Logistics 101: Where Does ISIS Get Its Guns?
By Tony Cartalucci
June 10, 2015 "Information
Clearing House" - "NEO"
- Since ancient times an army required significant
logistical support to carry out any kind of sustained military campaign. In
ancient Rome, an extensive network of roads was constructed to facilitate not
only trade, but to allow Roman legions to move quickly to where they were
needed, and for the supplies needed to sustain military operations to follow
them in turn.
In the late 1700’s French general,
expert strategist, and leader Napoleon Bonaparte would note that, “an army
marches on its stomach,” referring to the extensive logistical network
required to keep an army fed, and therefore able to maintain its fighting
capacity. For the French, their inability to maintain a steady supply train to
its forces fighting in Russia, and the Russians’ decision to burn their own land
and infrastructure to deny it from the invading forces, ultimately defeated the
Nazi Germany would suffer a
similar fate when it too overextended its logical capabilities during its
invasion of Russia amid Operation Barbarossa. Once again, invading armies became
stranded without limited resources before being either cut off and annihilated
or forced to retreat.
And in modern times during the
Gulf War in the 1990’s an extended supply line trailing invading US forces
coupled with an anticipated clash with the bulk of Saddam Hussein’s army halted
what was otherwise a lighting advance many mistakenly believed could have
reached Baghdad had there been the political will. The will to conquer was
there, the logistics to implement it wasn’t.
The lessons of history however
clear they may be, appear to be entirely lost on an either supremely ignorant or
incredibly deceitful troupe of policymakers and news agencies across the West.
ISIS’ Supply Lines
The current conflict consuming the
Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Syria where the so-called “Islamic State”
(ISIS) is operating and simultaneously fighting and defeating the forces of
Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran, we are told, is built upon a logistical network
based on black market oil and ransom payments.
The fighting capacity of ISIS is
that of a nation-state. It controls vast swaths of territory straddling both
Syria and Iraq and not only is able to militarily defend and expand from this
territory, but possesses the resources to occupy it, including the resources to
administer the populations subjugated within it.
For military analysts, especially former members of Western armed
forces, as well as members of the Western media who remember the convoys of
trucks required for the invasions of Iraq in the 1990s and again in 2003, they
surely must wonder where ISIS’ trucks are today. After all, if the resources to
maintain the fighting capacity exhibited by ISIS were available within Syrian
and Iraqi territory alone, then certainly Syrian and Iraqi forces would also
posses an equal or greater fighting capacity but they simply do not.
were ISIS’ supply lines solely confined within Syrian and Iraqi territory, then
surely both Syrian and Iraqi forces would utilize their one advantage – air
power – to cut front line ISIS fighters from the source of their supplies. But
this is not happening and there is a good reason why.
Terrorists and weapons left over
from NATO’s intervention in Libya in 2011 were promptly sent to Turkey and then
onto Syria – coordinated by US State Department officials and intelligence
agencies in Benghazi – a terrorist hotbed for decades.ISIS’ supply lines run
precisely where Syrian and Iraqi air power cannot go. To the north and into
NATO-member Turkey, and to the southwest into US allies Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
Beyond these borders exists a logistical network that spans a region including
both Eastern Europe and North Africa.
The London Telegraph would report
in their 2013 article, “CIA
‘running arms smuggling team in Benghazi when consulate was attacked’,”
[CNN] said that a CIA team
was working in an annex near the consulate on a project to supply missiles
from Libyan armouries to Syrian rebels.
Weapons have also come from
Eastern Europe, with the New York Times reporting in 2013 in their article, “Arms
Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From C.I.A.,” that:
From offices at secret
locations, American intelligence officers have helped the Arab governments
shop for weapons, including a large procurement from Croatia, and have
vetted rebel commanders and groups to determine who should receive the
weapons as they arrive, according to American officials speaking on the
condition of anonymity.
And while Western media sources
continuously refer to ISIS and other factions operating under the banner of Al
Qaeda as “rebels” or “moderates,” it is clear that if billions of dollars in
weapons were truly going to “moderates,” they, not ISIS would be dominating the
Recent revelations have revealed that
as early as 2012 the United States Department of Defense not only anticipated
the creation of a “Salafist Principality” straddling Syria and Iraq precisely
where ISIS now exists, it welcomed it eagerly and contributed to the
circumstances required to bring it about.
Just How Extensive Are ISIS’
While many across the West play
willfully ignorant as to where ISIS truly gets their supplies from in order to
maintain its impressive fighting capacity, some journalists have traveled to the
region and have video taped and reported on the endless convoys of trucks
supplying the terrorist army.
Were these trucks traveling to and from factories in seized ISIS
territory deep within Syrian and Iraqi territory? No. They were traveling from
deep within Turkey, crossing the Syrian border with absolute impunity, and
headed on their way with the implicit protection of nearby Turkish military
forces. Attempts by Syria to attack these convoys and the terrorists flowing in
with them have been met by Turkish air defenses.
broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) published the first video report from a major
Western media outlet illustrating that ISIS is supplied not by “black market
oil” or “hostage ransoms” but billions of dollars worth of supplies carried into
Syria across NATO member Turkey’s borders via hundreds of trucks a day.
The report titled, “‘IS’
supply channels through Turkey,” confirms what has been reported
by geopolitical analysts since at least as early as 2011 – that ISIS
subsides on immense, multi-national state sponsorship, including, obviously,
Looking at maps of ISIS-held
territory and reading action reports of its offensive maneuvers throughout the
region and even beyond, one might imagine hundreds of trucks a day would be
required to maintain this level of fighting capacity. One could imagine similar
convoys crossing into Iraq from Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Similar convoys are
likely passing into Syria from Jordan.
In all, considering the realities
of logistics and their timeless importance to military campaigns throughout
human history, there is no other plausible explanation to ISIS’s ability to wage
war within Syria and Iraq besides immense resources being channeled to it from
If an army marches on its stomach,
and ISIS’ stomachs are full of NATO and Persian Gulf State supplies, ISIS will
continue to march long and hard. The key to breaking the back of ISIS, is
breaking the back of its supply lines. To do that however, and precisely why the
conflict has dragged on for so long, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and others would have to
eventually secure the borders and force ISIS to fight within Turkish, Jordanian,
and Saudi territory – a difficult scenario to implement as nations like Turkey
have created defacto buffer zones within Syrian territory which would require a
direct military confrontation with Turkey itself to eliminate.
With Iran joining the fray with an alleged deployment of
thousands of troops to bolster Syrian military operations, overwhelming
principles of deterrence may prevent Turkey enforcing its buffer zones.
What we are currently left with is
NATO literally holding the region hostage with the prospect of a catastrophic
regional war in a bid to defend and perpetuate the carnage perpetrated by ISIS
within Syria, fully underwritten by an immense logistical network streaming out
of NATO territory itself.
Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based
geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine“New