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French Fighters Target Islamic State Revenue

November 9, 2015

By Chris Biggers

FMoD (2011) Mirage 2000 Libya

French Air Force Mirage 2000-5 loaded with GBU-12 Paveway II during March 2011 air strikes in Libya (Credit : French MoD)

“We intervened in Syria… yesterday evening with a strike on an oil supply center near Deir Ezzor on the border between Iraq and Syria,” Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced today.

Given the location of the strikes, it’s likely the fighters were launched from their forward location in the Kingdom of Jordan. Satellite imagery has confirmed that the French Air Force deployed its six Mirage 2000 fighters to Prince Hassan AB, Mafraq Governorate.

They’ve been deployed at the airbase, which is located less than 20 miles south of the Syrian border and a little over 100 miles from Iraq, since early 2015. In September, the French air arm initiated its first missions in Syria after launching strikes in Iraq earlier this year.

In January, Islamic State claimed responsibility for the murder of four people in a kosher grocery store in Paris. The French Parliament overwhelmingly approved strikes a week later.

The French Air Force currently has 12 combat aircraft supporting Operation Chammal including the six Rafales at Al Dhafra, UAE and six Mirage 2000s at Prince Hassan. The French Navy also maintains the long range Atlantique 2 in the UAE for reconnaissance and battlefield prep.

They will soon be joined by the French nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle which will launch additional fighters in support of operations. Previously, the carrier deployed for a two month stint in February providing up to 20 additional aircraft to conduct between 10-15 sorties a day.

It’s likely further fighters will continue to target Islamic State’s oil income as it’s a crucial revenue stream helping fuel the terrorist group’s operations. However, given how diversified the quasi-corporate state remains, strikes alone will unlikely be enough.

Chris Biggers

Chris Biggers is a public and private sector consultant based in Washington, D.C.

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32 Comments

  1. G

    what? they did not bomb 23 hospitals in 1 night? oh, yes, the moral indignation is reserved only for the russians.

    Reply
  2. Randy Dread

    France is acting illegally.

    It has no permission from Syria or any UN resolution authorising it to bomb Syria.

    Reply
    • MBobrik

      Quote : “In January, Islamic State claimed responsibility for the murder of four people in a kosher grocery store in Paris. The French Parliament overwhelmingly approved strikes a week later.” … I suppose it is illegal for non-Russians to defend themselves when attacked….

      Reply
    • Mad Dog

      Why do they need permission from Syria? Also, they are not bombing Syrians it seems, just a common enemy, so why are you have your panties in a twist?

      Reply
    • Andrea

      UNSC can’t give useful resolutions thanks to its members … and i honestly can’t think that anyone in the universe should have to ask a permit to bomb ISIS … neither aliens !

      They are conducting bombings where Assad can’t, he should be thanking them !
      Russia instead is so lucky they got an invite !

      Reply
      • Randy Dread

        Bombing Syria without permission from Syria or an SC resolution constitutes illegal armed aggression against Syria.

        It’s really not complicated.

        Reply
        • boggled

          Using Barrel bombs against civilians (which is sited as the cause of most civilian deaths in Syria (over 1800 in September alone)) is not approved by the UN and that constitutes a breach of many International Law.
          In my opinion, the ASSad regime is no longer representative of the Syrian population because it is indiscriminately killing it.

          It is therefore a state in limbo, which means if the FSA gives permission or someone else, then France has complete rights to attack Daesh in Syria and elsewhere.

          Although you are right Randy, I think the UN and Hague should have began ASSad’s war crimes declaration for arrest and detention of much of its government a long time ago.

          Being on the border, the Rights of Iraq to allow France to hit this target of Daesh is authorized regardless of ASSad’s government giving it the okay.

          That is my opinion though, International Lawyers would probably have to quibble about it.

          Daesh or ISIL do not play by UN rules and resolutions, which tend to make them a valid target wherever they are, especially in a state in limbo.

          France should inform Syrian Government of the airstrikes to remove its citizens that may be at the location, but being beholden to Syrian approval when attacking from Iraqi territory?
          Nope, not in my opinion.

          Another item, these are precision munitions, not like the dumb dumb bomb stuff RF is throwing around Syria hitting and destroying civilians, medical structures, schools, etc then lying (or doing incorrect analysis) about the targets they targeted and destroyed.

          Fare thee well

          Reply
          • Darrin

            Another item, these are precision munitions, not like the dumb dumb bomb stuff RF is throwing around Syria hitting and destroying civilians, medical structures, schools, etc then lying (or doing incorrect analysis) about the targets they targeted and destroyed.

            Really shows how clueless you are.

        • Andrea

          I know, just sometimes common sense is better than law…
          If Assad asks to stop bombings i think he’ll be the only one to get a worst situation 😉

          Reply
  3. Randy Dread

    boggled – November 10th, 2015
    Using Barrel bombs against civilians (which is sited as the cause of most civilian deaths in Syria (over 1800 in September alone)) is not approved by the UN and that constitutes a breach of many International Law.

