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Claude Salhani

Claude Salhani

Claude Salhani is the senior editor with Trend News Agency and is a journalist, author and political analyst based in Baku, specializing in the Middle…

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Why Syria is Important to Iran?

Why Syria is Important to Iran?

Remember Bill Clinton’s catchy slogan “it’s all about the economy, stupid?"  Well when it comes to the Middle East, it’s all about the oil.  The wars, the disputes, the bickering, it all boils down to one thing: oil.

To better understand the geopolitics of oil let’s take a good look at a map of the Middle East. Notice Iran’s position? Iran is a major oil producer and the country lies on the eastern edge of the region. Iran has always been worried by its Arab neighbors, and vice-versa.

Throughout history the two sides have often been at odds. For now Iran controls the situation, (sort of) in Iraq, but that has not always been the case, and nor will it forever be the case. Right across the water is Saudi Arabia, the other powerhouse in the region, and Iran’s nemesis. The first are Sunni (Wahabbi) and the second are Shiites, which has contributed to the schism.

Related article: Syrian Conflict Moves Closer to Iraq

If Iran wants to guarantee an uninterrupted flow of its product to the West, it currently needs to ship its oil via super tankers down the Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz, and then on to whatever port the ships are heading for. There are two major disadvantages with the way this setup operates.

First and foremost, this places Iran’s oil under the potential tutelage of the United States, who in case of conflict, can easily close the strategic Straits, thus placing an embargo on Iran’s oil and thus affecting Iran’s economy, (it is indeed, as some have been speculating, all about the economy, stupid!).

And second, it means that Iran is already at a disadvantage when it comes to facing off the US because of the precariousness of getting its oil to market in case of conflict.

Enter Syria into the game. What makes Syria so important to the game being played out in the Middle East today? As they say in real estate, location, location, location.  Look at that map again and look at Syria. It sits on the crossroads of the Levant and the Gulf, the Mediterranean and the Near East. Location, location, location.

Related article: Sanctions Have Only Steeled Iran against US, and Given Power to China

If the rumor mill is at least partially correct, and it often is, then, it is safe to assume that at least part of the civil war in Syria has to do with oil, or more precisely, with pipeline routes, some that will be laid, others that will never see the day. If Iraq was attractive to the USA because of its oil and gas reserves, Syria is attractive due to  the location where the projected oil pipelines were to transit. And ergo the root of the crisis.

Some of the fiercest fighting was in and around the city of Homs.  It’s just coincidence that in 2011, a promising gas field was discovered in Homs.  Syrian Oil Minister Sufian Allawi told the state-run SANA news agency that the first wells “were in the Homs governorate and the flow rate is 400,000 cubic meters per day.”

By. Claude Salhani
 
Claude Salhani is senior editor of the English language service of Trend News Agency in Baku, Azerbaijan. He tweets at @claudesalhani.com




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  • oscar on November 05 2013 said:
    you really very off in your points,,Syria does not have oil,it is not and never been a promising destination port to export Iranian's oil or gas to Europe,it is all about religion not oil,some of the major Shiites sacred shrines(Sayida Zeinab) are in Syria,Hezbollah(a Shiite sect) can be accessed and supported through Syria,and the goverment of Syria is a Shiite,Saudi's government is a Wahhabi Sunny,they intend to install puppet sunny regimes in Iraq and Syria and ultimately to destroy all Shiite shrines in both countries,the shiite minority population inside Saudi is big threat to the regime,that's how they want to control the forces of Shiites in the region to save their regime.
  • teevee on November 06 2013 said:
    Claude Salhani, oh dear Claude. the question and the real question, no the intelligent question is why is Syria Important for the demented evil Kingdom? you know it I know it so does everyone else. no more propaganda please please please.
  • Change Iran Now on November 07 2013 said:
    For Iran, the Assad regime represents the linchpin to their regional hegemonic ambitions and as such, preserving the regime is central to safeguarding Tehran's axis of influence, which encompasses Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. Direct Iranian involvement in Syria, while a given, further aggravates the already volatile situation in the Middle East. The question is: when will the Western powers led by the U.S., the Arab states, Turkey, and Israel take the necessary and credible steps to force Tehran to stop meddling in Syria's internal affairs and prevent it from playing a direct role in an effort to quell the Syrian uprising?

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