The Pronk Pops Show 320, August 29, 2014, Story 1: The War for Oil Gets Hot: Big Oil vs. Islamic State — The Great Strategic Prize Is Oil! — The Winner is Communist China — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 320: August 29, 2014 To be posted by 10 p.m. Tuesday, September 2

Pronk Pops Show 319: August 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 318: August 27, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 317: August 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 316: August 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 315: August 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 314: August 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 313: August 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 312: August 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 311: August 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 310: August 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 309: August 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 308: August 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 307: August 1, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 306: July 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 305: July 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 304: July 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 303: July 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 302: July 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 301: July 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 300: July 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 299: July 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 298: July 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 297: July 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 296: July 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 295: July 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 294: July 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 293: July 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 292: July 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 291: July 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 290: July 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 289: July 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 288: June 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 287: June 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 286: June 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 285 June 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 284: June 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 283: June 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 282: June 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 281: June 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 280: June 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 279: June 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 278: June 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 277: June 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 276: June 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 275: June 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 274: June 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 273: June 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 272: June 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 271: June 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 270: May 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 269: May 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 268: May 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 267: May 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 266: May 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 265: May 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 264: May 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 263: May 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 262: May 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 261: May 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 260: May 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 259: May 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 258: May 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 257: May 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 256: May 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 255: May 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 254: May 1, 2014

The Pronk Pops Show 320, August 29, 2014, Story 1: The War for Oil  Gets Hot: Big Oil vs. Islamic State — The Great Strategic Prize Is Oil! — The Winner is Communist China — Videos

oil wells

boot on the groundsectarian_regional_mapthe great dividemap-of-iraq-showing-areas-under-isis-control-dataISIS_control_june_12oil field mapsiraq_oil_pipelinesiraq-oil-map-plattsoil reserves

oil statisticsTop-10-Oil-Producers-in-2013Top-10-Oil-Producersiraq oil prodoil-production-iraqiraq oil productionCOST-OF-IRAQ
iraq_wall_full_2003Iran-Turkey-map

 

Obama: No Strategy Yet on Islamic State Threat

ISIS immenent Attack on U.S. | Betrayal

ISIS sells $3M of black-market oil daily

The Islamic State makes a push for Iraq’s oil fields

ISLAMIC STATE Earning Millions By Dumping Oil On Black Market

People and Power Battle for Basra 31 Oct 07 Part 1

People and Power Battle for Basra 31 Oct 07 Part 2

History of Oil Development in Iraq (English)

Does ISIS Really Pose A Threat To The United States?

Peshmerga Forces Push Back IS/ISIS in two Strategic Towns 22.8.2014

Syria Vital to Defeat Islamic State, Says Official

Military Strategy Forum US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker Keynote

ISIS on the March

IRAQ´s History Baghdad – Oil Empire 

Blood and Oil: The Middle East in World War I

The Oil Factor Behind The War On Terror

Tensions in Iraq put Chinese oil rigs on alert- China Beat – June 19 ,2014 – BONTV China

PetroChina-Exxon Iraq Deal

Petrochina

China v.s. US The Battle for Oil

CNN TV – Iraq Fuming Over Exxon-Kurdistan Deal

National security official defends Obama’s Iraq strategy

Breaking! Alex Jones Lays Out ISIS Plans to Strike America

Obama’s ISIS Bombing Hoax Exposed

U.S. Officials and Experts at Odds on Threat Posed by ISIS | LATEST NEWS

The Iraq War Full BBC Documentary

 

Brothers in Arms Basra 1/5

Brothers in Arms Basra 2/5

Brothers in Arms Basra 3/5

Brothers in Arms Basra 4/5

Brothers in Arms Basra 5/5


fuel-on-the-fire-oil-and-politics-in-occupied-iraq

Fuel on the Fire: Author Greg Muttit on Oil & Politics in Occupied Iraq, Arab Spring. 1 of 2

Fuel on the Fire: Author Greg Muttit on Oil & Politics in Occupied Iraq, Arab Spring. 2 of 2

Inside Iraq: oil law (2008)

Iraq takes legal action against Turkey for exporting oil from Kurdistan region

Iraq threatens to cancel contracts with Turkey over Kurdistan oil dispute

Pete Seeger – RIP – January 27 2014 – “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”

where have all the flowers gone

Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time passing.
Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time ago.
Where have all the flowers gone?
The girls have picked them every one.
Oh, When will you ever learn?
Oh, When will you ever learn?

Young girls
They’ve taken husbands every one.

Young men
They’re all in uniform.

Soldiers
They’ve gone to graveyards every one.

Graveyards
They’re covered with flowers every one.

Flowers
Young girls have picked them every one.

 

THE REAL REASON FOR THE IRAQ WAR

By Greg Palast

Because it was marked “confidential” on each page, the oil industry stooge couldn’t believe the US State Department had given me a complete copy of their secret plans for the oil fields of Iraq.

Actually, the State Department had done no such thing. But my line of bullshit had been so well-practiced and the set-up on my mark had so thoroughly established my fake identity, that I almost began to believe my own lies.

I closed in. I said I wanted to make sure she and I were working from the same State Department draft. Could she tell me the official name, date and number of pages? She did.

Bingo! I’d just beaten the Military-Petroleum Complex in a lying contest, so I had a right to be chuffed.

After phoning numbers from California to Kazakhstan to trick my mark, my next calls were to the State Department and Pentagon. Now that I had the specs on the scheme for Iraq’s oil – that State and Defense Department swore, in writing, did not exist – I told them I’d appreciate their handing over a copy (no expurgations, please) or there would be a very embarrassing story on BBCNewsnight.

Within days, our chief of investigations, Ms Badpenny, delivered to my shack in the woods outside New York a 323-page, three-volume programme for Iraq’s oil crafted by George Bush’s State Department and petroleum insiders meeting secretly in Houston, Texas.

I cracked open the pile of paper – and I was blown away.

Like most lefty journalists, I assumed that George Bush and Tony Blair invaded Iraq to buy up its oil fields, cheap and at gun-point, and cart off the oil. We thought we knew the neo-cons true casus belli: Blood for oil.

But the truth in the Options for Iraqi Oil Industry was worse than “Blood for Oil”. Much, much worse.

The key was in the flow chart on page 15, Iraq Oil Regime Timeline & Scenario Analysis:

“…A single state-owned company …enhances a government’s relationship with OPEC.”

http://assets.vice.com/content-images/contentimage/no-slug/c2e001a56cbf6658dfc45f72dcf71b55.jpg
An infographic produced by the author presenting the Iraq war’s secret history. Click to enlarge.

Let me explain why these words rocked my casbah.

I’d already had in my hands a 101-page document, another State Department secret scheme, first uncovered by Wall Street Journal reporter Neil King, that called for the privatisation, the complete sell-off of every single government-owned asset and industry. And in case anyone missed the point, the sales would include every derrick, pipe and barrel of oil, or, as the document put it, “especially the oil”.

That plan was created by a gaggle of corporate lobbyists and neo-cons working for the Heritage Foundation. In 2004, the plan’s authenticity was confirmed by Washington power player Grover Norquist. (It’s hard to erase the ill memory of Grover excitedly waving around his soft little hands as he boasted about turning Iraq into a free-market Disneyland, recreating Chile in Mesopotamia, complete with the Pinochet-style dictatorship necessary to lock up the assets – while behind Norquist, Richard Nixon snarled at me from a gargantuan portrait.)

The neo-con idea was to break up and sell off Iraq’s oil fields, ramp up production, flood the world oil market – and thereby smash OPEC and with it, the political dominance of Saudi Arabia.

General Jay Garner also confirmed the plan to grab the oil. Indeed, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld fired Garner, when the General, who had lived in Iraq, complained the neo-con grab would set off a civil war. It did. Nevertheless, Rumsfeld replaced Garner with a new American viceroy, Paul Bremer, a partner in Henry Kissinger’s firm, to complete the corporate takeover of Iraq’s assets – “especially the oil”.

But that was not to be. While Bremer oversaw the wall-to-wall transfer of Iraqi industries to foreign corporations, he was stopped cold at the edge of the oil fields.

