United States Army Continues Stealing Syrian Oil A Few Weeks After Earthquake

Per a report by The Cradle, the United States army restarted its oil smuggling operations in northeast Syria a few weeks following a 7.7 magnitude earthquake that devastated the country. 

Eyewitness reports noted that on February 27, 2023 in the countryside of Al-Yarubiyah in Hasakah governorate US troops transported at least 34 tankers containing stolen Syrian oil through the illegal Al-Mahmoudiya border crossing to bases in Iraq.

The oil was reportedly stolen from Syria’s northeast Jazira region, the country’s principal energy and grain-producing hub.

The US still has roughly 900 troops stationed in Syria, which are generally divided between the Al-Tanf base and the war-torn country’s northeastern region.

US troops have cooperated with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to initially combat ISIS, but once the militant group was defeated the pretext for a US presence in large parts of Syria has largely subsided. Nevertheless, the US still keeps troops in the region. 

In 2019, former US President Donald Trump was candid about the US’s intentions in Syria: “We’re keeping [Syria’s] oil. We have the oil. The oil is secure. We left troops behind only for the oil.”

In 2019, the current US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for West Asia, Dana Stroul, revealed during a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) that “one-third of Syrian territory was owned by the US military, with its local partner the SDF.”

Stroul added that the “economic powerhouse of Syria, so where the hydrocarbons are … as well as the agricultural powerhouse.”

Per another report by The Cradle, dozens of tankers conduct illegal crossings between Iraq and Syria on a weekly basis in convoys that US warplanes or helicopters help escort.

Shepherds in the region have asserted that the Syrian oil is taken to the Al-Harir military post in Erbil.  Erbil is the capital of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR), a region that has built notoriety for functioning as a “hub” for western and Israeli intelligence agencies.

Since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed in a statement released in August 2022 that the US’s theft of oil and gas has totaled roughly $107 billion. This is petty imperialism at its worst. 

The US needs to reassess its foreign policy and start recognizing that certain regions of the world don’t hold any strategic interest for it. Its presence in Syria is largely the product of its fanatic commitment to spreading democracy abroad and slavish devotion to following Israel’s security interests, which views Syria as a potential threat due to its close relationship with Iran.  Instead, the US needs to focus on securing its border and making the Western Hemisphere a hub of peace and prosperity — the two main geopolitical priorities of a sane US government. 


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