Cross-posted from RT
Next week is the 13th anniversary of 9/11. And Washington is back to bombing... It's Iraq, all over again -- an eerie echo of the most tragic of all post-9/11 developments: Shock and Awe.
Osama bin Laden, now arguably at the bottom of the Arabian Sea (according to the official spin), used to personify the intolerant Wahhabi worldview run amok. Then his Wahhabism married Sayid Qutb's Egyptian Islamism, personified by Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Qutb, killed by the Egyptian regime in the late 1960s, was the wayward prophet of a global jihad between Islam and the West. Yet his zealous sons -- from Osama/al-Zawahiri to current Caliph Ibrahim of ISIS/IS [The Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS/ISIL] -- went much further, their jihad targeting civilians and even Muslims.
Now Caliph Ibrahim has maneuvered Washington into renewed bombing in Iraq -- and potentially bombing Syria. Obama does "Syraq." And yet, more crucially, what if Obama is doing Al-Qaeda's bidding?
This could all fit Osama's carefully laid-out trap -- over the years -- of finally managing to expel the US from the Middle East via a constant war of attrition, slowly bleeding the Empire of Chaos. Eric Margolis has alluded to this possibility here.
At a minimum, the US and some selected allies indeed have been doing Al-Qaeda's bidding -- even though ISIS/IS has split from "historic" Al-Qaeda.
Obama's "coalition of the willing," about to fight ISIS/IS/The Caliph, includes Britain, Australia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. No less than five out of these seven happen to be the ones who trained/weaponized/facilitated the "flowers of evil" of ISIS/IS blooming in Syria.
So it's no wonder the Arab Street is drowning in skepticism about who's really running the ISIS/IS show. It can't be Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a.k.a. Caliph Ibrahim, all by himself. How come The Caliph, out of the blue, crosses the desert with a skilled, full-fledged army crammed with advanced artillery to capture a territory larger than the UK?
Meanwhile, the powerful House of Saud's PR lobby is absolutely monolithic; Wahhabism -- which has been boosting/funding fanatics worldwide since the early days of the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan -- is simply not to be blamed for what The Caliph has been up to. And yet it's Saudi ideology which ultimately spawned the Frankenstein Caliph leading the freak sons of the Syrian "revolution."
Show me the money
ISIS/IS is a formidable machine oiled by all forms of extortion, kidnapping for ransom, outright bank and jewelry robbery and taxing of residents. But the Holy Grail is definitely oil smuggling.
The Caliph now controls seven oil fields and two refineries in northern Iraq, plus six oil fields in northeastern Syria -- extracting, realistically, at least 40,000 barrels a day. They sell all this oil at a cut-rate $25 to a maximum of $60 a barrel. Brent crude, as a comparison, is currently over $100 on the London ICE Futures Europe exchange.
The Caliph is making roughly $2 million a day, and everything paid for in cash or bartered goods. No one knows who's buying from the Islamic State's complex distribution network of middlemen, but the fact is the oil flows from Caliph-controlled "Syraq" to Turkey and Jordan.
Being so flush, no wonder The Caliph's armies are heading towards Aleppo; they are less than 50 km away, and could soon easily take over some eastern suburbs.