May 2, 2013
It was recently reported that the European Union would be lifting its oil embargo on Syria, in an effort to help fund what it calls “rebels” operating there. In the Associated Press article, “EU lifts Syria oil embargo to bolster rebels,” it states:
The European Union on Monday lifted its oil embargo on Syria to provide more economic support to the forces fighting to oust President Bashar Assad’s regime.
The decision will allow for crude exports from rebel-held territory, the import of oil and gas production technology, and investments in the Syrian oil industry, the EU said in a statement.
A recent TIME article titled, “Syria’s Opposition Hopes to Win the War by Selling Oil,” reports:
On paper, the E.U.’s idea seemed straightforward. Without an embargo, European companies can now legally begin importing barrels of oil directly from rebel groups, which have seized several oil fields in recent months, mostly around the eastern area of Deir Ezzor. That would provide the opposition with its first reliable source of income since the revolt erupted in Feb. 2011, and in theory hasten the downfall of Bashar Assad’s regime, by giving rebels the means to run skeletal local governments and consolidate their control. As part of the decision, the E.U. ministers also agreed to export technical equipment, insure the rebels’ shipments of oil and invest in the rebel oil businesses. Before the war, Syria earned about $3.6 billion a year exporting oil and gas to Europe, with its biggest customers in Germany and Italy, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The BBC in their article, “EU eases Syria oil embargo to help opposition,” would mention which fields specifically the EU was planning on exploiting, stating:
Syria’s main oilfields are in the eastern provinces of Deir al-Zour and Hassakeh, which both border Iraq.
Still, analysts warn that the plan is deeply flawed—and in fact, that the E.U.’s decision could intensify the violence in Syria, by setting up a deadly competition for control of a resource that has languished amid two years of grinding civil war.
Complicating the issue is the fact that several of the rebel-held oil fields are believed to be under the control of Jabhat al-Nusra, which has declared its allegiance to al-Qaeda.
In the New York Times article, “Islamist Rebels Create Dilemma on Syria Policy,” not only is it admitted that, “nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of,” but it specifically mentions the oil fields the EU seeks to plunder:
Elsewhere, they [al-Nusra] have seized government oil fields, put employees back to work and now profit from the crude they produce.