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View Diary: Syria: Conspiracy Theories and Disaster Hyperbolism (245 comments)

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  •  I don't understand why bringing energy politics (6+ / 0-)

    into the discussion is automatically dismissed as "conspiracy theory."

    Is it really so implausible that these interests might play a key role in a Middle East conflict that includes Syria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Iran...along with Russia?

    There's a difference between unhinged conspiracy mongering of the type the diarist discusses, and real-world analysis of agendas and motives underlying conflicts like these. It would be quite naive to take the publicly stated motives of governments at face value, and assume there is no other agenda involved.

    •  exactly (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ukit, AoT, Tweedledee5, gulfgal98, mickT, JVolvo

      thoughtful articles written by experts discuss this exact topic.
      http://www.theguardian.com/...

      its ridiculous to dismiss it as CT.  I mean do these people who toss around the CT label so easily really think so shallow as to believe in such rubbish as " they hate us because of our freedom" nonsense.

      Such people are not nearly as intelligent as they believe themselves to be.

    •  The issue is that people have constructed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MrBigDaddy, Tweedledee5

      CT around energy politics and so when anyone says "pipeline" some folks hear "the government is secretly planning this war so they can build the pipeline and control it, and that's the only reason." Ignoring of course that there are numerous reasons a country is pushed into war.

      If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

      by AoT on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 10:11:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  i find it (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        onionjim, ukit, AoT, mickT, JVolvo

        embarrassing that we have a history full of wars and skirmishes over resources, but now we have some foolish people who think its suddenly is above humanity to fight over dwindling resources.

      •  Right, by definition there is never going to be a (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, gulfgal98, JVolvo

        single motive simply because there is no single entity behind these conflicts.

        I find it kind of amazing though that people seem to buy the notion that "humanitarian concerns" can drive a country's leadership to war, but that realpolitik and control over oil and pipelines never would. The people running the government and formulating policy certainly don't believe that, and they would probably laugh someone out of the room for proposing it.

        Which is a more plausible rationale, concern over the deaths of a few hundred people, or geopolitics and control of the world's energy resources? You could even interpret control over resources as the more "humanitarian" endeavor, since it potentially affects lives of millions.

        Of course, the end result may also benefit no one except for a small group of self-interested people, but it's hard to determine that when debate over the topic is off-limits.

    •  CT now basically means being against the (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, caul, Blue Wind

      narrative of the status quo.  Anything that deviates a tad from the narrative of the establishment is quickly branded CT, and that's that; the conversation ends.

      •  It does seem to be a way to shut down (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ray Pensador, AoT, gulfgal98, JVolvo

        conversation. Although deviating "a tad" is certainly allowed in a more open society like ours. But I think you're right that it serves as a way of signaling the appropriate parameters of the debate.

        Of course, many conspiracy theories are just flat out wrong. But almost by definition, the American establishment view can't fully accurate either. In order for it to be fully accurate, you would have to believe the following:

        -The political/media elite have perfect information about the world.
        -They have no existing ideology or bias
        -Those in power are always honest. They never have a hidden agenda.
        -Current methods of reporting allow for fair and accurate dissemination of the facts.
        -There is only one universal truth. There is no room for alternate interpretations and understandings.

        Etc..

    •  I'm not dismissing energy politics. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poco

      They often play a considerable role.

      But a lot of people seem to want to make virtually every single foreign event about some pipeline and that is just downright ludicrous.

      There are all kinds of factors at play.

      And in this region, where there is a kind of regional sectarian conflict that resembles the former Protestant - Catholic wars, thinking that it is all about some pipeline that may or may not even be necessary is seriously uninformed.

      The Bush Admin was, btw, seriously uninformed when it thought it could just swoop into Iraq and oil companies could then just gobble up everything after regime change.  It sure didn't work out that way because one of the major factors that they ignored was the Sunni-Shia divide.

      "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

      by Lawrence on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:23:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree that people over simplify it (0+ / 0-)

        I'm not claiming complete knowledge of all the complexities involved, which would probably take considerable time to research and fully understand. But it seems clear that there's much more to this than just a sectarian/religious war. The sectarian conflict on the ground is one dimension, the one the media talks about. But when you look at who's backing and funding the various factions, they obviously have more strategic interests, the kind that people like Zbigniew Brzezinski like to write about.

        So on a different level there is a geopolitical struggle between major powers, which is interlinked with both the sectarian conflict and control of resources.

        The pipeline referred to above is just one of many planned pipelines to exploit the growing market for natural gas. It will run from the Iranian controlled South Pars field, which is the largest known reserve of natural gas in the world, through Iraq and then Syria, where it will be shipped through a port controlled by Russia. So you have an entirely Shiite controlled pipeline route from the world's largest reserves which could potentially greatly empower Iran and Syria. At the same time, Syria apparently has recently discovered its own substantial reserves of natural gas.

        The interesting thing is that the South Pars field is actually half controlled by Qatar, which is Sunni and also happens to be the location of U.S. Central Command in the region. Qatar, which has its own plans to export natural gas to the European market, would obviously not like to see the competing Iranian pipeline through Syria go into effect.

        Qatar has also been backing and funding the Arab Spring uprisings, allying itself with the Muslim Brotherhood. As one analyst puts it:

        A Muslim Brotherhood regime in Jordan and also in Syria, backed by Qatar, would change the entire geopolitics of the world gas market suddenly and decisively in Qatar’s favor and to the disadvantage of Russia, Syria, Iran and Iraq. That would also be a staggering negative blow to China.
        So you can start to understand why the U.S. and its Sunni allies might be interested in the outcome in Syria. And Qatar along with Saudi Arabia has been a major force in arming the rebels, with the covert support of the U.S. Qatar alone has reportedly poured billions in spending into trying to overthrow Assad, but more recently Saudi Arabia seems to have taken the lead.

        Conversely, Iran and Russia have a great deal to lose if the Assad government is defeated. Russia currently supplies much of the European market, and these new sources of natural gas are a threat to their economy. If Assad survives, then Russia will, the thinking goes, be able to play a major role in developing and exploiting the Syrian resources.

        And then adding another twist on all this, Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia reportedly offered to make a deal with Russia on energy issues if they would stop funding and supporting Assad. According to the report, Bandar (who is a close ally of the Bush family) was "purporting to speak with the full backing of the US." So this is pretty blatant evidence that there is a strong energy politics dimension to the conflict, but I think if you consider the issues above it's hard to see how it couldn't be.

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