Monday, December 8, 2014

778 Golan Heights clash over Oil could detonate World War - F. William Engdahl

Golan Heights clash over Oil could detonate World War - F. William Engdahl

(1) Israel wants to annex Golan Heights after Oil discovered there
(2) Oren asks Obama to allow Israel to annex Golan Heights; no mention
of Oil, or that Israel started 1967 war
(3) US refuses to recognize Israel’s annexation of Golan Heights
(4) Israeli High Court dismisses Objections, approves Oil Drilling in
Syria’s Golan (2014)
(5) Golan Heights clash over Oil could detonate World War - F. William
Engdahl
(6) France wants Grand Coalition against ISIS, but US still seeks to
exclude Russia & Assad

Newsletter published on 20 November 2015

(1) Israel wants to annex Golan Heights after Oil discovered there

    Kelvin Heslop<keljohn01@gmail.com> 17 November 2015 at 22:13

http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/2986289/israel_to_annex_golan_heights_after_billion_barrel_oil_find.html
http://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/israel-to-annex-golan-heights-after-billion-barrel-oil-find/

Israel to Annex Golan Heights After 'Billion Barrel' Oil Find

After a massive oil find in Syria's Golan Heights, occupied by Israel
since 1967, Israel is asking President Obama to recognise its annexation
of the territory, writes Jonathan Cook. To consolidate its hold, plans
are afoot to quadruple Israeli settler numbers to 100,000.

By Jonathan Cook

Middle East Eye

15th November 2015

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took advantage of a private
meeting last week with Barack Obama - their first in 13 months - to
raise the possibility of dismembering Syria.

According to Israeli officials, Netanyahu indicated that Washington
should give its belated blessing to Israel's illegal annexation of the
Golan Heights, captured from Syria during the 1967 war.

Sources close to the talks told the Haaretznewspaper that Netanyahu
claimed Syria was no longer a functioning state, allowing for"different
thinking". Since 2011 the government of Bashar al-Assad has faced off
against rebel factions that include al-Qaeda-affiliated groups and the
Islamic State (IS).

On Wednesday an unnamed White House official confirmed that Netanyahu
had raised the matter. The official said: "I think the president didn't
think it warranted an answer. It wasn't clear how serious he [Netanyahu]
was about it."

However, it appears Netanyahu's comments to Obama are part of a
coordinated effort by Israeli officials over several months to shift
thinking in Washington.

The day before Netanyahu's meeting at the White House, Michael Oren,
Israel's former ambassador to the US, published a commentary on CNN's
website urging Obama to consider Israeli sovereignty over the Golan.

Had Israel handed back the area to Syria in earlier peace talks, he
wrote, it "would today have placed [the Lebanese militia] Hezbollah
directly above Israeli cities and villages in northern Galilee" and
Islamic State (ISIS) "would be dug in on the Sea of Galilee's eastern
shore."

'Billions of barrels' of oil

Neither Oren nor presumably Netanyahu highlighted another reason why
Israel might be anxious to gain US approval of its effective annexation
of the Golan in 1981, when it passed the Golan Heights Law extending
Israeli law and administration throughout the territory, in violation of
international law.

Last month Afek, an Israeli subsidiary of Genie Energy, a US oil
company, announced that it had found considerable reserves of oil under
the Golan. Genie's chief geologist in Israel, Yuval Bartov, said the
company believed the reservoir had the "potential of billions of
barrels". International law experts say any proceeds from such a find in
the Golan should revert to Syria, but Israel has so far indicated it
will ignore its legal obligations.

The Israeli energy and water ministry has licensed Afek to drill 10
experimental wells over three years in a 400-square kilometre area,
about a third of the Golan's total territory. Afek claims that the
discoveries it has identified in its first year could make Israel energy
independent, satisfying Israel's consumption of 100 million barrels a
year for the foreseeable future.

That would be on top of Israel's recent finds of huge quantities of
natural gas off its Mediterranean coast, offering it the chance to
become a gas exporter.

Were the US to recognise Israel's illegal annexation of the Golan, it
would likely clear the way for Israel to plunder any economically viable
reserves located there.

