“Flammable point”: how the United States plans to retain control over the oil fields of Syria

«Горючая точка»: как США планируют сохранить контроль над нефтяными месторождениями Сирии

The us military “secured” the oil fields in Syria and will remain in the country to “protect them from terrorists,” said Donald trump. Pentagon chief mark Esper pointed out that such measures are necessary, to the oil-bearing areas are not under the control of terrorist groups. However, as experts believe, in fact we are talking about opposition to the United States to Syria and Turkey. The defense Ministry has accused Washington of creating schemes of illegal mining and smuggling of Syrian oil. Political scientists call the White house plans intervention in Syria’s internal Affairs and violation of its territorial integrity.

Part of us troops will remain in Syria to protect the oil fields. This was stated by Donald trump during specialized presentations on the situation in Northern Syria.

“We took oil for protection, so a small American contingent to remain in the region where there is oil. We will defend it and decide what to do with it in the future,” — said the President of the United States.

He also confirmed that American troops will remain on the basis of al-TANF in the South-East of Syria.

Previously, the need to maintain the presence of the military contingent of the USA in the oil regions of the Syrian Arab Republic stated the Minister of defense of the United States mark Esper. On 21 October, he told reporters that this measure is necessary so that the energy does not fall into the hands of terrorists.

“The process of withdrawal of us troops will take weeks, not a few days, while some of them remain in the villages adjacent to the oil fields in the North-East of Syria, with the aim to prevent the possibility of the arrival of the Islamic state group and other to use these resources,” said Esper.

“We’ll figure something out”

The President of the United States Donald trump is not the first time speaks of the need to maintain control of Syrian oil. On October 21 at a meeting with representatives of his administration, he noted that these areas can come to the American oil company.

“We’ll figure something out with the Kurds, so they had some money, some inflow of funds. Maybe make it so that one of our major oil companies started a job and did it properly. But the influx of cash they will have. And now it is, in fact, not. There is a struggle. This is a small oil district, but all are fighting for what is there,” — explained his plans trump.

The head of the Senate judiciary Committee Senator Lindsey Graham, commenting on trump’s words in his Twitter, said that the control of the USA over the oil fields of Syria will not allow Iran and Bashar al-Assad to improve its financial position. According to the Senator, part of the money from the sale of Syrian oil to use to pay the us military in Syria.

As noted in an interview with the American magazine The National Interest, former U.S. special envoy in the fight against ISIS Brett Mcguirk, the US state Department under the leadership of Rex Tillerson, familiar with the oil industry, he worked on the implementation plans for Syrian oil. However, at that time the American foreign Ministry has not found a way to legally exploit Syrian oil reserves without permission of the official Damascus.

According to Makhorka if the US now starts to produce and sell Syrian oil, it will become “smugglers”.

We will remind, in July the General staff of the armed forces accused the Americans of “the looting of the national wealth of Syria”. The chief of the Main operations Directorate of the General staff of armed forces Colonel-General Sergey rudskoy said that under the guise of American PMCs in the region was created “criminal scheme cross-border shipment of Syrian oil” from the fields, which are located on the East Bank of the Euphrates (Conaco, al-Omar and al-Tanak).

“Oil wealth”

Recall that in 2011, before the start of the civil war in Syria, according to the International monetary Fund, a significant portion of the proceeds of the Syrian government were provided by the sale of oil. The country is daily extracted about 380 thousand barrels.

In August 2011, in help of the U.S. Department of energy noted that, although the volumes of oil and gas deposits of Syria is very small by middle Eastern standards, these deposits are of strategic importance from the point of view of regional security and prospects of transit of hydrocarbons.

In General, analysts note that even before the war, Syria was producing so much oil, only 0.5% of the global total, but the industry was extremely important to the economy of the country.

Estimated 2011, cited by Reuters, Syria possessed 2.5 billion barrels of proven oil reserves.

Most of the fields are located in the center and East of Syria in the province of Deir ez-Zor. These areas are now occupied by Kurdish forces, formerly under the tutelage of the United States. In 2014 the oil fields of Syria came under the control of the IG. The smuggling of gold has become one of the main sources of income of terrorists.

