Pepe Escobar explains the origin of the conflict in Syria from a competition between Qatar and Iran about who could build a pipeline for European markets, sourced from the largest gasfield in the world, Pars, partitioned between Qatar and Iran. Syria had preference for a pipeline Iran-Iraq-Syria-Mediterranean, so Iran could sell gas from Iran, where Qatar insisted on a pipeline Qatar-Syria-Turkey, so Qatar could sell gas from Qatar. Obviously, Turkey and Iran’s arch-enemy Washington backed Qatar. If Syria had its way, the EU could be provided with gas for 45% from Russia & Iran, which meant tight European integration into Eurasia, which was unacceptable for the strategists in Washington. So the plan was to overthrow Assad and install a moderate Muslim Brotherhood sort of regime, which would have enabled the Qatar-Turkey ‘Sunny’ pipeline. As things stand now however, neither of both pipelines are going to be build any time soon.
Escobar is much less convincing when he suggests that the Ukrainian fracking potential was the determining factor in the conflict. He even suggests that ethnic cleansing is the undeclared goal, so fracking can commence unhindered. It is unlikely that Europe would support regime change in Ukraine to get fracking started and at the same time jeopardize the far greater volumes of fossil fuel from Russia than Ukraine can ever hope to offer. Realistically, the regime change was prepared years in advance, long before the fracking craze began in the US. In truth it was all about weakening Russia by stealing an ancient satellite from Moscow and mostly initiated by Washington. The EU empire builders were indeed also eyeing Ukraine and were willing to exploit the Maidan demonstrations for a rapprochement Brussels-Kiev, if it could be achieved ‘on the cheap’, without antagonizing Russia too much. But as things stand now, particularly Germany has second thoughts and would like to dump the Ukrainian project altogether.