Netanyahu appears to have long harboured an interest in tapping the
Golan's potential for oil. In 1996, in his first term as prime minister,
he granted approval for drilling in the Golan by the Israeli National
Oil Company. International pressure meant the permit had to be withdrawn
soon afterwards.

Resources plundered

Today, 22,000 Syrian Druze live in five villages, alongside a similar
number of Jews in 30 illegal settlements.

A 2010 investigation by Haaretz revealed that Israel had carried out
systematic expulsions of some 130,000 Syrians in 1967 and destroyed 200
villages. The Druze alone were allowed to stay so as not to upset
Israel's own Druze citizens.

Nizar Ayoub, director of Marsad, a Druze human rights centre based in
the Golan, toldMiddle East Eye that Israel had long taken resources from
the Golan: "Israel has always treated the Golan as a territory to be
exploited and plundered, from its water to farming and tourism. Israel
has simply ignored its obligations under international law."

Rainwater from the Golan feeds into the Jordan River, supplying a third
of Israel's needs. The fertile volcanic soil allows Israel to cultivate
vineyards and orchards, and graze cattle. And the mountain terrain has
also made it a magnet for holidaying, including skiing on Mount Hermon.
In recent years Israel has also approved the construction of a series of
large wind farms (see photo).

Ayoub said Israel had taken advantage of the conflict in Syria to
advance oil exploration in the Golan, but such a move was rejected by
the local Druze population: "Even if Netanyahu could persuade the
Americans to agree [about recognition], it is not their decision to
make. The only people who can decide to change the sovereignty of the
Golan are the Syrian people."

Quadrupling Jewish settlers to 100,000

Officials close to Netanyahu have been promoting a change of status in
the Golan's since the early summer.

In June Naftali Bennett, leader of the pro-settler party Jewish Home and
the education minster in Netanyahu's current coalition, raised the
question of the Golan's future at the Herzliya conference, an annual
meeting of Israel's political, academic and security elites. The
conference is also attended by senior US officials.

Bennett urged the international community "to demonstrate their ethics"
by recognising Israeli sovereignty in the Golan. He added: "To this day,
no state in the world has recognised the Golan as part of Israel,
including our friend, the United States of America. It is time the world
stand by the right side - Israel's side." Israel would try to quadruple
the Golan's settler population to 100,000 using financial incentives, he
said.

A month later Zvi Hauser, Netanyahu's former cabinet secretary, wrote a
commentary in Haaretz arguing that Israel should seize its first chance
since 1967 "to conduct a constructive dialogue with the international
community over a change in Middle Eastern borders." Recognition of
Israeli sovereignty in the Heights could, he said, be presented as
serving a "global interest in stabilising the region."

Hauser added that Israel should demand the Golan as "compensation" for
Obama's recent nuclear agreement with Iran. Such a claim could be based,
he said, on a 1975 "pledge"from US President Gerald Ford recognising
Israel's "need to remain on the Golan Heights, even in peacetime".

In his CNN piece last Sunday, Oren, a widely respected figure in
Washington, asserted that, without Israeli sovereignty over Golan, Iran
and Hezbollah would become a base from which to launch armed attacks on
Israel. "For the first time in more than 40 years, the Golan could again
become a catalyst for war", he wrote.

He added that Israel had "transformed this once-barren war zone into a
hub of high-tech agriculture, world-class wineries and pristine nature
reserves." He did not mention the recent oil find.

Israel's 'solidified grip'

Before fighting took hold in Syria, polls showed between 60% and 70% of
Israelis rejected returning the Golan to Syria, even if doing so would
secure peace with Damascus. The percentages are likely to be higher now.

The White House official told Haaretz that recognition of Israel's
annexation would disrupt US policy by suggesting that Syrian opposition
forces supported by the US were "allies with people who want to give up
the Golan".

However, a recent commentary by Frederic Hof, a Syria expert in the
State Department under Hillary Clinton, hinted that US officials might
yet change their view. He said US efforts before 2011 and the outbreak
of fighting to pressure Israel to give up the Golan, as part of talks
over a peace treaty with Assad, had been proven "so wrong". Instead, the
war in Syria had "solidified Israel's grip" on the Golan.

