Sunday 14 October 2012
Last Update 14 October 2012 12:49 pm
WHEN I hear senior Syrian dissident leaders speak, especially the ones from the military, I feel I am in the presence of students chanting the same rhetoric of the regime that they defected from.
One major deplores the passiveness of the international community toward the Syrian revolution, saying they are allowing Syria to sink. In his opinion, it is being done to spread the chaos in order to gain control of oil production in the region.
This is usually the Syrian regime’s argument to justify its crimes, claiming that the West is behind the terrorist attack to sink Syria in chaos to control the oil producing countries.
Verbal rhetoric learned by heart, is frequently uttered without thinking, and is attached to each position and team. Are revolutionaries a game for the West to play with, or Assad’s regime, or both?
Iraq, during the rule of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party until 2003, was chanting the same rhetoric. Saddam Hussein’s media accused the opposition of being Western instruments, and the opposition accused him of implementing the schemes of the West.
Neither the West nor oil has anything to do with the chaos that Syria is in, except what allows all external teams — Arab or Iranian or Western — to support the side that concurs with them politically. On the contrary, perhaps fear for oil production is what drives some countries to want to maintain the stability of Syria post revolution, fearing that the fire will extend beyond the Syrian border. The war in Syria today is a long awaited revolt of the Syrian people against an oppressive regime. It is not a war by proxy.
Oil is a strategic commodity that all countries in the world want to protect, fearing it could fall in the hands of the enemy or become hostage to chaos. It is no secret that oil is behind a lot of wars in the region. Conflict over oil sources is to be expected, but we must understand the relationship of oil with the conflicts in the region, and put it in its proper context. The West will not accept sources of oil and its products ending up in the hands of the enemy such as Iran. Therefore, Western powers will fight Iran and demolish its plans for military and nuclear superiority, because it may later lead to Iranian control over the oil fields in the Gulf.
The West will fight with all its might, whatever the cost. Not for the love of the Gulf or for its people, but because without unhindered oil production there will be chaos in the world. However, controlling oil prices is not behind the conflict, because the market determines their rise and fall. The price of a barrel of oil is sold in the US state of Texas at a price close to that of a barrel in the Safaniya field in Saudi Arabia.
Oil states are in need of alliances with international companies, mostly Western, to access and extract oil. Iran was producing larger quantities during the reign of the Shah, its former monarch, and had a huge refining industry. Since Khomeini’s adoption of a hostile policy, his successor chose the option of upgrading Iran’s military force rather than focusing on economic development. Iran now produces and exports less petrol, but has to import petroleum products because it is incapable of refining oil to meet all its needs.
Iran unsuccessfully tried — through Chinese and Russian companies — to develop its petroleum capabilities. It is still not able to generate its OPEC production share. The disastrous situation grew after the West prevented Iran from using the dollar and the euro as currencies for its sales and purchases. A rational political system recognizes the interests of its country and it is not based on mere sloganeering. It is in its interest to sell oil for $ 100 a barrel that costs only three dollars, and draw on advanced Western technology and trade in currencies bought and sold by most countries.
After 30 years of mindless blabber and political speeches by Iran and its allies, let’s look at the results and discover the real facts. Stability of the region is in the interest of all the countries of the world, the West and the East, because oil is the main source of energy. All would pay the price of chaos. Despite this simple fact, the Middle East continues to be a turbulent region as a result of the failure of political regimes to develop. As a result, we see what is happening in Syria.
In a repressive regime it is hard to deliberate and act rationally, and the head of state thinks and acts like a mafia leader. All his creativity is focused on obtaining additional sources of income, by breeding terrorist groups, providing political security for Iran, and eliminating anyone who stands in his way.
Syria occupied Lebanon for three decades, but not — as was alleged — to confront Israel. It was mostly to achieve material gain from Lebanon itself, and strengthen the influence of Syria. For the same reason, Syria dominated half of the Palestinian organizations, as well as the armed Iraqi opposition, and used Turkish Kurdish armed groups for its agendas.
Therefore, it is not strange that the regime promotes its conspiratorial explanations for the conflict. But when senior officers and young soldiers defect, after crossing the border, we hear them repeating the same arguments they read in newspapers such as Tishreen. They sing the same rhetoric they heard along with morning songs.