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Syria

Have any of you read "The Land of the Blind" by HG Wells?
No, but I have read up on Genie and their Israeli subsidiary Afek.
According to them, they received a license to perform exploration in the Golan Heights in 2012, and based on initial studies are claiming that there may be a substantial reservoir there. Of course, this is far from proof that there is in fact a commercially exploitable resource there, and the fact that 5 years later, they are still trying to raise sufficient funds to begin test drilling shows that their evidence base is a little flimsy.
From their website.
After two years of performing all the preliminary tests, we analyzed the area and built the most advanced models in the world. Now all that remains to be seen is if all this is, in fact, true.
We’re going to let you in on a secret. There is a reason why the State of Israel does not prospect for oil independently – the enormous costs involved, as well as the high degree of wrisk and the pessimistic statistics indicating that the chance of finding oil stands at only 6%. This is what caused the State of Israel to transfer oil exploration to private entrepreneurs.

Contrary to other fields, the final proof of the presence of oil can only be demonstrated by exploratory drilling.

Only after finding oil, can we map the reservoir size and prove our assumptions to be correct. Subsequently we can submit a request to the State of Israel to recognize our findings as a “discovery”. After this is approved, we will have to approach the planning and construction authorities with detailed work plans that include, inter alia, environmental impact assessment, in order to obtain the rights to long-term commercial oil production in the area.

Afek - Israeli energy company


So, I’m their own words, there is no proven reserve, there is in fact no discovery of oil in the Golan Heights. There is simply a geological model that suggests there may be an oil reservoir there, but no evidence that it actually exists.

And this is supposed to be the basis for American policy in the Middle East?

Sorry, I’m not buying it.
 
Iran, Israel play down prospects they'll go to war over Syria
Anyway, back to Syria. There’ll be ‘consequences’ but it’s unlikely to escalate between Iran and Israel in Syria:
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a U.S. television interview that further Israeli sorties in Syria would have “consequences”. But he deemed major escalation as unlikely.

“I do not believe that we are headed towards regional war but I do believe that unfortunately, Israel has continued its violations with international law, hoping to be able to do it with impunity because of the U.S. support and trying to find smokescreens to hide behind,” Zarif told CBS News.

“The easiest answer would be to stop - to stop these acts of aggression, to stop these incursions.”
Israeli rhetoric remains strong but they’ll clearly try and intercept shipments to Hezbollah:
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman reiterated his government’s policy of preventing Iranian entrenchment in Syria.

“No matter the price, we will not allow a noose to form around us,” he told Israel Radio in an interview.

But asked if that meant war was imminent, he said: “I hope not. I think that our primary role is prevent war, and that requires concrete, real deterrence as well as readiness to act.”
Katz, Israel’s Int Minister suggesting world powers might intervene to curb Iranian influence in Syria. I doubt the P5 would agree on that:
Israel Katz, the Israeli intelligence minister, suggested world powers might intervene to curb Iranian activity in Syria.

Israel is “not interested” in escalation, Katz told the Ynet news site. But Israeli power-projection, he said, “can challenge the Iranians, can clarify to the Russians, who seek stability, that it is worth it for them to apply their influence, and the same goes for the United States, for France and all the others”.
 
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Have any of you read "The Land of the Blind" by HG Wells?
Have you read "Dead Souls" by Nikolay Gogol? Mr Wells isn't as popular as he should be,
 
Hi lastwalt,
I am just offering one explanation for the sudden turn-around of the Trump administration's attitude to whether the Americans should stay or go. This link seems a lot more positive about the oil..

TruNews with Rick Wiles, Real News, Latest News, Christian News

The main point I think is that it is Syrian territory and if the US leaves then Syria could and probably would kick the Israeli's off their land.
As for the British government not being able to contain it's rush to war on behalf of 50 gassed Syrians, perhaps one should consider the number of people who died from cold this winter in the UK which is 40,000 or more, about whom the government doesn't care a jot.
 
Hi lastwalt,
I am just offering one explanation for the sudden turn-around of the Trump administration's attitude to whether the Americans should stay or go. This link seems a lot more positive about the oil..

