National / International News

What can ISIS do with oil wells it captures?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-08-28 13:18

By some estimates, the extremist group ISIS controls 60 percent of oil production in Syria, as well as six oil wells in Iraq.

Much of this oil ends up in the black market, and given that, the "purchase" and sale of this oil is far from typical.

In addition to its holdings, the group is also assumed to pilfer from pipelines and storage facilities, said Valerie Marcel, oil and Middle East analyst at the Chatham House think tank in London.

Marcel says ISIS, also known as ISIL or the Islamic State, takes some of its crude and refines it. “They have an open pit, they burn the oil very crudely,” Marcel says. “And then they have some gasoline which they can provide to local residents, and to their own Humvees.”

The rest of the oil goes to market, largely in Turkey, through a murky set of intermediaries.

“Some of them are Iraqi middlemen, and they take the crude to the border,” Marcel says. “Others are Turkish middlemen. And they’re able to actually sometimes get the oil sold directly to a refinery in Turkey. So that involves a quite well-informed organization.”

Middlemen take a big cut of the money on the way to the black market. So instead of earning the world market price of $100 a barrel, ISIS pockets half or a quarter of that.

Still, assuming intelligence estimates that the group sells 40,000 to 60,000 barrels each day, daily revenue comes out to $1 million to $3 million.

This is enough oil that intelligence may be able to spot its movement.

“We are talking about at least 200 trucks,” says Luay al-Khateeb, an advisor to the Iraqi parliament and head of the Iraq Energy Institute. “And these fleets should be legitimate targets of U.S. and Iraqi air forces.”

Convoys may be a key point of interception. Once the crude gets to market, it can be untraceable.

“Once oil is integrated, it’s very hard to know, literally impossible to know, if a drop comes from here or from there,” says Matthew Levitt, a former Treasury Department intelligence official now with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “What we are going to need is intelligence identifying those middlemen, and then deciding how to target their ability to continue functioning in that manner.”

As important as oil revenue is to ISIS, Levitt thinks it’s a small piece of the group’s overall finances.

The extremist group is also assumed to raid banks, and tax farmers and commerce in the territory it controls.

ISIS revenue comes from oil sold on the black market

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-08-28 13:18

By some estimates, ISIS controls 60 percent of oil production in Syria, as well as six oil wells in Iraq.

Much of this oil ends up in the black market and given that, the "purchase" and sale of this oil is far from typical.

In addition to their holdings, the group is also assumed to pilfer from pipelines and storage facilities, said Valerie Marcel, oil and Middle East analyst at the Chatham House think tank in London.

Marcel says ISIS, also known as ISIL or the Islamic State, takes some of its crude and refines it.

“They have an open pit, they burn the oil very crudely,” Marcel says. “And then they have some gasoline in which they can provide to local residents, and to their own Humvees.”

The rest of the oil goes to market, largely in Turkey, through a murky set of intermediaries.

“Some of them are Iraqi middlemen, and they take the crude to the border,” Marcel says. “Others are Turkish middlemen. And they’re able to actually sometimes get the oil sold directly to a refinery in Turkey. So that involves a quite well-informed organization.”

Middlemen take a big cut of the money on the way to the black market. So instead of earning the world market price of $100 a barrel, ISIS pockets half or a quarter of that.

Still, assuming intelligence estimates that the group sells 40,000 to 60,000 barrels each day, daily revenue comes out to $1 million to $3 million.

This is enough oil that intelligence may be able to spot its movement.

“We are talking about at least 200 trucks,” says Luay al-Khateeb, an advisor to the Iraqi parliament and head of the Iraq Energy Institute. “And these fleets should be legitimate targets of U.S. and Iraqi air forces.”

Convoys may a key point of interception. Once the crude gets to market, it can be untraceable.

“Once oil is integrated, it’s very hard to know, literally impossible to know if a drop comes from here or from there,” says Matthew Levitt, a former treasury department intelligence official now with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “What we are going to need is intelligence identifying those middlemen, and then deciding how to target their ability to continue functioning in that manner.”

As important as oil revenue is to ISIS, Levitt thinks it’s a small piece of the group’s overall finances.

The extremist group is also assumed to raid banks, and tax farmers and commerce in the territory it controls.

Nato: Russian troops are in Ukraine

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-28 13:11
Nato releases satellite images which it says show Russian forces inside Ukraine to help rebels fight government troops - a claim Russia denies.

