On Sunday France announced it had bombed an oil supply center held by ISIS near Deir Ezzor in Syria.
“We intervened in Syria… yesterday evening with a strike on an oil supply center near Deir Ezzor on the border between Iraq and Syria,” French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Monday.
The Syrian Army, backed up Russian airstrikes, have made significant progress taking back the Deir Ezzor province from the Islamic State and al-Nusra.
The city of Deir Ezzor is Syria’s sixth-largest city and the country’s oil capital. Destroying oil infrastructure there will seriously cripple the Syrian economy and the government’s war against U.S. and Gulf Emirate backed mercenaries.
Maram Susli notes destroying Syria’s oil infrastructure is not an effective way to prevent ISIS from hijacking oil and selling it on the black market.
If the U.S. and France were sincerely interested in shutting down the ISIS black market oil business, they would target convoys transporting the oil.
“If the US truly intended to stop ISIS oil profits, they would bomb these oil convoys, which are easily spotted via conventional surveillance flights already allegedly taking place as part of ongoing Western operations,” Susli writes.
“The US agenda behind destroying Syria’s pipelines has very little to do with ISIS oil profits, and far more to do with destroying Syria’s oil infrastructure.”
Targeting Syria’s Civilian Infrastructure
In mid-October the U.S. targeted the Syrian electrical grid when it conducted airstrikes against two power plants under the control of ISIS in the al-Rudwaniya area to the east of Aleppo.
Following the attack on the 1,000 megawatt thermal plant, the U.S. coalition attacked civilian infrastructure in Mare’a, Tal Sha’er, and al-Bab in the Aleppo countryside.
The Syrian government and ISIS have an informal agreement “of understanding [that] pertains to the division of the electricity supply between the parties, whereby ISIS will receive 60% of the quota and the Syrian regime will receive 40%.”
“The electricity generation and distribution system is civil infrastructure. It is used and useful to everyone no matter what side of the conflict,” the blog Moon of Alabama noted on October 19.
Without the plant Aleppo city, with some 2-3 million inhabitants and refugees, as well as the surrounding areas in Aleppo governate have no electricity. The damage the U.S. bombing caused will make sure that any repair will take a long time. This will make life for people on every side of the war more unbearable and more people will leave to seek refuge in foreign countries.
Airstrikes of US-led coalition on civilian facilities in the Syrian territory lead to increasing refugee flows to the European Union, Russian General Staff Andrey Kartapolov explained after the the strike on the Aleppo electrical plant.
War Crimes Under the Geneva Conventions
Targeting civilian infrastructure is a preferred tactic used by the United States.
In Libya, NATO bombed the country’s irrigation system. The system transported water from aquifers beneath Libya’s southern desert to about 70% of the population.
The military targeting of civilian infrastructure, especially of water supplies, is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions.
During the invasion of Iraq in 1991, the U.S. military targeted the civilian electrical power generation system. The damaged power infrastructure was re-targeted during the 2003 invasion.
In addition to the electrical system in Iraq, the U.S targeted telephone and radio exchanges, relay stations, towers and transmission facilities, food processing, storage and distribution facilities and markets, railroad transportation facilities, bus depots, bridges, highway overpasses, highways, sewage treatment and disposal systems and even historical markers and ancient sites.
In 2001 Thomas J. Nagy “discovered documents of the Defense Intelligence Agency proving beyond a doubt that, contrary to the Geneva Convention, the U.S. government intentionally used sanctions against Iraq to degrade the country’s water supply after the Gulf War. The United States knew the cost that civilian Iraqis, mostly children, would pay, and it went ahead anyway.”
NATO and the U.S. replicated this pattern during the bombardment of the former Yugoslavia. During the campaign, NATO bombed hospitals, schools, daycare centers, food warehouses, civilian homes, and world cultural heritage sites, including churches and monasteries.