Financier Ziad Abdelnour: ISIS, Assad 'One and the Same'

Friday, 29 Aug 2014 08:18 PM

By Sean Piccoli

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The extremists of the Islamic State and the government of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad are a single, unified enemy, and must be fought as one on several fronts — with electronic and economic warfare, as well as military force, Wall Street financier Ziad Abdelnour told Newsmax TV on Friday.

Abdelnour told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner that the hackers who took down Syria's stock exchange on Tuesday, threatening to release stolen data, set a good example for the United States and other countries to follow. But he added, "This is not enough."

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"We're dealing with a dictator who killed 150,000 of his people," Abdelnour said of Assad. "He's working in cahoots with ISIS. They are on the same side of the court: Hezbollah, Syria, ISIS — all the same."

Hackers calling themselves Project Viridium took credit for the break-in and tweeted a threat to leak the Syrian exchange's proprietary data unless Assad "take[s] action against ISIS," Vice reported.

Although Syria and the group formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has seized Syrian and Iraqi territory, are presumed to be mutual enemies, Abdelnour said that they are, in fact, "one and the same," the state that sponsors terrorism, and the terror group with state ambitions.

Launching "cyber-warfare against the stock exchange is not enough," said Abdelnour. "We should go through every bank, and totally dismantle their methods of communication — both ISIS and Syria."

"I'm not talking about boots on the ground," he said. "I'm talking about effective attacks on cyber security, the banks, the oil fields, the food trucks, and on everything.

Abdelnour said that ISIS, for all of its radicalism, was highly pragmatic in targeting oil fields in Syria and Iraq for takeover — the better to help fund its operations. ISIS is now selling oil it seized from Syria back to the Assad government.

"Today is the age of commodities," said Abdelnour. "The one who controls the commodities runs everything. [ISIS] realized this."

And that's why every ISIS-controlled oil facility in both countries needs to be bombed, he said, amplifying comments he made last week on Fox News.

"You have to cripple them," said Abdelnour. "You can cripple them and cripple their resources."

He brushed aside any suggestion that destroying Syrian and Iraqi oil infrastructure would hurt the economies of those nations once legitimate governments regain control.

"In this country, we tend to analyze too much," said Abdelnour. "At the end of the day, the key right now is to win the war."

In ISIS, "We're not fighting an organization," he continued, "We're fighting a state that has $4 billion [in cash], that gets $2 million to $3 million a day from selling oil only — in addition to extortion, etc., around $15 million a day."

"We're talking about people who are saying the first 2,000 years were run by the Judeo-Christian civilization, now it's our turn," he said, adding, "They will ally with the devil, the Shia, the Russians, whoever. And mark my words … this is very, very dangerous."

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