All publicly available intelligence surrounding the deliberate and illegal shoot-down of the Russian SU-34 fighter-bomber over Syrian airspace on November 24 by planes of the Turkish Air Force indicate the action was pre-meditated and carefully so. The relevant question is by whom and for what end or ends? The Russian Prime Minister has pointed to Turkey’s losses from the destruction by the Russian bombing campaign of the last days of the illegal oil ISIS terrorists were smuggling from seized oilfields in Mosul. That may be only the tip of a very big iceberg.
First it’s important to look closely at Turkey’s role in facilitating the illegal oil smuggling that is reportedly the major funding source for IS terror gangs in Syria and Iraq. In August in an article I wrote for this website I documented the fact that the Harvard-educated 35-year-old son of Turkish President Erdogan, Bilal Erdogan, was up to his eyeballs in smuggling stolen Iraqi oil via Turkey to select markets. That illegal oil finances the major activities of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, a point of which Russia’s Putin gently reminded US President Obama and others at the recent Antalya, Turkey G-20 meeting. Fourteen months of alleged US bombings of ISIS targets never once went after the oil chain from Mosul and other ISIS occupied sites through Turkey onto tankers owned by Bilal Erdogan’s tanker companies.
Erdogan’s Energy Nepotism
Gürsel Tekin vice-president of the Turkish Republican Peoples’ Party, CHP, declared in a recent Turkish media interview, “President Erdoğan claims that according to international transportation conventions there is no legal infraction concerning Bilal’s illicit activities and his son is doing an ordinary business with the registered Japanese companies, but in fact Bilal Erdoğan is up to his neck in complicity with terrorism, but as long as his father holds office he will be immune from any judicial prosecution.” Bilal Erdoğan’s maritime companies own special wharfs in Beirut and Ceyhan ports transporting ISIS’ smuggled crude oil in Japan-bound oil tankers. The Turkish opposition parties also accuse the bellicose President Erdoğan of whitewashing the scandals concerning Bilal’s involvement in transporting Iraqi oil making ISIS the wealthiest global terrorist group. Tekin adds that BMZ Ltd, Bilal’s maritime company doing the oil trades for ISIS, is “a family business and president Erdoğan’s close relatives hold shares in BMZ and they misused public funds and took illicit loans from Turkish banks.”
The ties of the Erdogan government to the ISIS oil operations were explicitly referenced in a November 25 press statement by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev who stated, “Turkey’s actions basically made it clear that the country protects ISIS. This is hardly surprising, considering the reports that certain Turkish officials have a vested interest in cheap oil supplies coming from the Islamic State.”
The brazen actions of the Erdogan cabal became a bit more ridiculous and transparent the day following Turkey’s unwarranted and unprecedented downing of the Russian bomber and rescue helicopter. Turkey’s Prime Minister, Erdogan intimus Ahmet Davutoğlu, named the son-in-law of the President, 37-year-old US-educated Berat Albayrak to be Turkish Energy Minister, which would make the new Energy Minister and the oily Bilal Erdogan brothers-in-law. That keeps everything firmly in the family to be sure.
Erdogan a ‘Lone Assassin’?
That the tyrannical Erdogan and his Air Force and intelligence services were directly implicated in the shoot-down of the Russian SU-34 is not in dispute. The more relevant question, however, is whether Erdogan and his government acted as a “lone assassin” so to speak. Here several murky questions present themselves.
It is documented that Israel is deeply implicated in working with ISIS in Syria, particularly in the Golan Heights region where Genie Energy, a company tied to Dick Cheney and Jacob Lord Rothschild, recently claimed it had discovered a huge oil find in Israeli seized land in the Syrian Golan Heights. A recent UN report detailed eye-witness accounts of Israeli IDF soldiers with ISIS terrorists. ISIS has also conspicuously ignored attacks on Israel.
Chris Dalby, an analyst with Oilprice.com, wrote in September, 2014, “The 11 oil fields that IS controls in Iraq and Syria have made it a largely independent financial machine. Reports show that IS-controlled fields in Iraq produce between 25,000 and 40,000 barrels of oil per day, at an estimated value of approximately $1.2 million, before being smuggled out to Iran, Kurdistan, Turkey and Syria.”
The Israeli daily, Haaretz reported that since June, 2014 Israel has imported as much as 75% of its oil needs from Iraq. But it is supposedly from the Kurdish area of Iraq. The Iraqi government claimed that the oil belongs to Iraq and can only be sold through Iraq’s Petroleum Ministry. Conveniently enough for Israel, the eruption of ISIS terror and their taking of the oil region of Mosul near the Kurdish area, and ISIS’ seizing other Iraqi oil fields after June 2014 robbed the Iraqi Baghdad government of major oil revenues, making the spread if ISIS far more easy.
According to Falastin News Palestine, ISIS has seized sizable stocks of crude oil extracted from oil fields during the past few months. Before the most recent Russian bombing sorties targeting ISIS oil facilities in Syria, ISIS was exporting Iraqi crude oil to Turkey refineries routed through Kurdish region. They report further that Iraqi oil is also being supplied to Israel via Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Ceyhan. Israel and Turkish companies are transporting the oil to the borders using the routes controlled by ISIS.
The London Financial Times quoting a US Treasury official, reported that the government of Bashar al Assad, via middlemen, has been forced to buy its own Syrian oil from ISIS.
Now in one of the most absurd developments in an absurd Washington war against Bashar al Assad, the US Treasury’s financial warfare unit, the aptly-named Department of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, through its acting director, Treasury Under Secretary Adam Szubin, on November 25, announced it was imposing new sanctions on the Assad regime for…buying ISIS oil, which of course is Syrian and Iraqi oil which ISIS stole beginning in 2014. Szubin, in one of the richer absurd arguments of Washington of late cited, “ongoing government of Syria ties to ISIL,” their preferred name for ISIS, as the reason.
So for the first time perhaps since the 1950’s a plane of a NATO member, Turkey, in violation of all NATO procedure, has deliberately shot down a non-threatening plane of Russia in a confrontation that easily could escalate into a world war. The remarkable thing to watch now is what is coming out of Washington and London. Washington rushed to verify the since-exposed Turkish lie that they had warned the Russian SU-34 aircraft ten times over five minutes to leave and got no response. Then Britain’s ever-Washington appeasing David Cameron made the lunatic statement, “The facts on this are not yet clear, but I think we should respect Turkey’s right to protect its airspace…”
Many, many serious questions need to be examined closely by all parties in this most dangerous escalation of the Syria crisis. My masculine intuition tells me that Recep Erdogan would never risk such a dangerous bold and illegal action against Russia on whom Turkey depends for 50% of her natural gas imports and a huge part of her tourism dollar earnings merely because the family ISIS oil business was being bombed away by Russian jets.
There were clearly serious silent backers egging Erdogan on to commit the act. What role did the emotionally unstable US Defense Secretary and neo-conservative Russophobe Ash Carter have, if any, in the downing of the SU-34 and later the Russian rescue helicopter? What role did Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ‘Fighting Joe’ Dunford play, if any? What role did the British secret services play, if any? What role did the Israeli IDF and Mossad play, if any, in the Turkish deed?
It would be interesting were Russia to issue an Interpol warrant for the arrest of Bilal Erdogan and place him on trial for war crimes in an honest international tribunal. I could imagine that taken away from the protection of his pappy in Turkey, that the young Bilal might sing like a proverbial canary. Clear is that Erdogan and his partners in this crime, whoever they are, have just taken a huge step to escalating a global war. Isn’t it time we stop allowing such incompetent people determine our fate? I think so.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.