How? I knew there was only one man who could swat away the entire neo-con army: James Baker, former Secretary of State, Bush family consiglieri and most important, counsel to Exxon-Mobil Corporation and the House of Saud.

(One unwitting source was industry oil-trading maven Edward Morse of Lehman/Credit Suisse, who threatened to sue Harper’s Magazine for my quoting him. Morse denied I ever spoke with him. But when I played the tape from my hidden recorder, his memory cleared and he scampered away.)

There was no way in hell that Baker’s clients, from Exxon to Abdullah, were going to let a gaggle of neo-con freaks smash up Iraq’s oil industry, break OPEC production quotas, flood the market with six million bbd of Iraqi oil and thereby knock the price of oil back down to $13 a barrel where it was in 1998.


The author.

Big Oil could not allow Iraq’s oil fields to be privatised and taken from state control. That would make it impossible to keep Iraq within OPEC (an avowed goal of the neo-cons) as the state could no longer limit production in accordance with the cartel’s quota system. The US oil industry was using its full political mojo to prevent their being handed ownership of Iraq’s oil fields.

That’s right: The oil companies didn’t want to own the oil fields – and they sure as hell didn’t want the oil. Just the opposite. They wanted to make sure there would be a limit on the amount of oil that would come out of Iraq.

Saddam wasn’t trying to stop the flow of oil – he was trying to sell more. The price of oil had been boosted 300 percent by sanctions and an embargo cutting Iraq’s sales to two million barrels a day from four. With Saddam gone, the only way to keep the damn oil in the ground was to leave it locked up inside the busted state oil company which would remain under OPEC (i.e. Saudi) quotas.

The James Baker Institute quickly and secretly started in on drafting the 323-page plan for the State Department. With authority granted from the top (i.e. Dick Cheney), ex-Shell Oil USA CEO Phil Carroll was rushed to Baghdad in May 2003 to take charge of Iraq’s oil. He told Bremer, “There will be no privatisation of oil – END OF STATEMENT.” Carroll then passed off control of Iraq’s oil to Bob McKee of Halliburton, Cheney’s old oil-services company, who implemented the Baker “enhance OPEC” option anchored in state ownership.

Some oil could be released, mainly to China, through limited, but lucrative, “production sharing agreements”.

And that’s how George Bush won the war in Iraq. The invasion was not about “blood for oil”, but something far more sinister: blood for no oil. War to keep supply tight and send prices skyward.

Oil men, whether James Baker or George Bush or Dick Cheney, are not in the business of producing oil. They are in the business of producing profits.

And they’ve succeeded. Iraq, capable of producing six to 12 million barrels of oil a day, still exports well under its old OPEC quota of three million barrels.

The result: As we mark the tenth anniversary of the invasion this month, we also mark the fifth year of crude at $100 a barrel.

As George Bush could proudly say to James Baker: Mission Accomplished!

http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/the-iraqi-war-wasnt-waged-for-oil-greg-palast

 

Judicial Watch: Feds’ Bulletin Describes Threat of Imminent Terrorist Attack on Southern Border

By Andrew C. McCarthy

For those of us who’ve been raising alarms about both the jihadist threat and the national-security vulnerability created by the Obama administration’s non-enforcement of the immigration laws, this is not a surprise — particularly less than two weeks before September 11. But it is nonetheless jarring to read. Judicial Watch has just put out this statement:

Islamic terrorist groups are operating in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez and planning to attack the United States with car bombs or other vehicle born improvised explosive devices (VBIED). High-level federal law enforcement, intelligence and other sources have confirmed to Judicial Watch that a warning bulletin for an imminent terrorist attack on the border has been issued.  Agents across a number of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense agencies have all been placed on alert and instructed to aggressively work all possible leads and sources concerning this imminent terrorist threat.

Specifically, Judicial Watch sources reveal that the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) is confirmed to now be operating in Juarez, a famously crime-infested narcotics hotbed situated across from El Paso, Texas. Violent crimes are so rampant in Juarez that the U.S. State Department has issued a number of travel warnings for anyone planning to go there. The last one was issued just a few days ago.

