How the War in Syria is About Oil, not ISIS


By Carl Gibson at


“… the Persian Gulf, the critical oil and natural gas-producing region that we fought so many wars to try and protect our economy from the adverse impact of losing that supply or having it available only at very high prices.” – John Bolton, George W. Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations

(ReaderSupportedNews) All the hubbub over Syria is all about oil. And if you don’t believe me, believe John Bolton.

When there’s something being talked about in the news on a regular basis, and if one angle of the story is being consistently reported by various reputable news organizations, you can be sure there’s something else to the story that isn’t being told. Matt Taibbi called this “chumpbait” when referring to the media’s unified dismissal concerning Bradley Manning’s court-martial. The same applies to the latest corporate media stories speculating on US military involvement in Syria. Image credit: roy.luck

If the US were really concerned about spreading Democracy in the Middle East, we’d be helping the Occupy Gezi movement oust Turkish Prime Minister Ergodan and condemning his violent suppression of human rights, rather than assisting the Free Syrian Army. And the only reason the powers controlling the US would be interested in intervening in Turkey would be if Turkish protesters or government forces shut down the highly-productive Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline, which goes from Iraq through Southern Turkey.israil-petrol-ihtiyacinin-yuzde-75ini-kurt-bolgesinden-sagliyor_1

All of the media has been atwitter about whether or not the US should get involved in the civil war unfolding in Syria by supporting anti-government forces. The atrocities recently committed by the Free Syrian Army are reminiscent of the kind committed against the Soviets in the 1980s by the Afghan mujahideen, whom we actively funded and supplied with arms. (Remember the movie Charlie Wilson’s War?) It should be worth noting that the same mujahideen fighters we funded to fight our enemies for us in the 1980s became our enemies even before the 9/11 attacks.

In a roundabout way, the US media is making the argument that because the Assad regime is using chemical weapons on the Syrian people, the US military should intervene by arming and training the Free Syrian Army in the hopes of overthrowing President Assad. On the surface, most Americans would agree that Assad is a brutal dictator and should be removed from office. But if you asked most Americans whether or not the US military should intervene in Syria to make sure the profit margins of oil companies remain strong, it’s likely most rational folks would say no. Digging just beneath the surface, it’s easy to see that US interest in Syria isn’t to provide Democracy to Syria, but to ensure the Kirkuk-Banias oil pipeline will be restored to profitable status. Even President Obama’s press secretary said that foreign policy isn’t driven by what the people want, but by what is best for “American interests.”

The Kirkuk-Banias pipeline runs from Kirkuk in Northern Iraq, to the Syrian town of Banias, on the Mediterranean Sea between Turkey and Lebanon. Ever since US forces inadvertently destroyed it in 2003, most of the pipeline has been shut down. While there have been plans in the works to make the Iraqi portion of the pipeline functional again, those plans have yet to come to fruition. And Syria has at least 2.5 billion barrels of oil in its fields, making it the next largest Middle Eastern oil producer after Iraq. After ten unproductive years, the oil companies dependent on the Kirkuk-Banias pipeline’s output are eager to get the pipeline operational again. The tension over the Syrian oil situation is certainly being felt by wealthy investors in the markets, who are thus dictating US foreign policy.

It’s easy to see why the oil-dominated US government wants to be involved in Syria’s outcome. The Free Syrian Army has since taken control of oil fields near Deir Ezzor, and Kurdish groups have taken control of other oil fields in the Rumeilan region. Many of the numerous atrocities that Assad’s government committed against unarmed women and children were in Homs, which is near one of the country’s only two oil refineries. Israel, the US’s only ally in the Middle East, is illegally occupying the Golan Heights on the Syrian border and extracting their resources. The US wants to get involved in Syria to monopolize its oil assets, while simultaneously beating our competition – Iran, Russia and China – in the race for Syrian black gold.

Big oil’s ideal outcome would be for US troops to back the FSA’s overthrow of the Assad regime, meaning that sharing in Syrian oil profits would be part of the quid-pro-quo the US demands in exchange for helping the Syrian rebels win. It would be very similar to when the US, under Teddy Roosevelt, backed Panama’s fight for independence in exchange for US ownership of the Panama Canal. But even after numerous interventions, including the kidnapping of Panama’s head of state, the Torrijos-Carter accords gave control of the Panama Canal back to Panama in 1999. The imperialistic approach to Panama turned out to be more costly than it would have been if we had just left Panama alone in the first place.

George Santayana said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. If we don’t learn from our past mistakes, like basing foreign policy goals on greed-inspired imperialism, Syria will blow up in our faces.

Related video: The Geopolitics of WW III

Carl Gibson, 26, is co-founder of US Uncut, a nationwide creative direct-action movement that mobilized tens of thousands of activists against corporate tax avoidance and budget cuts in the months leading up to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Carl and other US Uncut activists are featured in the documentary “We’re Not Broke,” which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. He currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin. You can contact him at [email protected], and follow him on twitter at @uncutCG.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.


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  1. Carl Gibson:-
    You are wrong
    This war started more than 1400 years ago, few years after Mohamad death.
    It was called the battle of the Camel, lead by Aisha , the youngest and beloved wife of Mohamad,against Ali
    Who is the closest person to Mohamad in term of family, faith and knowledge.
    Which later become the war between Sunny and Shiaa, what is in Syria is just a reflection of these two Muslim cults, who happened to be represented by oil rich countries, Saudi – Sunny, and Iran Shiaa.


  2. It is a distraction for those who believe war exists… consciousness manipulation of the military organisations itself… what is behind that?? well if wars are counted as distractions, someone is having the time to make other technology researches while all the world is thinking in the war… because war is in people’s minds, controlled by the main stream media and someone is not even thinking about the war… do you think everyone in the elite think in war, what about the research community??? that does not research to make the war… this is all a abstraction game… all the world think in war… someone knows war is a hoax then they do something different to protect themselves or research more things to keep their positions… What kind of technologies researches do you think can be done at the same time as the war researches?

  3. The only war that exists is against the people… mind manipulation to manipulate our ability to see behond things and patterns and case scenarios… then use of force to create fear… then psychological advantage, technological advancement and research advancement and wealth over available resources advantage… all at the same time… someone is reading our lives like those vidents or witches or metaphysicians… they use this too, and probably advance in that too… so why the symbols in Tarot cards, chess, normal playing cards, astrology, entities of religions??? how do they link to each others and who is behind all that?? who writes and reads the books in the Vatican library… it doesn’t make sense that the Pope has special access to all books of 50 or 70 kilometers of library… does he walks or runs that much… he must be a fuckin athlete… what about the librarians??? can they have the same access to every corner of the library… beware, a librarian can be controlling the world… and controlling our way to live through beliefs and technology forgeries around our beliefs is a way to control how we live, this can be a project to control other species on another planets… so why dreaming about gods??? what is the ethymology of god, because no one saw god before, not even in drugs… So why speak about god while believe in god form and abilities and forcing everyone to believe… so what is hidden is god, is it??? what the eye sees the heart doesn’t believe… the mind sees what the eyes don’t see… isn’t that a riddle??? l0ol

  4. So,this is called the international politics and as because of the power of UK,they had been doing whatever they like most. Actually its a character of brutality,a down hill task to spoil up a nation from its own resources.We respect democracy but hate the people or the policy, who have been doing just only to loaded up theirs own bag and baggages.

  5. Carl Gibson:-
    You are absolutely wrong:-
    What is going on in Syria and Iraq is a an Islamic conflict that goes back more than 1400 years.
    Started few years after death of Mohamad,
    Aisha the youngest and beloved of Mohamad lead the Camel battle against Ali, the closest person to Mohamad in term of family, faith and knowledge.
    Since then it become the major conflict between two Muslim’s sectors, Sunna :- the group of Aisha, and Shiaa:- the group of Ali.
    It just happened now a days , that both sides are oil rich countries.
    Saudi leading the Sunny (salafi)’ and Iran leading the Shiaa.
    So oil is a side effect of the belief conflict in Islam.

  6. Im not as articulate as you and or people who are commenting. Im in New Zealand. Its not as free as the USA. So thank whoever for the internet for people who check stuff like this out. What i would like to say is that this is the best and well written article about the whole debacle. Thankyou

  7. Capitalist imperialism; which has monopolised the world market, the world natural resources, world public properties; has no more scope to expand! Yet, the internal rift, competition forces it to ‘re-divide’ the world market and only way is now war!
    War has additional function to make the controllers huge profit, by way of sell & purchase of arms and ammunition, and keep the working class with the exploiters in name of nationalism!!


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