Did Turkey Just Invade Iraq To Protect Erdogan's ISIS Oil Smuggling Routes?

Tyler Durden's picture

On Friday, Turkey sent troops into Iraq.

Here's a video of the deployment shared on social media:

Contrary to what you might have read, there’s really nothing unusual about that. 

As you may recall, Turkey’s military entered Iraq back in September in hot pursuit of PKK “terrorists” Ankara claimed had fled over the border. And that was just par for the proverbial course.  Here’s what we said at the time: 

In early 2008, Turkish soldiers entered Iraq in a similar effort to eradicate the PKK. "Operation Sun", as the incursion was called, was conducted with Washington's blessing for the most part. "Washington described the PKK as a 'common enemy', and only urged Ankara to keep its incursion short and closely focused," BBC noted at the time, adding that "the positions of the UN and EU have been similar, suggesting a degree of sympathy with Turkey's cause."


And then there was "Operation Steel" in 1995. And "Operation Hammer" in 1997." And "Operation Dawn." And the aplty named "Operation Northern Iraq." 


You get the idea. 


So while history doesn't repeat itself, it damn sure rhymes and here we are again watching as the Turkish military crosses the Iraqi border as though it's not even there chasing "terrorists" up into the mountains.

What’s different this time around, is that this isn’t a Kurd-chasing mission.

In fact, if you believe the official line, it’s the exact opposite. Turkey has apparently had some 90 troops on the ground in Bashiqa “for two years” on a mission to “train” the Peshmerga. The new troops - around 150 personnel supported by two dozen tanks- will “take over the mission,” according to Hurriyet. “Turkey will have a permanent military base in the Bashiqa region of Mosul as the Turkish forces in the region training the Peshmerga forces have been reinforced,” the daily continues, adding that “the deal regarding the base was signed between Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani and Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu, during the latter’s visit to northern Iraq on Nov. 4.” 

Ok, so what’s important to remember here is that although Erdogan is no “fan-o’-Kurds”, Ankara is friendly with the KRG and indeed, Barzani’s 632,000 b/d oil operation (which, you’re reminded, runs independent of SOMO, much to Baghdad’s chagrin) depends heavily on a pipeline that runs from Iraq to Ceyhan. Over the summer, the PKK attacked the pipeline costing the KRG some $250 million in lost revenue. As Rudaw noted at the time, that amounts to an entire month’s worth of salaries for the Peshmerga and other security forces, underscoring the extent to which oil sales via Turkey are crucial to the government in Erbil.

You might also remember from "ISIS Oil Trade Full Frontal: "Raqqa's Rockefellers", Bilal Erdogan, KRG Crude, And The Israel Connection," that there seems to be some commingling going on when it comes to Turkish and ISIS crude. Technically, both are "illegal" and because the 45,000 or so barrels per day that ISIS pumps are so inconsequential in the large scheme of things, it's easy for Islamic State crude to get "lost" in the shuffle once it gets to Turkey which works out great for those involved in the smuggling operation (as an aside, Russia has identified what Moscow says are other ISIS oil smuggling routes but we'll focus on northern Iraq for now).

You might notice that there's a certian irony to this whole thing as it relates to the KRG. What the Al-Araby al-Jadeed report (cited in the article linked above) suggests is that the Kurds in Iraq are to some extent complicit in the entire operation which is amusing because it's the sale of undocumented Kurdish crude that allegedly funds the Peshmerga's fight against Islamic State. As with every other dynamic in the region, the entire thing is impossibly convoluted. 

With that in mind, consider where these Turkish troops (who, again, are supposed to be "training" the Peshmerga) are located. 

So they're right next to Mosul and right between the Kurds and ISIS and, most importantly of all, right on what Al-Araby al-Jadeed claims is the smuggling route for illegal ISIS crude into Turkey from Iraq.

The star on the map is Zakho. Araby al-Jadeed, citing an unnamed Kurdish security officials, employees at the Ibrahim Khalil border crossing between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan, and an official at one of three oil companies that deal in IS-smuggled oil, says that once Islamic State oil "is extracted and loaded, the oil tankers leave Nineveh province and head north to the city of Zakho, 88km north of Mosul [and] after IS oil lorries arrive in Zakho - normally 70 to 100 of them at a time - they are met by oil smuggling mafias, a mix of Syrian and Iraqi Kurds, in addition to some Turks and Iranians."

Araby al-Jadeed's story takes a turn for the fantastic after that, but the point is that it seems extraordinarily convenient that just as Russia is making an all-out effort to expose Turkey's role in financing Islamic State's lucrative oil operation and also to destroy ISIS oil convoys in Syria, that Ankara would dispatch troops and two dozen tanks to the exact place in Iraq where some reports suggest the heart of ISIS' Iraqi oil operation lies. 

