Pentagon admits weapons-drop fail as anti-ISIS operation hits $424mn

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The Pentagon has admitted that a chunk of its cache of weapons meant for Kurdish forces battling Islamic State militants in Kobani has fallen into terrorist hands. The Turkish president has been voicing his frustration with Washington over this.

On Wednesday, the US defense body went against earlier government claims that American weapons always reach its intended destinations and had to concede that two bundles out of a total of 28 intended for the Kurds have indeed ended up with the terrorists.

The militants’ advances on the Syrian-Turkish border are what spurred Washington into action in the first place.

This comes as the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) posted a video showing off brand-new American hardware in boxes with English writing and a parachute splayed out just beside the windfall.

“Yesterday we announced that one resupply bundle went astray and was destroyed. We have since relooked at that and we have determined that a second bundle also went astray and probably fell into enemy hands,” Pentagon spokesman Army Colonel Steve Warren said.

One of the bundles was later destroyed in an airstrike.

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The video itself caused quite a stir on the social media landscape with users ‘thanking’ Washington for delivering the arms into the wrong hands, something the US has in the past vowed to avoid.

The previous day saw a much more optimistic White House, when Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes insisted to CNN that the administration feels “very confident that, when we air drop support as we did into Kobani… we’ve been able to hit the target in terms of reaching the people we want to reach.”

It was Washington which earlier maintained that the air drops were of the utmost urgency for the border town of Kobani to remain intact, and that it was high time to take a more drastic approach to “degrading and destroying” the IS, which outnumbered and outgunned the Syrian-Kurdish resistance.

The fight against IS terrorists has so far cost Washington approximately $424 million since the start of the operation on August 8, according to the Pentagon spokesman, Rear Admiral John Kirby. He averaged the defense body’s spending to be around $7.6 million a day.

The Syria campaign has so far lasted about a month. American air strikes there have so far killed 553 people, including 32 civilians.

But the current failure to deliver lethal equipment into the right hands is not an isolated incident – merely the latest in a series of gains by IS terrorists rampaging through northern Syria and Iraq, where millions of dollars in American equipment had already been collected from abandoned military bases.

It has in some circles become common sense that the threat posed by the IS has been greatly facilitated by America, whose weapons manufacturers are now reaping the benefits of the destruction caused by the terrorists by advocating for more weapons exports.

“In terms of the companies’ interests, profit and revenue, surely war facilitates that if you’re a defense industry. The irony is that the US and the larger coalition is using these weapons oftentimes against Islamic State, which has been armed inadvertently by the US and these Sunni-coalition countries. Because we provided arms in the context of the Arab awakening to support the uprising against [Alawite (Shiite) Syrian President] Assad. And Islamic State ended up prying these weapons away from the so-called ‘moderate Syrian rebels’, as well as by scaring the Iraqi federal forces into submission. And the US had been arming to the teeth the Iraqi government,” Max Abrahms, an expert on terrorism at Northeastern University, told RT.

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan (Reuters / Umit Bektas)Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan (Reuters / Umit Bektas)

Turkish frustration
“It has emerged that what was done was wrong,” came the reaction from Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, as cited by Hurriyet Daily News, when word of the delivery failure broke.

Turkey was adamantly opposed to any deliveries – military or otherwise – to Kurdish forces, which it views as ‘terrorists’. It was in fact the PYD [the Syrian-Kurdish Democratic Union Party forces] that bore the brunt of the IS onslaught on the Syrian-Turkish border town, as Istanbul’s tanks kept a watchful eye from a distance.

When asked earlier if it would intervene to help repel the terrorist group that earlier promised to “liberate Istanbul,” the Turkish government said it would, only in the event of Turkish soldiers being endangered. It referred to the troops guarding a historical landmark inside Syria the Turkish believe to be rightfully theirs.

Now Erdogan also appears frustrated that the Kurdish forces were sent any weapons at all.

“We told [US President Barack Obama] that ‘Support that you will lend to the PYD and the PKK is not acceptable to us.’” He could have been referring to a weekend conversation with the US leader, who tried to implore him to reconsider the air drops.

“Two days passed, we are in the third/fourth day, Kobani didn’t fall. Moreover, I have difficulty in understanding why Kobani is this much strategic for [the US], because there are no civilians left in Kobani anymore; 200,000 people crossed into Turkey and we are hosting them. Only around 2,000 fighters are left in Kobani and they didn’t say ‘yes’ to Peshmerga first, but now, at the last moment, they said ‘yes’. And we told [Obama] we would be ‘helpful’ about this.”

“Such an operation cannot be defined and explained. That’s to say, a healthy comment cannot be made in regards to whether a result will be obtained through this or not. To whom and to where you are lending support, everything is obvious,” the Turkish leader claimed.


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Group has taken in at least $20 million in ransom payments this year from kidnappings

The U.S. Treasury Department says Islamic State (IS) militants are earning about $1 million a day just from black market oil sales.

The official who leads the department’s effort to undermine the group’s financial strength says IS also has taken in at least $20 million in ransom payments this year from kidnappings.

David Cohen, the Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, says the group takes in several million dollars a month from wealthy donors, and from extortion rackets and other criminal activities, such as robbing banks.

Cohen says that except for state-sponsored terrorist groups, the Islamic State group is probably the best-funded terrorist organization the Treasury Department has ever confronted.

“It is difficult to get precise revenue estimates on the value to ISIL of these transactions in light of the murky nature of the market, but we estimate that beginning in mid-June, ISIL has earned approximately $1 million a day from oil sales,” Cohen said, using an acronym for the group.

The group wants to create a caliphate, or Islamic empire, in the Middle East. Led by Iraqi militant Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State group initially tried to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad, but other groups, including Al Qaeda central command, turned against IS because of its brutality.

IS has captured territory across Syria and northern Iraq.

“With the important exception of some state-sponsored terrorist organizations, IS is probably the best-funded terrorist organization we have confronted,” Cohen, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in prepared remarks for a speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Unlike the core Al Qaeda terrorist network, IS gets only a relatively small share of funding from deep-pocket donors and therefore does not depend primarily on moving money across international borders. Instead, IS obtains the vast majority of its revenues through local criminal and terrorist activities, Cohen said.

“They rob banks. They lay waste to thousands of years of civilization in Iraq and Syria by looting and selling antiquities,” he said. “They steal livestock and crops from farmers. And despicably, they sell abducted girls and women as sex slaves.”

McCain blames Assad for ISIS?


US helped train ISIS fighters

by Ground Report | October 21, 2014

I received the following letter from Senator John McCain today.

It reads as follows:
October 20, 2014

Mr. Robert Tilford
(Deleted for privacy concerns)

Dear Mr. Tilford:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the ongoing situation in Iraq and conflict with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

Iraq has consistently devolved into a safe haven for terrorists since President Obama made the decision to withdraw all of our troops without any residual presence of U.S. forces in 2011. The President’s mishandling of Iraq for the past five years, and his consistent inaction on Syria, have now brought us to the edge of disaster: ISIS – a more ambitious, more violent, and more radical offshoot of Al-Qaeda – has now taken over a large territory in Iraq and Syria. It is the largest terrorist safe haven in history. ISIS’s offensive is now reigniting sectarian conflict in Iraq and threatening to erase the gains that nearly 4,500 brave young Americans gave their lives to secure – and that were largely secure when the President took office in January 2009.

In 2011, our senior military leaders and commanders on the ground believed that keeping aresidual U.S. force in Iraq was critical to our national security interests. Even many seniorObama Administration officials, such as former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, agreed. Aresidual U.S. troop presence could have assisted Iraqi forces in their continued fight against Al Qaeda. It could have provided a platform for greater diplomatic engagement and intelligence cooperation with our Iraqi partners. And it could have made Iranian leaders think twice about using Iraqi airspace to transit military assistance to Assad and his forces in Syria. Unfortunately we don’t have the luxury of being able to alter history, but it’s not too late to influence events.

On September 10, 2014, the President announced a new U.S. military strategy in response to the threat from ISIS. This includes conducting air strikes against ISIS positions in Iraq and Syria, providing approximately 1,600 U.S. military personnel to assist the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and our Kurdish partners in combating this threat, and training and arming vetted, moderate Syrian opposition forces.

Although I called on President Obama to take all of these actions sooner, I support them now as a necessary starting point. Unfortunately, his delay has allowed the threat we face from ISIS to get dramatically worse. While our current actions can degrade ISIS over time, I do not think they are capable of achieving the President’s goal of destroying ISIS, as we must. To do so, more must be done. Most importantly, we must recognize the reality that we cannot defeat ISIS without achieving the President’s other goal: forcing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to leave power and creating conditions on the ground for a negotiated end of the conflict and a political transition in Syria. Assad’s barbaric war on the Syrian people has created the conditions for ISIS to grow and gain strength for years, and this will continue as long as he remains in power.

Again, thank you for writing to me on this very important and dynamic issue. I am passionate about this issue and take my positions and responsibilities very seriously. I thank you for your input, respect your stance, and will keep your concerns in mind as we move forward.

John McCain
United States Senator

Note: US helped train ISIS fighters

See video: US was responsible for training ISIS in Jordan

Rand Paul: Obama’s plans means siding with Islamic terrorists

See video: US funding terrorists in Syria

See video: US funding terrorists organizations in Syria