Civilians are the victims of US air strikes on Syria
Wednesday 1st October 2014
By bombing oil refineries the US is hitting vital infrastructure, writes RAINER RUPP
The US air war on Syria is illegal under international law. Because of an absence of tangible Isis military installations or big columns of marching soldiers, US attacks have focused on the many mobile oil refineries dotted around the country.
These can refine up to 60,000 litres of oil per day. Around a dozen have already been destroyed. According to the Pentagon the aim is to cut off Isis’s mobility potential.
But Isis learned rapidly to better hide its “mobile petrol stations.”
That’s why in recent days US aerial forces have pulverised three larger, but fixed oil refineries in northern Syria close to the Turkish border.
In its propaganda war against Isis, the US government spokespeople have laid great emphasis on the destruction of refineries because they are, as they argue, a vital means of financing the insurgency.
In reality they are small industrial installations and often represent the only means of employment for local civilians caught in the mayhem of war and economic collapse. They represent a a significant factor for the civilian economy and infrastructure in north-eastern Syria.
At the same time the US broadcaster CBS News on Sunday, quoting Syrian sources, reported that in the north and east of the country petrol and diesel for ordinary citizens has become scarce in the last few days and the price has doubled.
The action of US forces in the north-east has followed the usual strategy: because Isis targets are difficult to identify, bombs are simply aimed at anything that looks like a possible target irrespective of the impact on the civilian population, including infrastructure that is of no economic value to Isis.
Here the US is following the same strategy it has used in previous wars — if you can’t hit the real targets, then the best thing to do is to destroy the whole region. That means that those already living in poverty and misery and traumatised by war are subjected to even more of the same.
The question has to be asked, how this region will be able to recover if Isis is ever displaced by other rebel groups?
At the moment Isis appears to be well able to cope, using large smuggled consignments from Turkey under the eyes of the Turkish army.
Smugglers (and possibly the Turkish army itself) are making big money not only through the booming oil supply trade but also by selling hundreds of thousands of rustled cattle, goats and sheep taken from Iraq and northern Syria.
In the meantime US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel and the Pentagon top brass are talking about imposing a no-fly zone once more over north Syria. That is aimed at stopping the legitimate Syrian army from making its own attacks on Isis or other rebel groups.
That is alongside the declared Washington plan of training and arming around 15,000 so-called moderate anti-Assad rebels who would then replace Isis as the occupying force in the north-east.
Since the onset of US air strikes, the Syrian army has concentrated its operations in the north-west on the Jordanian border, probably in order to avoid the risk of a direct confrontation with US forces.
However, Damascus will not simply look away if the US does indeed manage to set up a new puppet rebel group in the north-east.
In the meantime the Kurds of Northern Syria (Rojava) have been refused assistance even though they are on the front-line of resisting Isis attacks. It suits Turkey to see this revolutionary Kurdish enclave destroyed.
According to General Dempsey, the Pentagon is discussing a Turkish plan to set up a “buffer zone” for refugees in northern Syria. President Erdogan plans to station Turkish troops there without asking Damascus.
This would not only be an invasion of a sovereign foreign territory but an attempt to snuff out Kurdish autonomy.
The truth, according to the Kurds of Rojava, is that Turkey has supported Isis, allowing easy passage of weapons and treatment in Turkey for wounded Isis militants.
Meanwhile the Obama administration is continuing to develop plans for a no-fly zone, showing that the US warmongers have in no way given up on their long-term aim of regime change in Damascus.