Op-Ed: Syria: No Oil Means No Intervention.
Many have been confounded with the lack of any real intervention being proposed in regards to the violence that only keeps escalating in the Syrian civil war.
The West continues to be bombarded daily with images of violence and reports of clashes between Assad’s loyal forces and those fighting the very same regime that once represented them. Furthermore, the looming claims that chemical weapons have been, or are going to be used, by both sides has even further convoluted the situation. The threats on Israel have become more and more vocal.
Nonetheless, intervention still seems elusive and the question I ask is why?
We only need to look into the very recent past to examine the “liberation” of Libya and how the United States and allied forces remotely intervened with what looks like initial success, at least for the time being. Although the intervention in Libya was of a limited military engagement that appeared to have been successful at the time, it will be further explored decades from now when we look back and witness similarities to the U.S. arming of “freedom fighters” in Afghanistan and the rebranding of their titles two decades later as “insurgents.”
A convenient change in definition sparked by them using CIA training and funding for the harboring of the most wanted man on earth for acts of terror.
The purpose of this short piece is not to be in support of any Middle Eastern intervention, an act that consistently and justifiably backfires on the U.S., rather it is an examination of America's inconsistent foreign-policy when it comes to intervention in regards to “human rights violations;” a group of words that seem to be inextricably connected (or used alternatively) to “Western oil interests.”
Although Syria exports a reasonable amount of oil and gas to the European Union each year, it is a nominal amount when compared to the vast oil reserves buried deep in Libya and the already tapped oil fields of Iraq that were far to easily acquisitioned through an illegitimate war and sold to the highest bidding U.S. refining companies and defense contractors.
Geographically, Syria remains somewhat of a barren desert land void of any real surpluses of natural resources or oil. America's imperialistic form of foreign policy through the medium of intervention continues to be unseen and it’s very clear why; a lack of any real oil interests in Syria.
The level of conflict in Libya does not compare to the ongoing violence that appears to be escalating daily in the face of Israeli air strikes and the possible movement of chemical weapon stockpiles and missiles aimed at Tel Aviv.
In no way is it my intention to impugn what happened in Libya, however I do believe it necessary to highlight the disparity in conflict between the two.
It had been a matter of weeks with only a handful of deaths when the United States and allies began sending patriot missiles to select targets of the Qhaddafi regime. The UN Security Council passed multiple resolutions both freezing assets of the Qhaddafi regime and implementing no-fly zones over the region.
In contrast, it is now just over two years old and the Syrian civil war continues with escalating violence, possible use of chemical weapons, reported human rights violations committed by both sides, and a growing refugee population that continues to displace hundreds of thousands further from their home. Yet we see no move by the international community to intervene in any way.
The UN estimates more than 70,000 deaths in the Syrian civil war while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates a more daunting death toll pf upwards of 120,000.
Only a fraction of this number were reported to be casualties of the Libyan civil war. However, what is most important is the number of reported deaths when the military intervention began. Therefore, I ask again, why was the international community so quick to rush intervention to Libya? Why after two years has there not been any kind of response to the many reported human rights violations that at some level are most likely taking place in Syria?
The answer lies in what has been driving America’s foreign policy for the last 50+ years; oil. Or more appropriately, the lack thereof. Unfortunately America's diplomatic approach to foreign policy continues to be dictated solely on it’s national interests of oil and the Syrian crisis is now setting a precedent – despite any kind of unrest and in the face of any loss of life, unless there is a tangible national interest of oil in your state - America and its allies will not respond.