Intelligence officials have picked up radio talk and chatter indicating that the terrorist groups are going to “carry out an attack on the border,” according to one JW source.  “It’s coming very soon,” according to this high-level source, who clearly identified the groups planning the plots as “ISIS and Al Qaeda.” An attack is so imminent that the commanding general at Ft. Bliss, the U.S. Army post in El Paso, is being briefed, another source confirms. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not respond to multiple inquiries from Judicial Watch, both telephonic and in writing, about this information.

The disturbing inside intelligence comes on the heels of news reports revealing that U.S. intelligence has picked up increased chatter among Islamist terror networks approaching the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. While these terrorists reportedly plan their attack just outside the U.S., President Obama admits that “we don’t have a strategy yet” to combat ISIS. “I don’t want to put the cart before the horse,” the commander-in-chief said this week during a White House press briefing. “I think what I’ve seen in some of the news reports suggest that folks are getting a little further ahead of what we’re at than what we currently are.”

The administration has also covered up, or at the very least downplayed, a serious epidemic of crime along the Mexican border even as heavily armed drug cartels have taken over portions of the region. Judicial Watch has reported that the U.S. Border Patrol actually ordered officers to avoid the most crime-infested stretches because they’re “too dangerous” and patrolling them could result in an “international incident” of cross border shooting. In the meantime, who could forget the famous words of Obama’s first Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano; the southern border is “as secure as it has ever been.”

These new revelations are bound to impact the current debate about the border crisis and immigration policy.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/386694/judicial-watch-feds-bulletin-describes-threat-imminent-terrorist-attack-southern

 

EXCLUSIVE: BREITBART TEXAS VERIFIES ISIS BORDER THREAT WITH LEAKED DOC

Breitbart Texas has exclusively obtained a leaked document warning federal agents about an ISIS-related terrorism threat across the entire US-Mexico border. Though the document focuses on the Texas-Mexico border, Breitbart Texas has confirmed that federal agents across the entire US-Mexico border have received the ISIS terror warning.

The document was released by the Texas Department of Public Safety and warned that ISIS was actively promoting and encouraging supporters to take advantage of the porous Texas-Mexico border to carry out terrorist attacks against US citizens.

The document attributed the increased interest by ISIS to a report done by journalist James O’Keefe. Though the report did not mention O’Keefe by name, it showed images of O’Keefe crossing the porous Texas-Mexico border while wearing an Osama bin Laden mask.

In addition to the report, U.S. Border Patrol Agents confirmed that the U.S. Border Patrol agency was indeed taking the threat seriously. A Border Patrol agent in the Laredo Sector told Breitbart Texas that they had credible information that ISIS was attempting to find individuals and groups in Nuevo-Laredo Mexico to assist in gaining entry into the united states.

A Border Patrol agent in the El Paso Sector would only tell Breitbart Texas that a warning was issued to agents pertaining to ISIS.

The Border Patrol agent spoke to Breitbart Texas on the condition of anonymity.

Judicial Watch first reported on a threat from ISIS being issued to federal agents in El Paso agents earlier in the day. They claimed that their sources warned of an imminent terrorist threat. Breitbart Texas was unable to identify any sources in federal law enforcement agencies to verify that a specific and imminent terror plot was currently under way. Breitbart Texas spoke with the president of Judicial Watch, Tom Fitton. He said, “This is a dire situation and I can’t emphasize enough the seriousness of the threat posed here. If your law enforcement sources do not have the information we have, they are being ill-served by their leadership. We put this out to protect the safety of law enforcement and citizens along the border. this is a public safety announcement.”

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-Texas/2014/08/29/Exclusive-Breitbart-Texas-Verifies-ISIS-Threat-With-Leaked-Doc

 

Al-Qaeda’s Specter in Syria

Author: Ed Husain, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies
August 6, 2012

he Syrian rebels would be immeasurably weaker today without al-Qaeda in their ranks. By and large, Free Syrian Army (FSA) battalions are tired, divided, chaotic, and ineffective. Feeling abandoned by the West, rebel forces are increasingly demoralized as they square off with the Assad regime’s superior weaponry and professional army. Al-Qaeda fighters, however, may help improve morale. The influx of jihadis brings discipline, religious fervor, battle experience from Iraq, funding from Sunni sympathizers in the Gulf, and most importantly, deadly results. In short, the FSA needs al-Qaeda now.

