Reprinted from Counterpunch
So why did Washington take virtually forever to not really acknowledge ISIS/ISIL/Daesh is selling stolen Syrian oil that will eventually find its way to Turkey?
Because the priority all along was to allow the CIA -- in the shadows -- to run a "rat line" weaponizing a gaggle of invisible "moderate rebels."
As much as Daesh -- at least up to now -- the Barzani mob in Iraqi Kurdistan was never under Washington's watch. The oil operation the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) runs to Turkey is virtually illegal; stolen state-owned oil as far as Baghdad is concerned.
Daesh stolen oil can't flow through Damascus-controlled territory. Can't flow though Shi'ite-dominated Iraq. Can't go east to Iran. It's Turkey or nothing. Turkey is the easternmost arm of NATO. The US and NATO "support" Turkey. So a case can be made that the US and NATO ultimately support Daesh.
What's certain is that illegal Daesh oil and illegal KRG oil fit the same pattern; energy interests by the usual suspects playing a very long game.
What these interests are focused on is to control every possible oil asset in Iraqi Kurdistan and then in "liberated" Syria. It's crucial to know that Tony "Deepwater Horizon" Hayward is running Ug Genel, whose top priority is to control oil fields that were first stolen from Baghdad, and will eventually be stolen from Iraqi Kurds.
And then, there's the Turkmen powder keg.
The key reason why Washington always solemnly ignored Ankara's array of shady deals in Syria, through its fifth column Turkmen jihadis, is because a key CIA "rat line" runs exactly through the region known as Turkmen Mountain.
These Turkmen supplied by Ankara's "humanitarian" convoys got American TOW-2As for their role in preserving prime weaponizing/ smuggling routes. Their advisers, predictably, are Xe/Academi types, formerly Blackwater. Russia happened to identify the whole scam and started bombing the Turkmen. Thus the downing of the Su-24.
The Turkmen fifth column
Now the CIA is on a mission from God -- frantically trying to prevent the rat line from being definitely smashed by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) on the ground and Russia in the air.
The same desperation applies to the Aleppo-Azez-Killis route, which is also essential for Turkey for all kinds of smuggling.
The advanced arm of the "4+1" alliance -- Russia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, plus Hezbollah -- is taking no prisoners trying to re-conquer these two key corridors.
And that explains Ankara's desperation -- with a little help from His Masters' Voice -- to come up with an entirely new rat line/corridor through Afrin, currently under Syrian Kurd control, before Damascus forces and Russia air power get there.
Once again it's important to remember that a gaggle of Turkmen outfits are Ankara's fifth column in northern Syria.