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Why is Shell still present and operating in Syria?

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

By John Donovan

EXTRACT FROM EMAIL WE RECEIVED ON 14 August 2011

In light of US demands on the international community that the EU and others break their ties with Syria, you may wish to investigate why Shell is still present and operating as usual in Syria. Unlike most foreign investors and operators that pulled out of Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and other countries at the first signs of government repression, Shell and its expatriate staff have remained in Syria to this day.

Why?

And, strangely, why has the international media not picked up on this news. There are no other international companies of note still in Syria.

ENDS

What is stated in the email is true, except that there has been one article published: Shell accused of supporting Syrian regime

Basically, Shell is demonstrating once again that it is willing to deal with the devil incarnate, whether in the guise of Hitler, the corrupt Nigerian dictator, General Sani Abachato, “Mad Dog” Gaddafi, the Iranian Mad Mullahs, Saddam Hussein, or the current Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, killing peaceful protestors on a daily basis.

Shell Executive Director Malcolm Brinded and friend.

The plain truth is that despite claims of ethical trading, Shell is willing to do business with any despot regime, irrespective of moral considerations.

It typically does so on an underhand basis, trying to keep a low profile, for example disguising oil shipments from Iran or in 2000, shipping Iraqi oil in violation of an international embargo.

It is therefore unsurprising that Syria can no longer be found on the Global locator on shell.com although Shell is indeed still present in Syria, as this screenshot taken on 16 August 2011 from the Shell Syria website confirms.


We have provided some screenshot extracts below from the “Greetings from Syria” campaign against Shell.

LINK TO WEBSITE

Extracts from an “email to Peter Voser” campaign being conducted on an associated website:

The Syrian government is waging war against its citizens. Shell is a major investor in Syria. It is a key associate of the state oil company which controls the internal market.

Shell believes that companies should play an active role in supporting human rights and that it needs a “licence to operate” from society. But it has no such license now in Syria and it is doing business with an elite that commits gross and systematic human rights violations, including torture, arbitrary killing, and collective punishment.

Please, join us in calling upon Shell to publicly condemn the human rights violations and to suspend all activities in Syria until the violent repression of protest has ceased and the rule of law prevails. Help Shell to defend human rights and send this e-mail to Shell’s CEO Peter Voser.

Syrian army tanks are shelling civilians. An estimated 1400 Syrians have already paid with their lives while exercising the fundamental right to express their opinions. Many thousands have been wounded, arrested or have disappeared. Nonetheless the protests continue. The opposition says unanimously: No dialogue with tanks; the violence against civilians must cease immediately. The business community cannot pretend to be neutral and must also act. Please sign the message to Shell’s CEO Peter Voser and spread the word on Facebook and Twitter!

THE MESSAGE

Dear Mr Voser,

The Syrian government is waging war against its own citizens. Europe has sanctioned the Syrian regime because of human rights abuses and brutal violence against civilians. No one who cares about human rights should ignore the massive torture and arbitrary killings taking place. Shell no longer has a broad social support basis in Syria.

I am asking Shell to publicly condemn all human rights violations and to suspend its activities in Syria until all violence against demonstrators has ended and the right to life and freedom and human dignity has been guaranteed.

Yours sincerely,

LINK TO THE WEBSITE

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