In Syria, al-Qaeda’s foot soldiers call themselves Jabhat al-Nusrah li-Ahli al-Sham (Front for the Protection of the Levantine People). The group’s strength and acceptance by the FSA are demonstrated by their increasing activity on the ground (BBC)–from seven attacks in March to sixty-six “operations” in June. In particular, the Jabhat has helped take the fight to Syria’s two largest cities: the capital of Damascus, where 54 percent of its activities have been, and Aleppo. Indeed, al-Qaeda could become the most effective fighting force in Syria if defections from the FSA to the Jabhat persist and the ranks of foreign fighters (Guardian) continue to swell.

Al-Qaeda is not sacrificing its “martyrs” in Syria merely to overthrow Assad. Liberation of the Syrian people is a bonus, but the main aim is to create an Islamist state in all or part of the country. Failing that, they hope to at least establish a strategic base for the organization’s remnants across the border in Iraq, and create a regional headquarters where mujahideen can enjoy a safe haven. If al-Qaeda continues to play an increasingly important role in the rebellion, then a post-Assad government will be indebted to the tribes and regions allied to the Jabhat. Failing to honor the Jabhat’s future requests, assuming Assad falls, could see a continuation of conflict in Syria.

Thus far, Washington seems reluctant to weigh heavily into this issue. In May 2012, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta publicly accepted al-Qaeda’s presence in Syria (Guardian). And in July, the State Department’s counterterrorism chief, Daniel Benjamin, rather incredulously suggested that the United States will simply ask the FSA to reject al-Qaeda. The unspoken political calculation among policymakers is to get rid of Assad first—weakening Iran’s position in the region—and then deal with al-Qaeda later.

But the planning to minimize al-Qaeda’s likely hold over Syrian tribes and fighters must begin now as the Obama administration ramps up its support to rebel groups (Reuters). Of course, these preparations should also include efforts to locate and control Assad’s chemical weapons. The months ahead will not be easy.

http://www.cfr.org/syria/al-qaedas-specter-syria/p28782

Islamic State in Iraq and Syria

Authors: Zachary Laub, Online Writer/Editor, and Jonathan Masters, Deputy Editor
Updated: August 8, 2014

Introduction

Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a predominantly Sunni jihadist group, seeks to sow civil unrest in Iraq and the Levant with the aim of establishing a caliphate—a single, transnational Islamic state based on sharia. The group emerged in the ashes of the U.S.-led invasion to oust Saddam Hussein as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), and the insurgency that followed provided it with fertile ground to wage a guerrilla war against coalition forces and their domestic allies.

 

After a U.S. counterterrorism campaign and Sunni efforts to maintain local security in what was known as the Tribal Awakening, AQI violence diminished from its peak in 2006–2007. But since the withdrawal of U.S. forces in late 2011, the group has increased attacks on mainly Shiite targets in what is seen as an attempt to reignite conflict between Iraq’s Sunni minority and the Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Burgeoning violence in 2013 left nearly eight thousand civilians dead, making it Iraq’s bloodiest year since 2008, according to the United Nations. Meanwhile, in 2012 the group adopted its new moniker, ISIS (sometimes translated as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL) as an expression of its broadened ambitions as its fighters have crossed into neighboring Syria to challenge both the Assad regime and secular and Islamist opposition groups there. By June 2014, the group’s fighters had routed the Iraqi military in the major cities of Fallujah and Mosul and established territorial control and administrative structures on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border.

Origins

The insurgent group was launched by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, an Arab of Jordanian descent, and flourished in the sectarian tensions that followed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Zarqawi had commanded volunteers in Herat, Afghanistan, before fleeing to northern Iraq in 2001. There he joined with Ansar al-Islam (Partisans of Islam), a militant Kurdish separatist movement, for whom he led the group’s Arab contingent. Analysts say this group, not al-Qaeda, was the precursor to AQI.

