The Trump Administration is justifying its plan to train proxy forces in order to seize Syrian oil by saying it falls under their “Counter-ISIS Train and Equip” Fund—just a few years after the Obama Administration’s failed “Train and Equip” program to work with “moderate” rebels…
A recent inspector general report claims the plan to seize Syria’s oil is an extension of the ongoing operation targeting ISIS. In the report, it states that the US plans to increase its troops in Syria to train a 2,200-man “oilfield guard” of proxy forces. They say that an agreement was made between the Delaware-based company Delta Crescent Energy and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. And they say the US plans to continue to provide protection for SDF forces moving forward.
The US has claimed that control of Syria’s oil will cut off a valuable revenue stream that could be used to help ISIS regain power—but it will also be cutting off access to those resources from the Syrian Government.
Both Syria and Russia, which has been instrumental in the fight against ISIS, have referred to US troops presence in Syria as illegal under international law. In response to the latest plan, the Syrian Foreign Ministry released a statement, in which it said Damascus “condemns in the strongest terms the agreement signed between [SDF] and an American oil company to steal Syria’s oil under the sponsorship and support of the American administration.”
NATO ally Turkey has also condemned the plan because it views the Kurds as terrorists. And it was just last year that the Kurds made a deal with Syria to secure their protection in the midst of an ongoing border conflict.
The US is claiming this mission is part of the “Counter-ISIS Train and Equip Fund.” If that title sounds familiar, it’s because the Obama Administration had its own “Train and Equip” program that was aimed at working with what they called “moderate rebels.” As reports have noted, the program was started by the CIA in 2013 as part of an effort by the Obama Administration to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Not only was the program not successful, but a number of those “armed and trained rebels” went on to join ISIS and other radical groups.
The Kurds have long been allies of the US, but this mission sets the US up for a possible confrontation with Syria and Russia—and as of right now, it has no end date.