The geopolitical stakes in the Middle East have just gotten higher by an order of magnitude. Take a little-known Newark, New Jersey oil company, the contested Golan Heights between Syria and Israel, add a reported major oil discovery there just as Russia’s bombing campaign in Syria goes into high gear, shake it vigorously and we have a potential detonator for World War III.
Initially–going back more than a decade when Washington neo-conservative think-tanks and the Bush-Cheney Administration were devising their Greater Middle East regime-change agenda–competing natural gas pipelines through Syria to Turkey or via Lebanon to the Mediterranean played a definite “supporting” role in Washington’s war on Syria’s Assad. Now oil, lots of oil, comes into the play, and Israel is claiming it’s theirs. The only problem is that it isn’t. The oil is in the Golan Heights which Israel illegally took from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War.
Genie in a stinky bottle
What do Dick Cheney, James Woolsey, Bill Richardson, Jacob Lord Rothschild, Rupert Murdock, Larry Summers and Michael Steinhardt have in common? They all are members of the Strategic Advisory Board of a Newark, New Jersey-based oil and gas group with the name, Genie Energy. It’s quite a collection of names.
Dick Cheney, before becoming George W. Bush’s “shadow president” in 2001, was CEO of the world’s largest oilfield services company, Halliburton, also reported to be a CIA-linked company tied to the Bush family cabal. James Woolsey, a neo-con former CIA Director under Bill Clinton, today sits as the chairman of the neo-con think-tank, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and is a member of the pro-Likud Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). He was a member of the infamous Project for a New American Century (PNAC), along with Cheney, Don Rumsfeld and a gaggle of neo-cons who later staffed the Bush-Cheney administration.
After September 11, 2001 Woolsey referred to the Bush-Cheney War on Terror as “World War IV,” counting the Cold War as World War III. Bill Richardson is a former US Secretary of Energy. Rupert Murdock, owner of major US and UK media including the Wall Street Journal, is the major financier of the neo-conservative Weekly Standard of Bill Kristol, who founded the PNAC. Larry Summers was US Treasury Secretary and drafted the laws that deregulated US banks from the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act, in effect opening the floodgates to the US financial crisis of 2007-2015.
Michael Steinhardt the hedge fund speculator, is a philanthropic friend of Israel, of Marc Rich and a board member of Woolsey’s neo-con Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. And Jacob Lord Rothschild is a former business partner of convicted Russian oil oligarch, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Before his arrest Khodorkovsky secretly transferred his shares in Yukos Oil to Rothschild. Rothschild is a part-owner of Genie Energy which in 2013 was granted exclusive oil and gas exploration rights to a 153-square mile radius in the southern part of the Golan Heights by the Netanyahu government. In short, it’s quite an eye-popping board.
Golan Heights and international law
The Israeli government gave the concession to Genie in the disputed Golan Heights in 2013 when the US-led destabilization of the Syrian Assad regime was in full force. Conveniently, Israel also began building fortifications at that time to seal off the illegally-occupied Golan Heights from Syria, knowing there was little Assad or Syria could do to stop it. In 2013, as Genie Energy began moving into Golan Heights, Israeli military engineers overhauled the forty-five mile border fence with Syria, replacing it with a steel barricade that includes barbed wire, touch sensors, motion detectors, infrared cameras, and ground radar, putting it on par with the Wall Israel has constructed in the West Bank.
Now, as Damascus fights for its life, apparently, Genie has discovered a huge oil field precisely there.
The Golan Heights, however, are illegally occupied by Israel. In 1981, Israel passed the Golan Heights Law, imposing Israeli “laws, jurisdiction and administration” to the Golan Heights. In response the UN Security Council passed Resolution 242 which declared Israel must withdraw from all lands occupied in the 1967 war with Syria, including the Golan Heights.