On its website, Genie's subsidiary Afek claims that its drilling in the
occupied Golan Heights will extract "Israeli oil". The two companies
include figures who have close personal ties to Netanyahu and high-level
influence in Washington.

Genie's founder, Howard Jonas, an American Jewish millionaire, made
political contributions to Netanyahu's recent campaign for the Likud
party's primaries. Its 'strategic advisory board' includes Dick Cheney,
the US vice-president under George Bush and widely regarded as the
architect of the American invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch is also an adviser. He controls large
sections of the rightwing English-language media, including his most
influential outlet, the US TV news station Fox News. In September, Genie
added Larry Summers, a senior official under Democratic Presidents Bill
Clinton and Obama, and James Woolsey, a former CIA director who became a
neo-conservative cheerleader for the invasion of Iraq.

The chairman of Afek, Genie's Israeli subsidiary, is Effi Eitam, a
far-right former general and cabinet minister who lives in an illegal
settlement in the Golan. His far-right viewsinclude demands to expel
both Palestinians from the occupied territories and the large minority
of Palestinian citizens from Israel.

After Eitam exited the Israeli parliament in 2009, Netanyahu sent him as
a "special emissary" to US campuses as part of a "caravan for democracy".

International law violated

Hala Khoury Bisharat, an international law professor at Carmel Academic
College, near Haifa, said it would be hard to persuade the US to
recognise Israel's illegal annexation of the Golan. "International law
is clear that it is never admissable to acquire territory through war",
she told MEE. "It would be very problematic for the US to do this."

She added that Israel, as an occupier, was obliged by the 1907 Hague
regulations to"safeguard the capital" of the occupied party's natural
resources and was not entitled to exploit any oil in the Golan for its
own benefit.

The prime minister's office was unavailable to comment about Netanyahu's
discussions with Obama, or respond to accusations that the operations in
the Golan were violating international law.

Since its establishment, Israel has drilled some 530 exploratory wells,
but none has produced commercially viable quantities of oil. Israel
briefly had access to significant quantities of oil after the 1967 war,
when fields it occupied in the Sinai supplied two-thirds of domestic
needs. Israel was eventually forced to hand the wells back to Egypt.

Meanwhile, Israel has discovered large natural gas deposits in the
Mediterranean, stoking tensions with neighbouring countries, especially
Lebanon, which has claimed that Israel is drilling in areas where
maritime borders are disputed.

The Israeli courts are unlikely to place any obstacles in the way of
drilling operations in the Golan. In a ruling in late 2011, Israel's
supreme court created a new principle of"prolonged occupation" to
justify the theft of Palestinian resources, such as quarried stone, in
the West Bank. The precedent could be extended to the Golan.

The only opposition so far has come from Israeli environmental groups.
They have expressed concern that extraction of the oil, especially if
fracking is used, could pollute aquifers or trigger earthquakes in a
seismically unstable region.

Yuval Arbel, a ground water expert with EcoPeace Middle East (formerly
Friends of the Earth Middle East), said the Golan's deposits were likely
to be in the form of 'tight oil', making it difficult to extract. Israel
would probably have to set up a grid of drills every half kilometre.

He told MEE that would increase the chances of oil spillages that could
leak into the nearby Sea of Galilee, threatening Israel's main source of
drinking water.

Jonathan Cook is an award-winning British journalist based in Nazareth,
Israel, since 2001. A former Guardian reporter, he now writes for Middle
East Eye, CounterPunch and other media. In 2011 Jonathan was awarded the
Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism.

This article was originally published on Middle East Eye (MEE) and on
Jonathan Cook's website. ==

(2) Oren asks Obama to allow Israel to annex Golan Heights; no mention
of Oil, or that Israel started 1967 war


http://edition.cnn.com/2015/11/08/opinions/oren-israel-golan-heights/

How President Obama can aid Israel's security

By Michael B. Oren

Updated 1857 GMT (0257 HKT) November 8, 2015

Former Israeli ambassador to U.S. says Obama-Netanyahu meeting could
help Israel's security in Middle East

Oren: President Obama should recognize Israel's claim to the Golan Heights

Editor's Note: Michael B. Oren, formerly Israel's ambassador to the
United States and a Member of Knesset, is the author of "Ally: My
Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide" (Random House: 2015). The
opinions expressed in this commentary are his.