Ahead of the 2003 invasion, U.S. officials made a case before the UN Security Council linking Zarqawi’s group with Osama bin Laden, though some experts say it wasn’t until October 2004 that Zarqawi vowed obedience to the al-Qaeda leader. The U.S. State Department designated AQI a foreign terrorist organization that same month. “For al-Qaeda, attaching its name to Zarqawi’s activities enabled it to maintain relevance even as its core forces were destroyed [in Afghanistan] or on the run,” wrote Brian Fishman, a counterterrorism fellow at the New America Foundation.

According to a 2011 report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Zarqawi developed a four-pronged strategy [PDF] to defeat the coalition: isolate U.S. forces by targeting its allies; discourage Iraqi collaboration by targeting government infrastructure and personnel; target reconstruction efforts through high-profile attacks on civilian contractors and aid workers; and draw the U.S. military into a Sunni-Shiite civil war by targeting Shiites.

The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), the transitional government established by the United States and its coalition partners, made two decisions early in the U.S.-led occupation that are often cited as having fed the insurgency. The CPA’s first orderbanned members of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath party from government positions (so-called “de-Baathification”); its second order disbanded the Iraqi army and security services, creating hundreds of thousands of new coalition enemies, many of them armed Sunnis.

“For al-Qaeda, attaching its name to Zarqawi’s activities enabled it to maintain relevance even as its core forces were destroyed [in Afghanistan] or on the run.” —Brian Fishman, New America Foundation

AQI’s fighters were drawn initially from Zarqawi’s networks [PDF] in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and later merged with recruits from Syria, Iraq, and its neighbors. The group’s makeup became predominantly Iraqi by 2006, the Washington Post reported. But while the group peaked in 2006 and 2007 at the height of Iraq’s sectarian civil war—which AQI helped foment—its ranks were diminished by a counterterrorism campaign by U.S. Special Operations Forces and the U.S.-backed Sahwa, or Sunni Awakening movement.

Leadership

Osama bin Laden and Zawahiri believed AQI’s indiscriminate attacks on fellow Muslims would erode public support for al-Qaeda in the region, and in July 2005 they questioned Zarqawi’s strategy in written correspondence. Fishman said the relationship collapsed when Zarqawi ignored al-Qaeda instructions to stop attacking Shiite cultural sites.

A U.S. air strike that killed Zarqawi in June 2006 marked a victory for U.S. and Iraqi intelligence and a turning point for AQI. In its aftermath, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, an Egyptian-born explosives expert and former Zawahiri confidant, emerged as AQI’s new leader. In October 2006, Masri adopted the alias Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) to increase the group’s local appeal, which suffered just as Zawahiri had feared, and embody its territorial ambitions; it later came to be known as ISIS, reflecting its broadened ambitions as instability in neighboring Syria after the 2011 uprising there created new opportunities to exploit.

ISIS is currently led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, also known as Abu Du’a. The U.S. government believes he resides in Syria.

Funding

Supporters in the region, including those based in Jordan, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, are believed to have provided the bulk of past funding. Iran has also financed AQI, crossing sectarian lines, as Tehran saw an opportunity to challenge the U.S. military presence in the region, according to the U.S. Treasury and documents confiscated in 2006 from Iranian Revolutionary Guards operatives in northern Iraq. In early 2014, Iran offered to join the United States in offering aid to the Iraqi government to counter al-Qaeda gains in Anbar province.

The bulk of ISIS’s financing, experts say, comes from sources such as smuggling, extortion, and other crime. ISIS has relied in recent years on funding and manpower from internal recruits [PDF]. Even prior to ISIS’s takeover of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, in June 2014, the group extorted taxes from businesses small and large, netting upwards of $8 million a month, according to some estimates.

Staying Power

Heavy-handed actions taken by Maliki to consolidate power in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal have alienated much of the Sunni minority, and ISIS has since exploited the “failed social contract,” said former CFR press fellow Ned Parker. Maliki’s Shiite-dominated government was reluctant to integrate Awakening militias into the national security forces, and critics say he has persecuted Sunni political rivals and stoked sectarian polarization for political gain.

