Syria: Obama And Clinton’s War for Natural Gas?

Now that President Obama has given in to Hilary Clinton, Bill Clinton and John McCain and announced that he will send US weapons to the rebels in Syria, it is important to look one of the under-reported subjects of the war: natural gas.

Specifically, natural gas from the South Pars/North Dome reserves, the largest in the world.

The Syrian Civil War has become a proxy fight in the “Great Game” geo-politics of energy and power in the New World Order. A columnist published by the Guardian in the UK lays it out like this:

  • On the one side: Russia and Iran supporting the repugnant dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad as part of a plan to run a natural gas pipeline from North Dome to Russia, increasing Iranian and Russian power in the European natural gas markets
  • On the other side: Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the Syrian rebels plan an alternate pipeline to Turkey and thus to Europe, generating the support of France, Germany and now the United States

Or, as Milad Jokar writes in the Huffington Post:

“…the conflict can be viewed as a broader struggle between mainly Russia and Western countries which attempt to advance their national interests. For the West these interests are isolating Iran and bolstering the strategic and economic alliance with Arab allies like Qatar, which invests in Europe and offers an alternative to Russian gas.”

Natural gas may not be the central issue propelling the increasingly venomous civil war, but it may be a key reason why the US and European nations are involving themselves in this particular conflict.

The rebels are struggling against a tyrannical regime, but also are working with self-proclaimed al Qaeda groups. Many have noted that the war is now a sectarian conflict between Sunni and Shiite groups and is spreading into other nations like Iraq.  Should the United States send arms that may end up in the hands of al Qaeda? Should we insert ourselves into another Middle East conflict that cuts through the heart of Islamic society?

Obama and his supporters argue that arming the rebels will force the Assad regime to negotiate a settlement. But how likely is that? 93,000 Syrians have already been killed. How many more will die as Russia arms Assad’s Baathist regime and the United States arms the Free Syrian Army? How much blood money will the profiteers of the military-industrial complex and the fossil fuel industry make?

The wars in Korea and Vietnam killed between 5 and 8 million people, mostly civilians. In both, the United States armed one side while the Soviet Union and China armed the other, until eventually American troops fought and died. Vietnam and Iraq were justified by President Johnson and President Bush on flimsy evidence of an attack in the Gulf of Tonkin and the presence of WMDs. Will it happen again?

And finally, why aren’t any major US media outlets reporting on the role of natural gas in this mess?

Addenda: I recommend watching the PBS Frontline documentary “Syria: Behind the Lines.” It captures a few days in the war and the morass of ethnic and religious divisions that inform the conflict. While some would like the American public to perceive the rebels as freedom fighters valorously rejecting the yoke of Assad tyranny, the reality seems far more complex. The chilling words of a wounded rebel soldier’s mother towards the end of the film make it clear the US may have no useful role in this conflict.

Thomas Pynchon – “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.”


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7 responses to “Syria: Obama And Clinton’s War for Natural Gas?”

  1. Ryan Navickas

    The German left party Die Linke is, and has been, calling for an immediate end to all arms shipments to Syria including those from Russia, Saudi Arabia, Europe and the West, a refreshing position in my view in a world which longs for intervention as easy fix. Those who believe that more weapons can end the bloodshed there should rethink their calculus. 

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  2. cailin rua

    Now that Russia is no longer a communist state we’re allies???
    There is nothing quite like an authoritarian state without the benefits of socialism.  I want to say, “The more things change, the more they stay the same” but how could anyone not come to the conclusion that the more things change the worse they seem to get? 

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  3. cailin rua

    This came across my newsfeed yesterday.  I think it is relevant in relation to why the U S and Russia are meddling in the mideast and provides an explanation as to why the U S strategy has been to destabilize governments throughout the Middle East without regard for the human cost:
    The study also warned of a possible shortfall in global oil output by 2015:
    “A severe energy crunch is inevitable without a massive expansion of production and refining capacity. While it is difficult to predict precisely what economic, political, and strategic effects such a shortfall might produce, it surely would reduce the prospects for growth in both the developing and developed worlds. Such an economic slowdown would exacerbate other unresolved tensions.”

    Even though oil is spoken of in this case, I think the same holds true for natural gas reserves.

    The question is, “what next?”

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  4. cailin rua

    Whoops.  Here’s the link:

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  5. Barry

    Very misleading headline.  The US has plenty of natural gas (via fracking) and some are even tryng to export it.  Clinton and Obama had little to do with the war as is pretty clear in the post.  Indeed Obama had long resisted more involvement, and those of us who want to stay out and not get involved with sending still more arms to that conflict should have been doing more to commend him for restraint as he was under a lot of pressure from the true warmongers (e.g. McCain) and needed political help to resist.  At this point we need a broad anti-war coalition, no need to offend Obama supporters needlessly.

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    1. PinkHatLib

      Yes, US energy companies clearly have no stake in this. How ridiculous to suggest US foreign policy might actually be designed to benefit multinationals over the needs of US citizens! As Barry knows, those oil companies have no influence over Clinton/Obama foreign policy. (*cough*)

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