(CNN)—How can the United States help Israel defend itself against the
threats amplified by the nuclear deal with Iran? That is the question
that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will raise with President
Barack Obama at the White House on Monday.

Defense officials from the two countries have already discussed offers
of advanced aircraft -- F-35 jet fighters and V-22 transports -- to
Israel, as well as other military hardware. The President also might
commit to reacting forcibly to Iranian violations of the agreement and
to support Israel if it were attacked by Hezbollah.

But beyond these strategic understandings, the meeting also could
produce a historic breakthrough. America could recognize Israeli
sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

Measuring 500 square miles -- slightly larger than New York City -- the
Golan represented the northernmost crest of ancient Israel.
Nevertheless, when dividing up the Middle East after World War I, the
British ceded the area to France which, in 1945, attached it to the
newly-independent Syria.

Five years later, on the day of Israel's creation, the Syrian army
descended the Heights aiming to destroy the Jewish state. Driven back up
the Golan, the Syrians spent the next 19 years periodically bombarding
Israeli farms below. Finally, in the 1967 Six-Day War, following massive
enemy shelling, Israeli forces captured the Golan. They repulsed a major
Syrian attack in 1973 and have safeguarded the region ever since.

Still, Israel never annexed the Golan. Apart from extending its law over
the Heights in 1981, Israel refrained from incorporating the area into
its borders. The reason was the possibility of peace with Syria.

A succession of Israeli Prime Ministers, assisted by American mediators,
offered to trade the Golan for a treaty with Damascus. None of these
initiatives succeeded. Neither Hafez Al-Assad, Syria's longtime
dictator, nor his equally ruthless son Bashar, was willing to end the
state of war with Israel, even in exchange for its return to the
pre-1967 lines.

Israel could not have been more fortunate. Such a withdrawal would today
have placed Hezbollah directly above Israeli cities and villages in
Northern Galilee. ISIS terrorists, now deployed far away from the
southern Golan, would be dug in on the Sea of Galilee's eastern shore. A
large share of Israel's population, as well as its major water source,
would be constantly threatened.

Yet, even with the Golan securely in Israeli hands, the situation is
growing perilous. Emboldened by the nuclear deal, Iran has dispatched
thousands of troops to Syria, turning the 1967 lines into a militarized
front with Israel.

Senior Iranian commanders, collaborating with Hezbollah, have already
tried to launch terrorist attacks against Israeli targets on the Golan.
Israeli intelligence expects the number of Iranian troops in Syria to
expand dramatically over the coming months, just as Hezbollah --
currently armed with 150,000 rockets -- receives many millions of
dollars in sanctions relief from its sponsors in Tehran. Intimidated and
outgunned, United Nations observers in the area have essentially
disintegrated. For the first time in more than 40 years, the Golan could
again become a catalyst for war.

(3) US refuses to recognize Israel’s annexation of Golan Heights

http://www.mintpressnews.com/us-refuses-to-recognize-israels-annexation-of-syrias-golan-heights/211280/

US Refuses To Recognize Israel’s Annexation Of Syria’s Golan Heights

Reacting to Monday’s comments by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu, the White House said they weren’t sure if Netanyahu was even
serious but that the US had no intention of changing its position on the
occupation.

By Jason Ditz | Antiwar | November 14, 2015

Reacting to Monday’s comments by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu, the White House ruled out calls to formally recognize the
Israeli occupation and subsequent annexation of the Golan Heights away
from Syria, saying they weren’t sure if Netanyahu was even serious but
that the US had no intention of changing its position on the occupation.

Israel captured the Golan Heights militarily in 1967, and annexed it in
1981, though that annexation is not internationally recognized, Israel
has been reported to have talked with Syria in the past about returning
the territory in return for a peace deal, though Netanyahu suggested
Monday that the ongoing Syrian Civil War means Israel should just get to
keep the heights forever.

