As western countries ramp up strikes against ISIS's de-facto capital of Raqqa, Syria, the terrorist group is looking to Libya as a potential back-up option at which to base its operations, according to The New York Times.
While ISIS (also known as the Islamic State) has other affiliates throughout Africa and the Middle East that have pledged their allegiance to its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the group's branch in Sirte is the only one that ISIS central leadership directly controls.
The Wall Street Journal reports that ISIS leaders in Libya have reportedly adopted a slogan that reflects Sirte's heightened profile within the jihadist organization: "Sirte will be no less than Raqqa."
The Sirte affiliate is also much closer to western Europe than ISIS's territory in Syria and Iraq:
Islamic State militants are establishing a dangerous foothold in Libya as the terror network comes under increasing pressure from the U.S.-led military coalition in Iraq and Syria.
The militants are taking advantage of the chaos that grew after Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was ousted and killed in a 2011 revolution as well as a declining Western presence in the country.
U.S. plans to help rebuild Libya after Gadhafi largely fell to the wayside amid growing violence and the 2012 terror attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
It has been widely reported and verified that ISIS is selling hundreds of millions of dollars worth of stolen oil in Turkey, yet the mainstream media and Obama have remained silent on the issue. Barack Obama is aware that Turkey is buying oil from ISIS, but an acknowledgement from the... #crudeoil
There are 7.2 billion people on this planet but the United States fears only one man — Vladimir Putin. That’s because on virtually every front of the new Cold War, the Russian president is walloping the collective challenge of the West. Fear can make you do strange things — for the second year running, Forbes magazine has named Putin as the world’s most powerful person.
It is said about the Russians that they take a long time to saddle their horses, but they ride awfully fast. After patiently nursing the collapsed Russian economy back to health from 1999 to 2007, Putin started pushing back against the western encirclement of his country. In Syria, Crimea and Ukraine, the West has faced humiliating setbacks and melted away at his approach. In the high-stakes game of energy, it will be Russian — not western — pipelines that will dominate the Eurasian landmass.
Russia has received additional intelligence confirming that oil from deposits controlled by Islamic State is moved through Turkey on an industrial scale, said Vladimir Putin. President Recep Erdogan said he will resign if this is confirmed.
Em 2011, Barack Obama comandou uma intervenção de aliados contra a Líbia, sem consultar o Congresso dos EUA. Em agosto passado, depois de um ataque com gás sarín em Ghouta, subúrbio de Damasco, estava pronto para ordenar ataque aéreo de norte-americanos e aliados, dessa vez para castigar o governo da Síria por, supostamente, ter infringido uma “linha vermelha” que Obama demarcara em 2012 sobre uso de armas químicas.
Então, faltando menos de dois dias para o planejado ataque, Obama anunciou que pediria a aprovação do Congresso para a intervenção. O ataque foi adiado para que o Congresso realizasse audiências e, na sequência, foi cancelado, quando Obama aceitou a oferta, por Assad, de entregar seu arsenal químico, em negociação intermediada pela Rússia.
Por que Obama adiou e depois cancelou o ataque à Síria, se não teve cuidado algum no momento de atacar a Líbia?
A resposta está na disputa dentro do governo Obama, entre os que queriam fazer valer a “linha vermelha” e os líderes militares que entendiam que ir à guerra seria ao mesmo tempo injustificável e potencialmente desastroso.
A mudança, em Obama, começou em Porton Down, o laboratório que a Defesa britânica mantém em Wiltshire, Inglaterra. A inteligência britânica obtivera uma amostra do gás sarín usado no ataque do dia 21, e análises demonstraram que o gás não era o mesmo que se sabia que existia no arsenal químico sírio. A mensagem de que os sírios não mentiam e que o caso contra o exército de Assad logo seria desmontado, chegou rapidamente aos chefes do Estado-Maior dos EUA. O relato britânico fez aumentar as dúvidas dentro do Pentágono; os chefes militares já preparavam para avisar Obama de que seus planos para atacar com mísseis e bombas a infraestrutura síria levaria a guerra muito mais ampla no Oriente Médio. Consequência da notícia recém-chegada, os militares norte-americanos apressaram-se a levar ao presidente mais aquele alerta de cuidado, o qual, na visão dos militares, levou o presidente a cancelar o ataque.
Há muitos meses os altos comandantes militares e a comunidade de inteligência preocupa-se com o papel da guerra na convivência com os vizinhos da Síria, especialmente o papel da Turquia. Sabia-se que o Primeiro-Ministro Recep Erdoğan estava apoiando a Frente al-Nusra, grupo jihadista incorporado à oposição rebelde, e a outros grupos rebeldes islamistas.
