• 3 minutes Shale Oil Fiasco
  • 7 minutes "Leaked" request by some Democrats that they were asking Nancy to coordinate censure instead of impeachment.
  • 12 minutes Trump's China Strategy: Death By a Thousand Paper Cuts
  • 16 minutes Global Debt Worries. How Will This End?
  • 22 mins DUMB IT DOWN-IMPEACHMENT
  • 2 hours Everything you think you know about economics is WRONG!
  • 2 hours POTUS Trump signs the HK Bill
  • 26 mins Greta named Time Magazine "Person of the Year"
  • 2 hours americavchina.com
  • 3 hours Forget The Hype, Aramco Shares May be Valued At Zero Next Year
  • 23 hours WTO is effectively neutered. Trump *already* won the trade war against China and WTO is helpless to intervene
  • 22 hours Democrats through impeachment process helped Trump go out of China deal conundrum. Now Trump can safely postpone deal till after November 2020 elections
  • 4 hours Winter Storms Hitting Continental US
  • 3 hours Aramco Raises $25.6B in World's Biggest IPO
  • 13 hours Can Renewable Natural Gas Compete With Diesel?
Alt Text

Iran's President Vows Revenge For Oil Tanker Attack

Though details of Friday’s tanker…

Alt Text

Why OPEC Should Worry About Russia’s Latest Oilfield

Rosneft has begun delivering crude…

ZeroHedge

ZeroHedge

The leading economics blog online covering financial issues, geopolitics and trading.

More Info

Premium Content

U.S. Willing To Shoot Syrian Officials To “Protect The Oil”

Pentagon officials asserted Thursday U.S. military authority over Syrian oil fields because U.S. forces are acting under the goal of "protecting Americans from terrorist activity" and would be within their rights to shoot a representative of the Syrian government who attempted to retake control over that country's national resource.

The comments came from Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman and Navy Rear Admiral William D. Byrne Jr. during a press briefing in which the two men were asked repeatedly about the legal basis the U.S. is claiming to control Syrian oil fields.

Syrian Oil

(Click to enlaarage) 

Syrian soldiers are seen deploying in an oil-rich area in the countryside of Qamishli, northeastern Hasakah province, in early November. Image source:  Xinhua/via Getty Images

The briefing came less than two weeks after Defense Secretary Mark Esper said, "That's our mission, to secure the oil fields" in the Deir ez-Zor area of eastern Syria. President Donald Trump's comments before and after that remark —"We're going to be protecting [the oil], and we'll be deciding what we're going to do with it in the future," and "The oil... can help us, because we should be able to take some"— were seized on by critics who claimed Trump was suggesting violating international law by plundering another country's resources and openly saying the U.S. was pursuing war for oil.

Hoffman, in his comments Thursday, gave a different message—that "the revenue from this is not going to the U.S. This is going to the SDF," referring to the Kurdish-led and U.S.-allied Syrian Democratic Forces, who are battling ISIS. Byrne claimed that the U.S. has been waging the oil field control mission alongside SDF and that the goal was to prevent ISIS from obtaining the oil revenue.

But, as one reporter pointed out, ISIS fighters "have no armor. They have no aircraft."

"Do they have the capability to actually seize the oil fields?" the reporter asked. "And isn't this really about Russia and Syria seizing those oil fields?"

Hoffman replied that the goal was "to prevent a resurgence" of ISIS which would be facilitated if the terrorist group had access to the oil revenue. Related: The 10 Highest Paying Jobs In Oil & Gas

When the Pentagon officials were pressed on whether "U.S. troops have the... authorization to shoot if a representative of the Syrian government comes to the oil fields and says, 'I am here to take property of these oil fields,'" Byrne said, "our commanders always retain the right and the obligation of self-defense when faced with a hostile act or demonstrated hostile intent."

The officials were reminded by a reporter that "the government of Syria is still, based on international law... [the] recognized legitimate government." Hoffman said, "Everyone in the region knows where American forces are. We're very clear with anyone in the region in working to deconflict where our forces are. If anyone — we work to ensure that... no one approaches or has — shows hostile intent to our forces, and if they do, our commanders maintain the right of self-defense."

Hoffman later said that the oil field mission couldn't be separated from the fight to defeat ISIS. Operations in "Syria are done under the commander-in-chief's authorities to — with regards to protecting Americans from terrorist activity."

Pressed again by a reporter about the "legal basis for... the United States military to take and control the natural resources inside the boundaries of another country," Hoffman responded, "the legal basis for this comes under the commander-in-chief's authority for us to be conducting counter-terrorism efforts against ISIS. And I — I get your point when you're trying to decouple the ISIS issue from the Syria issue, but it is not a decoupled issue."

Later Hoffman was asked by a reporter if "President Trump [has] legal authority to take over these oil fields or is the United States stealing the oil?"

Syrian Oil

(Click to enlarge)

Image via AFP/DW

Hoffman repeated his stance that the operations were a part of the effort to defeat terrorists and stopping "ISIS from obtaining the oil fields is an effort to prevent them from obtaining revenue so that they can fund their terrorist operations globally." Related: The One Metric That Matters For Electric Cars

The Pentagon official also appeared to push back against the notion that the mission to control the oil fields is new. "Just to be clear, we've been in this area with the same mission of preventing ISIS from getting those oil fields for the last four years. This is not a new mission. Everybody seems to be — believe that that has changed. That is not —that is not the case."

U.S. forces may also stay with that effort for years to come, Hoffman suggested.

"We're committed to [the defeat of ISIS], and we're committed to staying in the region," he said. "We're committed to, in this particular case, having troops in Syria in a way that helps us continue the D-ISIS mission as long as we believe it's necessary."

By Zerohedge.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:




Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage



Leave a comment
  • Mamdouh Salameh on November 11 2019 said:
    To what level of depravity would the Trump administration sink when Pentagon officials assert that American troops illegally occupying Syrian oilfields would be within their rights to shoot a representative of the Syrian government who attempted to retake control over his country's national oil resources. The administration is behaving like a thief threatening to shoot the legal owner from claiming his property.

    The Trump administration’s mission in Syria is to steal Syria’s oil, deprive the legitimate government of Syria of its own oil and continue to stir trouble to prevent an end to the civil war there.

    However, Syria with support from its close and honourable ally Russia will get its oil sooner than President Trump thinks. It will be Syria’s war of liberation against an ugly invader.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London
  • Lee James on November 11 2019 said:
    It's amazing to me that we can't just say, "we're protecting a key ally in the region for protecting world oil supply and for going after Isis." That would be the Kurds.

    What's with our President, anyway?? Does the U.S. have any allies now? Good Buddy Putin has really walked into a regional power windfall, and Iran is the main beneficiary.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News
Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play