As another day goes by and more men, woman, children and families are killed, maimed and torn apart by the war in Syria, is freedom from dictatorship the reason for this?
For those who are unaware…
“Contrary to the conspiracy theory type of analysis, which accuses the US and its allies of starting the unrest in Syria, it is now an established fact that spontaneous and peaceful demonstrations erupted after the government refused to hold to account those who tortured those teenagers who sprayed anti-regime graffiti on school walls”.
Maher Arar wrote a great piece on this, he is a human rights activist, publisher of Prism Magazine and was rendered by US authorities to Syria, his native country.
This uprising has been hijacked by other forces who view profit as more important than human life but what and who will profit? Well it’s in the Middle East (oil and gas) and Syria had 2.5 billion barrels of petroleum reserves as of January 1, 2011, according to The Oil and Gas Journal. Also it is a strategic and regional partner of Iran which adds to the complexities but let me begin…
From the FT:
The tiny gas-rich state of Qatar has spent as much as $3bn over the past two years supporting the rebellion in Syria, far exceeding any other government, but is now being nudged aside by Saudi Arabia as the prime source of arms to rebels.
The cost of Qatar’s intervention, its latest push to back an Arab revolt, amounts to a fraction of its international investment portfolio. But its financial support for the revolution that has turned into a vicious civil war dramatically overshadows western backing for the opposition.
In dozens of interviews with the FT conducted in recent weeks, rebel leaders both abroad and within Syria as well as regional and western officials detailed Qatar’s role in the Syrian conflict, a source of mounting controversy.
The small state with a gargantuan appetite is the biggest donor to the political opposition, providing generous refugee packages to defectors (one estimate puts it at $50,000 a year for a defector and his family) and has provided vast amounts of humanitarian support.
In September, many rebels in Syria’s Aleppo province received a one off monthly salary of $150 courtesy of Qatar. Sources close to the Qatari government say total spending has reached as much as $3bn, while rebel and diplomatic sources put the figure at $1bn at most.
For Qatar, owner of the world’s third-largest gas reserves, its intervention in Syria is part of an aggressive quest for global recognition and is merely the latest chapter in its attempt to establish itself as a major player in the region, following its backing of Libya’s rebels who overthrew Muammer Gaddafi in 2011.
So Qatar has its own reserves but why would Qatar involve itself in Syria where they have little capital invested? A map reveals that it is a geographic prisoner on the Persian Gulf coast. Qatar relies heavily upon the export of LNG as it is restricted by Saudi Arabia from building pipelines through its territory to distant markets.
What is LNG? Cooling natural gas down to about -260°F at normal pressure results in the condensation of the gas into liquid form, known as Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). LNG can be very useful for the transportation of natural gas, since LNG takes up about one six hundredth the volume of gaseous natural gas. Don’t forget that it is very energy intensive to cool the gas so having a pipeline is better for the bottom line.
In 2009, a proposal for a pipeline to Europe, through Saudi Arabia and Turkey, to the Nabucco pipeline was considered but Saudi Arabia blocked any overland expansion. Qatar is the largest LNG producer but they will not increase the production of LNG as 8 new facilities in Australia coming online between 2014-2020. They therefore need a new market for their products. Pipelines are already in place in Turkey to receive the gas. Only President Al-Assad stands in the way. Now do you understand why the Syrian conflict has been waging on for so long? It all boils down to money and control.
Though the story thickens when you start to throw the bigger players in such as the UK, Russia, Israel and the US. Russia backs Syria, it has been a strategic partner for many years but if the pipeline is built who loses out? Russia and inparticular Gazprom, as they supply Europe and that’s where the pipeline would end up.
The UK has historical and business ties with Qatar, not forgetting the lucrative defence contracts. They do import gas from Qatar and would be beneficial for Britain as it would reduce the power Russia has in being able to turn off the taps when it wants.
The US and Israel want Iran and Syria is a partner, not forgetting they support Hezbollah in Lebanon. The war mongering duo of the US and Israel want to bring democracy to Iran, they tried that with the Shah in the 70’s but the Iranians kicked him out. The banging of the war drum by Israel to intervene in Iran before they get a ‘nuclear bomb’ is well established but lest not forget the only nuclear power in the Middle East is Israel. It has not disclosed this but it is well known they have nuclear weapons (Harpoon tipped nuclear missiles for their Dolphin class subs) and they have not signed the NPT, Iran has.
So men, woman, children and families are being destroyed by this war but it is not a war of the people by the people for the people. Instead their deaths, lost limbs and ruined lives are all for a geo-political game, hijacked for profit and power. Regardless of what you think of the rebels or the government forces, the people of Syria are suffering and it needs to stop now!