TruNews with Rick Wiles, Real News, Latest News, Christian News

The main point I think is that it is Syrian territory and if the US leaves then Syria could and probably would kick the Israeli's off their land.
As for the British government not being able to contain it's rush to war on behalf of 50 gassed Syrians, perhaps one should consider the number of people who died from cold this winter in the UK which is 40,000 or more, about whom the government doesn't care a jot.
In Israeli vs Syria fights, Syria hasn't done too well. Of course, the history is complex but why do you think Syria would win?
 
Hi lastwalt,
I am just offering one explanation for the sudden turn-around of the Trump administration's attitude to whether the Americans should stay or go. This link seems a lot more positive about the oil..

TruNews with Rick Wiles, Real News, Latest News, Christian News

The main point I think is that it is Syrian territory and if the US leaves then Syria could and probably would kick the Israeli's off their land.
As for the British government not being able to contain it's rush to war on behalf of 50 gassed Syrians, perhaps one should consider the number of people who died from cold this winter in the UK which is 40,000 or more, about whom the government doesn't care a jot.
Reads mostly like speculation based on Afek’s marketing hype. Here’s the latest update from their drilling program. The press release is nearly 2 years old, which in instead speaks volumes.
Analysis stage begins at latest Golan drilling site
Regarding findings from the Ness-3 site, where testing began in February, the company said that the site did not produce an amount of hydrocarbons that would be sufficient for commercial production, though noted that they learned important information for future testing. Still, initial results from analyses so far “suggest that there may be a large reservoir of natural gas,” as well as “significant amounts” of light, concentrated oil.
So, still no actual evidence that there are commercially exploitable reserves under the Golan.
 
No, but I have read up on Genie and their Israeli subsidiary Afek.
According to them, they received a license to perform exploration in the Golan Heights in 2012, and based on initial studies are claiming that there may be a substantial reservoir there. Of course, this is far from proof that there is in fact a commercially exploitable resource there, and the fact that 5 years later, they are still trying to raise sufficient funds to begin test drilling shows that their evidence base is a little flimsy.
From their website.

Afek - Israeli energy company

So, I’m their own words, there is no proven reserve, there is in fact no discovery of oil in the Golan Heights. There is simply a geological model that suggests there may be an oil reservoir there, but no evidence that it actually exists.

And this is supposed to be the basis for American policy in the Middle East?

Sorry, I’m not buying it.
Stories about huge new oil discoveries in onshore Israel have been circulating for years. A junior oil company that nobody has heard of before will claim to have found large amounts of oil somewhere in Israel. They will then proceed to fleece gullible investors of their funds, and then disappear having found no commercial quantities of oil. A new company will then appear promoting the same story and making the rounds of investors again. This has been going on for decades.

Corruption is pervasive in Israeli business and government. These types of oil discovery claims to me appear to be fairly transparent, but none the less successful, attempts to fleece the more religious types of Jews and Christians of money, particularly amongst those living in the west. They appeal to a mixture of millennialist religion and politics to get people to suspend disbelief and part with their cash.

The oil bearing geological provinces in the Middle East run along a narrow band through the Persian Gulf, up along the eastern part of Iraq at the foot of the mountains, up through the Caspian Sea, and then along the eastern side of the Ural Mountains to the Arctic Ocean. During the American occupation of Iraq, the American propaganda machine was pumping out stories about huge oil reserves in western Iraq which were waiting to be tapped if only the Sunnis of the area would stop fighting. Few, if any, in the oil business found those stories even remotely plausible, and they were pretty transparent American propaganda intended to influence the political situation in Iraq where the Shias and Kurds had oil fields, but the Arab Sunnis had only begging bowls. Syria's oil resources lie even further outside of the Middle East oil band, which is why they are so meagre.

There is natural gas in Israel, but it's offshore and a continuation of the same geological formations which contain gas in Egypt, Cyprus, Lebanon, and (probably) Syria. Israel is courting Egypt in an attempt to connect Israel's gas fields with Egypt's much larger ones in an attempt to use Egyptian gas infrastructure to make Israel's smaller gas resources economically viable.

There is a war brewing over over oil and gas in the Levant, but it's between Israel and Lebanon in their overlapping offshore claims. Israel has been rattling their sabres over Lebanon granting offshore exploration licenses even in territory which is not in dispute.
 
Stories about huge new oil discoveries in onshore Israel have been circulating for years. A junior oil company that nobody has heard of before will claim to have found large amounts of oil somewhere in Israel. They will then proceed to fleece gullible investors of their funds, and then disappear having found no commercial quantities of oil. A new company will then appear promoting the same story and making the rounds of investors again. This has been going on for decades.