Sabíamos que havia alguns, no governo turco, disse-me um ex-alto funcionário da inteligência dos EUA, com acesso à inteligência atual, que acreditavam que poderiam enredar Assad, provocando um ataque com gás sarín dentro da Síria – o que forçaria Obama a fazer valer a ameaça da ‘linha vermelha.
Os altos chefes militares também sabiam que o que o governo Obama andava dizendo, que só o exército sírio tinha acesso ao sarín, era falso. As comunidades de inteligência norte-americana e britânica já sabiam, desde a primavera de 2013, que algumas unidades rebeldes na Síria estavam desenvolvendo armas químicas. Dia 20/6, analistas da Agência de Inteligência da Defesa dos EUA [orig.DIA] distribuíram documento altamente secreto de cinco páginas, dos “pontos de conversa” [(orig. talking points): são os itens que podem ser falados à imprensa e discutidos em público e os que não podem], para atualizar o vice-diretor da Agência DIA, David Shedd, no qual se lê que a Frente al-Nusra mantinha célula de produção de gás sarín; o programa, dizia o documento, era:
(...) o plano mais avançado para uso de sarín desde o esforço da al-Qaeda antes de 11/9. (Segundo um consultor do Departamento de Defesa, a inteligência dos EUA sabia, há muito tempo, que a al-Qaeda estava trabalhando em testes com armas químicas, e tem um vídeo de um de seus testes, com cachorros).
O documento da Inteligência da Defesa prosseguia:
Antes, o foco da comunidade de inteligência se mantivera quase completamente fixo sobre as armas químicas sírias; agora já sabemos dos esforços da Frente al-Nusra para produzir suas próprias armas químicas (...) A relativa liberdade de operação da Frente al-Nusra dentro da Síria nos leva a estimar que, no futuro, será difícil conter as ambições desse grupo.
Terroist group Islamic State earns millions of dollars selling oil on the black market in Turkey, Iraqi MP and former national security adviser, Mowaffak al Rubaie told RT. He also revealed that wounded terrorists are being treated in Turkish hospitals. Trends Islamic State, Syria-Turkey
“In the last eight months ISIS has managed to sell ... $800 million dollars worth of oil on the black market of Turkey. This is Iraqi oil and Syrian oil, carried by trucks from Iraq, from Syria through the borders to Turkey and sold ...[at] less than 50 percent of the international oil price,” Mowaffak al Rubaie said in an interview with RT.
“Now this either get consumed inside, the crude is refined on Turkish territory by the Turkish refineries, and sold in the Turkish market. Or it goes to Jihan and then in the pipelines from Jihan to the Mediterranean and sold to the international market.”
In June of 2014, the SCF Altai (an oil tanker) arrived at Ashkelon port. Hours later, the first shipment of Kurdish pipeline oil was being unloaded in Israel. “Securing the first sale of oil from its independent pipeline is crucial for the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) as it seeks greater financial independence from war-torn Iraq,” Reuters noted at the time, adding that “the new export route to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, designed to bypass Baghdad's federal pipeline system, has created a bitter dispute over oil sale rights between the central government and the Kurds.”
A week earlier, the SCF Altai received the Kurdish oil in a ship-to-ship transfer from the The United Emblem off the coast of Malta. The United Emblem loaded the crude at Ceyhan where a pipeline connects the Turkish port to Kurdistan.
The Kurds’ move to sell crude independent of Baghdad stems from a long-running budget dispute. Without delving too far into the details, Erbil is entitled to 17% of Iraqi oil revenue and in return, the KRG is supposed to transfer some 550,000 bpd to SOMO (Iraq’s state-run oil company). Almost immediately after the deal was struck late last year, Baghdad claimed the Kurds weren’t keeping up their end of the bargain and so, only a fraction of the allocated budget was sent to Erbil during the first five months of the year.
This was simply a continuation of a protracted disagreement between Erbil and Baghdad over how much of the state’s crude revenue should flow to the KRG. For its part, Iraq has threatened to sue anyone that buys independently produced Kurdish oil. For instance, when The United Kalavrvta - which left Ceyhan last June - prepared to dock in Galveston, Texas a month later, a SOMO official told Reuters that Iraq’s foreign legal team was “watching closely the movement of the vessel and [was] ready to target any potential buyer regardless of their nationality.”
You get the idea. Erbil wants a bigger piece of the pie, Baghdad doesn’t want to give it to them, and so some time ago, the KRG decided to simply cut the Iraqi government out and export crude on its own. The dispute is ongoing.
MUSIC is no longer played here and the first public beheadings have already taken place.
But this isn’t Iraq or Syria. In fact, this city is thousands of kilometres away on Europe’s doorstep — but Islamic State is fully in control.
