Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Syria Seen as Energy Link Between Europe and Asia

Syria could be at the centre of an energy pipeline network that would link Europe to Asia, said a June 21 op-ed article in the pro-government newspaper, Al-Watan.

Ziad Haidar wrote that the Middle East could benefit from an economic alliance between Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Iran to transport energy resources across the region, which is rich in oil and natural gas.

The columnist said that the idea of creating gas and oil pipelines as well as water and electricity grids in the region came up less than two years ago during a visit of Syrian officials to Turkey.

He noted that the project would be particularly beneficial since the region could transport its energy to European and Asian countries via the shores of the Caspian Sea, the Mediterranean and the Gulf.

Syria could be the bridge between Iraq and Arab Gulf states on one side and between Europe and Asia on the other, he argued.

Two obstacles blocked, however, the implementation of such a project back in 2006, namely American hegemony over Iraq and cool relations between Tehran and Ankara, Haidar said.

The author also said that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad discussed with his Armenian counterpart the creation of a railway that would link the Caspian to the Red Sea when they met in Armenia last week.

He added that Assad was expected during a forthcoming visit to Azerbaijan to revive talks about a joint economic project, which, he said, required the creation of a new modern infrastructure and collaboration among all countries in the region.