Corruption is pervasive in Israeli business and government. These types of oil discovery claims to me appear to be fairly transparent, but none the less successful, attempts to fleece the more religious types of Jews and Christians of money, particularly amongst those living in the west. They appeal to a mixture of millennialist religion and politics to get people to suspend disbelief and part with their cash.

The oil bearing geological provinces in the Middle East run along a narrow band through the Persian Gulf, up along the eastern part of Iraq at the foot of the mountains, up through the Caspian Sea, and then along the eastern side of the Ural Mountains to the Arctic Ocean. During the American occupation of Iraq, the American propaganda machine was pumping out stories about huge oil reserves in western Iraq which were waiting to be tapped if only the Sunnis of the area would stop fighting. Few, if any, in the oil business found those stories even remotely plausible, and they were pretty transparent American propaganda intended to influence the political situation in Iraq where the Shias and Kurds had oil fields, but the Arab Sunnis had only begging bowls. Syria's oil resources lie even further outside of the Middle East oil band, which is why they are so meagre.

There is natural gas in Israel, but it's offshore and a continuation of the same geological formations which contain gas in Egypt, Cyprus, Lebanon, and (probably) Syria. Israel is courting Egypt in an attempt to connect Israel's gas fields with Egypt's much larger ones in an attempt to use Egyptian gas infrastructure to make Israel's smaller gas resources economically viable.

There is a war brewing over over oil and gas in the Levant, but it's between Israel and Lebanon in their overlapping offshore claims. Israel has been rattling their sabres over Lebanon granting offshore exploration licenses even in territory which is not in dispute.
That's a very interesting post. I would just add, if I may, an excerpt from a US Government report concerning the source of overseas petroleum (which makes up 1/4 of US petroleum needs):

'U.S. petroleum imports rose sharply in the 1970s, especially from nations that comprise the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). In 1977, when the United States exported relatively small amounts of petroleum, OPEC nations were the source of 70% of total U.S. petroleum imports. Since 1977, the share of OPEC imports to the United States has generally declined. In 2016, OPEC's share of total U.S. petroleum imports was about 34%. OPEC member Saudi Arabia was the source of about 11% of U.S. petroleum imports in 2016 and OPEC member Venezuela was the source of about 8%.

In 2016, about 18% of U.S. petroleum imports came from Persian Gulf countries. Saudi Arabia was the largest source of U.S. imports from Persian Gulf countries.

Canada is the largest source of U.S. petroleum imports. Canada's share of U.S. petroleum imports has increased significantly. Canada was the source of 15% of U.S. petroleum imports in 1994 and 38% in 2016.

The five largest sources of U.S. petroleum imports by share of total imports in 2016
  • Canada—38%
  • Saudi Arabia—11%
  • Venezuela—8%
  • Mexico—7%
  • Colombia—5%'
Source: Oil Imports and Exports - Energy Explained, Your Guide To Understanding Energy - Energy Information Administration

The US also produces nearly all of its own natural gas (97%); as well as nuclear and renewable form of energy. Therefore, the US doesn't need to be in Syria because of oil.
The US presence in Syria has more to do with traditional factors such as protecting the interests of allies; restraining the power of Iran; and - more recently - not wanting to cede influence to Russia, than with oil. In the Arab Spring, the West saw an opportunity to change the nature of politics and society in those countries affected; without perhaps at the time appreciating that some democratic outcomes might not suit the West (Egypt); that some revolutions would leave chaos in their wake (Libya) or lead to a civil war in Syria.
However, it seems that Trump wants a vote-winning withdrawal from Syria; and that he is personally less interested in the region than his predecessors - and the best guess at present is that it will happen.
 
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The US presence in Syria has more to do with traditional factors such as protecting the interests of allies; restraining the power of Iran; and - more recently - not wanting to cede influence to Russia, than with oil.
http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/{65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9}/s_res_2249.pdf
Lead a coalition of like minded countries to defeat IS in accordance with a unanimous UNSC Resolution should be added imo.
However, it seems that Trump wants a vote-winning withdrawal from Syria; and that he is personally less interested in the region than his predecessors - and the best guess at present is that it will happen.
Pretty much, albeit tempering the Iranian influence in the Region could mean continuing to support the SDF and their possible successor BSF. G7 meeting in Toronto today discussing Russia, Syria and Iran.
 
http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/{65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9}/s_res_2249.pdf
Lead a coalition of like minded countries to defeat IS in accordance with a unanimous UNSC Resolution should be added imo.

