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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 11/4/19

Top Six Problems with Trump Taking Syrian Oil

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4. If US forces attempted to take Syrian petroleum, how would they export it? They can't take it to Latakia, Syria's port, because the Syrian government would not allow it. You couldn't take it north to Turkey because you'd be passing through a war zone, which is inadvisable with petroleum trucks. Would you try to load it on trucks and take it through Iraq to Umm Qasr? That is a long way, through some territory where anti-American militias operate. At the moment, angry crowds have blockaded Umm Qasr as part of the 2019 Iraqi Revolution, and the crowds are deeply anti-American. Plus how many trucks would you need? How many does the US even have in Deir al-Zor? The logistics here are impossible. The only reason US special ops can even be in Deir al-Zar is because they have air support from bases in nearby Iraq, but you can't fly out oil.

5. Trump's announcement was immediately taken advantage of by Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad, and it will fuel suspicion of the US in Iraq as well, endangering US interests in the region. It is a huge propaganda gift to ISIL, Damascus and Iran. Trump is a one-man recruiting poster for terrorism against US interests.

6. The real reason the US military and foreign policy establishment wants to be in Syria is to try to block overland supplies coming from Iran through Iraq to the Syrian government and Hizbullah. This plan is not actually very practical, since the Syrian border with Iraq is enormous and trucks can go off-road. These US attempts seem to have had no impact at all on Iran or Syria or Hizbullah. But in any case, whoever told Trump the US was there for oil is an inspired fabulist who pulled the wool over Trump's eyes.

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Juan Cole is an American academic and commentator on the modern Middle East and South Asia.  He is Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. Since 2002, he has written a weblog, Informed Comment (more...)
 

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