Friday, March 13, 2015

Recent economic indicators of ISIL controlled areas

Review of news this week points to several indicators of deteriorating economic conditions in ISIL controlled areas.

1. It is now widely reported what was known a few months ago that electricity is in very short supply in Syria and especially in rebel areas. Down 83% over 4 years and in rebel areas as much as 96% based on night lighting which would be a luxury in an area that used wood predominantly for home heating this last winter.
"... Four years later, the conflict appears far from abating, and its impact on ordinary citizens is widespread: 3.3 million Syrians have become refugees, at least 7.6 million others have been internally displaced, and 210,000 people have been killed, according to recent estimates. A new report presents an even more staggering figure: Syrians’ life expectancy has been reduced by 20 years as a result of the conflict, going from 75.9 years in 2010 to approximately 55.7 years at the end of 2014."

2. This NBC article is a pretty good consolidation of ISIL's 'looting economy' with these nuggets. A. Fighter payroll is about $10 million per month with $350-500 per month times 20-30,000 fighters. B. Food is in short supply and wheat is twice the price of Baghdad. C. Salaries have been cut as well as fuel and bread subsidies. In early March, food prices in Salah Al-Din increased significantly over the previous week due to conflict. In Anbar, Kirkuk and Salah Al-Din the price of wheat is double that in Baghdad...

3. Battles for oil fields south and west of Kirkuk have gone to the Kurds and the Arab Sunnis have been pushed back and away from those money producing locations which my rough guess is about 10 times those of the ISIL oil fields combined. Also the big refineries in ISIL territory have been lost or knocked off line.

4. Ransom revenue is down as the easy pickings are already taken. NBC article estimatest $45 MM raised but I would question that as low given that amount alone probably came from the Turkish diplomats not even counting Indian nurses and hundreds of Turkish truckers. Japanese hostage ransom alone was estimated to be $200 MM though that wasn't paid as hostage was killed.
The lights across Syria have gradually gone out since 2011 as a result of fighting and widespread displacement, plunging schools, hospitals, and homes into the dark.

Stratfor analysis of possible Russian scenarios in Ukraine

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

ISIS warns people of Mosul not to leave city

( A local source in Nineveh province stated Tuesday, that the ISIS group warned the people of Mosul not to leave the city using loudspeakers, threatening whoever plans to get out to confiscate their property.
The source said in an interview with, “Vehicles belonging to ISIS wandered Mosul’s neighborhoods and warned its residents through loudspeakers not to leave,” explaining that, “Residents were threatened that anyone to leave Mosul would be considered “an apostate” and their property would be confiscated.”
The source, who requested anonymity, added, “Similar warnings were sent through mosques loudspeakers.” 

Exclusive: Press TV's correspondent shows ISIL explosives gained by Iraq...

Booby-traps in Tikrit - March 2015

PMU fighter Abu Azrael enters ISIS storage filled with explosives

PMU fighter Abu Azrael enters ISIS storage filled with explosives

The door may be opened whose key has been lost

"Now it has become clear to me, that in our troubled world, so full of contradictions, it cannot be wisdom to assert the unique truth of one faith over another. The wise person makes justice his guide, and learns from all. Perhaps in this way the door may be opened again whose key has been lost." - Akbar the Great, Mogul leader of India ca 1600

Ancient India and the Earliest Known Civilizations (Full Documentary)