White House officials also warned that the move “complicates” the their
involvement in the Syrian War, putting the US-backed rebels in an
“awkward position” and opening them up to charges they are part of a
plot to abandon the recovery of Golan by Syria.

Israel’s policy has shifted in recent years to suggest they are ditching
all pretense of ever returning the Golan Heights, opening up the
territory to oil drilling by Israeli companies, a sort of long-term
investment which would be unthinkable if the territory is still
potentially to be returned to Syria.

(4) Israeli High Court dismisses Objections, approves Oil Drilling in
Syria’s Golan (2014)


http://news.antiwar.com/2014/12/23/israel-court-throws-out-objections-lets-oil-drilling-start-in-syrias-golan/

Israel Court Throws Out Objections, Lets Oil Drilling Start in Syria’s
Golan

First Major Drilling in Golan in Decades to Begin in Weeks

by Jason Ditz, December 23, 2014

The Israeli High Court has thrown out the last objections from
environmental groups and approved Afek Oil and Gas, a subsidiary of
politically well-connected Genie Israel, to begin exploratory drilling
in the Golan Heights.

Genie Israel is run by retired Israeli General Effi Eitam, who famously
declared Palestinians “creatures who came our of the depths of
darkness,” and predicted Israel would eventually have to kill them all.
The company also has a “strategic advisory board” that includes Rupert
Murdoch and other well connected international individuals, and formerly
also included Dick Cheney.

The move to drill in Golan faced its biggest obstacle within Israel from
the environmentalist movement, but a much bigger problem is that the
Golan Heights are considered, per UN Security Council Resolution 242,
Israeli-occupied territory that actually belongs to Syria.

Afek got around environmental complaints by arguing that they’re only
drilling for exploration, not production, but is expected to move toward
commercial production in a few years.

(5) Golan Heights clash over Oil could detonate World War - F. William
Engdahl

http://journal-neo.org/2015/10/26/genies-and-genocide-syria-israel-russia-and-much-oil-2/

26.10.2015 Author: F. William Engdahl

Genies and Genocide: Syria, Israel, Russia and Much Oil

The geopolitical stakes in the Middle East have just gotten higher by an
order of magnitude. Take a little-known Newark, New Jersey oil company,
the contested Golan Heights between Syria and Israel, add a reported
major oil discovery there just as Russia’s bombing campaign in Syria
goes into high gear, shake it vigorously and we have a potential
detonator for World War III.

Initially–going back more than a decade when Washington neo-conservative
think-tanks and the Bush-Cheney Administration were devising their
Greater Middle East regime-change agenda–competing natural gas pipelines
through Syria to Turkey or via Lebanon to the Mediterranean played a
definite “supporting” role in Washington’s war on Syria’s Assad. Now
oil, lots of oil, comes into the play, and Israel is claiming it’s
theirs. The only problem is that it isn’t. The oil is in the Golan
Heights which Israel illegally took from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War.

Genie in a stinky bottle

What do Dick Cheney, James Woolsey, Bill Richardson, Jacob Lord
Rothschild, Rupert Murdock, Larry Summers and Michael Steinhardt have in
common? They all are members of the Strategic Advisory Board of a
Newark, New Jersey-based oil and gas group with the name, Genie Energy.
It’s quite a collection of names.

