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The long war: Syria is at the crux of ‘pipeline geopolitics’

Israel/Palestine
on 35 Comments

A number of folks have sent me this, so I pass it along. Nafeez Ahmed argues in the Guardian that “Syrian intervention plans fuelled by oil interest, not chemical weapons concerns”. And it is falling out according to grand plans, including a Rand report on the “long war” to embroil jihadists in internal strife so that we don’t lose Gulf oil. Ahmed is executive director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development in the UK:

US-UK training of Syrian opposition forces [began in] 2011 aimed at eliciting “collapse” of Assad’s regime “from within.”

So what was this unfolding strategy to undermine Syria and Iran all about? According to retired NATO Secretary General Wesley Clark, a memo from the Office of the US Secretary of Defense just a few weeks after 9/11 revealed plans to “attack and destroy the governments in 7 countries in five years”, starting with Iraq and moving on to “Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.” In a subsequent interview, Clark argues that this strategy is fundamentally about control of the region’s vast oil and gas resources.

Much of the strategy currently at play was candidly described in a 2008 US Army-funded RAND report, Unfolding the Future of the Long War (pdf). The report noted that “the economies of the industrialized states will continue to rely heavily on oil, thus making it a strategically important resource.” As most oil will be produced in the Middle East, the US has “motive for maintaining stability in and good relations with Middle Eastern states”:

“The geographic area of proven oil reserves coincides with the power base of much of the Salafi-jihadist network. This creates a linkage between oil supplies and the long war that is not easily broken or simply characterized… For the foreseeable future, world oil production growth and total output will be dominated by Persian Gulf resources… The region will therefore remain a strategic priority, and this priority will interact strongly with that of prosecuting the long war.”

In this context, the report identified several potential trajectories for regional policy focused on protecting access to Gulf oil supplies, among which the following are most salient:

“Divide and Rule focuses on exploiting fault lines between the various Salafi-jihadist groups to turn them against each other and dissipate their energy on internal conflicts. This strategy relies heavily on covert action, information operations (IO), unconventional warfare, and support to indigenous security forces… the United States and its local allies could use the nationalist jihadists to launch proxy IO campaigns to discredit the transnational jihadists in the eyes of the local populace… US leaders could also choose to capitalize on the ‘Sustained Shia-Sunni Conflict’ trajectory by taking the side of the conservative Sunni regimes against Shiite empowerment movements in the Muslim world…. possibly supporting authoritative Sunni governments against a continuingly hostile Iran.”

Exploring different scenarios for this trajectory, the report speculated that the US may concentrate “on shoring up the traditional Sunni regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan as a way of containing Iranian power and influence in the Middle East and Persian Gulf.” Noting that this could actually empower al-Qaeda jihadists, the report concluded that doing so might work in western interests by bogging down jihadi activity with internal sectarian rivalry rather than targeting the US:

“One of the oddities of this long war trajectory is that it may actually reduce the al-Qaeda threat to US interests in the short term. The upsurge in Shia identity and confidence seen here would certainly cause serious concern in the Salafi-jihadist community in the Muslim world, including the senior leadership of al-Qaeda. As a result, it is very likely that al-Qaeda might focus its efforts on targeting Iranian interests throughout the Middle East and Persian Gulf while simultaneously cutting back on anti-American and anti-Western operations.”

The RAND document contextualised this disturbing strategy with surprisingly prescient recognition of the increasing vulnerability of the US’s key allies and enemies – Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, Egypt, Syria, Iran – to a range of converging crises: rapidly rising populations, a ‘youth bulge’, internal economic inequalities, political frustrations, sectarian tensions, and environmentally-linked water shortages, all of which could destabilise these countries from within or exacerbate inter-state conflicts.

The report noted especially that Syria is among several “downstream countries that are becoming increasingly water scarce as their populations grow”, increasing a risk of conflict. Thus, although the RAND document fell far short of recognising the prospect of an ‘Arab Spring’, it illustrates that three years before the 2011 uprisings, US defence officials were alive to the region’s growing instabilities, and concerned by the potential consequences for stability of Gulf oil.

These strategic concerns, motivated by fear of expanding Iranian influence, impacted Syria primarily in relation to pipeline geopolitics. In 2009 – the same year former French foreign minister Dumas alleges the British began planning operations in Syria – Assad refused to sign a proposed agreement with Qatar that would run a pipeline from the latter’s North field, contiguous with Iran’s South Pars field, through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and on to Turkey, with a view to supply European markets – albeit crucially bypassing Russia. Assad’s rationale was “to protect the interests of [his] Russian ally, which is Europe’s top supplier of natural gas.”