Local radio stations blast the benefits of IS terror group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Islamic police stations are operating and commanders from Syria and Iraq are already on the ground.
Now fears are growing that Sirte, a coastal town on the Mediterranean Sea, could become the next IS major stronghold as its leaders look for a “fallback option” away from the Middle East according to the New York Times.
Proof that the British political class hasn't learned anything after Iraq came with David Cameron's ludicrous assertion that there are 70,000 moderate rebels fighting in Syria. It was an outright fabrication to rank with Blair's sexed up dossier on Saddam's WMD, which the then prime minister asserted could be launched against Britain within 45 minutes.
We know Cameron's claim is fiction because as far back as 2012 the US Defense Intelligence Agency produced a classified intelligence report which identified that, "The Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and and AQI [al-Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria." This was a full two years before ISIS exploded across the region at the beginning of 2014.
The Prime Minister's assertion was made as part of an increasingly desperate attempt by him and his supporters to win support for British airstrikes which every military expert agrees will have no appreciable impact when it comes to defeating ISIS in Syria.
Make no mistake, crushing this menace must be the priority of all right-thinking people, with the only question one of how not if. It is a priority which makes the cognitive dissonance and contradictions that have underpinned the West's actions and policy towards the conflict in Syria all the more grievous, ensuring we have only helped to prolong the conflict and, with it, the ability of ISIS to operate, rather than the opposite. In this regard the equivalence that continues to be drawn between the secular government of Bashar al-Assad and this medieval death cult is not just fallacious it is utterly and wholly obscene.
No sentient being would compare the Syrian president to Nelson Mandela. But comparing him to Hitler is even less credible. He leads a secular government under which the rights of Syrian minorities are upheld and protected, a government that still enjoys the support of the majority of Syrians and a government whose survival in 2015 is indistinguishable from the country's survival. The alternative to Assad at this point - the only alternative - is Syria being turned into a mass grave of said minorities as it descends into an abyss of sectarian mass murder and slaughter that will make the status quo seem like child's play by comparison. The Assad government can be negotiated with, ISIS cannot, and as bad as anybody believes Assad is he is not in the business of planting bombs on passenger aircraft or sending death squads to massacre British tourists in Tunisia or civilians in Beirut, Paris and anywhere else.
Attributing the refugee crisis to Assad, or claiming the majority of civilians who've been killed have been killed by his military, comes to us straight from the regime change playbook. We heard the same propaganda in the run up to the war in Iraq in 2003 and also in the run-up to NATO's intervention in Libya in 2011. Both countries are now failed states as a direct consequence of our military intervention.
Making the same catastrophic mistake again would be a crime that history will not forgive.
Two French nationals suspected of wanting to join Islamic State training camps in Libya before heading to Syria were arrested in Tunisia in mid-November, according to an official at the Paris prosecutor's office.
It is the first case made public of potential French Islamic State recruits travelling to Libya instead of Syria, where hundreds of French citizens have already joined the ranks of the hardline group.
According to the official, the two men, aged 19 and 20, were arrested near Tunisia's southern border with Libya. They were handed over to French authorities on Nov. 13, the day of the Paris attacks that killed 130 people and claimed by Islamic State (IS).
North African oil producer Libya has slipped deeper into chaos with two rival governments, each backed by a multitude of armed factions, procrastinating over signing a previously negotiated agreement for a unity government.
This has allowed IS jihadists to take control of the city of Sirte and tighten their grip on central Libya, carrying out summary executions, beheadings and amputations, the United Nations said this month.
The official said the two men had said they wanted to train in Libya with the aim of fighting with Islamic State in Syria.
French officials have repeated for more than a year that they are concerned by events in Libya, warning that the political void in the north is creating favourable conditions for Islamist groups to regroup in the barren south of the country.
The United States is trying to implement a project to take control of Central Asia and ultimately all of the Eurasia landmass, an American political pundit says.
“To implement this project both Russia and China have to be destabilized, fragmented and converted into willing vassals of US imperialism,” Dennis Etler, a professor of Anthropology at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, told Press TV on Sunday.
Professor Etler made the remarks when asked to comment on former US national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski’s statement about the shooting down of a Russian fighter jet by Turkish fighter aircraft inside Syria on Tuesday.
Brzezinski told POLITICO in an interview on Friday that Russia would have reacted much more strongly if its warplane was shot down by the United States instead of Turkey.
“I think it was quite lucky the shoot-down in Turkey was not done by us. Because Putin’s ability to digest it would be much smaller,” Brzezinski said.