Pretty much, albeit tempering the Iranian influence in the Region could mean continuing to support the SDF and their possible successor BSF. G7 meeting in Toronto today discussing Russia, Syria and Iran.
Good point regarding ISIS!
BSF? What's that stand for please?
 
Good point regarding ISIS!
BSF? What's that stand for please?
U.S.-led coalition helps to build new Syrian force, angering Turkey
30k strong Border Security Force. Which obviously upsets Erdogan as well:
“The base of the new force is essentially a realignment of approximately 15,000 members of the SDF to a new mission in the Border Security Force as their actions against ISIS draw to a close,” it said.

“They will be providing border security through professionally securing checkpoints and conducting counter-IED operations,” it said, adding that coalition and SDF forces were still engaging Islamic State pockets in Deir al-Zor province.
 
Hi lastwalt,
I am just offering one explanation for the sudden turn-around of the Trump administration's attitude to whether the Americans should stay or go. This link seems a lot more positive about the oil..

TruNews with Rick Wiles, Real News, Latest News, Christian News

The main point I think is that it is Syrian territory and if the US leaves then Syria could and probably would kick the Israeli's off their land.
As for the British government not being able to contain it's rush to war on behalf of 50 gassed Syrians, perhaps one should consider the number of people who died from cold this winter in the UK which is 40,000 or more, about whom the government doesn't care a jot.
You're still spamming us with Russian agitprop. Why?
 
(...) Canada is the largest source of U.S. petroleum imports. Canada's share of U.S. petroleum imports has increased significantly. Canada was the source of 15% of U.S. petroleum imports in 1994 and 38% in 2016.
The proportion of US oil imports coming from Canada will almost certainly increase in coming years as production keeps rising and new pipelines come on line. Canada's oil sands deposits contain oil resources comparable to those of any of the other largest in the world.

(...) The US also produces nearly all of its own natural gas (97%); as well as nuclear and renewable form of energy. Therefore, the US doesn't need to be in Syria because of oil.
The US market has a glut of natural gas, and they will be exporting gas as LNG in the future.

However, the US is still exposed to the world oil market. If oil prices rise due to war, the global economy will be affected and that will affect the US economy severely. What is more, non-Middle Eastern supplies of oil would be diverted from the US to other markets in response to higher oil prices. The US can't insulate themselves from the global oil market.

Furthermore, control of oil supplies and oil transportation by sea is an important component of US power projection. Even if the Americans don't buy a drop of oil from the Middle East directly, they will still want to exert control over those supplies in order to exert leverage on other countries.

The US presence in Syria has more to do with traditional factors such as protecting the interests of allies; restraining the power of Iran; and - more recently - not wanting to cede influence to Russia, than with oil. In the Arab Spring, the West saw an opportunity to change the nature of politics and society in those countries affected; without perhaps at the time appreciating that some democratic outcomes might not suit the West (Egypt); that some revolutions would leave chaos in their wake (Libya) or lead to a civil war in Syria.
However, it seems that Trump wants a vote-winning withdrawal from Syria; and that he is personally less interested in the region than his predecessors - and the best guess at present is that it will happen.
The Syria situation is very complex. As well as the factors that you mention, there is the desire to support Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Israel's interests are simple. They are happy about anything which weakens Syria.

Saudi Arabia has fears of "encirclement" by Iran, seeing Iranian influence in Syria and Yemen. The US overthrow of Saddam Hussein backfired badly on them, turning Iraq from a strident opponent of Iran into a country which seeks cooperation with Iran. Saudi Arabia sees Iranian influence in Syria and Lebanon as completing this "encirclement" across their north. The US is drawn into this situation by virtue of being the patron of the Saudi regime.

There is also some pipeline politics involved with this. There were rival proposals for natural gas pipelines from the Middle East to Europe. One was for a pipeline from Iran through Iraq, Syria, and Turkey to Europe. I think there was also an alternate proposal to bypass Turkey via an undersea pipeline from Syria to Europe directly. Iraq and Syria were to receive some of that supply of Iranian natural gas as well as hosting part of the pipeline.