For his part, Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi has called for Turkey to "immediately" withdraw its troops. He also calls Ankara's incursion a "violation of sovereignty." Here's the full statement:

It has been confirmed to us that Turkish troops numbering around one regiment armoured with tanks and artillery entered the Iraqi territory, and specifically the province of Nineveh claim that they are training Iraqi groups without the request or authorization from the Iraqi federal authorities and this is considered a serious breach of Iraqi sovereignty and does not conform with the good neighbourly relations between Iraq and Turkey.


The Iraqi authorities call on Turkey to respect good neighbourly relations and to withdraw immediately from the Iraqi territory.

That would seem to indicate that Baghdad has never approved the "training mission" that Ankara claims has been going on east of Mosul for two years.

Furthermore, this underscores the fact that Iraq does not want help from NATO when it comes to fighting ISIS. As we reported last week, Iraqis generally believe the US is in bed with Islamic State and you can bet that Russia and Iran will be keen on advising Baghdad to be exceptionally assertive when it comes to expelling a highly suspicious Turkish presence near Najma. 

Ultimately, this is yet another escalation from Erdogan and the timing, location, and vague explanation raise all sorts of questions about what exactly those 150 troops and 25 tanks are doing but you can be sure that if Baghdad rebukes Washington and green lights Russian recon and airstrikes in Iraq, we'll find out soon enough.

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johngaltfla's picture

Maybe, maybe not. But one thing for sure, it appears they delivered weapons and ammo to their beleagured ISIS allies.

Worse, they just doubled down with Russia:

12.05 BREAKING NEWS: Turkey Detains 4 Russian Ships in Black Sea
Truther's picture

Watch, Erdogan will get his ass obliterated along with the Zionist Mossad facilitating the illegal oil channels that Israel gets at the end. Putin will check mate them all as he has cheked off Barry and friends.

-.-'s picture

¡Pinché guajolote!

Looney's picture

Erdogan has lost his mind!

With Turkey’s NATO “friends” flexing their sphincters in the neighborhood, Erdogan is about to become a victim of a self-inflicted Heimlich maneuver gone terribly wrong.  ;-)


Latina Lover's picture

Did Turkey Just Invade Iraq To Protect Erdogan's ISIS Oil Smuggling Routes?


The answer is YES!   Erdogans family will make billions off stolen syrian oil delivered by the ISIS head choppers.

Looney's picture

US Building Military Airbase in Northeastern Syria

TEHRAN (FarsNews)- US experts are reconstructing and equipping a desolate airport special to carrying agricultural products in the region controlled by the Kurdish forces in Hasaka region, Northeastern Syria, to turn it into a military base…

… The US has not received or even asked for permission from Damascus for reconstructing the airbase. The United States does not have a UN mandate for intervening in the Syria war.

BTW, this is slightly to the North of Iraq's Mosul, where Turkey has deployed its tanks.


BaBaBouy's picture

Oilbama, please send 60-Minutes To Ceyhan to investigate, they always get to the bottom of things..... Oh wait...

DeadFred's picture

I saw a poster the other day. It had Putin's profile and the words "Get your ham while you can because there may not be any Turkey by Christmas".

Both the Christmas and ham references seemed very anti-semitic, shame on him!

Manthong's picture

We don’t want to leave Iran out of the fun.

Iran ready to present proof of Turkey’s oil trade with ISIS – Tehran official
Iran has evidence of illegal oil trade between Turkey and Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) – and is ready to deliver the information to Ankara and the public, a state official said. Tehran has gathered photos and video footage of oil trucks entering Turkey.

I don't have a good feeling about this, but if Russia turns off the gas to Turkey this time of year maybe a lot of Turks will get cold feet about their government.

And NATO member or not a turkey should not try to mess with a bear.

Maybe it's time to just declare Turkey an arm of Daesch.


two hoots's picture


We may be looking at this all wrong, well, partly wrong.

Remember the drug money the CIA used to support operations?


How about:  ISIS oil is sold to Turkey, then sold to Israel.  Turkey (father/son) shares the profit (from Israel) with the CIA to support Free Syria Army units to overthrow Assad. 


Turkey profits, Israel gets cheap oil, CIA (allows all to happen) and gets funding for FSA units through a program called MOM, for Mü?terek Operasyon Merkezi.   And yes, this is the fiasco that all fell apart, but continues in an improved version.