Instead, the following year, Assad pursued negotiations for an alternative $10 billion pipeline plan with Iran, across Iraq to Syria, that would also potentially allow Iran to supply gas to Europe from its South Pars field shared with Qatar. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the project was signed in July 2012 – just as Syria’s civil war was spreading to Damascus and Aleppo – and earlier this year Iraq signed a framework agreement for construction of the gas pipelines.

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35 Responses

  1. just
    just
    September 1, 2013, 11:54 am

    No doubt. Afghanistan was also about a pipeline– just ask the Russians and Pakistanis.

    It’s about hegemony– ours and Israel’s.

    Why in the world we don’t normalize relations with Iran is really insane on our part.

    • Obsidian
      Obsidian
      September 1, 2013, 12:54 pm

      Israel has oil?

      • Walid
        Walid
        September 1, 2013, 2:06 pm

        No oil, Obsidian, but one of the original Iraq pipelines being discused terminated at Haifa before the war and I read somewhere that talks of a new pipeline would also terminate at Haifa, if and once some of those pesky objecting Arabs have been moved out of the way.

      • Obsidian
        Obsidian
        September 1, 2013, 3:11 pm

        Walid.
        Cuz were old friends, I’m willing to sell you some of my shares in the new, Israq Oil Company?

        Ground floor!

      • jimbowski
        jimbowski
        September 1, 2013, 3:02 pm

        Yes, Israel has tons of oil and gas recently discovered in the Levant Basin under the Mediterranean Sea just off the coast of Israel, Lebanon and Syria. Interesting that Syria shares an oil field with Israel. More about Israel’s new oil and gas bonanza here: http://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Nuclear-Power/Gas-Starts-Flowing-from-Israels-Levant-Basin-What-Now.html

      • just
        just
        September 1, 2013, 4:03 pm

        No, Obs. It’s as Walid writes.

        My point is that Israel and the US want to have regional hegemony over the entire region, in spite of the indigenous people there. That’s why Islamophobia has been so carefully nurtured and crafted by our “democracies”. It’s also why I keep hearing that “the Muslims have been killing each other for centuries– let them have at it” and all kinds of other garbage like “they live in the Stone Age”. It’s bs. It’s because of us and our ally and our manipulations and horrid ‘interventions’ that the average person no longer trusts us or our motives………………………… We want all the resources and the power, and will use any means to get them. Witness our befriending of Saddam and OBL………. where are they now?

      • Egbert
        Egbert
        September 1, 2013, 4:40 pm

        There is gas and some oil in the eastern Mediterranean, from Gaza to Syria. This is one of the reasons why Israel is deterring Gazans from having access to the sea, so Israel can claim that Palestine has shown no interest in exploiting the gas off its shores and claim it for itself. BP tried to extract gas from the Gazan field, but it would have to have passed through Israel for export. Israel demanded excessive fees so the project went nowhere.

        When the Mid East finally goes up in flames, and oil/gas prices rocket, Israel will be laughing all the way to the bank, while western economies tank.

      • Walid
        Walid
        September 1, 2013, 5:59 pm

        Egbert, initially, the Gaza gas was to be pumped to Egypt but Tony Blair got in the way and pressured Abbas and company to instead process the gas via Israel. Israel did not want Hamas in Gaza to get any cash out of the gas deal and Hamas did not want Israel to get any of the gas, which was part of the deal, As you mentioned, negotiations between Israel and the British Gas Group fizzed out and the British walked away from the deal with Israel and went back to considering doing the deal with Egypt. Hamas won the elections, the siege started and 6 months later there was Cast Lead.

        Full story in EI of January 2008:

        http://electronicintifada.net/content/gaza-siege-intensified-after-collapse-natural-gas-deal/7312

      • eljay
        eljay
        September 1, 2013, 6:04 pm

        >> When the Mid East finally goes up in flames, and oil/gas prices rocket, Israel will be laughing all the way to the bank, while western economies tank.

        Assuming, of course, that Israel isn’t consumed along with the rest of the Middle East.