Competing with this was a proposal for a gas pipeline from Qatar through Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Turkey to Europe.

Pipelines have an advantage over LNG in that provided the volumes of gas are large enough, they are cheaper than LNG and so bring more profit to the supplier. They also tie the customer into long term contracts which provide a more stable revenue for the supplier than LNG often does. Unlike LNG however, putting a pipeline project together requires securing the cooperation of all the countries the pipeline will cross.

Any practical overland pipeline from Qatar to Europe would have to cross either Iraq or Syria. Iraq favoured the Iranian proposal. Syria was being offered good terms, both economical and political, to support it as well. That pretty much cut the Qatar project out of the running.

The Russians meanwhile were looking to invest in the Iranian proposal. They had the diplomatic and economic connections with Iran to to give them a head start on any competitors. While the pipeline would have competed directly with their own gas exports, if they were to gain control of the shipping of gas and the sales and marketing they could then prevent their European customers from playing off the two suppliers against each other on volume and price.

Saudi Arabia does not have exceptionally large reserves of natural gas and would not be exporting gas. However, they didn't want to see Iran gain an export market which would increase their revenues and hence national power and influence. That meant that they wanted to block any such pipeline proposal on principle. The US would have had a similar view, in that they would have opposed any project which provided revenue to Iran.

Of course the civil war in Syria has meant that both projects are dead in the water. Neither however may have gone anywhere even without war due to the many political, diplomatic, and above all economic challenges facing them.

Now unlike some people I won't claim that these rival pipelines were at the root of foreign interest in seeing the government of Syria overthrown and a more pliable government installed. However, they were probably a factor at some level when viewed in the wider context of the regional rivalries which were already in play.
 
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Speaking exclusively to The Mail on Sunday, the ex-SAS and Parachute Regiment commander added: 'The jihadists and the various opposition groups who've been fighting against Assad have much greater motivation to launch a chemical weapons attack and make it look like Assad was responsible.
History is not on your side Steve. You are using a Western mind set with an Arab.

1982 Hama massacre

According to Amnesty International, the Syrian military bombed the old city center from the air to facilitate the entry of infantry and tanks through the narrow streets; buildings were demolished by tanks during the first four days of fighting. Large parts of the old city were destroyed. There are also unsubstantiated reports of use of hydrogen cyanide by the government forces.[16]After encountering fierce resistance, Rifaat's forces ringed the city with artillery and shelled it for three weeks.

After the initial attacks, military and internal security personnel were dispatched to comb through the rubble for surviving members of the Muslim Brotherhood and their sympathizers.[17] Torture and mass executions of suspected rebel sympathizers ensued, killing many thousands over several weeks.[citation needed] Rifaat, suspecting that rebels were still hiding in tunnels under the old city, had diesel fuel pumped into them and set ablaze and stationed T-72 tanks at the tunnel entrances to shell the militants exiting the tunnels.[18]
Pumping of diesel into the tunnels remind you of recent events.

It is not about winning it is about ensuring that the ones that are still alive understand what will happen to them if they don't toe the line.
 
History is not on your side Steve. You are using a Western mind set with an Arab.

1982 Hama massacre



Pumping of diesel into the tunnels remind you of recent events.

It is not about winning it is about ensuring that the ones that are still alive understand what will happen to them if they don't toe the line.
The govt troops also killed many pro-Government civilians. It was a medieval style - breach the defences and kill everyone -attack.
Interesting though that it appears not to have dissuaded those who protested in 2011.
 
The govt troops also killed many pro-Government civilians. It was a medieval style - breach the defences and kill everyone -attack.
Interesting though that it appears not to have dissuaded those who protested in 2011.
30 years, the next generation? All the planets were in line as the revolution started west and headed east. He looked weak, the time is right and others had got away with it.
 
Ignoring the pro-Govt style, the sheer amount, and origin, of the surrendered gear is interesting:

Thanks. Including a ‘certain rifle’ :)

They’ve been there on and off for six years so I expected to see a lot of captured SAA kit. Still, it was a lot of T55 derivatives, BMPs, ZSU 23-4. I note the Thales radio seemed unused :). Apart from the TOWs, Gepard, radio etc. not much ‘western’ kit.
 

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