I'm shocked to hear repeatedly from the Pentagon and others that airstrikes alone will not stop ISIS.
I think this nascent terrorist state crumbles pretty quickly with highly targeted air attacks on their troops, facilities, and especially their oil!
Bernard Kerik, who served as the U.S.-appointed interim interior minister for Iraq, just posted to his Huffington Post blog
a powerful exposé of the real dangers ISIS poses to the United States. Everyone should read this.
Lindsey Graham is right: ISIS is a threat to the U.S. homeland itself.
Why we are allowing the state to be born so easily perplexes me. While I agree with President Barack Obama that ground troops are off the table, airstrikes that cut into their financial resources would be the most efficacious way to stop them.
Right now the U.S. military has been targeting vehicles and artillery positions of ISIS, but in a limited fashion and in very targeted areas.
The United States should attack the real source of the Islamist group's strength: oil.
ISIS reportedly has earned tens of millions of dollars selling antiquities from territories it has taken control of in Syria and Iraq, and stole about $425 million from a bank it looted in Mosul.
But ISIS' "real upside lies in exploiting one precious commodity: oil," Fortune magazine reported on Monday.
According to Fortune
, ISIS seized oil fields in northeastern Syria last year and more recently took control of three more fields in Iraq, tapping into pipelines and oil storage facilities.
The terrorists fill tanker trucks with crude and transport it to Iraqi traders, offering the oil at the discounted rate of $26 a barrel. The magazine says these traders then resell it to Kurdish smugglers at a 100 percent increase.
ISIS is filling 100 trucks a day at close to $10,000 a pop. This totals about $1 million a day for ISIS.
"This is a very profitable business," a Kurdish intelligence officer told Fortune.
The U.S. military can take a major step in the fight against ISIS by bombing the sources of its oil revenue, including oil fields, transport vehicles, and storage facilities.
The Obama administration should also put pressure on Qatar or other Arab states that are funding ISIS. Outgoing Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has accused people in Qatar of openly funding the Sunni Muslim insurgents.
"I accuse them of inciting and encouraging the terrorist movements," he said. "I accuse them of supporting them politically and in the media, of supporting them with money and by buying weapons for them."
Maliki had also accused wealthy Saudis of aiding ISIS. But Saudi Arabia withdrew its ambassador from Qatar in March, and Qatar has been sidelined from the other Persian Gulf states because of its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, a group declared a "terrorist organization" by Saudi Arabia.
The United States should have significant influence on the government in Qatar, site of a U.S. air base.
Cutting off ISIS' oil revenue with targeted military strikes and turning the screws on its financial benefactors can achieve the short-term goal of stemming the advance of the ruthless extremist group.
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