      • Abierno
        Abierno
        September 1, 2013, 5:10 pm

        Israel does indeed have oil – extensive oil shale deposits in the Negev and the West Bank. Inquiring minds would wonder if the deep motive to expel the Bedouin, Israeli citizens, and to emphatically declare their ownership rights invalid is to abrogate their rights to this rich oil bearing land. Also, the rise of the West Bank annexation appears to parallel the discovery of oil shale deposits – hence the rapid settlement expansion as well as rapid expansion of “closed military zones” which no doubt are a cover for organization of the development of this resource. Also, do not forget that Israel has tendered oil leases in the Golan to a company affiliated with Dick Cheney. An excellent Mondoweis article would map
        oil shale and natural gas finds in Israel and tie them to their expulsion of
        indigenous people. Destabilization of Lebanon would no doubt result in Israel’s assuming control of those parts of the Leviathon field which by right belong to Lebanon.

    • seafoid
      seafoid
      September 2, 2013, 12:37 am

      Afghanistan never made any sense. The US had big plans for Central Asia but these were pie in the sky and have all been abandoned.

      • Walid
        Walid
        September 2, 2013, 4:01 am

        The first big plan involved the famous pipeline linking the Caspian Sea basin and the Arabian Sea that involved Cheney and ex-UNOCAL consultant, Hamid Karzai. Last year, Karzai awarded a $3 billion 20-year oil deal to his cousins. Last month, a 30-year contract was finally signed for the pipeline with another group.

        in February this year, Michel Chossudovsky, wrote about all the goodies still untapped in Afghanistan, insinuating that this was the real motive behind the invasion of the country first by the Soviets then by the Americans:

        According to a joint report by the Pentagon, the US Geological Survey (USGS) and USAID, Afghanistan is now said to possess “previously unknown” and untapped mineral reserves, estimated authoritatively to be of the order of one trillion dollars (New York Times, U.S. Identifies Vast Mineral Riches in Afghanistan – NYTimes.com, June 14, 2010, See also BBC, 14 June 2010).

        “The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.

        An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.

        The vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists. The Afghan government and President Hamid Karzai were recently briefed, American officials said.

        While it could take many years to develop a mining industry, the potential is so great that officials and executives in the industry believe it could attract heavy investment even before mines are profitable, providing the possibility of jobs that could distract from generations of war.

        “There is stunning potential here,” Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, said… “There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.”

        The value of the newly discovered mineral deposits dwarfs the size of Afghanistan’s existing war-bedraggled economy, which is based largely on opium production and narcotics trafficking as well as aid from the United States and other industrialized countries. Afghanistan’s gross domestic product is only about $12 billion.

        “This will become the backbone of the Afghan economy,” said Jalil Jumriany, an adviser to the Afghan minister of mines. (New York Times, op. cit.)

        … The Soviet geopolitical reports were known. During the Cold War, all this information was known in minute detail:

        “Extensive Soviet exploration produced superb geological maps and reports that listed more than 1,400 mineral outcroppings, along with about 70 commercially viable deposits … The Soviet Union subsequently committed more than $650 million for resource exploration and development in Afghanistan, with proposed projects including an oil refinery capable of producing a half-million tons per annum, as well as a smelting complex for the Ainak deposit that was to have produced 1.5 million tons of copper per year. In the wake of the Soviet withdrawal a subsequent World Bank analysis projected that the Ainak copper production alone could eventually capture as much as 2 percent of the annual world market. The country is also blessed with massive coal deposits, one of which, the Hajigak iron deposit, in the Hindu Kush mountain range west of Kabul, is assessed as one of the largest high-grade deposits in the world. (John C. K. Daly, Analysis: Afghanistan’s untapped energy, UPI Energy, October 24, 2008, emphasis added) ”

        … Since the 2001 invasion, narcotics production in Afghanistan has increased more than 35 times. In 2009, opium production stood at 6900 tons, compared to less than 200 tons in 2001.

        http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-war-is-worth-waging-afghanistan-s-vast-reserves-of-minerals-and-natural-gas/19769

      • just
        just
        September 2, 2013, 6:24 am

        Thanks Walid.

        Phil shared this:

        “Our friend Antony Loewenstein is working on an important documentary about the pillaging of resources without respect for the people’s interests in Afghanistan, Haiti, and Papua New Guinea.”

        http://mondoweiss.net/2013/08/help-fund-new-antony-loewenstein-documentary-on-disaster-capitalism.html

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        September 2, 2013, 9:05 am

        How is the pipeline coming on , Walid ?

