Tuesday, September 3, 2013

How Do Pipeline Politics Drive Our Syria Policy?

I've stated my case for staying out of the Syria mess.  It is a bottomless pit of nothing but bad stuff for the American people.  We've mostly avoided overthrowing despots around the world for very good reason; there are too many of them and when one goes away, others divide and multiply.  Our recent notable exception, Iraq did not end well, did it ?  Frankly, we have more history of overthrowing democratically elected or at least populist leaders than the former.  Evidence, Iran in the 50's, Chili and Nicaragua come to mind.

On every level, our intervention on purely moral or military grounds seems utterly stupid.  A limited attack will likely produce counterattacks.  Sucking us in to this morass more deeply.  It will more than likely engage Iran and Hezbollah.  Thus jeopardizing Israel and our own military forces. As Rep. Alan Grayson asks, why is any of this our business?  No other country among the world's 200 or so, excepting us and France, so far, appoints themselves world cops.  Who are we to self appoint in such a role.  We helped create the UN to take on such issues.
And why is diplomacy and exerting moral leadership as a peace/justice broker and peacemaker not even mentioned by either our pundit class or Administration officials as an alternative to killing for peace?

Lots of unanswered questions about Syria.  Who really launched the most recent chemical attacks?  The earlier ones investigated seem to implicate rebel factions.  The Russian investigation suggests that the latest was the responsibility of rebels too.  The Russians asked a really good question which seems beyond the capacity of our mainstream press.  Why would Assad launch poison gas against civilians in a newly regained territory controlled by his forces?
I don't know the answer but it is a helluva good question no one here is asking.   What would be the unintended but very likely consequences should we launch our killing/destruction machine?

But onto my main theme.  Two things are obvious but not publicly discussed by the chattering class nor the Administration.  First, natural gas is all the rage in energy capitalism  all over the U.S.  So it is also in the middle east, especially with countries fortunate enough to have abundant reserves in the ground to exploit or unfortunately, in need to depend on others for supplies.  The same phenomenon exists in Europe.   Second, economic relationships between countries are always a sub-text to political and military conflict.  They drive alliances and disagreements.  What is the economic sub-text in the case of Syria?  Why is this discussed nowhere in our media or the halls of Congress, at least publicly regarding the Syria situation ?

Economics are being discussed by investigative reporter for the Asian Times, Pepe Escobar.
He has discovered a recent Memorandum of Understanding between Syria, Iran and Iraq.  It deals with the creation of a gas pipeline to transport gas from fields in those countries to not only serve their needs, but also countries comprising the EU.  Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey are not part of this plan; in fact, their own plans for natural gas are competitive with Syria, Iraq and Iran.   Guess who aligns with the U.S. in the Syria crisis?  And are funding rebel factions in a big way?  You guessed it right.  Oh, and did I mention Russia's interests in supporting the current Syrian regime?  You guessed that right too.  They are all over the rush to exploit natural gas resources at home and abroad. 

This is complex and convoluted.  Way beyond my pay grade but one thing I've learned, there is always an economic agenda behind our military ventures.  I suggest you Google Pepe Escobar and make up your own mind how Pipeline Politics impact our response to the Syrian crisis.