The Best Cyprus Community

Skip to content


For civilised discussion about Islamic State

Everything related to politics in Cyprus and the rest of the world.

For civilised discussion about Islamic State

Postby Tim Drayton » Mon Sep 15, 2014 11:34 am

In my opinion, the emergence of the entity calling itself Islamic State and the creation of a broad alliance to combat and destroy it represents a major turning point in history and, given Cyprus' close proximity to the region, these events will have consequences for the island.

As such, it would be good to have a thread where people can discuss the latest developments and try to make sense of what is happening in a spirit of open, mutually respectful discussion. Perhaps those looking for a slanging match could go elsewhere.
User avatar
Tim Drayton
Main Contributor
Main Contributor
 
Posts: 8226
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2007 1:32 am
Location: Limassol/Lemesos

Re: For civilised discussion about Islamic State

Postby Tim Drayton » Mon Sep 15, 2014 11:36 am

To set the ball rolling, more evidence that the so-called moderate Islamist regime in Turkey is actually an ally of Islamic State. From Saturday’s New York Times:

Struggling to Starve ISIS of Oil Revenue, U.S. Seeks Assistance From Turkey

By DAVID E. SANGER and JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS SEPT. 13, 2014

WASHINGTON — 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.”

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, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “sensitive,” said the decisions about what the country will do to counter ISIS “will be theirs to make.”

But behind the scenes, the conversations about the Sunni extremist group’s ability to gather vast sums to finance its operations have become increasingly tense since Mr. Obama’s vow on Wednesday night to degrade and ultimately destroy the group.

Turkey’s failure thus far to help choke off the oil trade symbolizes the magnitude of the challenges facing the administration both in assembling a coalition to counter the Sunni militant group and in starving its lifeblood. ISIS’ access to cash is critical to its ability to recruit members, meet its growing payroll of fighters, expand its reach and operate across the territory of two countries.

“Turkey in many ways is a wild card in this coalition equation,” said Juan Zarate, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and author of “Treasury’s War: The Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare.” “It’s a great disappointment: There is a real danger that the effort to degrade and destroy ISIS is at risk. You have a major NATO ally, and it is not clear they are willing and able to cut off flows of funds, fighters and support to ISIS.”
Turkey declined to sign a communiqué on Thursday in Saudi Arabia that committed Persian Gulf states in the region to counter ISIS, even limited to the extent each nation considered “appropriate.” Turkish officials told their American counterparts that with 49 Turkish diplomats being held as hostages in Iraq, they could not risk taking a public stance against the terror group.

Still, administration officials say they believe Turkey could substantially disrupt the cash flow to ISIS if it tried.

“Like any sort of black market smuggling operation, if you devote the resources and the effort to attack it, you are unlikely to eradicate it, but you are likely to put a very significant dent in it,” a senior administration official said on Saturday.

A second senior official said that Mr. Obama’s national security team had spoken several times with Mr. Erdogan and other top Turkish officials in the past two weeks about what they can do to help counter ISIS, and that ISIS’ financing was part of those discussions. “Stopping the flow of foreign fighters, border security and dismantling ISIL funding networks are also key aspects of our strategy, and we will continue to work closely with Turkey and our other partners in the region on these efforts in the days ahead,” the official said, using a different acronym to describe the militant organization.

At the core of the talks are the dozen or so oil fields and refineries in Iraq and Syria on territory the group has controlled. The output has provided a steady stream of financing, which experts place at $1 million to $2 million a day — a pittance in terms of the global oil market, but a huge windfall for a terror group.
“Oil is a huge part of the financing equation” that empowers ISIS, said James Phillips, the senior fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based research center.

The territory ISIS controls in Iraq alone is currently producing anywhere from 25,000 to 40,000 barrels of oil a day, which can fetch a minimum of $1.2 million on the black market, according to Luay al-Khatteeb, a visiting foreign policy fellow at the Brookings Doha Center, who also directs the Iraq Energy Institute. Some estimates have placed the daily income ISIS derives from oil sales at $2 million, though American officials are skeptical it is that high.
“The key gateway through that black market is the southern corridor of Turkey,” Mr. Khatteeb said. “Turkey is becoming part of this black economy” that funds ISIS.

But targeting the smuggling network has proved a major challenge, and so far the Turkish authorities have been unwilling to cooperate.
“They’ve been turning a blind eye to it, because they benefit from the lower price of smuggled black-market oil,” Mr. Phillips said, “and I’m sure there are substantial numbers of Turks that are also profiting from this, maybe even government officials.”.

The supply chain of routes, individuals, families and organizations that allow the oil to flow are well-established, some dating back decades, to when President Saddam Hussein of Iraq smuggled oil during the United Nations’ oil-for-food program. “Those borders have never been sealed, and they never will be sealed,” Mr. Phillips said.

For the Obama administration, getting at ISIS’ oil revenue is far more complex than, say, its crackdown on Iran. That has been the administration’s most successful use of sanctions, and officials credit the effects on Iran’s economy, along with American sabotage of its nuclear facilities, for Iran’s reluctant decision to negotiate on the future of its nuclear enrichment program.

