The lion’s share of Islamic State illegal oil exports is conducted through Turkey and Kurdish areas. Although Washington could curb the illegal traffic, it has chosen to focus on other issues, a former CIA officer told the Sputnik news agency.
“It’s a question of priorities. They have never allocated enough resources to do so. Other goals and missions have been rated as having more urgent calls on intelligence and tactical resources,” John Kiriakou, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) counterterrorism officer and US Senate Foreign Relations Committee senior investigator, told Sputnik.
He said Islamic State’s (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) oil revenue lifeline could be cut short, if Washington made an effort to do so.
“I do believe that,” Kiriakou stressed.
IS makes about $40 million a month on oil sales, raking in close to $500 million a year, a US Treasury Department spokesperson told the news agency earlier this week.
According to Kiriakou, someone on the Turkish side of the border has been making enough money out of it. “There are too many vested interests involved for it to stop. They greased the right people.”
He added: “It’s not the official Turkish government. [It’s] probably corrupt elements of the Turkish military and officials in local and regional governments in southwest Turkey who are involved in this.”
The richest oil fields Islamic State can access are south of Irbil in Iraq, and the most likely direction for the extremists to move oil is westwards through Kurdish territory, Kiriakou told Sputnik. Kiriakou says IS’ illegal oil trade actually followed the same pattern Saddam Hussein used to defy international economic sanctions. Most of the oil secretly exported from Iraq was moved west through Kurdish territory back then.
“[Selling and transporting oil] through Turkey was the way Saddam Hussein for years beat the sanctions regime imposed on him.”
According to Kiriakou, the US should team up with Russia to cut Islamic State’s oil revenue flow.
Read more: rt.com