By Robert Inlakesh
(Robert Inlakesh is a journalist, writer and political analyst who has lived in and reported from the occupied West Bank. He has written for publications such as Mint Press, Mondoweiss, MEMO and various other outlets. He specializes in the analysis of the Middle East, in particular the Palestine-Israel issue. He also works for Press TV as a European correspondent.)
President of the United States Donald Trump recently launched a military operation which claimed the life of Daesh terrorist leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In Trump’s address to the US public he also claimed to have defeated one hundred percent of Daesh’s Caliphate. But is the United States actively working with ex-Daesh militants to hold Syrian oil?
With the recent withdrawal of U.S. support for the Kurdish group known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), previously holding the North East of Syria, the United States has attempted to shelter its one true interest in Syria, the Dayr al-Zawr oil fields.
Donald Trump has publicly spoken on a number of occasions about locking down Syria’s oil and it looks as if he is moving towards just that. Trump even indicated on twitter that Syria’s Kurds should abandon their homes and move south towards Dayr al-Zawr province, towards the oil, revealing the lack of compassion felt towards the Kurdish people of the region.
The US is on the oil to stay
The Trump administration announced that they were initially intending to withdraw from North Eastern Syria. But now it seems that this was nothing more than Public Relations stunt, done only to serve the Trump’s re-election campaign next year.
The U.S announced an initial peremptory withdrawal of 100 troops on the 6th of October, later announcing a withdrawal of 1,000 U.S. personnel, which we then found out were being redeployed to Iraq. The troops were also put on standby, to re-enter Syria if combating Daesh was required.
But despite it looking as if Trump had stuck to his words and was withdrawing from Syria, something very different was happening. The U.S. were in fact shifting their presence towards the al-Omar oil fields in Dayr al-Zawr.
In late October the U.S. President decided to redeploy hundreds of troops to Syria, in order to lock down the oil of Syria. The Syrian oil fields of the Dayr al-Zawr province are after all considered a foreign asset under the United States Department of the Treasury.
Recently an official twitter account belonging to a United States Military Spokesman, in part confirmed the nature of the new redeployments to Dayr al-Zawr’s oil sites. The account confirmed that M2A2 Bradley fighting vehicles are now being used in Syria. This is significant because it proves a shift in the type of military equipment used.
The United States seems to be withdrawing its mobile units, which possess greater mobility and light fire power, for heavy fire power units with less mobility. With the usage of smaller mobile units, assumed to have been operated by Special Forces, it may have previously appeared that U.S. military was planning a temporary stay in the region. However, now that it is using heavy mechanized units, which require more resources to service them, it indicates that their stay may be much longer than previously assumed.
US works with former Daesh militants to hold Syrian oil
During the late stages of October 2017, as the U.S. backed SDF forces advanced towards the al-Omar oil fields in Dayr al-Zawr province, reports began to surface of Daesh defectors joining the ranks of a specific division of the SDF. That division they joined is known as the Dayr al-Zawr Military Council.
The Dayr al-Zawr Military Council was involved in the Island Storm Operation of the SDF against Daesh in Syria’s East and is even treated as a suspect group under the SDF. Vice News has even reported that their journalists were advised to stay away from those in the Dayr al-Zawr Military Council as they were not a trusted group and had shady connections.
The Dayr al-Zawr Military Council in addition to being an untrusted group by the SDF, is also the only group attached to the SDF, which has filmed its members committing war crimes such as gunning down captives in cold blood.
This group is now one of the groups trusted by the United States, to help them guard their oil from potential enemies who may seek to take it away, this includes the Syrian government’s forces who are the only ones with a legally justifiable claim to the resources.
The question now remaining is which allies – or potentially opponents – of the United States will be looking to purchase this oil if not the Syrian government itself?