Syria: Turning the Valves

In December, the 550-mile oil pipeline stretching from Kirkuk, Iraq, across 305 miles of Syria to the Mediterranean ports of Baniyas and Tripoli went as dry as the arid land through which it snakes. The reason: in a dispute with Western-owned, London-based Iraq Petroleum Co.* over transit and terminal fees, socialist Syria squelched the flow.

Last week a settlement was reached, and Syria turned the valves to start the 950,000 bbl. a day of crude oil gurgling once again toward the coast. That night Premier Youssef Zayyen, 36, went on radio and TV to declare "a triumph of the struggling...

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