New Amazon Series Pilots Fall Short Of A TV Revolution

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-28 13:03

NPR TV critic Eric Deggans ranks Amazon's new batch of five series pilots, asking why none of them seem break the rules of TV quite enough to draw attention.

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When Zero Doesn't Mean Zero: Trans Fats Linger In Food

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-28 13:03

One in 10 packaged foods still contains trans fats, according to a new study. The problematic oils give foods a rich taste and texture and extend shelf life, but have been linked to heart disease.

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Michel Martin Goes #BeyondFerguson

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-28 12:58

NPR and St. Louis Public Radio are in Ferguson, Mo., today for a community conversation about race and law enforcement. Follow here or join us on Twitter at 7 p.m. ET to discuss #BeyondFerguson.

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Tom Frieden's Ebola Assessment: The Risk Is Increasing

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-28 12:54

In an exclusive interview with NPR, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shares his impressions from a visit to West Africa.

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Erdogan sworn in as Turkey president

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-28 12:48
Recep Tayyip Erdogan is officially sworn in as Turkish president after winning the country's first ever public vote for head of state.

Foley's Mother: We Didn't Want Him To Go Back To Syria

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-28 12:45

Diane Foley tells NPR that her son, slain journalist James Foley, "could have done so many other things. But he, I think, was drawn to some of the drama, some of the rawness of the conflict zones."

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Texas Law Could Lead To Closure Of Clinics That Offer Abortions

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-28 12:39

A Texas law would require doctors' offices and clinics that perform abortions to comply with regulations that apply to ambulatory surgical centers. The change could lead to a loss of services.

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Savage: Man Utd need more new faces to make formation work

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-28 12:26
Angel Di Maria will not end Man Utd's problems on his own, says Robbie Savage.

Scentless: Losing Your Sense Of Smell May Make Life Riskier

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-28 12:16

Everybody worries about losing eyesight or hearing, but the sense of smell may help people stay safe. People with impaired odor detection are more likely to eat spoiled food or let pans catch on fire.

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With Drones In Flight Over Syria, Questions Of Airstrikes Rise With Them

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-28 12:11

U.S. surveillance drones have begun to maintain a presence over Syria, preparing for possible airstrikes against the extremist group that calls itself the Islamic State. A mission to expand airstrikes inside Syria raises new questions, though, and critics on both sides ends of the policy spectrum are weighing in.

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Momentum Gathers For The West's Response To Russia

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-28 12:11

Lithuania has called an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss Russia's new incursions into Ukraine. The issue's also likely to dominate an upcoming NATO summit. Since sanctions seem to have failed to change Russia's calculations, the U.S. and its European partners are still trying to find a way to effectively protect Ukraine's sovereignty.

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Rebels Storm Key Border Crossing Between Syria And Israel

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-28 12:11

The Syrian civil war has flared up in the south of the country, near the Israeli border. A group of Islamist fighters have now captured a border crossing between Syria and Israel on the Golan Heights.

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Night Of The Cemetery Bats

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-28 12:11

And you thought cemeteries were for the dead. A nighttime census of leafy Bellefontaine in St. Louis reveals at least two species of bats. Parklike graveyards provide key habitat for urban wildlife.

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Security Vs. Free Speech: India Blocks Film On Assassination

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-28 12:11

The 1984 assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was followed by a wave of sectarian killings. The government has now stepped in to stop the release of a film about the traumatic episode.

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Market Basket Workers Win Return Of Supermarket's Former President

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-28 12:11

For six weeks, workers at Market Basket have protested to demand the reinstatement of the supermarket chain's former president, Arthur T. Demoulas. On Thursday, they got their way. Demoulas, who had been ousted by the company's board in June, will be returning to his position as part of a new deal.

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JPMorgan's Been Hacked, But Answers — And Fraud — Are Hard To Find

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-28 12:11

Hackers successfully infiltrated the computer systems of JPMorgan Chase and at least four other banks recently. The FBI is investigating what's being called a sophisticated cyberattack, but bank officials have not yet found any evidence of fraud.

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VIDEO: 'Bruise suit' for disabled athletes

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-28 12:10
A pressure-sensitive suit designed by researchers at Imperial College London identifies possible injuries in athletes who may be unaware they have been hurt.
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