In short, 2014 was just more of the same. Like...
Conventions once again violated in Palestine as the
conflict seems to be increasingly linked to natural resources,
and diamonds helped the Central African Republic explode in brutal
indigenous protester José Isidro Tendetza Antún being murdered
just in time for COP20,
Asia drying up a bit more.
found out we're headed for irreversible collapse,
Witness built a terrifying graph from the reports of murdered
World Bank concluded climate change will lead to battles for food.
Part of the answer came in this fascinating report by Suzan Fraser and Yilmaz Akinci from the border between Turkey and Syria, where... hillbillies, basically... tell how they have always been smuggling. Everyone did it. For generations. So, suddenly a few more bearded men came with a bit more oil than usual. It worked for a time, but Turkish police cracked down on it. Their large scale “pipeline” was smacked into smaller, obscure “pipelines” - like the ones the Islamic terrorists have for every other country, apparently.
Probably more efficient that the Turkish police, however, is the Saudi Arabian financial muscle. To them and most of their allies, the sum of benefits of a low oil price seems to currently triumph the more obvious benefits of a high oil price. Mainly by cutting the cash flow to Iran, Syria, Islamic State, Russia, even North American non-conventional (fossil) energy producers and others. In fact, I've seen some speculate Saudi Arabia has almost won the war on Ukraine's behalf as Russia's weakening rubles soon cannot pay for any more war. Speaking of Ukraine: This country used to be self-sufficient in coal, but the territory occupied by rebels and Russians just happen to host 66 coal mines, leaving Ukraine's power plants under-supplied; and the shores off now Russian Crimea just happen to be full of gas. What a coincidence.
That was all just slightly scratching the surface of year 2014 in war for natural resources. On slightly more positive notes, Interpol published a most-wanted list of environmental criminals at large – go get 'em – and Egypt and Ethiopia seems to be agreeing on how to share the Nile.