I think the Syrian war is coming to an end. It will be ending with ISIS kicked out of significant parts (all?) of Syria and the country partitioned. I think the Saudis are serious about ending the war in Syria. As are most of the parties involved.

This guy has a notion of what the map might look like. This is one of the things he has to say about the war.

Competing natural gas pipelines that cross Syria will be vital. In 2009, Qatar approached Syria about routing its planned 1,500 mile natural gas pipeline to Europe via Syria’s Aleppo province. Qatar wanted a pipeline to Europe as its gas transport modes were limited to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) tanker, mostly to Asia with limited spot shipments to Europe, or the Dolphin pipeline to the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Syria refused Qatar’s offer and, in 2011, Syria, Iran, and Iraq agreed to build a pipeline to connect Iran’s South Pars gas field to Europe. The pipeline would run from Assalouyeh, Iran to Europe via Iran, Syria, and Lebanon, with Syria as the center of assembly and production.

The projects are dead, but the obituaries haven’t been published. The physical risk is “at 11” so no lender will touch them, even if a long term purchase contract could be conjured up. The political risk is almost as bad, as pipeline transits would have to be negotiated with sub-national groups and maybe a surviving Syrian government with little remaining institutional capacity. With an abundance of gas discoveries in the region, there are other ways for a natural gas company CEO to get a headache than getting involved in Syria.

But the projects aren’t useless; they have political utility. Their sponsors – Iran and Qatar – can manipulate the fighting and keep the politicians’ and warlords’ dreams of transit fees alive by saying “when the time is right”.

Except what if the deals are not dead? What if Trump sealed a deal in his visit to the region and now all that is left is jockeying for position?

Here is a map of the region.

Middle East Map

Now imagine where the various pipes would have to run to get the gas out of the area. Here is a map of some of the projected pipelines.

Syria Pipeline

Ziad Fadel has a view of current events.

Well, it ain’t Iran’s truly honest elections which swayed the Amir of Qatar, Tameem bin Hamad `Aali Thaani, to switch loyalties to Iran. And, it wasn’t anything to do with the largest American military base in the region at Al-‘Udayd. In fact, the switch to Iran while hosting the U.S. would seem an unlikely coupling. But, not if you are a mini-state on the verge of self-destruction through a disadvantaged economic position.

You see, folks, once the natural gas pipeline is completed from Iran, across Iraq, to Syria’s coast, Qatari gas will be so expensive that the country will float on its cash reserves for a couple of years and then, implode. No more Qatar.

Hmmmm. The Iranians thought. What if we let the Qataris in on the deal? What if we share the natural gas pipeline? What if we can drive a wedge between Qatar and the rest of the Arabian trash on the Gulf? Wouldn’t that be British of us?

That of course assumes there will be a pipeline or pipelines. And I think there will be. So what is driving the governments to come to an agreement? The coming of the Israeli- Europe gas pipeline in 2025.

Israel Gas Pipeline

I said over six weeks ago that Donald Trump (I didn’t mention him by name) had kicked azz in the region and told the parties involved “Why don’t you guys stop fighting and focus on making what money you can instead of trying to run the table? You can’t run the table. The Israelis are coming.”

And already we are seeing the results.

What is also interesting is that I have been reading articles and comments ever since I published the article on the Israeli pipeline and I have not seen one mention of that pipeline. It is a very big piece of the puzzle unknown to almost everyone.

Update: 8 August 2017 1910z

Turkey is discussing with Israel a gas pipeline from Israel to Turkey.