Whenever I’m tempted to relax in the thought that God is in His Heaven and all is right with the world, I remind myself of two things – the enduring torture of Julian Assange, who continues to suffer for the crime of telling the truth, and the ongoing pillaging of Syria – a country that is still paying the price for attempting to maintain independence.
Before the violence began in 2012, Syria had a largely self-sufficient economy and no foreign debt. Now it teeters on the brink of economic collapse, due almost entirely to two factors – the years of violence that were funded and maintained by foreign governments, and the ongoing regime of sanctions imposed by the US and its allies.
On top of these vile acts of aggression we must add the ongoing theft of Syria’s oil by the US. It was under the Obama administration – in November 2015 – that the US began its occupation of North-Eastern Syria (the most oil-rich area in the country). According to the Syrian Oil Ministry, the US has been stealing an average of 66,000 barrels of oil per day since then – amounting to around 80% of Syria’s overall oil production. On a geo-political level, the goal is to destroy the Syrian economy, thus advancing the US agenda in the region. For the average Syrian, the oil theft means food scarcity, as there is insufficient fuel to power farm machinery, and it means people dying from the cold during winter as they have no way of heating their homes.
In some ways the most depressing thing about the US theft of Syrian oil is that successive US administrations haven’t even bothered to come up with a reasonable excuse. It’s like the bully in the playground who steals your lunch money without pretending that he needs it. He does it because he can, and because he knows no one will try to stop him. Even so, things are changing across the Levant, and the recent reproachment between Iran and Saudia Arabia is an indication that the US is losing its relevance. They would have done well to follow the Chinese example of investing their billions in roads and infrastructure rather than on the machinery of war.