Sunnis who felt marginalized by the Maliki government began protesting for reforms in Anbar province in December 2012, and prominent Shiite clerics such as the Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani and Moqtada al-Sadr acknowledged the legitimacy of their grievances, Parker wrote. According to a report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service [PDF], there were roughly a dozen days in 2012 on which ISIS executed multi-city attacks that killed at least twenty-five Iraqis. On at least four of those days, coordinated attacks left more than a hundred Iraqis dead.

In April 2013, Iraqi security forces raided a protest camp at al-Hawijah, provoking an escalation in Sunni militancy. Car bombings and suicide attacks intensified, with coordinated attacks regularly targeting Shiite markets, cafes, and mosques. In 2013, 7,818 civilians (including police) were killed in acts of terrorism and violence, more than double the 2012 death toll, according to United Nations figures. An additional 17,891 were injured, making 2013 Iraq’s bloodiest year since 2008. At the end of 2013, security forces sought to clear a protest camp in Ramadi. The move provoked an uprising in which security forces pulled out of the city as well as nearby Fallujah, and ISIS moved to fill the void.

Meanwhile, the civil war in neighboring Syria has drawn Sunni jihadists into the rebellion against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, which is dominated by the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

While al-Qaeda-linked groups in Syria have fought among themselves and with the secular opposition, the Free Syrian Army signed a truce with ISIS in late September, an acknowledgment of their efficacy on the battlefield. But divisions within the Islamist opposition camp remain stark.

ISIS declared a merger with Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda affiliate that has greater indigenous legitimacy in Syria, in April 2013. But Zawahiri, who succeeded bin Laden as head of so-called “core al-Qaeda,” annulled the merger, ruling that Baghdadi’s group’s operations be limited to Iraq. Baghdadi rejected Zawahiri’s ruling and questioned his authority, his group’s pledge of fealty to al-Qaeda notwithstanding. Various rival Islamist militant groups coalesced in late 2013 as the Mujahedeen Army with the common goal of forcing ISIS to cede territory and leave Syria.

At odds with al-Qaeda’s aims, ISIS has since expanded its territorial control, establishing a “de facto state in the borderlands of Syria and Iraq” that exhibits some of the traditional markers of sovereignty, note Douglas A. Ollivant and Fishman. Beyond fielding a militia, it provides limited services and administers its ultraconservative brand of justice. Much of Anbar province has remained outside the central government’s authority since January 2014, and in mid-2014, a Sunni insurgency wrested control of Mosul and its environs after the predominantly Shiite army, hobbled by desertions andcronyism, retreated overnight. ISIS is at the vanguard of the insurgency, but the tactical alliances it has formed with non-jihadi Sunnis, including former members of the Ba’athist regime, have led analysts and policymakers to question how long it can rule over a population concerned by ISIS’s extremism.

The takeovers highlighted Baghdad’s weakness: In Fallujah, Maliki called on Sunni tribesmen to resist ISIS, and in Mosul, which had been considered a model for the surge and Awakening, he called on the Kurdish security forces, the peshmerga, to do the same. Maliki has also mobilized Shiite militias implicated in sectarian killings, and Iraqi forces are accused of indiscriminate airstrikes. Meanwhile, ISIS gains in the country’s north set back the peshmerga and have created a humanitarian crisis for thousands of Iraqi Christians and Yezidis, who are among religious and ethnic minorities targeted by ISIS.

Insurgents’ consolidation of territorial control is a concern for the United States, which believes such areas outside of state authority may become safe havens for those jihadis with ambitions oriented toward the “far enemy”—the West. The Obama administration has responded to the regional resurgence by increasing the CIA’s support for the Maliki government, including assistance to elite counterterrorism units that report directly to the prime minister, and providing Hellfire missiles and surveillance drones. After Iraqi forces retreated from Mosul, the insurgents who routed them released more than one thousand prisoners and picked up troves of U.S.-supplied matériel.

http://www.cfr.org/iraq/islamic-state-iraq-syria/p14811

 

 

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