ISIS in the area was never bombed before?  Dropped leaflets?  ISIS being a tool, as the priority is overthrow of Assad not destroying ISIS, a side bar operation, for now.


So the other questions is: Is the CIA using ISIS oil to support operations?  

Interesting reading (that spurred my thoughts)



Winston Churchill's picture

You only just realized that ?

It was my assumption from the start.

Hard not to make a good profit when the oil is stolen.

Not just the Turks wallet getting hit, and Uncle Scam may, or may not, know whats really going on.

Wouldn't be the first time the CIA has gone rogue.

two hoots's picture


I can be a little slow sometimes as I generally don’t jump in before overthinking something and always try to move from just the event to what caused the event (where the fix needs to be), anyway:


Kerry sticks with the overthrow of Assad priority, he does no budge.  It only seems reasonable that the oil, MOM operation, all operate out of Turkey, so why not keep the funding (the dark funding)  “in-house”? 


Winston Churchill's picture

it the CIA pattern.Use their black budget as seed money to trade in contraband.

Heroin,cocaine,crack and now oil.

I had a little experience in similar fields, and there were always guys involved in Brooks Bros.

suits somewhere doing it as well.More ruthless than the ordinary gangsters i sometimes rubbed shoulders with..

About time they took up something more respectable, like bank fraud, though I'm pretty sure

they do that as well.

two hoots's picture


I’m okay with shady black op stuff used to protect national interest.  But this entire package is affecting our freedoms, abusing ( I have no problem using) our military, loss of trust in government and stinks of elitism.  It has taken on a life of its own and gone too far.


Four chan's picture

is it too late to clone saddam?

Flagit's picture


I’m okay with shady black op stuff used to protect national interest.

Newsflash, tard.

You should NOT be.

Macchendra's picture

Wait, I thought we were still talking about San Bernadino...  Why is everyone trying to change the subject?

Nexus789's picture

Those 20 or so tanks that should really be in a museum will make nice targets.  Does anyone think the US will trade the annihilation of New York to protect Turkey? 

Dame Ednas Possum's picture

W.R.T. Turkish soldiers entering Iraq... I believe the term is 'human shield'.

One of the many uses for proud, deluded, order-following, expendable young military personnel. The Pat Tilman story, although at the extreme end of the spectrum, springs to mind.

Disgusting, perversely sinister.

83_vf_1100_c's picture

Are they protecting oil interests? Well, yeah. Duh. Does it make jack shit difference to me as a lowly serf of the USSA. Not really. Can I do anything about any of it. No. The only thing I have any control over regarding the pre-WW3 ops is to keep my 3 boys out of the military. Starve the beast of cannon fodder. Will my kids listen? Fuck if I know. Seems like the harder I try to share my scant wisdom the harder they rebel. Keep your kids home folks!

August's picture

It's tough to keep normal young men from signing up to kill the "bad people over there", particularly if the job market is discouraging.

Good luck!

WhackoWarner's picture

Why exactly is the job market so dismal and student debt so high?  Young people will go into military just to get a job.

Flagit's picture


Uncle Scam may, or may not, know whats really going on.

LOL, oh man, had me goin' there for a minute.

Winston Churchill's picture

Its not just the bankers looting everything from the sinking ship.

Uncle Scam may be turning a blind eye to the Turks, while not knowing what CIA operatives

are doing on the ground.Those guys are loose ends and they know how loose ends

are dealt with.Like my CIA aquaintance that drowned in a well in Goa, the guy NEVER went out

unless it was in a crowd in daylight,So he went out alone,on a moonless night,and fell into a well.

Yeah right.

Socratic Dog's picture

Wouldn't be the first time the CIA has gone rogue?

It's been rogue since its inception.  That's why Wall St created it.  Killing the president (Kennedy) made them untouchable.

pelican's picture

So are we offically in WWIII yet?  If NATO was smart, they would kick Turkey out of Nato.  That isn't going to happen though.

With the Chinese, Russians, Americans, French all massing Military equipment with 18 year old kids manning them, what could possibily go wrong?


Thanks Bush, Obama, Hillary and Kerry for doing this.  You could not mind your own damn business and leave the Bathist lunatics to deal with their populations as they felt fit.

Youri Carma's picture

I slowly but surely get the feeling that this will be a very busy Christmas, war wise speaking. But what do the pro-semitic care? And any satanist loves to roar up a good Christmas.

NEKO's picture

If ISIS is supported/controlled by Turkey (so in effect is part of Turkey)... then is Turkey the real enemy here?

