For anyone who still actually thinks America’s role in Syria was ever somehow about “protecting human rights” or “promoting democracy” — here’s the latest out of Syria, which the Trump administration has since confirmed:
Syria’s foreign ministry said on Sunday that an American oil company had signed an agreement with Kurdish-led rebels who control northeastern oilfields in what it described as an illegal deal aimed at “stealing” Syria’s crude.
That’s right, the some 700 to perhaps 1000+ US troops still occupying Syrian territory in the country’s oil and gas rich northeast are overseeing a deal for an American company to come in and take the oil.
This is after Trump has said for much of the past year that he’s keeping American forces there to “secure the oil” — though it’s long been left open whether this means “secure” it from ISIS, or the Russians, or Damascus. Now in practice we see it’s all about taking these vital resources away from the government and ultimately the already impoverished Syrian people.
Syria’s foreign ministry as well as state media SANA said it “condemns in the strongest terms the agreement signed between al-Qasd militia (SDF) and an American oil company to steal Syria’s oil under the sponsorship and support of the American administration.”
Damascus also said “This agreement is null and void and has no legal basis,” and is likely to lodge an official complaint with the UN. It’s as yet unknown precisely what US company or companies are involved.
When early reports surfaced last week, it was Syrian state sources making the allegation. But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo since confirmed it, according to Reuters:
A U.S. senator and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had referred to an oilfields deal between the SDF and a U.S. firm during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Thursday.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said during the committee hearing that SDF General Commander Mazloum Abdi informed him that a deal had been signed with an American company to “modernize the oil fields in northeastern Syria”, and asked Pompeo whether the administration was supportive of it.
“We are,” Pompeo responded during the hearing streamed live by PBS. “The deal took a little longer… than we had hoped, and now we’re in implementation.”
Administration hawks have argued that it’s ultimately about keeping funding and resources out of Iranians’ hands, and out of the control of Tehran’s allies like Damascus.
Pre-war Syria had produced a meager 380,000 barrels of oil per day, but it was enough fuel local industries and to support the population.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the deal between a US firm and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as "very powerful"https://t.co/kXB879Dk3g
— Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) August 2, 2020
But now, not only will Syrians see their oil siphoned off by an American company via US proxy ‘rebels’ on the ground, but the population is being strangled through far-reaching Washington-imposed sanctions to boot.
Meanwhile, like in neighboring Iraq, the mass looting of national resources is set to further devastate the local population for generations. As the The National Interest describes: “The lack of modern oil infrastructure has forced the region’s inhabitants to rely on dangerous, primitive backyard refineries and high-risk smuggling operations to export their oil. Local doctors report massive increases in birth defects and other diseases as oil spills and plumes of smoke from poorly-maintained facilities pollute the water and air.”
So much for America’s “humanitarian war”… the mask has utterly fallen off, and did so long ago for those who were paying attention.