is being fed and kept alive by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Turkish President and by his Turkish intelligence service, including MIT, the Turkish CIA. Turkey, as a result of Erdoğan’s pursuit of what some call a Neo-Ottoman Empire fantasies that stretch all the way to China, Syria and Iraq, threatens not only to destroy Turkey but much of the Middle East if he continues on his present path.
In October 2014 US Vice President Joe Biden told a Harvard gathering that Erdoğan’s regime was backing ISIS with “hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons…” Biden later apologized clearly for tactical reasons to get Erdoğan’s permission to use Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base for airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, but the dimensions of Erdoğan’s backing for ISIS since revealed is far, far more than Biden hinted.
ISIS militants were trained by US, Israeli and now it emerges, by Turkish special forces at secret bases in Konya Province inside the Turkish border to Syria, over the past three years. Erdoğan’s involvement in ISIS goes much deeper. At a time when Washington, Saudi Arabia and even Qatar appear to have cut off their support for ISIS, they remaining amazingly durable. The reason appears to be the scale of the backing from Erdoğan and his fellow neo-Ottoman Sunni Islam Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu.
In addition to son Bilal’s illegal and lucrative oil trading for ISIS, Sümeyye Erdoğan, the daughter of the Turkish President apparently runs a secret hospital camp inside Turkey just over the Syrian border where Turkish army trucks daily being in scores of wounded ISIS Jihadists to be patched up and sent back to wage the bloody Jihad in Syria, according to the testimony of a nurse who was recruited to work there until it was discovered she was a member of the Alawite branch of Islam, the same as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who Erdoğan seems hell-bent on toppling.
Turkish citizen Ramazan Başol, captured this month by Kurdish People’s Defence Units,YPG, as he attempted to join ISIS from Konya province, told his captors that said he was sent to ISIS by the ‘İsmail Ağa Sect,’ a strict Turkish Islam sect reported to be tied to Recep Erdoğan. Başol said the sect recruits members and provides logistic support to the radical Islamist organization. He added that the Sect gives jihad training in neighborhoods of Konya and sends those trained here to join ISIS gangs in Syria.
The story gets better. Guess where much of that ISIS oil in Turkey ends up? According to one source, it goes to Israel.
Will the NYT tell you these things? No, it will not. The NYT will never look into the allegation that ISIS-brand oil finds its way into Israeli bulldozers. Instead, the NYT prefers to publish misleading tripe intended to convey the idea that Russia and ISIS are somehow allied.
It's not true. Russia
is the very worst enemy
that ISIS has ever had
If you followed the links given above, you'll see that one of them goes to this NBC story
, which quotes Treasury undersecretary David Cohen. Near as I can tell, Cohen is the main source for the claim that Assad buys oil from ISIS. Is this claim credible? Is Cohen
Unlike al Qaeda, he said, ISIS gets only a small share of its money from deep-pocketed donors. It relies mostly on black-market oil sales, extortion and ransom payments, Cohen said.
Cohen is lying. This investigation by Daniel Lazare
proves that he's lying.
Although the oil trade has become increasingly lucrative, ISIS gets most of its walking-around money from Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States. The Obama administration does not care to admit that fact, so it has been forced to come up with a series of unlikely alternative scenarios.
The most ridiculous of these claims held that ISIS has been selling stolen antiquities on the art market. If you know anything about the recent history of that market, you'll laugh at this assertion. The Getty scandal left buyers scared. Now factor in the movement to repatriate both the Elgin marble and the art stolen by the Nazis, and what do you have? You have an atmosphere in which no museum director in his right mind would pay big bucks for any piece with an iffy provenance. If the piece was burgled by ISIS, the day may soon come when the work will have to be repatriated, leaving the buyers SOL.
The same goes for bank heists. Although ISIS was widely credited with making off with $400 million when it took Mosul, in northern Iraq, in July 2014, The Financial Times described the seizure as the biggest heist that “never happened.”
Kidnapping for ransom also seems less than lucrative in an economy inside ISIS-controlled territory that is going increasingly downhill. Ditto local taxation.
And what about all of that oil? Here, matters become murky, because we have wildly differing estimates of the amounts involved. The United States, ever protective of the Saudis, has every motive to exaggerate the numbers.
While illicit oil sales may play an important role, they are also probably not as profitable as believed. Assuming they were filled to the brim, the 116 tanker trucks that U.S. planes destroyed on Monday may have contained a hundred barrels of crude each, oil that, at today’s prices, ISIS would be lucky to sell for around $30 a barrel. Thus, the damage to the Islamic State’s “treasury” weighs in at a relatively minor $350,000 or so.
Roughly 100,000 ISIS fighters get $300 to $800 a month, which means that the monthly bill is pretty damned high. The money is coming from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as has always been the case.
Evidence of broad regional support is abundant even if news outlets like The New York Times have done their best to ignore it. Some of the highlights of this money trail:
–In a 2009 diplomatic memo made public by Wikileaks, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”
So Cohen is just flinging bullshit. Check very carefully before you believe anything that guy says about Assad. Or ISIS. Or George Haswani. Or anything having to do with Russia.