In 1981 when Israel officially annexed Syria’s Golan Heights after occupying it following the Six Day War, the United States under President Ronald Reagan voted unanimously with the UN Security Council to condemn the Israeli theft of around 1,800 square kilometers.
On December 15 1981, The New York Times reported:
The Reagan Administration said the annexation of the Golan Heights was inconsistent with the Camp David accords. A White House spokesman said the United States had been given no prior warning of the move.
Since that time, the situation has changed dramatically in Israel’s favor.
Last November, the US voted with Israel against a UN resolution calling for an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan. The resolution was passed by a 181-2 margin with only the US and Israel voting against. The US had abstained on previous resolutions calling for Israel to leave the Golan Heights.
The record shows and the late IDF boss Moshe Dayan admitted Israel had engineered numerous provocations in a demilitarized zone on the Golan border of Syria prior to the war.
This led to retaliatory strikes on Israeli kibbutzim and moshavim near the border which in turn prompted a response by Israel. In addition to its strategic significance, the Golan Heights has a bounty of fresh water. During the invasion and occupation of southern Lebanon, the Israelis planned to steal water from the Litani River and divert it to Israel.
The Golan figures into the plan for a Greater Israel envisioned by David Ben-Gurion and other leading Zionists. According to Ben-Gurion, the frontiers of a future Israel would reach
to the north, the Litani river, to the northeast, the Wadi ‘Owja, twenty miles south of Damascus; the southern border will be mobile and pushed into Sinai at least up to Wadi al-‘Arish; and to the east, the Syrian Desert, including the furthest edge of Transjordan. (Nur Masalha, Expulsion of the Palestinians).
There is, however, a more practical and less ideological reason for annexing the Golan Heights—oil.
In early 2013, Israel granted the American corporation Genie Oil and Gas a permit to explore for oil and gas on a 153-square mile radius in the southern part of the Golan Heights. Genie Energy is advised by Dick Cheney and its shareholders include Jacob Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch.
Bestselling author and strategic risk consultant F. William Engdahl writes in Golan Heights, Israel, Oil and Trump:
As I noted in a piece published on NEO [New Eastern Outlook] in 2015, Genie Energy is no “penny stock” run-of-the-mill oil company. Its board of Advisors includes Dick Cheney. It includes former CIA head and chairman of the above-mentioned Foundation for Defense of Democracies, James Woolsey. It includes Jacob Lord Rothschild of the London banking dynasty and a former business partner of convicted Russian oil oligarch, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Before his arrest Khodorkovsky secretly transferred his shares in Yukos Oil to Rothschild.
In 2015 it was announced a large oil deposit was discovered in the Golan. It is estimated the reserve contains billions of barrels, enough to satisfy Israel’s energy needs for decades. That same year drilling began north of Nahal El Al near Moshav Natur, a former kibbutz on the southern Golan Heights.
Earlier this month several Senate Republicans, led by failed presidential candidate Ted Cruz and the notorious neocon Tom Cotton, introduced resolutions calling for the US to officially recognize Israel’s annexation of the Golan, although the presence of vast oil reserves is not mentioned, not by Congress or a stenographic corporate propaganda media. There is a strong consensus on both sides of the aisle. Democrat House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer supports recognizing Israel’s “right” to keep the Golan and its reserve of oil.
On March 7, World Israeli News reported Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad warned Kristin Lund, head of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization, that “Syria will attack Israel if it does not leave the Golan Heights.”
According to World Israeli News,
[M]ultiple Israeli political leaders have responded to Syria’s historic claim to the Israeli-occupied Golan and willingness to go to war over it. While speaking on a visit to the Golan Heights, Blue and White party politicians Gabi Ashkenazi, Yair Lapid, Benny Gantz [who may replace Bibi Netanyahu] and Moshe Ya’alon vowed, ‘It is ours and it will stay ours’—certainly a dominant sentiment that cuts across Israeli party lines.
Resolutions introduced by staunchly pro-Israel advocates in the US Senate follow a pattern. Venezuela, with the largest reserves of oil in the world, and Iran, with oil reserves coming in third behind Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, are now suffering under US-imposed economic sanctions.
The Trump administration argues Venezuela is a brutal socialist dictatorship and Iran is secretly building nuclear weapons and testing missiles that will be used against Israel.
All of this is window dressing for the real objective: neoliberal control of significant oil reserves and other strategic resources. Iran and Syria understand this and are determined to protect their national sovereignty and natural resources from the violent, resource-gobbling machinations of the United States and its apartheid client in the Middle East.