Vermont Peace Conference 2018: Pipeline Politics - The Shocking Truth about Endless Wars in the Middle East
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Ever since the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy, the American people have been told that American soldiers have been sent to foreign soils to eradicate Islamist terrorists threatening US national security. Never (or hardly ever) has the American media provided a broader context in which the conflicts have taken place, namely, feverish competition among nations to obtain and control oil and natural gas supplies.
The transportation of these vital fuels to foreign markets—most commonly through pipelines—entails complex diplomatic negotiations over pipeline routes. Typically, pipeline politics enter the fray when one nation refuses to grant transit rights to another because of political and/or economic disputes, coupled with fears of pipeline sabotage. This is the stage when treachery can replace civility and when wars are started or regimes are overthrown.
Huge offshore oil and gas fields are now undergoing development off the Mediterranean coast of Gaza, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and the Arabian Peninsula, escalating tensions in the region over ownership of the fields and potential pipeline routes. Billions of dollars in arms sales have been allocated to repressive regimes in the Middle East to “fight ISIS,” when the reality is the armaments—and our troops—are being sent to safeguard pipeline routes.
Using maps to illustrate this point, the workshop aims to raise “pipeline consciousness” about the wars in the Middle East and then makes the links to the struggles in the US against the Dakota Access Pipeline and Tar Sands Keystone XL. The goal is to drive home the need for alternative sources of energy as a moral crusade, calling for an end to horrific human suffering, displacement, and deaths in the millions.