Em junho de 2014, o navio-petroleiro "SCF Altai" chegou ao porto de Ashkelon. Horas depois, o primeiro carregamento do oleoduto curdo estava sendo entregue em Israel. "Garantir essa primeira venda de petróleo de seu petroduto independente é crucial para o Governo Curdo Regional [ing. Kurdish Regional Government (KRG)], que procura maior independência financeira do Iraque destroçado pela guerra" – a agência Reuters observou à época, acrescentando que"a nova rota de exportação para o porto turco de Ceyhan, que visa a deixar de lado o sistema federal de oleodutos de Bagdá, criou amarga disputa pelos direitos de venda do petróleo entre o governo central e os curdos."
Uma semana antes o navio-petroleiro "SCF Altai" recebera petróleo curdo numa transferência navio-navio do petroleiroUnited Emblem ao largo da costa de Malta. O United Emblem carregara o cru no porto [turco] de Ceyhan, que é conectado por oleoduto ao Curdistão.
O movimento dos curdos para vender cru por vias independentes de Bagdá tem longa história de disputa por orçamento. Sem entrar em muitos detalhes, Erbil tem direito a 17% da renda do petróleo iraquiano e, em troca, o Governo Curdo Regional deve transferir cerca de 550 mil barris/dia à empresa SOMO (a empresa estatal iraniana de petróleo). Quase imediatamente depois de esse acordo ser firmado, no final do ano passado, Bagdá protestou, porque os curdos não estariam cumprindo a parte deles no trato; assim sendo, só uma fração do orçamento previsto foi paga a Erbil durante os cinco primeiros meses do ano.
Foi simplesmente uma continuação da velha rixa entre Erbil e Bagdá sobre a porcentagem da renda estatal do petróleo teria de ser paga ao Governo Curdo Regional. Por sua vez, o Iraque ameaçou processar qualquer um que compre petróleo da produção independente dos curdos. Por exemplo, quando o petroleiro "United Kalavrvta" – que partiu de Ceyhan em junho passado – preparava-se para atracar em Galveston, Texas, um mês depois, um funcionário da SOMO iraquiana disse à Agência Reuters que a equipe de advogados internacionais do Iraque estava "acompanhando de perto o movimento do navio e estava pronta para interpelar qualquer potencial comprador, independente da nacionalidade."
Vocês já entenderam. Erbil quer fatia maior do bolo, Bagdá não quer dar e, há algum tempo, o Governo Curdo Regional decidiu simplesmente excluir o governo iraquiano do circuito e exportar o petróleo por sua conta e risco. A disputa continua.
As world leaders gather in Paris this week to address climate change, they will labor under the shadow of recent attacks by Islamic State. Yet as they think about climate issues, they should remember that the connection between climate change and Islamic State — and more broadly, between climate change and political instability — is not just a coincidence. It may instead be the key reality of the 21st century.
The rise of IS was a direct result of the failure of the Syrian regime, as it was beset by urban uprisings in 2011. Yet those uprisings did not come out of nowhere, and were not merely inspired by protests in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. Syria was an increasingly prosperous country in the 1990s, with its various ethnic and religious groups working together in cities.
Yet between 2006 and 2009, Syria was crippled by its worst drought in modern history. A recent article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that this drought was not natural. Rather, hotter temperatures and the weakening of winds that bring moisture from the Mediterranean were likely the region’s reflection of rising greenhouse gas emissions, according to computer simulations.
Combined with poor water management and government neglect of farm conditions, the drought caused a collapse of farming in northeastern Syria. Seventy-five percent of farmers suffered total crop failure, and 80 percent of livestock died. Around 1.5 million farming families migrated to cities to look for work and food, joining millions of refugees from Palestine and Iraq. The added burden these refugees placed on Syria’s cities, and the distress of the farmers who lost their lands due to the drought, helped fuel the spread of rebellion against the Assad regime.
To be sure, climate change is never the single most important cause of conflict; it is what academics call a “structural threat.” Governments that can respond to such threats — because they have popular and elite support, have resources to respond to challenges, are willing to deploy those resources to distribute food and aid to the needy, and have diversified economies that can produce jobs — are not going to be shaken because of global warming. If we lived in a world where all regions were led by such governments, then climate change might be an economic burden and force changes in our lifestyle, but it would not bring the threat of state breakdown and civil war.
MISRATA, Libya—Even as foreign powers step up pressure against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the militant group has expanded in Libya and established a new base close to Europe where it can generate oil revenue and plot terror attacks.
Since announcing its presence in February in Sirte, the city on Libya’s Mediterranean coast has become the first that the militant group governs outside of Syria and Iraq. Its presence there has grown over the past year from 200 eager fighters to a roughly 5,000-strong contingent which includes administrators and financiers, according to estimates by Libyan intelligence officials, residents and activists in the area.
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