Russia Asks: Why Doesn't the US Simply Stop Funding ISIS?
November 20, 2015
Sputnik News & RT News
Why hasn't the United States yet cut off ISIL's funding sources, Peter Van Buren wonders, adding that by halting the flow of money to the Islamic State Washington could have long ago dealt a lethal blow to the terrorist organization. President Vladimir Putin says he's shared Russian intelligence data on Islamic State financing with his G20 colleagues: the terrorists appear to be financed from 40 countries, including some G20 member states.
Why is Washington Turning Blind Eye to ISIL's Gulf Funding Sources?
(November 19, 2015) -- Why hasn't the United States yet cut off ISIL's funding sources, Peter Van Buren wonders, adding that by halting the flow of money to the Islamic State Washington could have long ago dealt a lethal blow to the terrorist organization.
War is a brutal and expensive business that requires hundreds of millions of dollars; the existence of the notorious Islamic State is dependent on a perpetual money flow from different sources.
"Follow the money back, cut it off, and you strike a blow much more devastating than an airstrike," Peter Van Buren, an author and a 24-year veteran of the State Department, recommends, posing a question:
"Why isn't the United States going after Islamic State's funding sources as a way of lessening or eliminating their strength at making war?"
In his blog WeMeantWell.com Peter Van Buren calls attention to the fact that the US State Department has long been aware that Gulf monarchies, longstanding America's allies, are funding numerous Sunni extremist groups. It has never been a secret to Washington's policymakers.
In a leaked 2009 action request cable Deputy Assistant Secretary Douglas C. Hengel pointed out the necessity to cut off "terrorist fundraising in the Gulf by al-Qaeda, the Taliban, LeT, and other Af/Pak-based violent extremist groups, all of which undermine the security of the entire international community."
"Direct links are difficult to prove, particularly if the United States chooses not to prove them," Van Buren noted.
To complicate matters further, the money usually comes from private "donors," not directly from national treasures, and could be routed through "legitimate charitable organizations" or "front companies."
However, at the G20 in Turkey Russian President Putin has disclosed what has long remained swept under the carpet: Putin said that he had shared information on ISIL sponsors with the other G20 members. The list contains 40 countries, including a number of G20 states.
"Putin's list of funders has not been made public. The G20, however, include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the European Union," Van Buren underscored.
The former State Department official pointed out that oil sales have been one of ISIL's major sources of income. Interestingly enough, during the military campaign against the Islamic State in Syria, Washington avoided bombing terrorists' largest oil producing facilities under the pretext that they remain the property of the Syrian people.
"Conservative estimates are that Islamic State takes in one to two million dollars a day from oil sales; some see the number as high as four million a day," the US author remarked.
However this is only a part of the story.
In June 2014 French intellectual and political analyst Thierry Meyssan posed a question, how could al-Qaeda's affiliate al-Nusra Front and ISIL sell oil on the international market which is closely monitored by Washington.
"A question arises to which the Atlanticist media and the Gulf still have no answer: how can these terrorists sell oil on the international market so monitored by Washington? In March , the Libyan Benghazi separatists had failed to sell the oil that they had seized," Meyssan wrote in his piece for Voltairenet.org.
If al-Nusra Front and ISIL are able to sell oil on the international market, they are either authorized by Washington or linked to influential oil companies, the French analyst suggested.
Needless to say, it is no easy task to bring the stolen oil to the market.
"Oil must be taken from the ground using heavy equipment, possibly refined, stored, loaded into trucks or pipelines, moved somewhere and then sold into the worldwide market," the former US official elaborated.
According to Van Buren, Turkish officials could have been possibly behind this secret oil trade. However, there is also the possibility that private Iraqi and Turkish buyers traveled to Syria and transported the stolen crude on their trucks.
Still, it is becoming clear that Western powers involved in the year-long anti-ISIL campaign have chosen the wrong strategy.
In his another piece Van Buren addresses the Western establishment, saying: "Leave the Middle East alone. Stop creating more failed states. Stop throwing away our freedoms at home on falsehoods. Stop disenfranchising the Muslims who live with us.
"Understand the war, such as it is, is against a set of ideas — religious, anti-western, anti-imperialist — and you cannot bomb an idea."
Putin: ISIS Financed from 40 Countries, Including G20 Members
(November 16, 2015) -- President Vladimir Putin says he's shared Russian intelligence data on Islamic State financing with his G20 colleagues: the terrorists appear to be financed from 40 countries, including some G20 member states.
During the summit, "I provided examples based on our data on the financing of different Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) units by private individuals. This money, as we have established, comes from 40 countries and, there are some of the G20 members among them," Putin told the journalists.
Putin also spoke of the urgent need to curb the illegal oil trade by IS.
"I've shown our colleagues photos taken from space and from aircraft which clearly demonstrate the scale of the illegal trade in oil and petroleum products," he said.
"The motorcade of refueling vehicles stretched for dozens of kilometers, so that from a height of 4,000 to 5,000 meters they stretch beyond the horizon," Putin added, comparing the convoy to gas and oil pipeline systems.
It's not the right time to try and figure out which country is more and which is less effective in the battle with Islamic State, as now a united international effort is needed against the terrorist group, Putin said.
Putin reiterated Russia's readiness to support armed opposition in Syria in its efforts to fight Islamic State.
"Some armed opposition groups consider it possible to begin active operations against IS with Russia's support. And we are ready to provide such support from the air. If it happens it could become a good basis for the subsequent work on a political settlement," he said.
"We really need support from the US, European nations, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran," the president added.
Putin pointed out the change in Washington's stance on cooperation with Moscow in the fight against the terrorists.
"We need to organize work specifically concentrated on the prevention of terrorist attacks and tackling terrorism on a global scale. We offered to cooperate [with the US] in anti-IS efforts. Unfortunately, our American partners refused. They just sent a written note and it says: 'we reject your offer'," Putin said.
"But life is always evolving and at a very fast pace, often teaching us lessons. And I think that now the realization that an effective fight [against terror] can only be staged together is coming to everybody," the Russian leader said.
According to Putin, first of all it should be decided which groups in Syria can be considered terrorist organizations and which can be attributed to an armed, but still legitimate part of the Syrian opposition.
"Our efforts must be concentrated on the battle with terrorist organizations."
Putin also disagreed with Western criticism of Russia's actions in Syria, where the country has been carrying out a large-scale air campaign against Islamic State and other terror groups since September 30.
"It's really difficult to criticize us," he said, adding that Russia has repeatedly asked its foreign partners to provide data on terrorist targets in Syria.
"They're afraid to inform us on the territories which we shouldn't strike, fearing that it is precisely where we'll strike; that we are going to cheat everybody," the president said.
"Apparently, their opinion of us is based on their own concept of human decency," he added.
Putin told the media that Russia has already established contact with the Syrian opposition, which has asked Moscow not carry out airstrikes in the territories it controls.
Still no conclusion on what caused Sinai plane crash
It's too early to make conclusions about the reasons for the crash of the Russian A321 jet over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula in late October, as all possible reasons are still being considered by the investigators, Putin said.
"We know about all the possible scenarios, all of the scenarios are being considered. The final conclusion can only be made after the implementation and completion of the inspection," he stressed.
"If there was an explosion, the traces of explosives would have remained on the liner's cover and on the belongings of the passengers. It's inevitable. And we have enough equipment and skilled, world class experts, capable of finding those traces. Only then would it be possible to speak about the reasons for this tragedy," the president added.
With 224 people dying in the crash, Putin said that "it's a huge emotional pain for all of us; for all Russian people, no matter what the cause of the crash was."
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.