Who doesn’t love the current price of a gallon of gas? I was driving in to my office recently and noticed more than one fuel station posting gas at $1.55 per gallon. When George W. Bush first took office in 2001, the average price of a gallon was $1.55.
Remember back in 2012, during a debate with Mitt Romney Obama said: “When I took office, the price of gasoline was $1.80, $1.86. Why is that? Because the economy was on the verge of collapse.” So what does it tell us about the present Obama economy that gas prices are now some 30 cents lower than 2009 and in free fall? Sure, it’s great for us consumers – we’re saving a fortune on gas and heating oil – but it’s not great for our nation or the world economy.
Oil-producing nations, including our own, are feeling the strain of this glut of oil created by contracting world economies. This weak world outlook requires a lot less energy. Some are feeling the pinch much more than others. Countries like Russia are all but broke, since virtually its entire economy is based on oil and gas production.
Another state, the Islamic State, or ISIS, is also getting hammered over the cheap cost of oil, which they’ve been able to sell on the black market. Between the cost of oil and air strikes against its infrastructure, such as a major cash distribution center in Mosul, Iraq, purported to have held half a billion dollars, ISIS is hurting for money.
Until now ISIS, by projecting great wealth and power, has been able to attract many to its winning cause. But lately it has been forced to cut payments to most who work for the Islamic State. Civil servants and fighters alike have had their pay cut by as much as 50 percent. Plans for the creation of their own currency have been scrapped, at least for now. ISIS is requiring all payments to its government in U.S. dollars only. Great! We’re the official currency of the world’s largest terror organization.
But this isn’t all good news. When a rat is cornered it becomes most dangerous.
ISIS desperately needs cash – but where to get it? Well, a rather sobering report was recently released fearing that the terror group has obtained radioactive material. The material was apparently stolen from a storage depot in Basra, in southern Iraq.
Evidently, the highly radioactive material was being stored at a Weatherford International depot, an oil and gas services company based in Wallingford Connecticut. It was contained in a laptop sized case and was taken from the company’s storage facility in Basra. The material, approximately 0.35 oz. of Iridium 192 (Ir-192) capsules, was confirmed to have been owned by SGS Turkey, based in Istanbul.
No one knows if this was an inside job, but an investigation suggested that the perpetrators knew the layout of facility and must have had access, since there were no broken windows, doors or locks – no signs of forced entry.
According to experts, it would be a relatively simple matter to attach some or all of the Iridium to conventional explosives to produce a very deadly dirty nuke.
So now that ISIS may have their hands on radioactive material, what do they intend to with it? It’s already been proven that they’ve used chemical weapons, so one must conclude, due to there penchant for barbarism, that they would have no problem setting off a dirty bomb.
But as was already cited, ISIS is cash-strapped. They need money. Criminals have really two ways of getting it – stealing and blackmail. Is it possible they instead plan to use a dirty bomb, not for terror, but to blackmail a country into paying millions of dollars in exchange for the promise not to detonate it in a major city?
What would a European nation do when presented with such a choice? Heck, what would we do? Would they pay – would we pay? It’s easy to say we don’t negotiate with terrorists, but this is a nuclear device. As crude as it may be, the effect could still be devastating. Let’s hope we won’t have to make that choice.