Syria and the Real Red Line

LEANING RIGHT - Recently the President drew a red line in the sand while addressing the Syria debacle and he dared anybody to cross it which they did immediately. When Vladimir Putin and China get through with the red line it will be yellow. 


Syria borders Turkey, Iraq, Jordan,  Lebanon and is up the street from Israel and a stone’s throw from Iran. It is at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. It is strategically close to Egypt and the Suez Canal. Any chaos in Syria will have real negative repercussions on transit and passage through the Strait of Hormuz. This whole area of the world is a tinderbox. 

There has been recent violence in Egypt, Algeria, Syria, and Yemen. It is difficult to determine which set of violence and problems are worse. Egypt’s multilayered problems span political, economic, and demographic and defy any short term solution. There are more than 80 million Egyptians close to or below the poverty line and under the age of 25. Any hopes of some alternative to Mubarak have been snuffed out by the mass.    

The Syrian reality under Assad is even worse and Damascus resembles a war zone. More than 100,000 people have been killed and slaughtered with chemical weapons that are now spread throughout 50 different sites in the country. It takes little imagination to conceive that Syria’s 2 ½ years of terror is getting worse and spreading beyond its borders. 

Yet the theory of unintended consequences suggests that sticking Uncle Sam’s nose deeper into the conflict, even at arm’s length in the form of cruise missiles, could prove to be the catalyst for a chain of events that sets the Middle East on fire. 

Why didn’t we do anything about Benghazi and why are we involved in this Syrian mess? 

Understanding of our present involvement in all this turmoil dates all the way back to just a few weeks after 9/11 when General Wesley Clark, retired NATO Secretary General, revealed plans to “attack and destroy the governments of 7 countries in five years.” Starting with Iraq and moving on to Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran. In a later interview, Clark argued that this strategy is fundamentally about control of the region’s vast oil and gas resources.  

An encyclopedia can easily be prepared to cover the mess in the Middle East and it would span hundreds, maybe thousands, of years but General Clark hit upon something that catches our eye. Remember he said that “this strategy is fundamentally about control of the region’s vast oil and gas resources.” 

It’s about oil and this is becoming more and more apparent. All we have to do in the states is develop our own oil and gas reserves and then let the Middle East go its own way. We have more oil and gas reserves in the United States than the rest of the world combined. 

This is also becoming more and more apparent to Saudi Arabia and they are concerned. It is potentially becoming a concern and problem for the Saudi Arabian kingdom, where one of the billionaire heirs, Prince Alwaleed bin Talai, declared that the country’s economy is at risk from the disruptive potential of fracking that is helping the U.S. become more energy independent through shale oil. 

In an open letter to his country’s oil minister Ali a Naimi and other government heads, Prince Alwaleed said the demand for oil from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member states is “in continuous state of decline” He added that the world’s biggest crude oil exporter should implement “swift measures” to diversify its economy. 

It is imperative that we begin exploiting the development of our resources immediately. It is worth repeating that the U.S. Geological Service issued a report on a really big find – the Balken Oil Fields. It is vast and stretches from Montana into Canada. There is enough oil for 2,000 years and more. 

James Bartis, lead researcher with the study said we’ve got more oil in this very compact area than the entire Middle-East – more than 2 trillion barrels untapped. That’s more than all the proven oil reserves in the world today, reports the Denver Post. 

In summary we have more oil inside our borders than all other proven reserves on earth combined. 

Official estimates are:


● 8 times more than Saudi Arabi


● 18 times more than Iraq


● 21 times more than Kuwait


● 22 times more than Iran


● 500 times more than Yemen


None of these estimates factor in the Keystone Pipeline or the trillions of barrels of offshore oil. 

Developing our own resources makes a lot more sense than blustering around drawing lines in the sand like school kids.


(Kay Martin is an author and a CityWatch contributor. His new book, Along for the Ride, is now available. He can be reached at kaymartin@hotmail.com)









Vol 11 Issue 75

Pub: Sept 17, 2013