An excellent 5 minute video explaining* the players in the Syrian war (Plus what’s really going on there.)

Image: Mint Press News
Image: Mint Press News

War is fundamentally crony. There is death and destruction and despair for most, but for some people, companies, and governments there is money to be made too. Sometimes very big money indeed. The conflict in Syria is an example. It’s not really about religion and terrorism. (Though these are hugely important factors.)

The conflict in Syria is a particularly confusing war and this short video does a pretty good job of explaining the players. What it fails to mention however is WHY it is that Syria is so important to us and to other parties. Specifically there is no mention of the gas pipelines which some would like to have run from the Persian Gulf to Europe. Currently the EU gets its gas from Russia. The Europeans (and the US) want to cut Russia out of the equation. The Russians, understandably are not keen on this.

Also some Arab states are afraid that Iran might become the pipeline oil and gas vender of choice. As The Guardian reported in 2013:

Instead, the following year, Assad pursued negotiations for an alternative $10 billion pipeline plan with Iran, across Iraq to Syria, that would also potentially allow Iran to supply gas to Europe from its South Pars field shared with Qatar. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the project was signed in July 2012 – just as Syria’s civil war was spreading to Damascus and Aleppo – and earlier this year Iraq signed a framework agreement for construction of the gas pipelines.

The Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline plan was a “direct slap in the face” to Qatar’s plans. No wonder Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, in a failed attempt to bribe Russia to switch sides, told President Vladmir Putin that “whatever regime comes after” Assad, it will be “completely” in Saudi Arabia’s hands and will “not sign any agreement allowing any Gulf country to transport its gas across Syria to Europe and compete with Russian gas exports”, according to diplomatic sources. When Putin refused, the Prince vowed military action.

So there are lots of interested “stakeholders” and it isn’t totally clear who is on which side and even how many sides there are to this conflict.

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