Yet Another Reason Bombing Oil Fields Does Not Defeat ISIS

A few weeks ago I wrote this piece debunking the claim that Daesh could easily be defeated by bombing oil fields, an idea put forward by, among others, Ben Carson and Donald Trump (whom I have worked into yet another column).

And now, another argument against bombing oil fields is manifesting as winter arrives in Daesh-controlled territories. It turns out that Daesh-controlled oil and natural gas isn’t just going to some sort of export market: it’s also needed by people in Iraq and Syria for their everyday lives, including heat for the winter. But thanks to the world disrupting the oil production in Daesh territory, the costs of oil for the general populace have gone up.

In the Daesh capital of Raqqa, there has recently been a threefold increase in the price of diesel fuel, which people use for heating and powering generators. Reportedly people have resorted to burning wood to keep warm. That is according to the news website Raqqa is being slaughtered silently, written by journalists in the city risking their lives to report on what is happening under Daesh. Already four RBSS journalists have been killed (whereas as I sit comfortably in a recliner chair in my living room to write this blog).

And increased energy costs also mean increased costs for anything transported by motor vehicle. So various goods, like food, have increased in price 5-10%. On top of that, Turkey’s tightening of its border has dealt a severe blow to the smuggling of goods, which means having to purchase goods through the Daesh supply chain with expensive regime-imposed royalties.

This is not like, say, World War II era Japan, where the populace is loyal to the government and working in their homes to contribute to the war effort. People in Raqqa, a city with a population of about half a million, are essentially held captive under repressive Daesh hegemony. Meanwhile, various outside forces are bombing their infrastructure and causing their quality of life to dwindle.

“Bombing only is not enough. Bombing is just making the case worse,” said RBSS co-founder Mohammed Saleh.

Perhaps the GOP candidates and others extolling bombing should investigate what is happening in Daesh territories first before deciding to blow it up.