The US military is finally trying to shut down ISIL’s oilfields

The much-contested Baiji refinery outside Baghdad.
The much-contested Baiji refinery outside Baghdad.
Image: Reuters/Thaier Al-Sudani
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More than a year since the US started attacking ISIL’s oil-led financial network, American bombers are finally being used in an attempt to entirely shut down the fields.

As early as last September, oil experts from the region said that the best way to stop ISIL’s estimated $40 million a month in oil revenue was to destroy any equipment with rotating machinery or electric supply.

Instead, though, US bombers appeared to attack mostly small refineries and some trucks. As a result, the flow of money to ISIL persisted.

Now, though, put under pressure by Russian president Vladimir Putin’s foray into Syria and Iran’s more aggressive posture there, the US has begun to bomb the oilfields aggressively, according to a Nov. 13 report in the New York Times. Among the targets, the report says, are fuel-oil equipment and pumping stations.

The Pentagon has dubbed the mission Tidal Wave II, after a World War II campaign called Operation Tidal Wave, which persistently attacked Hitler’s oil infrastructure in Romania and significantly reduced his oil supply.