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SEPTEMBER 2020

Pentagon Claims Syrian Oil Smuggling Revenue Would Go To SDF. Who Believes It, Though?

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Pentagon Claims Syrian Oil Smuggling Revenue Would Go To SDF. Who Believes It, Though?

ILLUSTRATIVE

On November 7th, the Pentagon said that revenue from the oil fields in northeastern Syria will go to the US-backed Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

“The revenue from this is not going to the U.S., this is going to the SDF,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters.

These constant reminders are needed since it is quite clear that the US doesn’t plan on providing the revenue to the SDF, but rather to American companies and the US itself.

Even US President Donald Trump said so in his speech to announce the death of ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in late October.

“We may have to fight for the oil. It’s O.K.,” he said. “Maybe somebody else wants the oil, in which case they have a hell of a fight. But there’s massive amounts of oil.” The United States, he added, should be able to take some of Syria’s oil. “What I intend to do, perhaps, is make a deal with an ExxonMobil or one of our great companies to go in there and do it properly,” he said. The goal would be to “spread out the wealth.”

However, if ISIS is, in fact defeated, the US has no reason to stay in Syria, since remaining would violate the military authorization from Congress which allowed US troops to remain and fight against the militants.

Thus, the calls of a possible “resurgence” of ISIS play specifically in the direction of allowing the US to extend its presence in the region indefinitely.

Retired General Barry McCaffrey, who commanded a mechanized division in Iraq during the Gulf War tweeted the following:

“Bring in US oil companies to modernize the field. WHAT ARE WE BECOMING…. PIRATES?”

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on November 7th that the United States was not fulfilling its pledge to remove a Kurdish militia from a Syrian border region and said he will raise the issue when he meets Trump soon.

During the briefing, Hoffman added that he had no knowledge of SDF members in the area, but said the United States did not have complete clarity on the situation.

The situation is somewhat similar to that of Iraq, when Human Rights Watch published a report specifically focused on “pillaging” oil by the United States and US President Donald Trump’s statements that the Iraqi oil should’ve been taken, back in 2017.

“Trump’s position on taking Iraq’s oil amounts to “pillage,” a serious violation of international humanitarian law, or the laws of war. The US tradition of prohibiting pillage is deeply rooted: President Abraham Lincoln included it in General Orders No. 100 to Union soldiers in 1863, known as the Lieber Code. The two principal multinational treaties concerning military occupation, The Hague Regulations of 1907 and the 1949 Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (Fourth Geneva Convention) explicitly prohibit pillage.”

The situation with northeastern Syria’s oil fields is not much different, but it seems that the pretext appears to be different, it is in support of the SDF, ISIS might make a return and so on. These are simply justifications to specifically carry out what failed to take place in Iraq, because it wasn’t justified strongly enough.

Furthermore, taking Iraq’s law, and since the situation is, more or less, the same – Syria’s oil would be against US law, as well.

“Taking Iraq’s oil would also most likely be a crime under US law. The 1996 US War Crimes Act makes it a criminal offense to commit a grave violation of the Geneva Conventions or to violate specific articles of The Hague Regulations, including the prohibition on pillage. Violations of the War Crimes Act can result in a sentence of life in prison.”

Of course, being there to fight the terrorist, and using the money from revenues to fund your allies, who are fighting a war, of course, is allowed.

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