Recognizing that oil is a fungible commodity, the solution begins with the United States becoming self-sufficient and independent of Middle East oil supplies. This is not hard to achieve; it can be accomplished by relying on our own oil, along with advanced drilling technology known as fracking. In July of 2014, the Energy Information Administration, EIA, forecast U.S. oil imports could be reduced to zero by 2037.
Today, we filled our car with gasoline and the cost of a full-tank was amazingly less than $35.00. Three years ago we used to pay around $65.00 for that same tank of gas and the expectation then was that it would reach $90.00 within three years. This means that we are now paying about one third the cost we normally would. It is one of the few instances in our lifetime when we have seen prices dropping down by that much instead of going up.
Of course, nobody gets upset by seeing gas pump prices go down, except oil companies and, especially, the small independent producers; but these low prices mean savings in our pockets. This also means, in addition to lowering the cost of operating private automobiles, the cost of living in general will go down, for a while anyway. The low cost of crude oil will also result in reducing the cost of flying and of shipping goods, which will lead to lower prices overall. So, today’s low price of oil is good news for consumers. The problem, however, is that it is not a natural reduction and its connection with global terrorism should make us concerned rather than happy.
Behind the phenomenon of reduced oil prices, terrorist organizations are steeling the oil of other countries, selling it at a discount and then using the proceeds to finance terrorism. Meanwhile, Middle East oil producers are flooding the market. As a result, a barrel of crude oil is now below $30.00 after having reached $108.00 in 2003.
The terrorist organization that gains the most from this is ISIS. It is now considered the wealthiest of all terrorist groups with income from oil alone at about 3 million dollars daily. This revenue is from oil they pump out of areas they occupy in Syria and Iraq. In Syria alone, they control about 60% of the oil.
The buyers of that cheap oil are the people who live in the lands under their control, who amount to a population of about 8 million. To overcome the problem of refining this oil, ISIS exchanges crude oil for refined oil across the Turkish border. This is going on while the Turkish government looks the other way. To the world, Turkey maintains that she is doing what it could to secure its borders but it is hard to control 746 miles.
The oil income, which ISIS enjoys, allows for its expansion. Reports indicate that the number of recruits to ISIS was about 10,000 in June 2015. In December 2015, the number reached 31,000. About 10% of those recruits come from Western countries and will become sleeper cells that will threaten those nations when they return.
After unsuccessful attempts to curb the growth of ISIS, the civilized world is awakened to face this octopus threatening all humanity. It has discovered that air strikes alone cannot defeat ISIS. There should be a plan to separate ISIS from the oil, which is the lifeline that provides them with the funds needed to keep going. Air strikes should also be directed to destroy oil wells under their control, refineries, and oil tankers. One important plan of action is to follow the money trail to banks finding out who pays and who receives.
Still, any successful attempt to break the back of terrorism must look at the whole picture. Before the discovery of oil in the Middle East, that whole region was relatively calm. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, at the end of the Nineteenth Century, countries of that region were so weak that Europe used to dictate to them what to do. But, after the discovery of oil, the demons of terror came out from underground, along with oil, to export terrorism everywhere.
At the same time, impoverished Gulf States, found themselves enjoying vast wealth. In their race to spread their Wahhabis brand of Islam, the adherents of the politico-religious alliance between the Wahhabi mission and the House of Saud spent billions of dollars in building mosques across the USA, Canada and Europe to preach fanaticism and hate against the very countries that host them. Wealthy citizens of these countries spend much of their oil derived money in supporting terrorist organizations like Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s ISIS, while their governments pretend they don’t see.
Recognizing that oil is a fungible commodity, the solution begins with the United States becoming self-sufficient and independent of Middle East oil supplies. This is not hard to achieve; it can be accomplished by relying on our own oil, along with advanced drilling technology known as fracking. In July of 2014, the Energy Information Administration, EIA, forecast U.S. oil imports could be reduced to zero by 2037. Oil Sands Magazine reported, “Advances in technology such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have dramatically changed the face of U.S. energy. The EIA points out that under the best-case scenario, the U.S. could produce up to 13 million barrels/day in 20 years, achieving energy independence.” Granted, the crude oil marketplace has shifted significantly, nonetheless, both the technology and the supply remain static, awaiting better times in the American oil fields.
Make no mistake about it; the root cause of terrorism is Middle East oil. Terrorism will continue as long as the oil of the Middle East keeps providing it with funds. When America reaches the goal of energy self-sufficiency, we can truly say that we have gained our independence, freedom and security. Let’s work towards making Middle East oil obsolete, and then the Gulf States that export terrorism, can keep their oil. And, if they want, they can drink it.
Mounir Bishay is a human rights activist and president of the Los Angeles based Christian Copts of California. Mr. Bishay is also a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis.