Wednesday, 28 August 2013
Syrian misadventure is not about resources
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.