from the eyes-wide-shut? dept.
How does the Islamic State, a ragtag band of jihadis who are supposedly at war with the combined military might of the US, Turkey, the Saudis, the Russians, the Iraqis, the Iranians and many others (including, of course, the Syrians) manage to fund and coordinate spectacular international terror attacks, including not only the Paris attack, but also (apparently) bombings in Turkey and Lebanon, and the take down of Russian airliners? How is it that governments can flag and track the "suspicious" financial transactions of anyone withdrawing or transferring over $10,000 from their own bank account, but can't seem to find a way to restrict cash flows, arms and munitions to a geographically isolated enemy who are dependent on oil sales for their financial survival?
Good question. Just don't ask the US State Department spokesman those questions, because he doesn't have the answers. When asked earlier this week by RT's Gayane Chichakyan "whether the US has sanctioned any banks suspected of carrying out transactions for ISIL," department spokesman Mark Toner responded with a resounding: "I'd have to look into that. I don't have the answer in front of me."
Apparently the question of how ISIS is financing its operations is of so little interest to the State Department that they haven't bothered to look into it. So in the interest of helping them out with their homework, let's connect a few dots, shall we?
[More after the break.]
Earlier this year it was revealed that French President François Hollande had authorized illegal shipments of arms to the Syrian terrorists in 2012. The deliveries–including cannons, machine guns, rocket launchers and anti-tank missiles–were in direct contravention of an EU embargo that was in place at the time.
In late 2012 it was revealed that one of the most prominent backers of the Syrian terrorists was the French government, who in addition to their illegal arms shipments were also delivering money directly to the terrorist opposition leaders.
Last year the French arms export industry enjoyed its best sales in 15 years, with revenues up 18%. The reason for the Merchant of Death bonanza? A spike in sales to Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two of the main funders and supporters of ISIS.
Ahead of the US president's visit to Saudi Arabia, a series of multi-billion-dollar arms deals have been outlined. The previous US administration suspended some supplies because of human rights concerns.
When President Trump arrives in Riyadh this week, he will lay out his vision for a new regional security architecture White House officials call an “Arab NATO,” to guide the fight against terrorism and push back against Iran. As a cornerstone of the plan, Trump will also announce one of the largest arms-sales deals in history.
Behind the scenes, the Trump administration and Saudi Arabia have been conducting extensive negotiations, led by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The discussions began shortly after the presidential election, when Mohammed, known in Washington as “MBS,” sent a delegation to meet with Kushner and other Trump officials at Trump Tower.
After years of disillusionment with the Obama administration, the Saudi leadership was eager to do business. “They were willing to make a bet on Trump and on America,” a senior White House official said.
[...] The most concrete part of the idea is a mammoth U.S. arms package for Saudi Arabia that Trump will also announce in Riyadh. Final details are still being worked out, but officials said the package will include between $98 billion and $128 billion in arms sales. Over 10 years, total sales could reach $350 billion.
The sales include huge upgrades for the Saudi army and navy to include Littoral Combat Ships, THAAD missile defense systems, armored personnel carriers, missiles, bombs and munitions, officials said. Some of the production and assembly could be located in Saudi Arabia, boosting MBS’s project to build a Saudi domestic defense industrial capability. But most of the items would be built by American defense contractors.