Dick Cheney, before becoming George W. Bush’s “shadow president” in
2001, was CEO of the world’s largest oilfield services company,
Halliburton, also reported to be a CIA-linked company tied to the Bush
family cabal. James Woolsey, a neo-con former CIA Director under Bill
Clinton, today sits as the chairman of the neo-con think-tank,
Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and is a member of the pro-Likud
Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). He was a member of
the infamous Project for a New American Century (PNAC), along with
Cheney, Don Rumsfeld and a gaggle of neo-cons who later staffed the
Bush-Cheney administration. After September 11, 2001 Woolsey referred to
the Bush-Cheney War on Terror as “World War IV,” counting the Cold War
as World War III. Bill Richardson is a former US Secretary of Energy.
Rupert Murdock, owner of major US and UK media including the Wall Street
Journal, is the major financier of the neo-conservative Weekly Standard
of Bill Kristol, who founded the PNAC. Larry Summers was US Treasury
Secretary and drafted the laws that deregulated US banks from the 1933
Glass-Steagall Act, in effect opening the floodgates to the US financial
crisis of 2007-2015. Michael Steinhardt the hedge fund speculator, is a
philanthropic friend of Israel, of Marc Rich and a board member of
Woolsey’s neo-con Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. And Jacob
Lord Rothschild is a former business partner of convicted Russian oil
oligarch, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Before his arrest Khodorkovsky secretly
transferred his shares in Yukos Oil to Rothschild. Rothschild is a
part-owner of Genie Energy which in 2013 was granted exclusive oil and
gas exploration rights to a 153-square mile radius in the southern part
of the Golan Heights by the Netanyahu government. In short, it’s quite
an eye-popping board.

Golan Heights and international law

The Israeli government gave the concession to Genie in the disputed
Golan Heights in 2013 when the US-led destabilization of the Syrian
Assad regime was in full force. Conveniently, Israel also began building
fortifications at that time to seal off the illegally-occupied Golan
Heights from Syria, knowing there was little Assad or Syria could do to
stop it. In 2013, as Genie Energy began moving into Golan Heights,
Israeli military engineers overhauled the forty-five mile border fence
with Syria, replacing it with a steel barricade that includes barbed
wire, touch sensors, motion detectors, infrared cameras, and ground
radar, putting it on par with the Wall Israel has constructed in the
West Bank.

Now, as Damascus fights for its life, apparently, Genie has discovered a
huge oil field precisely there.

The Golan Heights, however, are illegally occupied by Israel. In 1981,
Israel passed the Golan Heights Law, imposing Israeli “laws,
jurisdiction and administration” to the Golan Heights. In response the
UN Security Council passed Resolution 242 which declared Israel must
withdraw from all lands occupied in the 1967 war with Syria, including
the Golan Heights.

Again in 2008 a plenary session of the UN General Assembly passed a
resolution 161–1 in favor of a motion on the Golan Heights that
reaffirmed Security Council resolution 497, which was passed in 1981
after the Israeli de facto annexation, declaring the Golan Heights Law,
“null and void and without international legal effect,” and called on
Israel to desist from “changing the physical character, demographic
composition, institutional structure and legal status of the occupied
Syrian Golan and, in particular, to desist from the establishment of
settlements…from imposing Israeli citizenship and Israeli identity cards
on the Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan and from its
repressive measures against the population of the occupied Syrian
Golan.” Israel was the only nation to vote against the resolution. As
recently as June 2007 Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert sent a secret
communique to Syrian President Bashar Assad saying that Israel would
concede the Golan Heights in exchange for a comprehensive peace
agreement and the severing of Syria’s ties with Iran and militant groups
in the region.

Genie claims huge discovery

On October 8, into the second week of Russian airstrikes against ISIS
and other so-called “moderate” terrorists at the request of the Assad
government, Yuval Bartov, chief geologist from Genie Energy’s Israeli
subsidiary, Afek Oil & Gas, told Israel’s Channel 2 TV that his company
had found a major oil reservoir on the Golan Heights: “We’ve found an
oil stratum 350 meters thick in the southern Golan Heights. On average
worldwide, strata are 20 to 30 meters thick, and this is 10 times as
large as that, so we are talking about significant quantities.”

This oil find has now made the Golan Heights a strategic “prize” that
clearly has the Netanyahu government more determined than ever to sow
chaos and disorder in Damascus and use that to de facto create an
Israeli irreversible occupation of Golan and its oil. A minister in the
Netanyahu coalition government, Naftali Bennett, Minister of Education
and Minister of Diaspora Affairs and leader of the right-wing religious
party, The Jewish Home, has made a proposal that Israel settle 100,000
new Israeli settlers across the Golan in five years. He argues that with
Syria “disintegrating” after years of civil war, it’s hard to imagine a
stable state to which the Golan Heights could be returned. Further a
growing chorus in Tel Aviv is arguing that Netanyahu demand American
recognition of Israel’s 1981 annexation of the Golan as an “appropriate
salve to Israeli security concerns in the wake of the nuclear deal with
Iran.”

