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Problems with "pipeline theories".

1. As the article Louis sent from Porter clearly demonstrates, Qatar's vague pipeline idea was blocked by Saudi Arabia (most of the conspiracist left don't realise that Qatar and Saudis hate each other). A little more on this aspect:

"Qatar has *not even been able to export its gas to neighbouring Bahrain and Kuwait* owing to Saudi opposition. What are the chances it could have constructed such a pipeline across 1,500 kilometres of Saudi territory to Jordan and on to Syria? Qatar has no problem exporting its gas, in liquefied form, to Europe and the Far East, to a diversity of customers, with no dependence on risky overland pipelines. But if Doha had wanted that much to build its Syrian pipeline, it would have been easier to make the Assads an offer they could not refuse, rather than sponsoring an uncertain and ruinous uprising. A quick look at a map demolishes the notion of Syria as a key gas nexus. Syria is a dead end: any pipeline to Europe would have to go onwards via Turkey. Iran has a border with Turkey and already sends gas there; it has no need to go via Syria, nor should US officials have had to devote much concern to blocking such a pipeline."

2. That bit from above "if Doha had wanted that much to build its Syrian pipeline, it would have been easier to make the Assads an offer they could not refuse." Oh, but Qatar is a "Gulf state" and therefore an "enemy of the resistance front state led by Assad," I hear you say right? Wrong. If the Qatari-Assad fall-out was over some pipeline floated in 2009, funny how the Assad and al-Thani families were still best mates, and Qatar (like all the rest of the Gulf) came out strongly n support of Assad in 2011 (until the level of mass killing just got too much for their restive populations to stomach), from https://mkaradjis.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/the-gulf-and-islamism-in-syria-myths-and-misconceptions/:

Indeed, the first response of the three regional powers who later emerge as the key backers of the Syrian resistance – Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey – was to use Assad against the revolution.

For example, on 3 April 2011, Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani sent a letter to Assad declaring Qatar’s support for Syria amid “attempts at destabilization” (https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/nownews/qatari_emir_voices_qatars_support_for_syria). In late March, United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan likewise called Assad to reaffirm that the UAE stands by Damascus (https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/latestnews/uae_reaffirms_support_for_syria). Qatar’s close ally, Erdogan’s AKP regime in Turkey, likewise offered Damascus support, only with the mild proviso that Assad carry out some of the “reform” that he had promised.

The Saudi Arabian monarchy made similar robust declarations of support to the regime; on 28th March 2011, “Al-Assad received a call from Saudi King Abdullah, whereby the latter expressed the Kingdom’s support in what is targeting us from the conspiracy to hit its security and stability” clarifying that “the Saudi Kingdom stands by Syria’s leadership and people to put down this conspiracy” (http://syria-news.com/readnews.php?sy_seq=130662). Indeed, even as late as July, just as Qatar was finally suspending relations with Damascus, Saudi Arabia stepped in with a long-term 375 million riyal (US100 million) loan to Damascus (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MH11Ak02.html), while Kuwait threw in another 30 million Dinars (http://www.dp-news.com/pages/detail.aspx?articleid=90956); this rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, we will see, played as much a role as the later antipathy either felt towards Damascus.

Even when the Gulf Cooperation Council did finally urge an end to “bloodshed” in Syria and called for major reforms on August 6, expressing their “sorrow” about the situation, they still stressed their support for “preserving the security, stability, and unity of Syria” (http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/08/06/161072.html).

Notably, this was no different to US policy; responding to questions in Congress regarding the different US reaction to events in Libya, where NATO was then intervening, and Syria, Hillary Clinton responded: “There is a different leader in Syria now [meaning Bashar, as opposed to his father]. Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer” (http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/FTN_032711.pdf).

3. On the question of Saudi Arabia/ISIS. Discussion above clarified that Andrew was not suggesting the Saudi regime supplied ISIS, but rather some Saudi "princes". Very important to understand that, not only in Saudi, but also elsewhere in the Gulf (especially Kuwait), the private networks that have supplied Islamists in Iraq and Syria (including Nusra) have come from *oppositionist* sections of the bourgeoisie. In Saudi Arabia, many are locked up, and the when the Saudis last year executed the young Shiite opposition leader and three of his followers, they also executed *43* alleged Sunni jihadist oppositionists (I say alleged, because if we don't believe in the fairness of Saudi courts, as we shouldn't, I reject the idea that we can just say "well they were all al-Qaida terrorists anyway"). Other Gulf states have also ramped up their laws to stop funding for "terrorists" in Syria. The UAE actually drew up a list of Syrian "terrorist" organisations that included almost the entire Syrian insurgency. Only because of Kuwait's relatively liberal political atmosphere does more of the private (oppositional) funding come from there. And yet, while these anti-monarchial, oppositionist forces in the Gulf have backed Islamists in Syria, including Nusra, I doubt even many of them have backed ISIS: in fact good research has established that only 5% of ISIS funds come from anywhere outside Iraq/Syria.

-----Original Message----- From: Andrew Stewart via Marxism

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