This article originally appeared in Insurge Intelligence.
Britain’s secret ties to governments, firms behind ISIS oil sales
31 July 2015
Key allies in the US and UK led war on Islamic State (ISIS) are covertly financing the terrorist movement according to senior political sources in the region. US and British oil companies are heavily invested in the murky geopolitical triangle sustaining ISIS’ black market oil sales.
The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq and Turkish military intelligence have both supported secret ISIS oil smuggling operations and even supplied arms to the terror group, according to Kurdish, Iraqi and Turkish officials.
One British oil company in particular, Genel Energy, is contracted by the KRG to supply oil for a major Kurdish firm accused of facilitating ISIS oil sales to Turkey. The Kurdish firm has close ties to the Iraqi Kurdish government.
Genel operates in the KRG with the backing of the British government, and is also linked to a British parliamentary group with longstanding connections to both the British and KRG oil industries.
The relationship between British and Kurdish energy companies, and senior British politicians, raises questions about conflicts of interest — especially in the context of a ‘war on terror’ that is supposed to be targeting, not financing, the ‘Islamic State.’ […]
Michael M. Gunter, professor of political science at Tennessee Technological University, has published a new article in the Middle East Policy Journal which analyses the geostrategic concerns of Turkey and the U.S in the Middle East. It is available via Middle East Policy Journal,
The rise of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq as well as the ongoing insurgency of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and now peace negotiations with the Turkish government have empowered the Kurds and challenged the existing political map of the Middle East. On July 19, 2012, the previously quiescent Syrian Kurds —largely under the leadership of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), closely associated with the PKK — also suddenly emerged as a potential game changer in the Syrian civil war and what its aftermath might hold for the future of the Middle East. In an attempt to consolidate an increasingly desperate position, government troops were abruptly pulled out of the major Kurdish areas. The Kurds in Syria had suddenly become autonomous, a situation that also affected neighboring Turkey and the virtually independent KRG in Iraq. Indeed, the precipitous rise of the Kurds in Syria could become a factor in changing the artificial borders of the Middle East established after World War I by the notorious Sykes-Picot Agreement.
Professor Michael Gunter, secretary general of the EUTCC, has written a new opinion piece on US foreign policy towards the Kurdish issue, which we reproduce below:
THE STUPIDITY OF AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY
Although there can be no doubt that compared to most other countries in the world today and in the past, American foreign policy has been motivated by relative honesty and intelligence, currently there are several specifics in that policy that can only be characterized as sheer stupidity. The first point has to do with American foreign policy towards the horrific civil war in Syria. Although President Obama’s basic instinct not to enter another disastrous Middle Eastern war is sound, his administration’s continuing attempt to support increasingly non-existent moderate oppositionists against the Assad regime is at the best based on wishful thinking because with one exception (the Kurds) such moderates in Syria no longer exist.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)—now styling itself the Islamic State (IS)—has largely supplanted the moderates with the exception of the Kurds who have been battling the Islamists for more than two years. However, the United States opposes the Kurds because of a misguided belief that they are dividing the moderate opposition by insisting on Kurdish autonomy and probably even more are connected to the Democratic Union Party (PYD) that is largely in control of the Kurdish areas but is an off-shoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which the United States considers to be a terrorist movement. While the PKK link is real and largely explains the PYD’s success in fending off ISIS so far, the PYD is also a moderate secular movement and thus is everything the United States should want to support. This is even more so because for more than a year now, Turkey has been pursuing a serious peace process with the PKK. Thus, if the U.S. NATO ally Turkey is now dealing with the PKK/PYD, there is no further reason for the United States to shun it. American foreign policy has simply failed to catch up with the times and is thus shooting itself in the foot.
September 30, 2013
American University, School of International Service, Center of Peacebuilding and Development
Panel discussion presentation:
By Saif Badrakhan, Kurdistan National Congress- KNK, USA Representative
The future of the Kurds, Western Kurdistan and the war in Syria
The 50 million Kurds live on their ancestral land Kurdistan for more than 5000 years. The Kurdish nation has been occupied and divided between four countries by the victories allies after the World War I. This criminal unjust action created
a historical tragedy for the Kurdish people. The countries of Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq cooperated and used forced cultural assimilation, forced emigration,
massacres and genocide in the last 90 years to assimilate and eliminate the Kurdish nation, but failed to accomplish their colonial aims.
Below we have collated a number of articles from the last two weeks, some of which we added also to our news briefings, which cover the West’s march towards war in Syria and analyse the latest struggles for Rojava’s survival within these latest developments.
Al-Qaeda: A Force for “Good”
9 August 2013 / Rudaw
Trouble is ominously brewing in the once-quiet, northeastern Kurdish corner of Syria where violent terrorist groups affiliated with al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusrah and Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) have begun cold-bloodedly attacking the Kurds. Bloodthirsty beheadings, reminiscent of Nick Berg, the American cruelly carved up in Iraq in 2004, horrifically bloat today’s Kurdish news. Kurds are alarmed. Americans should be too. But America is closing its eyes—and closing its embassies around the world in the face of Al-Qaeda inspired terrorist threats. Puzzled Kurds have asked me why America is so indifferent to the Kurdish beheadings, especially when these same “disciples of enforced ignorance” attacked Americans only a decade ago. I wonder too, and paraphrase Heraclitus who said, “Character is destiny,” and tell them: “Geography is destiny.”
New piece by EUTCC secretary general Michael M Gunter [updated on 3 September with revisions from earlier piece, To Bomb or Not to Bomb]:
WHY THE UNITED STATES SHOULD NOT BOMB SYRIA
On August 21, 2013 the Syrian regime apparently used chemical weapons against the opposition in Ghouta, an eastern suburb of Damascus, killing anywhere from 500-1,300 people, the numbers vary according to U.S. intelligence reports made public. While the Assad regime has long had a great deal of innocent blood on its hand and now may be guilty of using chemical weapons, this is not a sufficient reason for the United States and its Western allies to bomb Syria. Indeed, the United States has neither an intelligent entry or exit plan. In the first place, however, we are not yet even certain the Syrian regime actually used these weapons. U.S. intelligence on these matters has erred and lied to the world before.
For example, in 1998 the United States bombed a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan claiming that Sudan had supplied al-Qaeda with chemical weapons that had been used in its attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Later we learned that the intelligence supposedly implicating Sudan was incorrect. Similarly in the run up to the war that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003 and whose murders and repercussions are still being felt a decade later, the United States falsely claimed that it had incontrovertible intelligence that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, which justified attacking. It turned out that U.S. intelligence was wrong again or simply lied to justify going to war.
[updated – 30 August 2013]
European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH) Statement on Syria and potential military strikes:
30 August 2013
AN ALLEGED CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY SHOULD NOT BE PUNISHED BY AN ILLEGAL USE OF FORCE
The European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH), with members in 18 European countries, is absolutely opposed to the proposed use of illegal force by Western powers against the Syrian regime.
The US government is leading a call for military action against Syria which will of necessity kill civilians, with the ostensible purpose of showing the Syrian government that by killing large numbers of civilians (allegedly with chemical weapons) they have crossed a “red line” and must be punished.
American-based think tank The Brookings Institution is holding an event this afternoon in Washington DC entitled ‘A Conversation with Turkey’s Kurdish Leadership’. BDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtas will be speaking, along with Ahmed Turk of the DTK:
We will bring you further information on the outcome of the event when we receive it. Until then, for further information on the event, follow this link.