Tags: syria | assad | russia | putin | natural gas

Syria Conflict a Proxy War for Natural Gas

Syria Conflict a Proxy War for Natural Gas

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (C) waves as he attends the inauguration ceremony of a new gas plant in Homs, 200 kms northeast of Damascus, on November 18, 2009. Assad inaugurated the South Central Area gas plant and launched the first stage of the Arab Gas Pipeline project, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported. (Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images)

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Tuesday, 25 October 2016 03:17 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Did you ever wonder why the U.S. is fighting a proxy war in Syria? It may surprise you that the true adversary is not President Assad and his regime but Russia.

This all has to do with the international supply and sales of natural gas. One of the biggest customers for gas is continental Europe, having scant sources of energy other than coal. Here Russia, through their government-owned company Gazprom, supplies about one third of all national gas consumed by European countries. This demand is growing since the North Sea gas, also utilized in Europe, is steadily declining. According to the British Telegraph, the current gas flow from Russia to Europe amounts to 109 billion cubic meters a year — a market that any U.S. oil and gas company would love to have.

Looking back a few years, U.S. companies decided to do something about this and tried to get a share of the European market. It is well known that Saudi Arabia and Qatar have vast natural gas reserves but no way to bring it to Europe. A plan was formulated to use the now defunct Pan Arabian pipeline to be extended from their current termination at Homs, through northern Syria, on to Turkey, and from there to southern Europe (see map).

gaspipe.png

All went well until the beginning of 2009, when yet another government headed by al-Assad Senior took over and canceled the part of the pipe project passing through to Turkey’s border, likely on the request of his Russian friends, who were already given a naval base on the Syrian coast of the Mediterranean Sea. This then killed the whole project. All that's now needed is a "regime change" to a Western-friendly Syrian government to bring this project back to life again. In the spring of 2011, an uprising was instigated and supported by the Syrian opposition party in order to topple President al-Assad, who was to be replaced by someone agreeing to the pipeline extension.

Alas, things turned out to be much more complicated. Despite massive arms supply by the CIA, the so-called rebels so far were unable to topple Assad and are now bombed by Russian jets. In the meantime, things are getting more complicated. Even if the U.S. could get a pipeline through Syria, the Turkish President, having barely survived a regime change himself, is not keen on America and would never allow such a pipe line pass through his country. Instead, at the beginning of October 2016, he signed an agreement with the Russian President, Putin, allowing the latter to build a pipeline from Russia, passing under the Black Sea and then being able to deliver more gas to southern Europe via Turkey.

While all this is happening we see the Kurds, our allies, being bombarded by Turkey, Iran, our adversary, helping Iraq to fight ISIS, and Russia bombing Syrian freedom fighters with our quiescence.

All this is a high-stakes power play between the USA and Russia, where the USA likes to expand her gas business and Russia is trying desperately to hold on to their markets, fully realizing that without oil and gas exports the Russian economy will collapse.

Hans Baumann is a licensed engineer in four states and a member of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society. He is an adviser to the dean of the University of New Hampshire Business School. Baumann has published manuals on valves and was a contributor to many works including the "Instrument Engineers' Handbook" and the "Control Valves Handbook." He has also published several books on business management and German history. His book "Hitler's Escape," suggests that Adolf Hitler did not commit suicide and survived World War II. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Did you ever wonder why the U.S. is fighting a proxy war in Syria? It may surprise you that the true adversary is not President Assad and his regime but Russia.
syria, assad, russia, putin, natural gas
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2016-17-25
Tuesday, 25 October 2016 03:17 PM
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