Wednesday 28 August 2013

Syrian misadventure is not about resources

Whenever it comes to war in the Middle East, which sadly has been the case fro many years now, indeed all of my adult life, the main accusation that comes from the left-wing is that the US and UK are only in it for the money.

Somehow some unsubstantiated claim is made that it is all about oil and security of energy prices that makes the West take actions to target and murder women and children. I have never taken this theory very seriously as no evidence is ever truly thrown up in its defence. Perhaps the one time it could have been true in 1991 and the First Gulf War, which did see prices drop, was the one time the whole international community was in harmony about the reasons and justification for the war!

Nevertheless, in Parliament today or tomorrow the likes of Diane Abbott will stand up and say this is all about oil or gas. Syria produced a mere 385,000 barrels of oil a day - it is hardly a blip on the middle eastern radar of oil producing countries; Iraq is trying to increase production by more than this each year. gas fields of 9 TCF are proven but not yet exploited. Again 9TCF is not tiny, but hardly competes with American shale gas. And this is the point, America may soon become a net energy exporter, the proposition that it would go to war with Syria to secure oil and gas supplies therefore moves beyond even the fanciful to the downright deranged. The USA and the UK could lose more by antagonising Russia and its supplies that it could ever gain in Syria. So let's hope in the debate to come that this hoary old chestnut is not raised.

Finally, don't read the above as a blessing for intervention, in a nasty civil war which is symptomatic of a wider Islamic civil war between Sunni/Shia and Wahhabi/Moderate visions of society I doubt we can make any difference. I would also wait until there is real proof Asad did this as the suspicion must be it was the rebels who have far more to lose and have admitted using chemical weapons in the recent past. I don't see at the moment what we hope to achieve by intervention.


Bill Quango MP said...

Glad you posted this. The 'its oil' has been flying around the twitter all week.
Its used to explain western involvement in Libya, Iraq 1+2, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and the Falklands. {Though Bosnia and the Balkans never get a mention for some reason.}
Its the automatic, unthinking,goto response. I even heard one commentator saying we are NOT going to attack because Syria doesn't have enough oil and The UK/USA {which are joined at the hip and might as well be one country, even though the US stayed away from Libya} only get involved in oil rich nations like Libya.

The other response is 'its none of our business' and we have 'no involvement with Syria and never have had.'

Which isn't quite true. We did fight a war there. 4500 casualties on the commonwealth side. 6500 on the Vichy.

hovis said...

It's obviously not about Syria's oil or gas, All part of the modern re-enactment of great game. Alternatively part of the military industrial complex supporting of fractional reserve ponzi (copyright ZH). I think you are being unambiious when looking for rationales :-)

Btw I think it is utter madness, to get involved. We have no skin in the game. Cameron truly heir to Blair in his stupidity and vanity. I have never known a war ever be fought for moral reasons, despite the propaganda. Have you seen the UN inspectors are to look to see if not who usedthe weapons, cui bono...

Nick Drew said...

no doubt you've seen this in the DTel

"Saudi Arabia has secretly offered Russia a sweeping deal to control the global oil market and safeguard Russia’s gas contracts, if the Kremlin backs away from the Assad regime in Syria"

a great one for conspiracy theorists

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No longer available but go to the 29th Jan in the Way Back machine - the internet Archive and search on the above link see the article until you dont..

What larks Pip...

Timbo614 said...

Last night's BBC news item on Syria was hauntingly familiar to similar broadcasts concerning Iraq and WMD. Almost the same rhetoric and phrases, the build up and steering of the public's perceptions sounds and feels the same. It does not bode well.

Personally I think we should keep our noses out, but then, errm, we are "Great" Britain and Cameron the PM of the (once) Great Britain. Non-Western attitudes and actions and reasoning(if there is any) must be stamped on by the "great and good" of Britain if necessary.

Where have all the flowers gone....

CityUnslicker said...

Plus Cameron would be really popular to say no - like Blair doing privatisations. A Tory saying no to the yanks would be richard curtis' wet dream.

there are just so many reasons to stay out...

Demetrius said...

The Financial Crimes, following the money suggests that it is a matter of whether the proposed Qatari pipeline to Europe might or might not go ahead to compete with the Russian

andrew said...

Lawrence of Arabia is having a posthumous 'i told you so' decade.

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