Golan Heights: The Big Oil Nexus

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The American administration under President Trump have taken series of decision over past few years that bolsters Israel’s position in the middle east. From rescinding the Iran Nuclear Deal, reimposing sanctions on Iran to withdrawing from UN Human Rights Commission in favour of Israel or declaring Jerusalem as eternal capital of Israel while shifting its embassy to Jerusalem, the Trump Administration has been brother in arms with Israel and its leader Benjamin Netanyahu. On 25th March 2019, in another historic decision US declared Golan Heights, part of Syrian territory occupied by Israel since Arab Israeli war in 1976 as sovereign part of Israel. The move was met with much applause from Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu who is facing tough battle in the upcoming Israeli elections on 9th April 2019. The American help to declare Golan will be a boost to Netanyahu who has thus far been beleaguered in fraud indictments along with his wife Sara Netanyahu back home. UN, Egypt and other regional allies of US have all rejected American recognition as illegal being against International Law. Russia though officially has backed Syrian position but Kremlin will be mighty pleased with this US move as it can now leverage this to close the chapter over Crimea as part of Russia much like Golan Heights is considered to Israel by US. Interestingly enough the Russian troops are manning the Syrian side of Golan territory on the border with Israel.

Golan Heights strategically located in North Israel-Syria border are critical for Israel as it is region full of fresh water resources & source of rivers flowing into Israel in an otherwise parched and dry land. Apart of fresh water resources, Golan Heights also have huge oil reserves which upon tapping would make Israel an exporter of oil and gas from a net importer of energy now. However whats interesting is the corporate nexus & lobbies that backed this American-Israeli Synthesis. After discovery of huge oil reserves in 2015, Israeli government gave exclusive drilling rights to Afek an Israeli subsidiary of US based Genie Energy Ltd. Genie Energy was founded in 2001 in aftermath of 9/11 attacks and is backed by powerful interests like Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, Former VP & Halliburton executive Dick Cheney, Australian born media mogul Rupert Mudroch who is also very close to Trump White House. Interestingly Lord Jacob Rothschild is one of the eight members of Genie Strategic Advisory Board. Trump White House also has deep connections with Genie energy. Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s adviser to Israel and US’s special representative owns shares in Genie; Jared Kushner’s lawyer Ira Greenstien now part of Trump Administration was President of Genie energy and Former CIA director James Woosley in Clinton era, also part of Trump’s transition team is member of Genie Oil strategic advisory board. Also to note that Genie’s subsidiary Afek’s boss is very close to PM Netanyahu.

The Big Oil corporate nexus has been heavily lobbying for legitimizing Israeli claims over occupied Golan Heights to enable drilling of huge oil reserves. The Big Oil nexus and AIPAC’s backing of PM Netanyahu has further emboldened Trump Administration to move forward with audacious Israel-Palestine peace deal mooted by Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner. Kushner Peace plan talks of Jordan giving some land to Palestine while Saudi Arabia would compensate Jordan some land swap from its side. Adding to all this land swaps Saudis will be compensated by Egypt for those strategic islands in Red Sea that it has eyeing for long. The audacious plan of land swap agreement was to be backed by opening up of Desalination plants with help of Saudi aid in Gaza strip to solve water crisis & provide employment to Palestinians. The Kushner Peace Plan has found few takers outside Israel & probably Washington DC. The corporate big oil lobbying from Washington DC to Tel Aviv is further corroborated by two CIA declassified documents of 1983 & 1986 which details of scenarios of attack on Syria, dislodging Assad regime in Syria along with Iraq for opening up an Oil Pipeline in region despite the risk of destabilization & terrorism in region. Thus the timing of this on decision on Golan Heights is equally important as US Administration, Big Oil’s backing & AIPAC’s ringing endorsement of PM Netanyahu will clearly give advantage to him over his nearest rival Benny Gantz in upcoming Israeli polls making the prospect of Netanyahu’s record 6th term as Israeli PM a near possibility.

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