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From John 'Cunningman' Egan

'To bomb or not to bomb. That, we are told, is the essential question. But what we are not told is the game that is being played behind closed doors. The game of pipelines for fossil fuels in which the competing teams have much to lose, or gain. Let us consider their rules, unrevealed, as a rule.

On the one hand, there is the USA, EU, Nato and the despots of the Gulf. On the other are lined up Russia, China, Iran and Syria. Each want a pipeline to be built that meets their own scheme of things. Naturally they do not want the other to operate. Hence the Islamic State is invented to screw the pitch or deliver the goods, depending where you stand.

Each team cannot possibly discuss anything so vulgar as money or profits so they resort to words like "values" and "security" to bolster their reasons for joining in a fight. Nor can there be any talk of oilfields captured by IS supplying unmet need and dark money changing hands on borders wide open, unpatrolled. No peeping, please

Neither can there be indiscreet references to funding of rebels or arms supplied to malcontents, or support for fanatics now demonised. Rather, let there be bombs dropped, for that is the way of war, so much more macho than shutting out the demons by cutting off their sources of money and guns. Meanwhile the pipelines wait for the winners in this murky fossil fuel war.'

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