Keyser's picture

Hmm, didn't the Iraqi PM request that the Russian air force assist in expelling ISIS from Iraq?  Seems like a good time to add these high-value Iraqi targets to the list for the SU24's, just for shits and giggles... 

Savvy's picture

Now that would be interesting. Russia attacking a NATO member that's invading another country. LOL!!



conscious being's picture

Russia should be invited inti Iraq to destroy the oil convoys like they did / are doing in Syria. Not much the Turks could do, but watch and cry.

Mentaliusanything's picture

In times of confusion many have made fortunes out of misery, if they back the winning side. Personally this is a complete meltdown of planned intelligence gone nuts.

World War 3 has started it just that like the economy, it has been Nationally adjusted and you can all sleep well because its over there and not over here (yet).

Those who fail to plan are planning to fail.

css1971's picture

Next step. The official recognition of Kurdistan as a sovereign nation.

Paveway IV's picture

"...The official recognition of Kurdistan as a sovereign nation..."

The U.S. and Israel are not done ethnically cleansing Iraqi Kurd land (arabs, Yazidi, etc.) and they are not done stealing enough oil wells. Since the furthest oil wells are many miles from historic Kurdish land, they have to sieze it from the 'temps' (ISIS) first, then hang on to it. When Israel and the U.S. had their puppet mobster Barzani take over enough oil fields, they will draw 'Kurdistan' lines a few miles beyond and then claim it all for their new fake country. Erdogan must have fucked up so much that ZATO is forced to start the war for fake Kurdish independence early.

The Kurds do have a legitimate desire for autonomy and (someday) independence, but they are not politically unified, not even in Iraq. There are a few Kurdish factions that are fighting to be the top crime family in the new fake Kurdistan - Barzani was the clan that won U.S./Israeli backing. They are a the biggest, most powerful crime family in Iraqi Kurdistan thanks to that, but they 'represent' the average Iraqi Kurd about as much as Saddam Hussein represented all Iraqis. The Barzani clan and their party are maybe .05% of Iraqi Kurdistan and (with the censorship help of Barzani TV and newspapers) maybe have support of 30% of the Iraqi Kurds. If they knew he was selling ISIS oil to the Turks, he would only have 5% or so of the Kurds backing him. 

Tyler: “..the deal regarding the base was signed between Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani and Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu, during the latter’s visit to northern Iraq on Nov. 4...” 

Barzani is not the president. His term expired a year ago and he (unsuccessfully) is trying to change the constitution so he can stay on for a third term - or more - tyrannical dictators hate the bother of periodic elections. Barzani would prefer to be president for life, so he can concentrate on stealing everything possible from the Iraqi and Kurdish people. See why the U.S. and Israel just love this guy?

Not only is he not president, but you typically wait until after you have a war of independence AND WIN before you start making contracts to sell your mother country's oil and gas, and make foreign policy decisions on inviting other nation's troops on your soil. Barzani is, of course, protecting his illegal oil sales (both ISIS and Iraq). Iraq is pissed, which was the precise intent:

The U.S., U.K and Israel want Iraq to attack Barzani so they can invade northern Iraq.

It's important, so I'll repeat:

The U.S., the U.K. and Israel wnat Iraq to attack Barzani as a pretext to start a war send in troops. The troops are not going to be sent to protect 'the Kurds', but U.S., U.K. and Israeli oil interests. They will dress up the invasion as R2P but tens of thousands of Kurds and Iraqis will die. The intent will not be to stage a winnable war, but one that quickly stalemates where ZATO can force Iraq to the negotiating table to accept the 'new' borders of Kurdistan. I suppose a fake U.N. peacekeeping force can be stationed along a DMZ forever. Israel seems to like 'free' U.N. border guards like they have in the stolen Golan Heights.

newdoobie's picture

+1 Paveway, I haven't been back to Turkey for years but you obviously know your stuff.

Paveway IV's picture

One picture is worth a thousand words: Fake Kurdistan - Exxon - Genel

There are similar graphics for other Western oil interests, all of which are interested in drilling outside the boundaries of the currently recognized Kurdish controlled region. Thus, the need for a bigger new Fake Kurdistan with conveniently-redrawn expanded borders over potential oil finds.

I should have mentioned that MOST Kurds hate the Turks. Barzani clan/KRG mafia love the Turks - they're their best customers for ISIS oil. Since Barzani runs bartertown, he invited the Turks in. This was mostly to protect the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline on the Iraqi side of the border because it would look bad if Barzani (the illegal Kurd president) killed other Kurds to protect his smuggling pipeline.

