Oil and Gas Limits Underlie Syria’s Conflict

Syria is, of course a hot topic, I was going to blog after a very interesting article in the Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2013/aug/30/syria-chemical-attack-war-intervention-oil-gas-energy-pipelines
There are plenty of opinions concerning the causes of unrest and war in Syria- all with the exception of some Zionist conspiracy have an element of truth. But simply: too many people, diminishing resources, religious diversity/conflict and fear make for a frightening mix.

Our Finite World

In my view, oil and gas resource limits are major contributors to the conflict in Syria. This is happening in several ways:

1. Syria is an oil exporter that is in increasingly perilous financial condition because of depleting oil resources.  When oil production is increasing, it can help an oil exporter in two ways:  (a) part of the of the oil supply can be used internally, to grow more food and to support increased industry, and (b) exports of oil can be used to provide revenue for governmental programs such as food subsidies, education, and building highways.  Syria’s population grew from 8.8 million in 1980 to 22.8 million in 2012, at least in part because of the wealth available from oil extraction.

Now Syria’s oil production is dropping. The drop between 1996 and 2010 reflects primarily the effect of depletion. The especially steep drop in the last two years reflects…

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