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The Hypocrisy of the United States’ Occupation of Syria

Slava The Ukrainian Socialist

Dec 27, 2022

The utter hypocrisy of the United States’ occupation of Syria 

As all of the western media compete in their condemnation of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine, they have turned a blind eye to what is happening in Syria. The US military has occupied northeastern Syria since 2015, supposedly to prevent the oilfields from falling into the hands of Daesh (ISIS) terrorists. Syria’s official news agency, SANA, reported that in just one week in December 2022, 37 tanks with crude oil left Syria through the illegal Mahmoudiya border into Iraqi territories, with 66 tankers leaving the week prior. Syria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates has issued two letters to the Security Council and the Secretary General of the UN protesting the US military’s ongoing plundering of its oil. But predictably, the UN Security Council has so far ignored Syria. As the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates reported, “the latest statistics expose that the direct losses’ total value from the assaults committed by the US forces, militias, and affiliated terrorist entities on Syrian territory has amounted to 25.9 billion US dollars. 19.8 billion US dollars of looting oil, gas, and mineral resources, and 3.3 billion US dollars result[ed] from vandalizing and ransacking facilities. 2.9 billion US dollars [represents] the value of damages caused to the oil and gas installations by the so-called ‘international coalition’ bombing of these installations. 

The indirect losses exceed 86 billion US dollars, which represents the value of lost production (crude oil, natural gas, domestic gas, oil derivatives, mineral resources) as a result of lower production than planned rates in normal working conditions, and therefore the total value of the Syrian oil sector losses has recorded 111.9 billion US dollars.” This American hypocrisy is not new, as the US has been committing similar crimes for years. In 2019, when Syria’s UN Ambassador Bashar al-Ja’afari complained during a meeting of the 15-member body in New York that the United States had occupied his country’s oil fields and was looting its resources, his appeal similarly fell on deaf ears. 


How is it that the United States is still tangled up in the Syrian conflict? After all, former US president Donald Trump ordered a full and rapid withdrawal of the US ground troops from Syria back on Dec. 19, 2018, tweeting: “We have defeated the Islamic State group in Syria.” US troops were supposed to leave Syria immediately. Trump also ended the CIA’s covert program aimed at training Syrian rebels in their fight against the government of Bashar al-Assad. Ultimately, the American government’s actions spoke louder than Trump’s words. A small number of US troops remained in Syria, under the pretense of preventing an ISIS resurgence and “countering Iranian influence.” We now know the real reason that US hawks were unwilling to abandon their regime change project in Syria: occupation of the Syrian oil fields has prevented the Syrian government from rebuilding the country and plunged more of its people into poverty. According to a report by UN special rapporteur Alena Douhan, “90 percent of Syria’s population is living below the poverty line, [with] limited access to food, water, electricity, shelter, cooking,  heating fuel, transportation, and healthcare.” Sanctions have also caused serious shortages in medicines and medical equipment. “In the current dramatic and still-deteriorating humanitarian situation as 12 million Syrians grapple with food insecurity, I urge the immediate lifting of all unilateral sanctions that severely harm human rights and prevent any efforts for early recovery, rebuilding and reconstruction,” Douhan wrote. Besides sanctions and continuous state of war, an outgoing drought has compounded the misery of the Syrian population. According to UN relief chief Martin Griffiths, “northern Syria continues to face a water crisis brought on by factors such as insufficient rainfall, severe drought-like conditions, damaged water infrastructure, and low water levels in the Euphrates River.” Given this context, he said, “the current rapid spread of cholera, a waterborne disease, should therefore come as a surprise to no one.” 

The US government and its allies have condemned the state of women's rights in Iran, even voting to expel that country from the UN Women’s Rights Commission. But what about the rights of Syrian women? Why can’t women and children there have clean drinking water or life-saving medicine? Instead of Iran, why isn’t the US being jettisoned from all UN Human Rights Commissions, given its direct role in causing so much suffering in Syria? Perhaps this is because institutions such as the United Nations and NGOs like Human Rights Watch merely function as mouthpieces of the Imperialist powers. These groups are selectively blind to even the most obvious crimes of the US, focused solely on the perceived transgressions of so-called enemy states. 

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