    There is no such thing as barrel bombs, there are just bombs.

    there are zero reliable figures available on civilian casualties and who caused them.

    Moreover, civilian casualties inevitably occur in wars. Israel, the US the Uk and Saudi Arabia regularly bomb civilians including schools, hospitals, and essential infrastructure.

    Reply
    • boggled

      And this is typical Syria’s method of dropping them.
      http://www.syriahr.com/en/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/syria-barrel-bombs-550×330.jpg
      And do you really think they have any accuracy in this method?
      You are right, they are both methods that could be inaccurate.

      So you discount all figures from Syria and just consider a nation of 25 million people a source of unreliable numbers?
      The multiple hospital clinics of various relief orgs that count those numbers?
      The new graves that have been dug that can be seen by satellite?

      You might be right, the death count in Iraq is still in dispute.
      Other death counts throughout history have been challenged.
      Although after further reviews, most of the numbers reported in various atrocities has been on the low side in genocidal regimes, and highly exaggerated in antiDemocracy (antiWest) propaganda.

      Mass unreported graves from Stalin are still being uncovered today.
      Mass graves are being reported in Ukraine as Ukraine reacquires various towns and villages that were attacked by ethnic Russian terrorists.

      As far as I know, there have been cemeteries utilized by Western forces, however they are not thrown into a pit and lime thrown on them to cover up the crime as various dictators have done like the 200k of mass graves done by Serbs to the Croatians.
      Or the mobile crematoriums used by vova inside Ukraine to hide the atrocities there.

      You can doubt the 250k civilian figures reported, but I actually believe that number is low.
      And that is something we might find out if this war ever ends.
      History has shown these western relief orgs numbers have more reliability then dictatorship, which I think no one disputes that is what ASSad is, propaganda numbers.

      Fare thee well

      Reply
      • stranger

        “Mass graves are being reported in Ukraine as Ukraine reacquires various towns and villages that were attacked by ethnic Russian terrorists”
        Originally this piece of news sounded just slightly different: found not by Ukrainian army, but by separatists of DNR/LNR; attacked not by Russian terrorists, but by Ukrainian nationalists, particularly the battalion Aidar (among others, not directly subordinated to Ukrainian army):
        http://www.osce.org/ukraine-smm/124216
        Have I missed the other reported accidents?

        That is the website of OSCE monitoring mission in Ukraine, they seem to be blind most of the time, but still are more reliable than mass media.

        “by ethnic Russian terrorists”
        I just wonder how they distinguish ethnic Russians from Ukrainians, may be it is written in the passport, or they call either one themselves? The only people who care about nationality are not-numerous Ukrainian nationalists from the west areas and nobody else. There are may be 60% of Ukrainians and 40% of Russians at Donbass as of 2001. That war was anything but the question of nationality or religion.

        But I agree all war crimes from both sides must be investigated.

        “Or the mobile crematoriums used by vova inside Ukraine to hide the atrocities there.”
        Ukrainian propaganda is different from Russian one. In Ukraine they creatively construct a new reality, blunt true facts are too boring: “Putin sent mobile crematoriums to Donbass”, “Russia deployed nuclear weapon in Donetsk”, “FSB agent was arrested by SBU wearing a black leather cape hiding two long daggers”, “Putin sent snipers to Maydan”, and numerous others.

        Reply
        • boggled

          https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/07/24/dispatches-mass-grave-found-eastern-ukraine

          http://mashable.com/2015/02/20/ukraines-nameless-dead/#g0q7eph4xOqp

          There are many battles in fields where the UA military will mark the graves, but as seen by various human rights groups, the technique of the DNR et al is to bulldoze an area, drop the bodies in and leave it unmarked.
          Locals have been informing UA and other groups as they return to certain villages.
          Lese majesty has been carried out by both side, but it has appeared from what local villagers report, the pendulum of atrocities were mainly carried out by Strelkov aligned forces.

          stranger you state – That war was anything but the question of nationality or religion.
          I agree, it was like Crimea, a small local force that stole automatic weapons and used terror and fear and confusion to begin their campaign until; Kremlin FSB and GRU could assess and direct.
          Then Strelkov came and all the other various Muscovites to lead the armed insurgency and terror campaign.
          What was disappointing was that the peace loving beatniks of Donbas chose to run instead of to stand up to the initial armed campaign.
          By then though, Moscow had a chance after Crimea to send its ‘secret army’ in and use FSB directed groups to attack those that were proUnity.
          Especially able to rally more support after the May 2 FSB (or GRU) directed operation in Odessa.

          You may be right about the crematoria usage, even the author of this site is questionable about if the story is actually truth.
          Much easier to put them in humanitarian aid trucks and drive them back to Rostov as Cargo 200 and do it there for those that and then bury in the new cemeteries they are creating outside the bases there.
          If a troop had no family or survivors, they could do it there.
          Could be for all the stray animals as people fled the fighting areas, if they did bring some in.