        Central Asia is up for grabs.

        http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/aug/15/why-and-what-you-should-know-about-central-asia/

        The US is retreating, Russia is weakening and it’s open for China to take the lead role. Why would the elites in the US shoot themselves in the foot to the tune of $3 tn ?

        The War on terror reminds me of the Byzantines vs the Persians. They fought each other to a standstill and then the Arabs came out of leftfield and mopped them both up.

      • Walid
        Walid
        September 2, 2013, 12:31 pm

        Lost interest in it, seafoid, after I saw that no one was paying attention to it a few years ago in spite of all the stories that were going around about the funny business Haliburton and Cheney were pulling in Afghanistan with the proposed pipeline. The deal just signed for the pipeline doesn’t include any of the original names that were previously involved ( at the time the Taliban had been invited in 1998 to the Bush ranch to discuss business) and the ensuing priliminary negotiations with Enron, UNOCAL etc.

        Here are details of the deal that was signed last month; the names of the usual suspects don’t appear to be in it:

        http://peakoil.com/business/afghanistan-signs-30-year-gas-pipeline-deal

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        September 2, 2013, 1:56 pm

        Walid

        I think a lot of Bush era fantasies have been quietly shelved since Lehman went tits up.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        September 2, 2013, 2:02 pm

        The CIA blocked Dick Cheney’s scheme for US attack on Iran, in 2006-07.

  2. Walid
    Walid
    September 1, 2013, 12:48 pm

    Since this is about a failed (Qatar) pipeline project that Syria refused to participate in, it should be mentioned that the first regime change that happened in Syria after its independence from France in 1946 was in 1949 and it was provoked and managed by the CIA. It was the CIA’s very first international operation and the reason behind it and the overthrow of the governement had been Syria’s refusal to accept the Saudi Arabia and America oil company’s (ARAMCO) trans-Arabia pipeline to cross Syria to reach the Med. History is being repeated.

    • Obsidian
      Obsidian
      September 1, 2013, 1:00 pm

      @Walid

      Uhh…you may be jumping the gun on a CIA managed coup.

      ‘When demonstrations led to the resignation of the prime minister, the U.S. assistant military attaché, who was in reality a CIA officer, began to meet with the Syrian chief of staff, Husni Zaim, to plan a coup. Soon after, Zaim “requested U.S. agents provoke and abet internal disturbances which ‘essential for coup d’etat’ or that U.S. funds be given him this purpose.” We do not know the U.S. response to this specific request, but the CIA officer did promise rapid recognition after a coup with, presumably, a handsome aid package to follow. This is exactly how events began to unfold, although, as we pointed out in chapter three, the process was interrupted after less than five months when Zaim was himself overthrown in another coup. Government then followed government in rapid succession, with civilian cabinets rising and falling, interspersed with additional coups. From time to time, right-wing officers approached the U.S. for help or guidance on possible coups, one of which in fact involved the assassination of the country’s left-leaning leader (the extent of prior U.S. knowledge about this murder is unclear). 1′

      1) Zaim, quoted in Meade to G-2, 18 March 1949 (Little 1990: 56); Little (2004: 670-7).

  3. Walid
    Walid
    September 1, 2013, 12:56 pm
  4. CitizenC
    CitizenC
    September 1, 2013, 1:01 pm

    As usual, the brain-damaged left acts like its cerebral fluid has been replaced by crude oil.

    Nothing to do with oil, everything to do with radical, racialist and militarist nationalism, with Zionism at the forefront, in western Asia and in Washington.

  5. American
    American
    September 1, 2013, 1:23 pm

    ‘US-UK training of Syrian opposition forces [began in] 2011 aimed at eliciting “collapse” of Assad’s regime “from within.”

    So what was this unfolding strategy to undermine Syria and Iran all about? According to retired NATO Secretary General Wesley Clark, a memo from the Office of the US Secretary of Defense just a few weeks after 9/11 revealed plans to “attack and destroy the governments in 7 countries in five years”, starting with Iraq and moving on to “Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.” In a subsequent interview, Clark argues that this strategy is fundamentally about control of the region’s vast oil and gas resources.””

    Please quit buying this bullsh-t that US and Outside powers determined to control the Oil ‘FLOW’ is the sole reason behind ME policy.

