The American president just gifted 2.5 billion barrels of oil to long-time Syrian enemy Bashar Al-Assad and, by default, Iran and Russia.
As far as gifts go, it was both well-received and unexpected given the ‘Deep State’ designs on Syria for years.
To recap: Last week, Trump ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, and then had them stand down and step aside while the Turkish military poured across the border into Northern Syria, taking down any Kurds that stood in their way.
After five days of bloodshed, Turkey agreed to a temporary ceasefire at the behest of the Russians. Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan then flew to Sochi to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, where the two agreed to a deal that benefits everyone except the U.S.
Under that deal, Turkey will stick to its newly acquired buffer zone in Northern Syria, the Kurds will be allowed to withdraw with their lives, and Assad won’t attack the Turks, who have been fighting the regime in collaboration with Syrian rebels.
And all that oil that’s in the north–Syria’s fossil fuel heartland–will go to Assad one way or another, with Russia the beneficiary with the exclusive rights to exploit Syrian oil.
Securing Oil for Others
Last week, Trump tweeted that he had “taken control of oil in the Middle East”.
That tweet went viral–even though no one knew what it meant.
Taking control of “oil in the Middle East” technically means usurping everything from the riches of the Saudi Kingdom to the vast oilfields of Iran, Kuwait, Iraq … In other words, there’s a lot of oil in the Middle East to take control of.
As it turns out, he was talking about Syria when he added “the oil that everybody was worried about”.
And also, as it turns out, he did secure that oil–but for the Assad regime and its allies, Russia and Iran.
Giving up that oil, the tweet suggests, is a decision that should have been years ago under the Obama Administration.
Yesterday, Trump said a limited number of troops might remain behind in Syria to guard oil and gas fields in Deir Ezzor, but that is now looking increasingly unlikely.
“Right now, the president has authorized that some would stay in the southern part of Syria,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said. “And we’re looking [at] maybe keeping some additional forces to ensure that we deny ISIS and others access to these key oil fields.
“But that needs to be worked out in time. The president hasn’t approved that yet,” he said. “I need to take him options sometime here soon.”
So much for keeping Syrian oil out of the hands of multiple enemies, from the Assad regime and Iran, to Russia and potentially even ISIS.
How Much Oil Did Assad Just Inadvertently Secure?
What’s in the ground is 2.5 billion barrels, according to the EIA. And that’s only known reserves as of January 2011.
For Assad, this was a major coup. Aside from the Idlib province, which is overrun by Syrian rebels, he had managed to regain control of the entire country outside of the Northeastern part, north of the Euphrates, the stronghold of the Syrian Kurds and their now-former American allies.
And north of the Euphrates is also where the bulk of the country’s oil reserves are.
Assad is desperate for oil. But he won’t be much longer.
Dier Al-Zor (also known as Dier Ezzor) is Assad’s golden ticket to securing full power.
And it’s home to the Al-Omar fields, which have the largest production capacity in the country.
This is an oil victory for every single one of America’s enemies in the region.
For Russia, this is a geopolitical goldmine that will land it a long-sought-after Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline courtesy of Gazprom. It will be a direct line to Europe, where the noose will once again be tightened, while the EU pretends otherwise.
For Syria, it means the potential to become another Middle East oil and gas hub and more power than Assad could have ever imagined before all of this started.
For Iran, it’s just another in a series of victories that have come in rapid succession over the past two months–from its brazen attack on Saudi oil facilities that went entirely unanswered, to its victory in Yemen with a fallout in relations between eternal allies Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Oil has long been a kingmaker, and it still is. American foreign policy hasn’t just been caught napping; it’s been turned into a suicide by oil.