The Turkish military has been regularly bombing Kurds in Cizre - that's the Turkish side of the Kirkuk - Ceyhan pipeline crossing. They also want to bomb Kurds on the Iraqi (or Fake Kurdistan) side of the line to protect the pipeline. 

The average Kurd don't necessarily mind sending oil through the pipeline to Turkey, but they resent that Barzani has claimed himself king and is stealing most of the money and running oil off-the-books. They have previously bombed the pipeline in an act of defiance to Barzani. The Turkish army is in Iraq to kill defiant Kurds - mostly PKK and YPG - and to protect their moneymaker.

The U.S. and U.K. don't give a rat's ass about the Kurds - they just want cheap exploration and production contracts. They'll support anyone that can deliver them, and Barzani did (illegally, of coruse). Israel doesn't give a rat's ass about the Kurds either. They want the Kirkuk-Haifa pipeline running 24x7 and they'll support anyone that can guarantee that happens. If ISIS somehow was claimed as the regional authority in Western Iraq, then Israel would give them arms and money to guard their pipeline. In fact, they must be doing that now because ISIS seems to be ignoring the Kirkuk-Haifa pipeline and pumping stations. You would think the first thing ISIS would want to destroy are Satan's pipelines of profit and death. Why would they leave the three or four pumping stations on their turf untouched? Maybe in exchange for technical help fixing up their ISIS oil wells? Either that, or a whole shitload of shekels and Captagon.

Paveway IV's picture

Thanks, two hoots. I've been looking for a good map of the planned ZATO Fake Kurdistan. 

Here's the direct link to the full-sized graphic if you have a slow connection.

This Fake Kurdistan was spoken about as a U.S.-Israeli land-based aircraft carrier. Convenient access for future attack routes on Russia and Iran from the Mediterranean, and a controlled corridor from the oil fields of northern Iraq to the Mediterranean. 

This was all the long-range plan. Obviously Turkey and Iran are not going to be giving up millions of square kilometers of their land to any Kurdistan. That part happens years down the road when ZATO either foments a coup, creates a proxy war or outright invades either country and steals their land for their Fake Kurdistan.

I'm sympathetic with the Kurds that want to maintain their culture and identity, but the practical reality is that you can't just carve up established borders today by force and ethnically cleanse 'your' land. In fact, that's a very un-Kurdish thing to do. They've been living in culturally diverse areas and have had no problem with Turkmen, Arabic or Assyrian neighbors for centuries. It's only ZATO Kurds that have been ethnically cleansing villages in Iraq, not 'real' Kurds. Having said that, they (at the very least) deserve more autonomy in their respective countries. Iraqis view the U.S. as back-stabbers because we killed one million Iraqi civilians to supposedly reclaim their country, and now we're agitating for land/oil theft via Kurdish independence. I don't have an answer for that situation - it's complex as hell. All I know is that ANY dream of an independent Kurdistan in Iraq will be destroyed and the place turned into a hell-hole if the U.S. or Israel have ANY part in it. 

Yoda rubbing his three-fingered hands: "The psychopathy is STRONG with this one... mmm...yes..."

StychoKiller's picture

Thanks, not everyone has the time to devote to analyzing this clusterfsck!

DaveyJones's picture

"The U.S. and U.K. don't give a rat's ass about the Kurds - they just want cheap exploration and production contracts"

delete "kurds" and insert any political, religious, geographic, ethnic, philosophical or sorority group

TheFutureReset's picture

official recognition of Kurdistan 

I've been thinking the same thing. A slice of Iraq and turkey, maybe all the way to the black Sea. Russia would back that. Big danger is a radical leader coming to power in Turkey. 

silvermail's picture

US and NATO do not have any legal right to decide who should be the leader of other sovereign countries and peoples.
Similarly, the United States and NATO did not have any legal right to decide who of the leader of other sovereign countries and peoples "must go".

US and NATO must go home from the Syria.

knukles's picture

OK, now it's all clear!
Everybody's got troops on Syria, Iraq and wherever else all fighting somebody about something.
Sure glad I came here before I got too much caffeine this morning or perhaps I'd have had some insouciant retarded reactions, but instead, I feel tremendously enriched.
                                                                        Go Team!

BlindMonkey's picture

-->This will be called WW3 by the participants.

-->This will be called WW3 by the historians.

J Jason Djfmam's picture

<The cockroaches will not care.

<Even cockroaches will not survive WWIII.

The Pope's picture

I die 6 million deaths every time I hear a Barbara Streisand song, accidentally scroll by an Adam Sandler movie, or see a Facebook logo. Does that count for anything?

Usurious's picture

Ned? Ned Ryerson? "Ned the Head"? Is that you?