    The *Oil Flow Competiton* is primlary among those *Who Have The Oil*–Offering a deal to those outsiders who will help them beat the competition in grabbing pipelines and routes.

    None of the ME Oil lands in Circle A are capable of imposing their will on Circle B Oil lands….so they all need Outside allies who they will ‘favor’ to maintain their ‘own’ Oil Flow edge.

    “IF” you took all politics ,all other ideological considerations and all the competiton of the secondary oil industry sector in outside countries, out of the Oil Equation, then ALL Outsiders would be supporting ALL the Oilies and ALL pipelines and ALL Oil routes to *maximize* world Oil Flow.

    No outsiders can maintain ‘stability’ by choosing sides in the ME for all the above ‘other considerations ‘ any longer.

    ” ….Rand report on the “long war” to embroil jihadists in internal strife so that we don’t lose Gulf oil. …”
    Ah yes….we all know that ‘internal strife’ and jihadist are a sure fire way to promote ME Oil Stability…..NOT.

  6. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby
    September 1, 2013, 2:05 pm

    Oil? No its Israel.

  7. bilal a
    bilal a
    September 1, 2013, 3:03 pm

    The Film Syriana: Corruption is Why We Win

  8. seafoid
    seafoid
    September 1, 2013, 3:37 pm

    I don’t understand the US working with the Jihadis.
    India, China, the EU and Japan need ME oil. The FT keeps telling me the Yanks have shale supplies for the next 30 years. Why would the US push Jihad? Why did it fight Jihad in Afghanistan for 12 years ?

  9. Krauss
    Krauss
    September 2, 2013, 2:16 am

    No, it’s like saying the occupation in Israel is about capitalism.

    Iraq was partly because of oil, but also about Israeli interests. Syria has very little oil and his bending-over-backwards argument about the Gulf states is incoherent. The main issue dividing them is Sunni/Shia, not an islamist direction. They are already islamist in many cases.

    Also, America gets most of it’s oil from non-Middle Eastern sources. Europe is a little more dependent but Asia is actually the biggest customer of Saudi Arabia, most of Iran’s oil is going to Asia and so is the case with the Gulf States, and they don’t want any intervention even if they have the most to lose.
    His argument lacks coherence. Syria is about Iran for the Israel lobby and for Obama it’s partly about vanity, he set down his red lines, now he can’t risk looking weak. Obama doesn’t care about Syrian victims or the humanitarian disaster, there’s been over 100 000 deaths and he didn’t flinch.

    The gas attack is not about upholding international norms either, America did nothing against Saddam when he used it against the Iranians(this was before the kurds) because America wanted both weakned, which it got, too. America was supplying arms to Saddam the whole time.

    It’s a power struggle, not more.

  10. talknic
    talknic
    September 2, 2013, 11:18 am

    @ Krauss ” it’s like saying the occupation in Israel is about capitalism”

    It is now about financial viability. Israel has created so many illegal facts on the ground since being declared, it cannot now afford to adhere to the law. Paying rightful compensation for its belligerence and relocating hundreds of thousands of illegal settlers back into Israeli territory would send the Jewish state bankrupt for decades. That’s why Israel, while it is under the protection of the US veto vote in the UNSC must negotiate a plea bargain (deal) with the Palestinians, it is the only legal way out of the illegal bind it has purposefully created.

    “Iraq was partly because of oil, but also about Israeli interests”

    Entirely about asserting US influence in the region for oil … PNAC 1998. Russia, China. Europe and India are on the same continent, they can and are building pipelines. The US cannot, it is entirely dependent on shipping, which at present has no easy route and must go the long way round. Control of and/or influence over the quickest route to the Mediterranean Sea, is the end aim.

    “Syria has very little oil..”

    Syria is and always has been on the trade route to Europe/West. The route West for oil from countries East of Syria is no different. The land route thru to the Mediterranean and then via Mediterranean sea is the shortest route to the US

    “America gets most of it’s oil from non-Middle Eastern sources. Europe is a little more dependent”

    Middle Eastern sources are an essential part of the US aggregate, likewise Europe.

    “It’s a power struggle, not more”

    Having influence over the sources of oil and importantly its route to the US, Europe and India IS power.

  11. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    September 2, 2013, 11:42 am

    Oil is still necessary, but working so hard to DECLARE IT NECESSARY LONG TERM is contrary to the world’s interest in stopping (or even, were it still possible, reversing) climate change.

