“It was a huge error,” retired Lt. General Michael Flynn said about the Iraq War.
The General didn’t hold back in a recent interview with German paper Der Spiegel. And we applaud him for it.
General Flynn, if you don’t know, is the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. He climbed the intelligence ladder just in time for Bush’s push into Iraq and Afghanistan.
“As brutal as Saddam Hussein was,” Flynn went on, “it was a mistake to just eliminate him. The same is true for Moammar Gadhafi and for Libya, which is now a failed state. The historic lessons is that it was a strategic failure to go into Iraq. History will not be and should not be kind with that decision.”
And when Der Spiegel’s reporters, Matthias Gebauer and Holger Stark, stated that ISIS would not “be where it is now without the fall of Baghdad,” Flynn’s response was simple: “Yes, absolutely.”
Flynn then, for good measure, described the Obama administration’s foreign policy as “amateurish” and, he said, it has “its own place of responsibility in the mayhem that we are seeing right now.”
Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, Britain and Germany have just joined the League of the Extraordinarily Stupid by voting in favor of more airstrikes against ISIS.
“RAF Tornado jets,” The Guardian reports, “were seen taking off from the Akrotiri base in Cyprus and [Britain’s] Ministry of Defense later confirmed that they had carried out the ‘first offensive operation over Syria and have conducted strikes’.”
To understand why it’s not a good idea for more Western players to involve themselves, we need to understand how ISIS thinks, what drives them and what makes them attractive to Muslims on the fence of radicalization.
First, though, here’s a bit of wisdom from the free market champions at CapX:
The most that should be done by the UK, or any western government, is to give aid to the states in the region that are combatting the threat of Islamic extremism in their own territories. This is no panacea, but at least it will make it harder for ISIS to claim blood is on our hands—a crucial tool in their recruitment.
Middle Eastern countries, quite intuitively, have a better understanding of the region’s culture and geography than we can ever hope to. This threat is in their backyard, and only extends to us to the level at which we instigate them by carelessly carpet-bombing the area.
We’ve spoken about ISIS’ crazy ideas before. But here they are in a nutshell…
As you know, Christians, Jews and Muslims alike all share the common belief that the End of Days is coming. No man knoweth the hour, but the apocalypse is nigh.
ISIS believes, though, it and it alone has been tasked by Allah to bring forth the coming Armageddon.
Journalist Graeme Wood, in an interview with ISIS recruiter Musa Cerantonio, uncovered the prophecy that guides ISIS’ actions in Syria and abroad.
First, ISIS believes that its numbers will continue to grow until, one day in the near future, an epic battle will be waged in Dabiq, Syria. There, ISIS will fight and defeat the army of “Rome”. And this defeat, says Wood, “will initiate the countdown to the apocalypse.”
“Rome,” according to many, is likely to mean an army of infidels, and is likely to be Western.
During the Dabiq battle, ISIS believes that its numbers will be whittled down to 5,000. Even still, somehow, the caliphate will be strong enough to expand and occupy Istanbul.
And that’s when Messiah Dajjal (Islam’s “anti-Christ”) will rise and nearly destroy all of ISIS’ forces.
“Just as Dajjal prepares to finish them off,” Wood says, “Jesus — the second-most-revered prophet in Islam — will return to Earth, spear Dajjal, and lead the Muslims to victory.”
And everyone, somehow, will live happily ever after in the “new earth”.
In order to fulfill this prophecy, of course, ISIS first must coax “Rome” into war…
And that is, among other reasons, why the West shouldn’t give ISIS what it wants.
But wouldn’t you know it, just this morning news broke that John Kerry is calling for a legion of ground troops.
He said a “political transition” in Syria is necessary to attract more countries into the conflict.
“If we get political transition in place,” the useful idiot said today in Belgrade, “we empower every nation and every entity to come together, the Syrian army together with the opposition, together with all the surrounding countries, together with Russia, with the U.S. and others, to go and fight Daesh.
“Just imagine,” he goes on, “how quickly can the scourge be eliminated, in a matter of literally months, if we are able to secure that kind of political resolution.”
But, wait, Mr. Kerry. That’s a dumb idea.
“The most disastrous move that the United States or any developed nation could make,” Ty Hicks writes on the Students For Liberty blog, “would be to help fulfill the prophecy that ISIS has foretold. The more truth that ISIS can attribute to their predictions, the more certain radical Muslims around the world can be that ISIS is actually achieving its mission and be motivated to join its forces.
“Moreover, we cannot allow ourselves to be so easily convinced that ISIS is an enemy akin to, say, the army of an adversarial nation-state. While ISIS holds territory, the organization exists because of the weight of the idea it espouses. This idea has enabled ISIS to swell its ranks with recruits from a multitude of nations through a sophisticated social media campaign.”
And now, ISIS is growing not only with the help of Western bombs flying above brown heads, it’s also, according to Russia, thriving with the direct help of Western allies.
Shortly after Turkish forces shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber last month, claiming it violated Turkish airspace, the Russian Defense Ministry released flight path data showing that the bomber never left Syrian airspace.
Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, according to a press release from Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, then detailed “Turkey’s involvement in the ISIS’ illegal trade in oil, which is transported via the area where the Russian plane was shot down, and about the terrorist infrastructure, arms and munitions depots and control centers that are also located there.”
Of course, we don’t expect you to take what Russian officials claim as the naked truth.
But it’s not just Russia making such claims. For example, retired French General Dominique Trinquand revealed that “Turkey is either not fighting ISIL at all or very little, and does not interfere with different types of smuggling that takes place on its border, be it oil, phosphate, cotton or people.”
If true, this is a pretty big deal, given the incredible amount of oil that’s said to pump out of ISIS-occupied oil fields.
According to the independent Iraqi energy policy organization, Iraq Energy Institute, ISIS produces 30,000 barrels a day in Iraq and 50,000 per day in Syria.
The group then sells the oil on the black market for less than half of the market price. If correct, ISIS takes in over $3 million per day. Which is almost $100 million per month.
This oil revenue allows ISIS to fund its operations, recruit new members and buy new toys — on top of all the American-provided equipment it already has in its possession.
And here’s where things get a bit weird.
The U.S. knows where tanker trucks are coming and going. For over a year, the military has watched but avoided bombing the trucks… in the name of, apparently, limiting civilian casualties.
Puh. That’s a laugh.
Anyone who honestly believes that the U.S. military refrained from taking out ISIS’ massive revenue stream because it was worried it might kill a few “innocents”…
We have some oceanfront property in the middle of Bangkok and we’re looking for investors.
On Nov. 16, after getting some negative press about this passive approach, four U.S. attack planes and two gunships demolished 116 of ISIS’ oil trucks. But not before they dropped a load of leaflets warning them to get out of their trucks and run like Hell.
So all of this begs the questions…
Why did the U.S. wait so long to begin to cut ISIS from its major source of funding? And why the warning? And why are they still letting ISIS make oil money?
Last month, Lavrov, prior to the U.S. bombing the oil trucks, suggested that the U.S. has avoided killing ISIS’ cash cow because it might hurt ISIS’ chances at overthrowing Assad.
But that doesn’t answer the BIG question. And the BIG question, of course, is…
Who in the heck is buying all this oil?
Zero Hedge reports…
What we have been wondering for months and what we hope some enterprising journalist will soon answer, is just who are the commodity trading firms that have been so generously buying millions of smuggled oil barrels procured by the Islamic State at massive discounts to market, and then reselling them to other interested parties.
In other words, who are the middlemen.
At this point, however, three things are certain: whoever the commodity trading house may be that is paying ISIS-affiliated “innocent civilians” hundreds of millions of dollars for their products, they are perfectly aware just who the source of this deeply discounted crude is. Crude so deeply discounted, in fact, it results in massive profits for the enterprising middleman who are engaging in openly criminal transactions.
The second certainty: whoever said middleman is, it is very well known to US intelligence services such as the NSA and CIA, and thus to the Pentagon, and thus, the US government.
The third certainty is that while the US, and Russia, and now France, are all very theatrically bombing something in the Syrian desert (nobody really knows what), the funding of ISIS continues unabated as someone keeps buying ISIS oil.
We wonder how long until someone finally asks the all important question regarding the Islamic State: who is the commodity trader breaching every known law of funding terrorism when buying ISIS crude, almost certainly with the tacit approval by various “western alliance” governments, and why is it that these governments have allowed said middleman to continue funding ISIS for as long as it has?
All signs, it appears, point to Turkey. At least, according to a vengeful Russia.
And on that note, Deputy Minister of Defense, Anatoly Antonov, held a news briefing yesterday.
“Today,” he began, “we are presenting only some of the facts that confirm that a whole team of bandits and Turkish elites stealing oil from their neighbors is operating in the region.”
During his briefing, Antonov shows photos of oil trucks, videos of them entering Turkey from ISIS oil refineries, and maps detailing the paths they take to deliver the oil to Turkey.
Take a look and come to your own conclusion…
Here’s a snippet…
We believe that any sane journalist should fight this plague of the XXI century. The world experience has repeatedly argued that the objective journalism is able to be an effective and formidable tool in the fight against various financial corruption schemes.
We invite colleagues to investigative journalism on the disclosure of financial schemes and supplies oil from the terrorists to the consumers. Especially since the oil produced in the controlled militants territories in transit through Turkish ports shipped to other regions. For its part, the Ministry of Defense of Russia will continue to disclose new evidence on the supply of terrorists oil to foreign countries and to talk about the conduct of aerospace forces of Russia operations in Syria.
Let’s unite our efforts. We will destroy the sources of financing of terrorism in Syria, as you get involved in the kind of work abroad.
Tomorrow, in light of all the shootings cropping up in the States and abroad, we’re going to talk about how to survive and stop a terrorist.
This is crucial information that everyone should be aware of.
Don’t miss it.
Managing editor, Laissez Faire Today
P.S. Have something to say? Say it! Chris@lfb.org.