Syria Looks to International Courts over Oil’s Future
(December 27, 2019) — Syrian officials say that they are looking at filing an international lawsuit against the United States government over the intended theft of Syrian oil from fields in the country’s northeast.
Since October, President Trump has totally revised the goals of the US war in Syria, entirely around the idea of “securing” the oil, and has been very public about intending to have the US take the oil for themselves.
Syria has very limited oil reserves, and they would be one of the few sources of reconstruction funds in the post-war period. The Syrian government seems to realize they need to at least sort of control that oil, or preclude the US from stealing it outright.
The international legal process could take a long time, but with no American oil companies coming forward to extract Syria’s oil to begin with, the Assad government can likely afford to be patient, and comfortable that they’d almost certainly win this lawsuit, since the US has never even offered an attempted legal justification for taking the oil.
Assad Plans to Sue the US over ‘Stealing’ Syria’s Oil
(December 27, 2019) — Syria’s government is considering suing the United States in an international court over what a senior advisor to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad referred to as the ‘stealing’ of Syria’s oil.
“Syria is looking into the possibility of filing an international lawsuit against the United States, due to the fact that they steal Syrian oil,” Bouthaina Shaaban, Syrian Presidential Adviser, told Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen TV in an interview, carried by Iran’s Fars news agency.
After a surprise announcement of pulling the US troops out of Syria in October, US President Donald Trump said that the United States would protect Syrian oil fields from ISIS.
President Trump claimed that the US had taken control of the oil in the Middle East, tweeting that “The US has secured the Oil, & the ISIS Fighters are double secured by Kurds & Turkey.”
The President did not elaborate on what he meant by “securing the oil,” but speculations about the President’s statement assume he was referring to the US special forces that have been—and will continue to be—in control of oil and gas fields in Deir Ezzor, Syria’s oil region.
President Trump has vowed to protect Syrian oil fields from ISIS, and the United States may leave 500 troops in northeastern Syria and send in battle tanks and other equipment with the purpose to help the Kurds in the area to protect oil fields that used to be controlled by Islamic State during its so-called caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria.
In a separate interview, with NBC News, Assad’s advisor Shaaban said that the United States had no right to Syria’s oil, warning of “popular opposition and operations against the American occupiers of our oil.”
The Kurdish SDF forces control most of Syria’s oil. Before the war, Syria was producing 387,000 barrels of oil per day, of which 140,000 bpd were exported.
US Taking Over from IS & Al-Nusra Front by Seizing Syrian Oil at Behest of ‘Money Lobbies’
December 16, 2019) — Powerful lobbies are behind the US rush for Syria’s natural resources, and the Americans are carrying on where Islamist groups left off by “stealing and selling” them, President Bashar Assad has said.
In October, Donald Trump made headlines by ordering all US troops out of Syria, leaving the devastated country to anyone who wants “to come in and fight.” But weeks later he backtracked on that decision, bluntly stating that troops would remain to “protect” Syrian oil fields east of the Euphrates.
In a comprehensive interview with China’s Phoenix, Assad commented on Trump’s swift transition from the mild non-interventionism that he championed before the troop withdrawal, to the outright oil-driven expansionism that resembled the 2003 Iraq War.
‘Lobbies in Charge of US Policies’
It’s not the government in the classical sense that drives US endeavors in Syria but “the money lobbies, whether in the form of oil, weapons, banks, or others,” Assad explained.
American lobbies are “in charge of the policies” of the country, which “is not governed by principles, but rather by the interests of those companies,” he said.
If they have an interest in occupying the oil wells, stealing and selling them one way or another, then this state and this regime will act in favor of these companies, regardless of international law and regardless of American law.
Those in the White House and on Capitol Hill aren’t shy about breaching the US’ own laws for the sake of these corporations “because if they don’t make them happy, the president might be impeached,”Assad said, referring to the previous historical experience of his country.
Therefore, it doesn’t matter for Syria who is in charge in the White House since the US president’s hands are cuffed by corporate, not state, interests.
‘Thousands,’ Not Hundreds, of US Troops on Syrian Soil
The Pentagon has retained around 800 troops to “guard” Syrian oil facilities, along with Kurdish-led forces, but the figure has artificially been decreased and did not include “individuals fighting with the American army,” Assad believes.
The American regime relies significantly in its wars on private firms like Blackwater in Iraq and others. So, even if they had a few hundred American soldiers in Syria, they still also have thousands — maybe tens of thousands — of civilians working for such companies and fighting in Syria.
Regardless of how many US troops are present in Syria, they seem to be setting up for a long-haul deployment. Previously, it was reported that they were building two new military bases in Deir ez-Zor, the province where the majority of Syrian oil assets are concentrated.
Such compounds are situated near the border with Turkey, and Syria’s northern neighbor plays a role in the affair, Assad suggested.
Crude Smuggled from Syria Is Sold to Turkey
The oil trade has always been a mainstay of the Syrian economy, although their crude reserves pale in comparison to those of the Gulf monarchies. In 2018, Syria had an estimated 2.5 billion barrels of oil reserves, compared with Saudi Arabia’s 297 billion, Iran’s 155 billion, and Iraq’s 147 billion barrels, according to OPEC.
Still, they were of great utility to anyone controlling them. Syrian oil wells were used by Jabhat Al-Nusra and Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), Assad noted. As IS was largely defeated in most parts of Syria, the US is obviously filling the blank space left by the retreating terrorists that capitalized on selling Syrian crude.
Before the Americans, in the early days Jabhat Al-Nusra used these wells; after Daesh came and drove out Al-Nusra — or rather when it merged with Al-Nusra and they all became Daesh — it also stole and sold oil. Where? It used to sell it through Turkey. Now America is the one stealing oil and selling it to Turkey.
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