Energy war has been a significant component of US, Israeli, Qatari,
Turkish, and, until recently, Saudi, strategy against Syria’s Assad
regime. Before the latest Golan Heights oil discovery, the focus on
Assad pivoted on the huge regional natural gas resources of both Qatar
and of Iran on opposite sides of the Persian Gulf, comprising the
largest known gas discovery in the world to date.

In 2009 the government of Qatar, today home to the Muslim Brotherhood
and a major funder of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, met with Bashar al-Assad
in Damascus.

Qatar proposed to Bashar that Syria join in an agreement to allow a
transit gas pipeline from Qatar’s huge North Field in the Persian Gulf
adjacent to Iran’s huge South Pars gas field. The Qatari pipeline would
have gone through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and on to Turkey to supply
European markets. Most crucially, it would bypass Russia. An Agence
France-Presse report claimed Assad’s rationale was “to protect the
interests of his Russian ally, which is Europe’s top supplier of natural
gas.” In 2010 Assad instead joined talks with Iran and Iraq for an
alternative $10 billion pipeline plan that would also potentially allow
Iran to supply gas to Europe from its South Pars field in the Iranian
waters of the Persian Gulf. The three countries signed a Memorandum of
Understanding in July 2012 – just as Syria’s civil war was spreading to
Damascus and Aleppo.

Now an apparent discovery of huge volumes of oil by a New Jersey oil
company whose board includes Iraq war architect, Dick Cheney, neo-con
ex-CIA head James Woolsey, and Jacob Lord Rothschild, business partner
of one of Vladimir Putin’s most bitter critics, Mikhail Khodorkovsky,
bring the stakes of the Russian intervention on behalf of Syria’s Assad
against ISIS, Al Qaeda and other CIA-backed “moderate” terrorists” to a
new geopolitical dimension. The US coup in Ukraine in 2014, and its
financing and training of ISIS and other “moderate” terrorist gangs in
Syria all have one prime target–Russia and her network of allies, a
network, ironically, which Washington and Israeli policies are expanding
almost by the hour.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a
degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling
author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New
Eastern Outlook”.

(6) France wants Grand Coalition against ISIS, but US still seeks to
exclude Russia & Assad


http://news.antiwar.com/2015/11/18/france-wants-grand-coalition-against-isis-but-us-still-seeks-to-exclude-russia/

France wants Grand Coalition against ISIS, but US still seeks to exclude
Russia

US Trying to Use Inclusion as Leverage in Vienna Talks

by Jason Ditz, November 18, 2015

Since Friday evening’s attacks, French officials have repeatedly
declared their desire to see a “grand coalition” of nations fighting
ISIS, with President Hollande saying it’s time to put aside “diverging
interests” and unite against ISIS in general.

This comment is pointed squarely at the current divide in the ISIS war,
with the US-led coalition fighting one anti-ISIS war, and several other
nations fighting ISIS, but being excluded by the US. Russia is the
biggest of these nations, and the US seems eager to keep it that way.

Speaking during his visit to the Philippines, President Obama insisted
Russia needed to be kept out of their coalition right now, and that the
US intends to “wait and see” if Russia gets closer to the US position on
a diplomatic settlement at the Vienna talks.

Russia has been calling for reforms leading to free elections, while the
Obama Administration demands the exclusion of President Assad and other
top figures in the existing Syrian government from any post-war
government. Officials seem to hope they can leverage Russia’s desire to
get involved in the coalition to get them to make concessions on the
reform plan.

Whether that’s going to work out remains to be seen, but Russia’s
primary goal in its involvement in Syria is to assure they retain their
naval base at Tartus, and they are unlikely to willingly allow the
entire government they’re allied to to be simply expelled in favor of
pro-US rebels in the hopes that they’ll be allowed into the bigger
coalition fighting ISIS.



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