But Iran used fairly conventional means of reaching oil markets, and not one of its techniques applies to ISIS’ black-market sales, which take place mostly through networks of smugglers.

The long-term American plan appears focused on persuading Turkey to crack down on the smuggling networks — some of which, one Western diplomat noted, “benefit a powerful Turkish elite” — and aiming at the refiners who would ultimately have to turn the crude oil into petrochemical products. But gathering the intelligence is a slow process, analysts say.

“It’s hard to use any of the suite of tools that are available to the U.S. Treasury Department to sanction people in this case,” said Patrick B. Johnston, a RAND Corporation researcher who is working on a top-to-bottom study of ISIS’ financing and organization. “Getting a grip on who the right financial targets would be at the Treasury Department would be difficult.”

That is equally true of the other major source of ISIS money — its extortion activities in the areas it controls, said Mr. Johnston, who is examining declassified documents that detail the group’s funding streams. ISIS demands anywhere from 10 percent to 20 percent of revenue from businesses in its territories and operates other “mafia-style” rackets that yield as much as $1 million a day.
User avatar
Tim Drayton
Main Contributor
Main Contributor
 
Posts: 8226
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2007 1:32 am
Location: Limassol/Lemesos

Re: For civilised discussion about Islamic State

Postby Tim Drayton » Mon Sep 15, 2014 12:57 pm

Again from the New York Times, Obama is threatening to wipe out Syria’s air defense system if it attacks American planes:

He made clear the intricacy of the situation, though, as he contemplated the possibility that Mr. Assad might order his forces to fire at American planes entering Syrian airspace. If he dared to do that, Mr. Obama said he would order American forces to wipe out Syria’s air defense system, which he noted would be easier than striking ISIS because its locations are better known. He went on to say that such an action by Mr. Assad would lead to his overthrow, according to one account.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/14/world ... .html?_r=0
User avatar
Tim Drayton
Main Contributor
Main Contributor
 
Posts: 8226
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2007 1:32 am
Location: Limassol/Lemesos

Re: For civilised discussion about Islamic State

Postby Demonax » Mon Sep 15, 2014 1:32 pm

This article seems to have attracted a lot of attention. It links the expansion of ISIS with Turkey's failed foreign policy to expand its influence by using Islamist proxies.

Turkey and the ‘Jihadist Highway’

The rising pressure on state-facilitators is a welcome development because, in the long term, it is essential to stemming the tide of extremist Islamist groups. In this case such pressure should be brought to bear on the ruling Turkish Justice and Development Party (AKP) to abandon its policy of expanding its influence in the Arab world through supporting Islamist proxies. According to Soner Cagaptay in the Wall Street Journal, this policy has been so disastrous that “Turkey has lost all access to the Middle East.” Perhaps most significantly, Ankara’s strong opposition to the new Egyptian government following last year’s ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood-oriented presidency of Mohammad Mursi has caused even more damage to its regional standing. With very few friends left in the Middle East following these diplomatic disasters, Turkey may now be in retreat.

That is why the moment is now for Obama to lay down the law with his NATO ally and insist that Ankara amend its expansionist foreign policy and steer away from what seems to be attempts to exert its influence by using extreme Islamist proxies. Two years ago, such demands would have been unworkable given Turkey’s diplomatic gains, but since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s rise in Egypt, Turkey has lost favor with Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iraq and is now incurring the dismay of the West. Given their regional isolation, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu may now be more receptive to adapting their Middle East strategy.


http://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/n ... hway-.html
User avatar
Demonax
Regular Contributor
Regular Contributor
 
Posts: 1815
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:05 am

Re: For civilised discussion about Islamic State

Postby Demonax » Mon Sep 15, 2014 2:07 pm

In an article on Turkey and the EU there's reference to a poll which suggests 38% of AKP constituency considers IS favorably.

While Turkey’s prospective EU membership has never been popular in this club, there are concerns over the sympathy of the AKP base for radical Islamist movements like the Islamic State (IS). “There is a new poll that suggests 38% of the AKP constituency considers IS favorably,” one European diplomat told Al-Monitor. “This is worrisome for us.”

Die Welt, a German daily, also reported on Aug. 5 that Ankara has information that more than 1,000 Turkish citizens have joined IS, an estimated 10% of the total number of IS militants.


http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/origina ... limbo.html
User avatar
Demonax
Regular Contributor
Regular Contributor
 
Posts: 1815
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:05 am

Re: For civilised discussion about Islamic State

Postby Tim Drayton » Mon Sep 15, 2014 2:32 pm

Demonax wrote:In an article on Turkey and the EU there's reference to a poll which suggests 38% of AKP constituency considers IS favorably.

While Turkey’s prospective EU membership has never been popular in this club, there are concerns over the sympathy of the AKP base for radical Islamist movements like the Islamic State (IS). “There is a new poll that suggests 38% of the AKP constituency considers IS favorably,” one European diplomat told Al-Monitor. “This is worrisome for us.”

