Tag Archives: Syria

Israel exploits Syrian chaos to plan looting of Golan oil

22 Jul

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Israeli soldiers patrol near the occupied Syrian town of Majdal al-Shams in the Golan Heights in 2011. [Oren Ziv ActiveStills]

By Paul Fallon, The Electronic Intifada, 21 July 2015

According to Geoff Rochwarger, CEO of Afek, energy independence is the new Zionism.

The Afek oil and gas exploration company has almost completed its second drilling test in the Golan Heights, a part of Syria which Israel has occupied since 1967 and annexed in violation of international law.

The test is part of a three-year programme to see if hydrocarbons in the area could lead to oil or gas for Israel.

Israel is fuel-poor and its domestic energy woes could be eased in the interim if the government progresses on deals in relation to the Tamar and Leviathan gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea.

In addition, Israel is now taking advantage of the chaos in Syria to look for precious resources to extract from the occupied Golan Heights.

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My missing family in Syria

16 Apr

yarmouk_meeYarmouk refugee camp was established in 1957, nearly a decade after the Nakba – the ‘Catastrophe’ of 1948. (MEE)

By Ramzy Baroud, ramzybaroud.net 15 April, 2015

2c817e8b26_baroud_france_resized_1-300x225My Missing Family in Syria: Naming and Shaming in Yarmouk

Members of my family in Syria’s Yarmouk went missing many months ago. We have no idea who is dead and who is alive. Unlike my other uncle and his children in Libya, who fled the NATO war and turned up alive but hiding in some desert a few months later, my uncle’s family in Syria disappeared completely as if ingested by a black hole, to a whole different dimension.

I chose the “black hole” analogy, as opposed to the one used by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon – “the deepest circle of hell” – which he recently uttered in reference to the plight of Palestinians in Yarmouk following the advances made by the notorious Islamic State (IS) militias in early April. If there is any justice in the hereafter, no Palestinian refugee – even those who failed to pray five times a day or go to church every Sunday – deserves to be in any “circle of hell”, deep or shallow. The suffering they have endured in this world since the founding of Israel atop their towns and villages in Palestine some 66 years ago is enough to redeem their collective sins, past and present.

For now, however, justice remains elusive. The refugees of Yarmouk – whose population once exceeded 250,000, dwindling throughout the Syrian civil war to 18,000 – is a microcosm of the story of a whole nation, whose perpetual pain shames us all, none excluded.

Palestinian refugees (some displaced several times) who escaped the Syrian war to Lebanon, Jordan or are displaced within Syria itself, are experiencing the cruel reality under the harsh and inhospitable terrains of war and Arab regimes. Many of those who remained in Yarmouk were torn to shreds by the barrel bombs of the Syrian army, or victimised – and now beheaded – by the malicious, violent groupings that control the camp, including the al-Nusra Front, and as of late, IS.

Those who have somehow managed to escape bodily injury are starving. The starvation in Yarmouk is also the responsibility of all parties involved, and the “inhumane conditions” under which they subsist – especially since December 2012 – is a badge of shame on the forehead of the international community in general, and the Arab League in particular

These are some of the culprits in the suffering of Yarmouk:

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Power, wealth & inequality in the Arab world

24 Mar

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Fundamental rifts: power, wealth and inequality in the Arab world

By  Dr Adam Hanieh, monthly guest write, Middle East Monitor, March 2015

adam-haniehDr Adam Hanieh is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Development Studies, SOAS, University of London

Over four years since mass uprisings ousted sclerotic regimes in Tunisia and Egypt it can seem that the initial hopes represented by these movements lie in tatters. Libya, Syria, Yemen and Iraq remain mired in bloody armed conflicts that have led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands and displaced millions more within and across borders. In the pivotal case of Egypt, military rule has returned through the violent crushing of protests, the arrests of an estimated 40,000 people and the rebuilding of the repressive structures of the Mubarak era. Elsewhere, autocratic governments look more secure in their rule today than they have for many years.

In assessing the current moment, though, we need to look beyond the headline coverage of war, displacement and sectarianism. The Arab uprisings were not simply struggles against authoritarian rule; they were ineluctably wrapped up with a decades-long stagnation in living conditions and profound inequalities in wealth and power. Without addressing these socio-economic roots of the region’s malaise, there is no way out of the current impasse.

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