The ISIS’ Top Line: $2 Million In Daily Revenue From “Oil Sales, Extortion, Taxes And Smuggling”

A few days ago when we commented, somewhat in jest, on the seemingly impressive strategic planning behind the Islamic State jihadists becoming a “commodities trading powerhouse” (when it was revealed that ISIS had sold the grain it had stolen from the Itaqi government back to the government), we described just how well-versed in the ways of the modern world ISIS was: “from quickly taking control of (i.e., robbing) a central bank, to capturing the latest and greatest in US military equipment, to staging an amazing blitz-campaign that has resulted in the creation of a caliphate and captured the bulk of northern Iraq and a third of Syria including all of the former country’s oil fields, to even having glossy year end annual reports, one would almost be forgiven in assuming that some vastly more strategic minds are behind what on paper at least would be a far more disorganized force.”
Now, thanks to Bloomberg we can quantify this particular strategy, and put top-line numbers with the ISIS faces, so to speak: “The Islamic State, which now controls an area of Iraq and Syria larger than the U. K., may be raising more than $2 million dollars a day in revenue from oil sales, extortion, taxes and smuggling, according to U. S. intelligence officials and anti-terrorism finance experts.“
In other words, a well-greased government machine, and not only that but one which has an infinitely greater net worth than the US, because with a net worth of some $2 billion (and rising by $2 million daily), the Islamic State has a “worth” of some $17 trillion more than the United States, which instead of equity is funded entirely through debt, and ever more debt, thanks to the ongoing devaluation of the world’s reserve currency.
Some more on how ISIS became the world’s first self-contained, and funded, jihadist entity:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 08/25/2014

Creepy Mission: Obama “Lays Groundwork For Air Strikes” In Syria Next

What’s the opposite of ‘limited’ air-strikes? As The WSJ reports, The Pentagon is preparing to send surveillance aircraft, including drones, into Syrian airspace to gather intelligence on Islamist targets, laying the groundwork for a possible expansion of the limited U. S. military air campaign beyond Iraq, senior U. S. officials said. The ‘Nobel-Peace-Prize-Winner-In-Chief’ appears to have suddenly gone full hawk-tard – one wonders which little birdy whispered in his ear that, with the Fed pulling out, the whole ponzi is up unless the US undertakes a populist deficit-bursting war…

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 08/25/2014

The ‘Sunni Turn’ Against The ‘Shiite Crescent’: How The Strategic Stupidity Of Washington And Its Allies Created ISIS

The Islamic State in Syria (ISIS) is being touted as the newest ‘threat’ to the American homeland: hysterics have pointed to Chicago as the locus of their interest, and we are told by everyone from the President on down that if we don’t attack them – i.e. go back into Iraq (and even venture into Syria) to root them out – they’ll soon show up on American shores.
How is this supposed to work? Well, you see, that monster who beheaded James Foley had a British accent, and there are reports of more than a few Brits (and Americans) traveling to Syria to fight on behalf of ISIS. So these jihadi ‘internationalists’ could always just fly back to either Britain or the US, where another 9/11 would shortly be in the works.
Let’s put aside the FBI statement that, while Americans abroad may be in some unspecified degree of danger, ISIS represents ‘no credible threat’ to the continental United States. If we take the ISIS-threatens-us-at-home war propaganda seriously we have to believe Western law enforcement agencies, with all the tools at their command – including near total surveillance of online and telephonic communications worldwide – have no idea what dubious characters have traveled to Syria via, say, New York or London, and would in any case be powerless to prevent their return.
In short, we have to invade yet another country (or two) because our own post-9/11 security arrangements are virtually nonexistent – in spite of having spent untold billions on building them up.
Can that really be true?

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on August 25, 2014

Directed History of a Phony War?

Islamic State threat ‘beyond anything we’ve seen’: Pentagon … The sophistication, wealth and military might of Islamic State militants represent a major threat to the United States that may surpass that once posed by al Qaeda, U. S. military leaders said on Thursday. “They are an imminent threat to every interest we have, whether it’s in Iraq or anywhere else,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon. Hagel’s assessment of Islamic State, which gained strength during Syria’s civil war and swept into northern Iraq earlier this summer, sounded a note of alarm several days after the group posted a video on social media showing one of its fighters beheading an American hostage kidnapped in Syria. – Reuters
Dominant Social Theme: The threat of the Islamic State is truly an existential one. The world is now faced with the specter of nuclear destruction based on religious motivations.
Free-Market Analysis: The talk coming out of Washington is grim, as this short news analysis by Reuters shows. In only a month or two, an obscure insurgency making trouble in Iraq has turned into an existential Western threat.
Just read: Hagel says “IS” is an “imminent threat to every interest we have.” The speed with which IS has emerged and been so grimly acknowledged is, well … breathtaking.

This post was published at The Daily Bell on August 22, 2014

McCain gets more support for hawkish plan for Islamic State, but will Obama follow?

Chris Wallace reports for Fox News. He reports: Sen. John McCain, one of Congress’ most hawkish members, called on President Obama Sunday to show greater leadership in the international fight to eliminate Islamic State and to present a more comprehensive plan to eliminate such terror groups in the Middle East. (Image: John McCain)
‘The president has to articulate the challenge and what we need to do to meet it,’ McCain, R-Ariz., a member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, told ‘Fox News Sunday.’ ‘That’s what has to be explained to the American people. And I think they will follow.’
His remarks follow the startling rise of Islamic State in northeast Syria through northern Iraq, and, most recently, the group’s beheading of American journalist James Foley — allegedly in retaliation for U. S. airstrikes in Iraq.

This post was published at GotGoldReport on Sunday, August 24, 2014

What Really Happened in Benghazi?

Why are officials in high places, from the former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, David Petraeus to the former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton (and now the current Secretary of State, John Kerry) either refusing to testify, or being blocked from testifying in a congressional hearing aimed at finding out what really happened on September 11, 2012, when 4 US diplomats, including US Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed during the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya? CBS news provides a comprehensive timeline of the events, as they unfolded and the US responses as officially reported. However, mounting evidence shows there’s much more at stake here, and those at the top have strong motives to keep it covered up. As CNBC reports in the clip below, “Benghazi is about the NSC directing an operation …. that takes arms and men and puts them into Syria in the guise of the Free Syrian Army.”

Read more …