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I basically do not have any decision making authority in my cockpit. It sucks. In most cases, unless a general officer can look at a video picture from a UAV, over a satellite link, I cannot get authority to engage. I've spent many hours, staring through a targeting pod screen in my own cockpit, watching ISIS #heads perpetrate their acts until my eyes bleed, without being able to do anything about it. The institutional fear of making a mistake, that has crept into the central mindset of the military leadership, is endemic. We have not taken the fight to these guys. We haven't targeted their centers of gravity in Raqqa. All the roads between Syria and Iraq are still intact with trucks flowing freely. The other night I watched a couple hundred small tanker trucks lined up at an oilfield in ISIS-held northeast Syria, presumably filling up with oil traded on the black market, go unfettered. It's not uncommon to wait several hours overhead a suspected target for someone to make a decision to engage or not. It feels like we are simply using the constructs build up in Afghanistan, which was a very limited fight, in the same way here against ISIS, which is a much more sophisticated and numerically greater foe. It's embarrassing.
Earlier this year, the Turkish daily Meydan reported citing an Uighur source that more than 100,000 fake Turkish passports had been given to ISIS…
A senior Western official familiar with a large cache of intelligence obtained this summer from a major raid on an ISIS safehouse told the Guardian that “direct dealings between Turkish officials and ranking ISIS members was now ‘undeniable.’” The same official confirmed that Turkey, a longstanding member of NATO, is not just supporting ISIS, but also other jihadist groups, including Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria…
Turkey has also played a key role in facilitating the life-blood of ISIS’ expansion: black market oil sales.
Hersh writes that the adviser told him the DIA/Joint Chiefs report took a "dim view" of the Obama administration's insistence on continuing to finance and arm the so-called moderate rebel groups and found that the covert U.S. program to arm and support those "moderate" rebels fighting Assad had been co-opted by Turkey, which then morphed the program into an "across-the-board technical, arms and logistical program for all of the opposition, including Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State."
It appears that the week of Christmas in 2015 is quite the low moment for Turkey’s public relations department. In addition to be revealed as one of the top purchasers of ISIS oil by many in the alternative media, the Russian government, and a number of other sources, Erdogan’s own son has been pointed out as one of the principal smugglers and the Turkish President’s own daughter as the Florence Nightingale of the caliphate. If that wasn’t bad enough, an independent report by a Norwegian oil consulting firm also confirmed that much of the ISIS oil was being shipped directly to Turkey. A Turkish party member even revealed that the terrorists who committed the chemical weapons attack in Ghouta most likely received their chemical weapons from Turkey and committed the atrocity with foreknowledge and assistance from Turkish intelligence.
"It's important to note that the monthly volumes of oil which Turkey buys from the terrorists depends on brokers' ability to freely cross the Syrian-Turkish border, which is guarded by the enemies of Daesh. The going rate for the oil is [currently] only around $15 a barrel. The stolen oil goes abroad at market prices, which are twice the price that Turkish buyers pay the jihadists."
In this situation, the analyst notes, "it should not surprise anyone that the stolen oil supplied by Daesh militants at extremely low prices attracted Turkey from the very beginning. Reselling it, Turkey has the opportunity to earn some extra income, while bombing the Kurds under the guise of combating radicals. Of course, they could also use the oil purchased from the terrorists on the domestic market, as the country's own oil output is very small, while consumption is high."
I don't doubt that for a sec.