          The nukes, well we have touched on the subject.
          Some of the explosions have appearances to me to be larger then just some ammo dump being blown up.
          The left over craters are larger then ‘regular’ explosives as well near various chemical and other plants that have been turned into weapon producing plants.
          I could see why they think the possibility of a nuclear explosion, especially with the fact vova was talking about it so much.

          Spetsnaz were inside Kyiv directing the Berkut at yanukothief’s request (or approval of vova’s request).
          Interior Minister’s documents prove that.
          Were they the actual snipers of Maidan?
          Time and the investigation will tell.
          They were there, so they obviously had some part to play.
          Eventually we will all find out what that is.

          Crimes do need to be investigated and people held to account.
          If Sashko Billy made up some crazy plan to do this, it will come out.
          If yanukothief acted with advice from the Ministry and did it, that will come out.
          If the Kremlin and Spetsnaz were involved, that will come out.

          Fare thee well

          Reply
        • Andrea

          Randy, it’s not just one (the first in 1864), and there are many additional protocols signed too that are included in the wording “Geneva Conventions”

          The first tree ones were only about the conditions of war prisoners and wounded.
          The fourth one (1949) is the one about protection of civilians.

          There were no limitations to the conduct of hostilities (weapons and attack civilians) during WWII.

          Reply
          • Randy Dread

            in that case we would have to explain why the USA openly and explicitly targets civilian infrastructure essential for health and survival in its various wars.

          • Andrea

            You can’t justify actions by saying “he did so earlier” … at least unless u are 12 years old 😉

            And by the way you posted again something without any specific reference/source

  4. stranger

    Air strikes are not enough to defeat ISIS. Unless US is willing to repeat Iraq campaign, and it seems they don’t, Syrian or Iraq, Iran armies are needed at the land.

    Reply
    • Randy Dread

      Syria, Iraq, Iran, Russia and Hezbollah can hopefully do the job.

      The USA and its allies of course support the terrorists, so we will have to see what they do.

      Reply
      • stranger

        Russia explicitly claimed not to participate in any land operations. That would be a completely different level of involvement with all related issues. I don’t think Putin is ready for that.

        Reply
      • boggled

        USA and Coalition forces ARE specifically targeting Da’esh areas and infrastructure.
        ASSad and Russia are specifically targeting groups that want ASSad out.

        There is some synergy and there is some dispute about tactics.
        Under BHO the USA will refuse to put in ground forces to battle ISIL, they said it is time for Iraqi forces to man up and handle the ground forces, it is their future.
        He speaks truth, but by this tactic he is risking loosing all the gains that were made in Iraq.

        I disagree with the tactic, I think Coalition ground forces are necessary.
        However I do agree that Iraqi forces should be the main brunt of the ground forces.

        The tactic in Syria could be the same to isolate and destroy Daesh, but it seems ASSad instead of asking for that help and forgoing his war with resistance chooses thinks he can defeat both.
        In reality, he and Russia probably will not be able to without killing everyone and increasing the refugees to much larger numbers.

        In the mean time, ISIL is moving covertly towards Russia.
        A multi front war inside Syria solves no ones problems.
        So in IMHO a quagmire is just getting more murky.
        I think you are right stranger urban fighting, like the coalition forces did in Iraq and Afghanistan, is necessary.
        Will there be the same kind of holding back from making it an all out slaughter as the USA did there in those two nations, time will tell.

        I hope Syrian military, Iranian military, and Iraqi military can work together and keep it from being another Vietnam or worse, but I do not know.

        AS the last 4 years have shown, ASSad does not mind his country being ruined as long as his party, as opposed to all the people of Syria, holds control of Syria.

        A quagmire with no easy solutions for any party.
        Squashing Daesh is in everyone’s best interest.
        I hope that goal will be realized and continue to be acted upon by all.

        The Kremlin may need the USA in the very near future when the Islamic hatred they fund abroad comes home to roost.
        The Chechen wars were something they just barely survived getting a lot bigger, I am not sure they will survive the next from the area.

        The Kremlin under vova has made a lot of enemies of people that were reaching a hand out to it and encouraging a better future for the whole RF.

        Fare thee well

        Reply
  5. John Zenwirt

    The French now have an overwhelming reason for their amped-up anti-ISIS airstrikes; the terrorist attacks President Hollande called, “An act of war.”

    go get ’em, France.

    Call up the Foreign Legion; and with full legitimacy, send their fierce attack-force to get ISIS…

    Reply
      • John Zenwirt

        Here’s what’s happened since the last Paris attack, the French have been made more patriotic:

        “Thousands of people have been flocking to sign up with the military. Those seeking to enlist in the French Army have quintupled to around 1,500 a day. Local and national police offices are flooded with applications. Even sales of the French flag, which the French rarely display, have skyrocketed since the attacks, which left 130 dead.”

        “I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Col. Eric de Lapresle, a spokesman for the French Army’s recruiting service. “People are coming in and contacting us in droves through social media, using words like liberty, defense and the fight against terror.”

        http://tinyurl.com/qc2mp8q

        It’s plain as day that the French people have changed their world-view…

        Reply

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