    Looks like USA’s military answers directly (without political intervention) to BIG-FOSSIL-FUELS, and thus any chance of USA actually fighting global warming by cutting the umbilicus to OIL is doomed, at least for a while.

    • seafoid
      seafoid
      September 2, 2013, 12:14 pm

      The US won’t give up oil until it’s way too late. The setup of the towns in the US is built on eternal oil.

      Take away the cars and there would be a big drop in economic activity. Apparently De Gaulle was shown the LA freeway system sometime post war and he asked if they thought it was sustainable long term.

    • MRW
      MRW
      September 2, 2013, 12:52 pm

      pabelmont,

      You have the connection going the wrong way. The US military does not answer directly to Big Oil. Big Oil answers to the US Military.

      I don’t know how many times I’ve written this over the years, but oil is not a commercial resource or concern. Oil is the Number One National Security Concern. Period.

      Oil determines supply lines, whether our soldiers eat or freeze, whether they can drive trucks, and planes, and ships, whether they get their ammo in time, whether the bombs can drop, or the helicopters can retrieve soldiers from the field, whether they can see at night, or the drones will work.

      As I wrote before:

      An older friend of mine who was so friendly with former Sec of Def James Schlesinger that he called him Schlessy, which was his nickname, told me that Schlesinger told him the number one issue, the most strategic element for the US military is fuel, before anything. Before food, before boots, before bases, before guns or weaponry.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      September 3, 2013, 12:13 am

      “the world’s interest in stopping (or even, were it still possible, reversing) climate change.”

      If you mean Global Warming, it has stopped. There has been no significant warming for at least 16 years, since 1996. Check the main datasets for yourself.

      For RSS the warming is not statistically significant for over 23 years, for UAH, over 19 years, for Hadcrut3, over 19 years, for Hadcrut4, over 18 years, for GISS, over 18 years, for NCDC, over 18 years.

      (Actually, GISS, RSS, UAH, NCDC, and Hadcrut4 show slight (not significant) cooling since 2005 )

      The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has been rising, and so according to the CO2 + water vapour feedback hypothesis* the temperature should have been steadily rising. It hasn’t.**

      Basic science: prediction fails – hypothesis* busted.

      The hypothesis fails on the hot spot, humidity, and radiation predictions as well.

      Forget the hysteria and the smears. Stick to the data. And remember that this is a Middle Eastern politics blog, not a climate blog.

      (*A hypothesis that was based on computer models. There was no empirical evidence that it worked in the manner hypothesised.)

      (**And the salesmen for that hypothesis have been desperately trying to find a sciency-sounding reason that does not involve admitting they were wrong.)

  12. dbroncos
    dbroncos
    September 2, 2013, 12:19 pm

    “The RAND document contextualised this disturbing strategy with surprisingly prescient recognition of the increasing vulnerability of the US’s key allies and enemies – Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, Egypt, Syria, Iran – to a range of converging crises: rapidly rising populations, a ‘youth bulge’, internal economic inequalities, political frustrations, sectarian tensions, and environmentally-linked water shortages, all of which could destabilise these countries from within or exacerbate inter-state conflicts.”

    97% of the water on earth is salt water
    2% is locked in polar ice caps
    1% of water on earth is drinkable

    If all of the world’s available drinking water were to be put in a cube, it would measure just 95 miles on a side. This water is used for drinking, washing, sewage, cooling spent fuel rods, etc.

    The UN predicts that the current world population of 7 billion will contininue growing until 2062, when it will “stabilize” at 10 billion.

    The water, energy, food, jobs needed to sustain the current human population of 7 billion have run out in some places and are fast disappearing in others. Sad to say, but the “disturbing strategy” revealed in the RAND document points to an ominous present and future. The effects of climate change are wild cards that will magnify the problems of regional and continental resource management for the increasing world population.

    http://worldometers.info

  13. James Canning
    James Canning
    September 2, 2013, 1:29 pm

    The US did not have to invade Iraq in order to buy Iraqi oil. Or invade any other country for the same reason.

    Illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 had MUCH to do with “protecting” Israel. And LIITLE to do with being able to buy oil.

  14. James Canning
    James Canning
    September 2, 2013, 1:33 pm

    I have a strong feeling Bashar al-Assad would be happy to have gas pipelines from both Iran and Qatar, crossing Syrian territory and generating income for Syria.

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