If U.S. Takes Syrian Oil, It May Violate International Laws Against Pillage

Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images

“We’re keeping the oil — remember that,” Trump declared on Monday at a gathering of police chiefs in Chicago. “We want to keep the oil. Forty-five million dollars a month? Keep the oil. We’ve secured the oil.”

“It can help us, because we should be able to take some also,” Trump said of Syria’s oil while taking reporters’ questions at the White House. “And what I intend to do, perhaps, is make a deal with an Exxon Mobil or one of our great companies to go in there and do it properly.”

“You have to have a consensus on the legal basis of what you’re doing,” says Brett McGurk, who quit late last year as Trump’s special envoy for the coalition fighting the Islamic State. “And the only legal basis, the only legal reason we’re there, is ISIS,” McGurk told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell this week. “I know this issue fairly well — it’ll be very difficult legally to exploit those resources, so I’m not quite sure what the president has in mind, but it doesn’t seem to make a great deal of sense.”

The government of Syrian President Bashar Assad has neither invited nor authorized U.S. forces to operate in its territory, an omission that law professor Stewart finds striking. “It’s not as if natural resources are just the property of no one, that any armed group can just waltz into a country and decide that it’s going to expropriate natural resources in the area,” he says.

If that’s the case, the Trump administration could possibly be getting involved in a wider war, all in the name of protecting a sizable patch of Middle Eastern oil.

Article URL : https://www.npr.org/2019/10/30/774521472/if-u-s-takes-syrian-oil-it-may-violate-international-laws-against-pillage

%d bloggers like this: