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Plundering, killing among numerous crimes U.S. commits in Middle East
Last Updated: 2022-08-16 14:12 | Xinhua
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A fleet of 89 oil tankers transported illegally drilled petroleum from Syria to U.S. military bases in Iraq on Saturday, in a latest move by the U.S. side to steal resources from the war-torn country, according to reports of the Syrian state news agency SANA.
It came two days after the United States sent a convoy of 144 tankers in the same way to steal petroleum from Syria. Rampant oil plundering is just one of the numerous crimes committed by the United States in the Middle East. To secure its political and economic hegemony, the world most developed country has frequently launched conflicts, wantonly inflicted unilateral sanctions in this region, causing severe humanitarian disasters for people in the Middle East.
On Aug. 8, the Syrian Oil Ministry said in a statement that the average daily output of Syrian oil in the first half of 2022 is 80,300 barrels, while the U.S. occupying forces and their "mercenaries" are stealing an average of 66,000 barrels a day, accounting for over 83 percent of Syria's oil output.
After its direct military interventions in Syria in 2014, the United States has deployed troops to Syria's oil-rich areas, such as the northeastern province of Hasakah and the eastern province of Deir al-Zour.
According to the ministry, the prolonged crisis in Syria has cost its oil sector about 105 billion U.S. dollars in direct and indirect losses.
Syria's Oil Minister Bassam Tohme once said that the United States and its allies are like pirates who covet the petroleum wealth of his country.
The plundering of oil and gas resources in Syria is one of the "ugliest images of the U.S. violations" of human rights, said Muhammad al-Omari, a political expert from Syria.
Apart from oil, the U.S.-led military coalition also smuggled and burned Syrian wheat many times. In May 2020, the U.S. military used Apache gunships to drop incendiary bombs at al Shaddadi in southern al-Hasakah governorate, northeastern Syria, which burned local wheat crops into ashes, killing 14 Syrian civilians and causing nearly 50 million dollars worth of damage.
Once a food-exporting country, Syria now faces an acute food shortage. According to the World Food Programme, around 12.4 million people, or nearly 60 percent of Syria's population, are confronted with food insecurity.
U.S. military interventions have caused an increasing number of casualties and refugees in Syria. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Syria had a population of over 22 million in 2011, while years of wars and conflicts had left over 250,000 people dead and half of the population displaced.
According to records available, between 2016 and 2019, 3,833 civilians in Syria were directly killed in bombings by the U.S.-led coalition and half of them were women and children. The U.S. side usually chooses to cover up such crimes.
In a 2019 airstrike near the town of Baghouz in Syria's eastern Deir al-Zour province, a total of 80 people were killed, 64 of whom were believed to be civilians including women and children, in one of the largest civilian casualty incidents in the U.S. war against the Islamic State (IS).
However, the killing of civilians in the attack was first exposed by The New York Times in November last year, prompting an internal probe by the Pentagon, which concluded that most of the killed were "IS fighters" so no U.S. troops involved should be even disciplined.
In defense of the conclusion, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said: "Yes, we killed some innocent civilians, women and children ... It was in the midst of combat, in the fog of war."
The cold-blooded dismissal of any wrongdoing has once again attested to the U.S. hypocrisy, if not leniency, toward heinous war crimes committed by U.S. troops in other countries, said Syrian experts.
"There has been bloody and criminal shelling that has led to the demise of hundreds or even thousands of civilians as a result of air strikes. Of course, the Americans call these casualties collateral damage," said Osama Danura, a Syrian political expert.
Such "collateral damage" does not only occur in Syria, but also in other countries in the Middle East.
In Iraq, around 209,000 civilians were killed between 2003 and 2021 because of the U.S. launched war and related violent conflicts, and some 9.2 million Iraqis became refugees or were forced to leave their motherland.
Apart from military interventions, the United States has also been inflicting economic sanctions on Middle East countries. In 2019, it toughened sanctions on Syria with the so-called Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act. Starting from 1979, the United States has been inflicting long-term unilateral sanctions on countries including Iran. The so-called D'Amato Act launched in 1996, bans foreign companies in investing in the energy sector of Iran and Libya.
The sanctions severely affected the economies of those countries, hindered their reconstruction process, and added to the miseries of their peoples.
Wherever the United States goes, especially when it meddles with local conflicts, it usually brings total destruction to the local culture, economy, agriculture and industry, said Shahir al-Obaidi, a political researcher in University of Anbar in Iraq.
Adel al-Ghurairi, a lecturer at Baghdad University, Iraq, said as many historians have pointed out, the United States has always been trying to create crisis and split in other countries, stir up ethnic conflicts, and grab benefits through such deeds.
The United States invaded Iraq under the pretext of protecting "human rights" and "democracy," al-Ghurairi said, adding that the true purpose of the United States is nothing but grabbing wealth and petroleum resources from Iraq and consolidating its hegemony in the Middle East.
Over the decades the U.S. wanton interference in Middle East affairs under the pretext of so-called democracy and the launching of wars and sanctions has led to severe humanitarian crisis, leaving huge numbers of civilian casualties.
Salah Abdel Ati, a Gaza-based expert on human rights, in a recent interview with Xinhua, cautioned the people of all Middle Eastern countries to recognize the hypocrisy and deceit of the so-called "American-style democracy" and "American-style human rights," which "will only bring more instability and uncertainty to the region."
What happened to the Palestinian people is "a stark portrayal" of U.S. human rights abuses in the region, Abdel Ati said.

(Editor:Fu Bo)

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Plundering, killing among numerous crimes U.S. commits in Middle East
Source:Xinhua | 2022-08-16 14:12
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