The recently elected Secretary General of the 22 Nations Arab League, Nabil Al Arabi, visited Syria on Wednesday for discussions about “the troubles” in Syria. The visit follows new E.U. sanctions against Syria. The public positioning in the diplomatic war between NATO and Syria continues. Will the E.U.´s hunger for Syrian Oil help quench the flames of war? If so, for how long. by Dr. Christof Lehmann
The recently elected, new Secretary General of the 22 Nations Arab League, Nabil Al Arabi, from Egypt, visited Bashar Al Assad on Wednesday to add to the diplomatic pressure of the NATO Alliance against Syria. While the diplomatic rawl, the media war, and the low intensity conflict in form of infiltration of NATO armed, financed, and trained terrorists, continues relentlessly, Damaskus may very well have put out fire with gasoline in an attempt to prevent a war with uncalculable consequences.
While Brittish Foreign Secretary William Hague is maintaining the narrative of massacres on Syrians by the “regime”, and western media continue enforcing the message with fabricated videoevidence, Hague declares that the onset of sanctions with respect to oil could be delayed for several months.
Taking the present, unstable oil supply for Europe into account, it is extremely unlikely that sanctions will include oil, before European Oilfirms have completed their current supply contracts with Syria. Besides this, Oil Giants like Total are unlikely to be included in the sanctions. Oil contracts are normally honored by six months payments, so E.U. money could very well be flowing into Syria until the next year, and Syrian Oil to a hungry EU.
Whom do the sanctions benefit or harm ? Sanctions only seldom have a direct impact on a governement, or the rich of a country. Sanctions tend to have the greatest impact on the average, working family, who depend on sustainable food prices, volatile jobs, and who are most vulnerable to economic changes. Indirectly, or over a longer period, sanctions could have a negative impact on government and elite as a function of a stressed, unsatisfied, and empoverished populations. How ever, given the very prevalent anti NATO sentiment and the very prevalent support of Bashar al Assad and the Baath Party, it is unlikely that this strategy will have a strategically significant negative impact on the stability of the Syrian Government. On the contrary, it is most likely that Syrians will rally behind Assad in defiance against NATO. Oil Giants like Total are, as we see, not likely to suffer much from the sanctions either. On the contrary. A perceived scarcety of oil will increase it´s market value and profits.
China and Russia, which are allied to Syria, Iran, and Pakistan, in alliances that are partly based on politics, partly on security concerns, and partly on convenience and economy, have already declared that they are more than willing to buy any Syrian oil which could enter the market due to sanctions.
Oil supply from the newly co-opted Libya to the E.U. and USA, will probably not become stabilized and up to capacity any time before well into 2012. And that would be an optimistic estimate, based on the unlikely scenario that Ghadafi loyalists will be decisively defeated any time soon. The reality on the ground in Libya is, that there is considerable infighting between various groups inside TNC, which most likely will develop into a complex and protracted civil war.
Has Bashar al Assad succeeded in putting out fire with gasoline? If so, he should be an obvious candidate for a Nobel Peace Laureate.
Dr. Christof Lehmann