Syrian Ambassador to China Documents Theft of Syrian Oil under Protection of Occupying U.S. Military
March 5, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—The United States, its allies, and its mercenaries are stealing Syria’s oil in the northeastern part of the country, under the guard of 900 illegally stationed U.S. armed forces. In a Sept. 14, 2022 interview with Global Times, Syrian Ambassador to China Mohammed Hasanein Khaddam revealed what is involved in the robbery. In stinging language, Khaddam told Global Times:
“The U.S. stealing of Syrian national treasure is a long-time crime. In fact, the U.S. occupation forces on Syrian territories have continued what ISIS was doing—stealing and destroying oil fields’ and pipelines’ machinery. The U.S. occupation forces learned all that from ISIS, and followed the same ISIS deeds, no difference whatsoever, to steal the Syrian oil in tanks on weekly, and sometimes daily basis, and smuggle it outside the country.
“What matters for the Syrian people is they are deprived of their natural wealth.... The crime is stealing, and the thief is ‘the leader of the free world’ or the worst terrorist group. They share the same vision and policies and commit the same crimes. Please notice that the U.S. is the richest country in the world, stealing from a third world country, and imposing illegal unilateral measures to suffocate the economy and people of this country, and ‘starve and freeze the people to death’ as one U.S. politician described U.S. policies in Syria.”
According to the Syrian Oil Ministry and Khaddam, the U.S. and its allies are stealing an average of 66,000 barrels/day (24 million barrels/year), four-fifths of Syria’s current oil production of 80,000 barrels/day. The bulk of the oil production is located in that portion of the northeastern governorate of Deir Ezzor, east of the Euphrates River, which is under control of the U.S.-backed Kurdish militia, Syrian Democratic Front (SDF). The United States has 500 stationed of its 900 forces in Syria in the Deir Ezzor oil fields from which the oil is being stolen. (There are also crucial wheat fields there, which the U.S. is likewise stealing from Syrian mouths.)
Ambassador Khaddam made clear the enormous losses suffered by the Syrian people whose legal government could use the oil revenues for the country’s development. He states:
“There are direct losses of $24.2 billion until the end of the first half of 2022. Among them, $18.2 billion result from extraction, smuggling and illegal trade in Syrian oil, gas and mineral resources under the auspices, protection and support of the U.S. forces illegally present in Syria. $3.2 billion result from sabotage and theft of facilities for the extraction and transportation of Syrian oil, gas and mineral resources by armed terrorist groups, and $2.8 billion result from bombing and aggression carried out by the forces of the so-called illegal ‘international coalition’ on the Syrian oil and gas facilities.”
Khaddam further details the additional indirect losses:
“The indirect losses totaled $82.9 billion which represents the value of lost Syrian production of crude oil, natural gas, LNG, various oil derivatives, and mineral wealth. The decline in production of planned rates within the framework of normal working conditions, came as a result of the crimes of sabotage, destruction, theft and illegal trade....”
The combined direct and indirect losses total $107.1 billion. The indirect losses may include a substantial portion of Syria’s production from before the Anglo-American 2011 regime-change war, that along with their Islamic State and al-Nusra assets sought to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad. It is not widely known that before 2011, Syria produced 385,000 barrels/day, nearly five times today’s production. Much of Syria’s 2011 production capacity was bombed or shut down. Prior to 2011, Syria ran an oil production surplus, and exported oil and natural gas.
But the effect of the war, the Caesar sanctions (with a follow-on specifically targetting the Syrian oil industry), and the outright theft of oil today, is devastating. Ambassador Khaddam reported:
“The U.S. aim of stealing Syrian oil is to cut Syria from its own oil. While we used to export electricity to Jordan and Lebanon, now we don’t have the oil to generate electricity. We were sufficient in gas. Now gas is a treasure for Syrian families.... In winter nights, the temperature is always minus in many parts of Syria. It’s really cold. We don’t have the heating oil, and we don’t have the electricity to use for heating and cooking.”
The 900 U.S. troops that have been illegally occupying Syria for eight years now, must be removed. The Caesar sanctions must be stopped. Syria must be allowed to return to producing growth and providing for its people’s future.