In 2017, the Kurds, with the support of the Americans recaptured from the Islamists of the oil field to the East of the Euphrates. At the same time, the Syrian Arab army took control of the reserves of hydrocarbons in the Central part of the country. However, the largest oil field in al-Tanak and al-Omar and dare — departed Pro-American forces. Earlier, Syrian Kurds seized a large Deposit of al-Jbess (Al-Jbessa) in the province of Hasaka in northeast Syria.

In the last year in the international media from time to time there were reports that the oil, which is extracted from these deposits, the Kurds were sold to Syria.

“This strategically important region”

“Perhaps the presence of the Americans about oil fields may provide cover for future missions to combat terrorism in Syria, while maintaining in this country a small presence, according to the wishes of the tramp,” suggested in an interview with Foreign Policy magazine Michael Sharnoff, associate Professor of the Center for strategic studies of the Middle East and South Asia at the national defense University of the United States.

As reported by the American edition of Newsweek, citing sources in the Pentagon, U.S. Department of defense plans to seek permission of the White house to send to Syria half armored battalion combat team (over 30 tanks) for the protection of oil fields in Syria. The purpose of this maneuver is to protect the oil not only from ISIS but also the Syrian government and Iran.

Considering all the above, experts note that the loud statements by Washington about the withdrawal of its troops from Syria initially looked very doubtful.

“It is clear that the US will not leave Syria because it is strategically important from the standpoint of the interests of the White house region. We are talking about the weakening of Iran and of squeezing Russia from the Middle East,” said leading researcher of the Centre for Arab and Islamic studies, Institute of Oriental studies Boris Dolgov.

In turn, expert of the Middle East Institute Sergey Balmasov suggested that Washington does not intend to prevent the oil fields of Syria came under the control of government forces or went to formal allies in NATO from Ankara.

“What the Americans are trying to protect fields from the ISIS — complete nonsense, — says Balmasov. — They will protect these areas from capture by the troops of Assad and Erdogan”.

Now, according to the expert, “some money” for selling Syrian oil “get the Americans”, but the main factor, forcing Washington to retain control over the oil derricks, the desire to hold in their hands “the important lever of political pressure on parties to the Syrian conflict”.

“The main value of oil has for the forces that are inside Syria, including Bashar al-Assad, for them it is a serious source of income, but for Americans it is a trifle,” said the analyst.

“Serious help for the country”

On 23 October the Deputy Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia Mikhail Bogdanov said that the oil fields in northeast Syria needs to move “under the control of Damascus, under the control of the legitimate government”. On the withdrawal of all American troops from the middle East state said the next day the press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov.

“As for finding American soldiers in Syria, our position is well known: only Russian units are on a legitimate basis in Syria, namely on the request of the Syrian leadership,” — said Peskov.

On the illegality of attempts to usurp the Syrian oil say in the United States. So, the Senator from Vermont and one of the most popular presidential candidates from the Democratic party, Bernie Sanders said that trump is in violation of the Constitution of the United States puts soldiers of the US army at risk.

“President trump announced that he was going to leave the Syrian troops to protect oil fields. As far as I know, Congress has never authorized the placement of US forces to protect Syria’s economic resources. To put American troops at risk with the purpose of illegally and unconstitutionally,” said Sanders in his Twitter.

According to Boris Dolgov, the United States once again violate international law.

“The fact that the United States plans to protect the oil fields of Syria is a blatant interference in the internal Affairs of that state. We are talking about territorial integrity, about those oil fields that belong to the Syrian people,” — said the expert.

According to him, is “strategically important deposits, which can be used for the reconstruction of Syria and the Syrian economy.” A similar view is shared by Sergey Balmasov.

“These deposits may play a key role in the process of reconstruction after the civil war. The presence of oil attracted the attention of potential investors. It would be a serious help to a country that is devastated by war,” notes the analyst.

At the same time, experts doubt that remaining in Syria, us troops could come into direct clash with units of the Syrian army who take control of the territory East of the Euphrates.

“As long as Russia participates in the settlement of the conflict, clashes between the Syrian troops and the us military is unlikely,” — summed up Balmasov.

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