The plan to partition Iraq came into existence before the US invaded the country. Its implementation started with “no-fly zones” established in 1991 to the north of Tikrit and south of Nasiriyah. The Iraqi Air Force aircraft were warned to keep out of the zone or be shot down in case of violation. The talks held in Ankara and Washington on creation of “no-fly zones” in Syria pursue the same goal – they are part of the plan to divide the country.
The territory of Syria is a natural transit route for transporting oil and gas from Iraq (northern Kurdistan), the Arabian Peninsula and the Persian Gulf. The course of events in the region will directly influence the geography of hydrocarbons flow.
The Syrian government-sponsored National Dialogue Conference held in Moscow on August 27 emphasized that Islamic State militants and the armed formations of Syrian “secular” opposition had already seized sections of the country’s transit routes. As far back as the early 1970s, Hafez Assad, the father of the current president, nationalized the pipelines going through the Syrian territory.But Saudi Arabia is still the main owner of Middle East oil and gas transit routes (except the sections going through Syria).
So-called independent administrations are being established to control the sections of pipelines going through Syrian territory. Actually they are controlled by the states that sponsor war in Syria, Ammar Morhezh, the National Dialogue Conference expert on external trade and transport policy, told me in conversation. According to him, such actions are motivated by strategic importance of Syrian pipeline and sea ports used for export of hydrocarbons from Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula to Turkey and Europe. He believes that Trans-Syrian transit pipelines have always been targets for outside forces.
It has been reported that the Islamic State uses the territory of Turkey to transport the oil extracted in Syria, northern and north-western parts of Iraq to Ukraine and some other countries. The members of US-formed “anti-terrorist” coalition do nothing to prevent such actions. The world oil market is becoming accustomed to deal with another supplier.
The conference participants said the same plans to partition Syria were hatched by Western powers as far back as mid-1940s, the second half of the 1950s, late 1960s and later. In the middle of the 1950s – early 1960s Turkey tried to occupy the adjacent northern part of Syria with two pipelines stretching from Northern Iraq to the Turkish ports of Ceyhan and Yumurtalik and Syrian ports of Baniyas and Latakia. The same goal was set during the Israeli-Arab war in the June of 1967 and during the Syria-Iraq stand-off in the late 1960s-early 1970s.
For many years the West’s policy has been based on the territorial partitioning principal to provide safe oil and gas transit routes. A while ago Sudan was partitioned according to this principle. The energy resources rich South Sudan became an independent state. In the 1920s – till the mid-1950s the Suez Canal was separated from Egypt to be governed by the UK and France. The Syria-Iraq scenario repeats the story in many ways.
Since this spring, US officials and military have been making frequent statements to reconcile public with the fact that wars in the Middle East will be long-lasting. CIA Director John Brennan was the first to say so. In May he announced that the battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) will be “a long fight” that requires both a military and political solution. “I don’t see this being resolved anytime soon,” Brennan said in an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “… I think there’s going to be unfortunately a lot of bloodshed between now and then.”
He was followed by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno who said in an interview to CBS, “It’s a 3 to 5 to 7- 10 year problem; this is not going to be fixed overnight.”
Masoud Barzani, President of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq, has spoken more confidently about the inevitable partition of Iraq.
The statement of Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, made on September 10 drew a line. Being a military man, he was straightforward enough to say, “I can see a time in the future where Syria is fractured into two or three parts.”The US General also spoke out against the Baghdad-based government. Stewart said he is “wrestling with the idea that the Kurds will come back to a central government of Iraq,” suggesting he believed it was unlikely.
General Stewart sounded vague enough. He did not make it precise what “two or three” parts Syria should be divided into, according to his vision. Anyway, it’s not a big thing for an attentive reader to have a look at the map of oil fields and pipeline routes in the adjacent areas of northern Iraq and eastern Syria to see the borders of new “transit” states.