After President Trump suggested on Sunday that he would like to make a deal with Exxon Mobil or “one of our great companies” to go into occupied Syria and take the oil, one of the few former top defense officials to explicitly condemn the plan which clearly smacks of naked US imperialism was retired General Barry McCaffrey.
Referencing Trump's comments, an outraged McCaffrey posed the question on Twitter, "WHAT ARE WE BECOMING... PIRATES?"
He further stressed that the oil "belongs to Syria" and that ultimately "we lack Congressional authority to stay" in the country at all.
The former US Army four star and MSNBC regular was one the few mainstream pundits this week to critique Washington's Syria policy by questioning the entirety of America's presence there in the first place, essentially calling it 'illegal'.
Most establishment commentators have thus far ignored the imperialist aggression aspect of what appears a big oil grab on yet another US-occupied piece of the Middle East, and opted to argue the Pentagon should be "doing more" for the Syrian Kurds —meaning more of the same endless US occupation.
The United States Military Securing Syria's Oil. https://t.co/7pl3J6Qn2w— Joshua Landis (@joshua_landis) October 29, 2019
On Monday Defense Secretary Mark Esper spelled out that a deployment of some few hundred US troops will deny Syrian government access to oilfields in the northeast, instead ensuring they stay in Kurdish-led SDF hands.
The immediate justification given by the Pentagon chief was the usual 'defeat ISIS' mantra (despite, ironically, their leader Baghdadi being taken out in Saturday's US raid into Idlib).
"We want to make sure that SDF does have access to the resources in order to guard the [IS] prisons, in order to arm their own troops, in order to assist us with the 'defeat ISIS' mission," Esper said.
One international legal expert, Anthony Cordesman, told The Guardian of the Pentagon plan that, “In international law, you can’t take civilian goods or seize them. That would amount to a war crime.”
Of course, it's not as if Washington ever stopped to think twice about such abstract concepts as 'international law' — especially when in comes to military action and adventurism in the Middle East.