Die Welt, a German daily, also reported on Aug. 5 that Ankara has information that more than 1,000 Turkish citizens have joined IS, an estimated 10% of the total number of IS militants.


http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/origina ... limbo.html


That is twisting things a little - I think 38% were either 'nos' or 'don't knows' when asked if they considered IS to be terrorists - but it is still a worrying figure. Curiously, far more supporters of a smaller and even more Islamist party answered 'yes' than AKP supporters; some have suggested that is because the former are better informed about Islam.
User avatar
Tim Drayton
Main Contributor
Main Contributor
 
Posts: 8226
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2007 1:32 am
Location: Limassol/Lemesos

Re: For civilised discussion about Islamic State

Postby Tim Drayton » Mon Sep 15, 2014 2:37 pm

Demonax wrote:This article seems to have attracted a lot of attention. It links the expansion of ISIS with Turkey's failed foreign policy to expand its influence by using Islamist proxies.

Turkey and the ‘Jihadist Highway’

The rising pressure on state-facilitators is a welcome development because, in the long term, it is essential to stemming the tide of extremist Islamist groups. In this case such pressure should be brought to bear on the ruling Turkish Justice and Development Party (AKP) to abandon its policy of expanding its influence in the Arab world through supporting Islamist proxies. According to Soner Cagaptay in the Wall Street Journal, this policy has been so disastrous that “Turkey has lost all access to the Middle East.” Perhaps most significantly, Ankara’s strong opposition to the new Egyptian government following last year’s ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood-oriented presidency of Mohammad Mursi has caused even more damage to its regional standing. With very few friends left in the Middle East following these diplomatic disasters, Turkey may now be in retreat.

That is why the moment is now for Obama to lay down the law with his NATO ally and insist that Ankara amend its expansionist foreign policy and steer away from what seems to be attempts to exert its influence by using extreme Islamist proxies. Two years ago, such demands would have been unworkable given Turkey’s diplomatic gains, but since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s rise in Egypt, Turkey has lost favor with Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iraq and is now incurring the dismay of the West. Given their regional isolation, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu may now be more receptive to adapting their Middle East strategy.


http://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/n ... hway-.html


An excellent article, Sami Zahed.
User avatar
Tim Drayton
Main Contributor
Main Contributor
 
Posts: 8226
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2007 1:32 am
Location: Limassol/Lemesos

Re: For civilised discussion about Islamic State

Postby Paphitis » Mon Sep 15, 2014 4:29 pm

Tim Drayton wrote:In my opinion, the emergence of the entity calling itself Islamic State and the creation of a broad alliance to combat and destroy it represents a major turning point in history and, given Cyprus' close proximity to the region, these events will have consequences for the island.

As such, it would be good to have a thread where people can discuss the latest developments and try to make sense of what is happening in a spirit of open, mutually respectful discussion. Perhaps those looking for a slanging match could go elsewhere.



Thank you Tim.

I am open to sensible discussion, and it appears evident that Turkey is a major sponsor of ISIS.

Unfortunately, there is a certain section of the community who consider ISIS their ally because now they are confronted by the US but not only. I believe there are 13 countries in the coalition that has committed to fight this evil movement.

Now, a reasonable person would condemn ISIS for the beheadings, crucifixions, sieges against the Yazidis and Turkmen, the execution of Syrian Soldiers, sexual slavery and bondage etc. intervention has averted some major humanitarian catastrophes. Long may this continue.
User avatar
Paphitis
Leading Contributor
Leading Contributor
 
Posts: 20971
Joined: Sun May 21, 2006 2:06 pm

Re: For civilised discussion about Islamic State

Postby Tim Drayton » Mon Sep 15, 2014 4:36 pm

Paphitis wrote:[...] I believe there are 13 countries in the coalition that has committed to fight this evil movement. [...]


That is 26 countries according to a very recent article in the Wall Street Journal:

http://online.wsj.com/articles/france-t ... 1410772479
User avatar
Tim Drayton
Main Contributor
Main Contributor
 
Posts: 8226
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2007 1:32 am
Location: Limassol/Lemesos

Re: For civilised discussion about Islamic State

Postby kurupetos » Mon Sep 15, 2014 4:47 pm

Tim Drayton wrote:In my opinion, the emergence of the entity calling itself Islamic State and the creation of a broad alliance to combat and destroy it represents a major turning point in history and, given Cyprus' close proximity to the region, these events will have consequences for the island.

As such, it would be good to have a thread where people can discuss the latest developments and try to make sense of what is happening in a spirit of open, mutually respectful discussion. Perhaps those looking for a slanging match could go elsewhere.

Wrong... the source of these criminals is UK. :wink:
User avatar
kurupetos
Leading Contributor
Leading Contributor
 
Posts: 17896
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2007 7:46 pm
Location: Cyprus

Next

Return to Politics and Elections

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests