Former CIA Director Cites Concern For The Environment As Reason Obama Wont Bomb ISIS Oil
When the U.S. joined Russia in bombing Islamic State oil convoys a few weeks ago, many wondered why the Islamic State’s lucrative oil resources were not previously attacked, as part of President Obama’s prolonged strategy to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS. This was especially puzzling because the Islamic State is known to rely heavily on petro-dollars for its financing.
One of the reasons was provided at a Pentagon briefing last week by spokesman Col. Steve Warren, who explained that airstrikes against ISIS oil convoys have been limited because the U.S. government doesn’t want to injure the truck drivers.
Col. Warren outlined a successful operation in Al-Bukamal, where he estimated that 116 tanker trucks had been destroyed, seriously damaging the Islamic State’s ability to move its oil. “This is our first strike against tanker trucks, and to minimize risks to civilians, we conducted a leaflet drop prior to the strike,” he explained. “We did a show of force, by — we had aircraft essentially buzz the trucks at low altitude.”
He even had a copy of the leaflet to show reporters. It said, simply, “Get out of your trucks now, and run away from them. Warning: airstrikes are coming. Oil trucks will be destroyed. Get away from your oil trucks immediately. Do not risk your life.”
Later in the briefing, in response to a reporter’s question, Warren admitted that strikes against other elements of the Islamic State’s oil infrastructure had been “minimally effective.” It was not easy for commanders to decide that hitting the oil trucks was necessary. “We have not struck these trucks before,” he conceded. “We assessed that these trucks, while although they are being used for operations that support ISIL, the truck drivers, themselves, [are] probably not members of ISIL; they’re probably just civilians. So we had to figure out a way around that. We’re not in this business to kill civilians, we’re in this business to stop ISIL.”