That American involvement in the Syrian Civil War is ‘actually all about the oil’ has been a reoccurring conspiracy theory throughout the nine-year conflict.

A look at the facts shows how largely baseless the theory actually is. Syria is no ‘black gold’ El-Dorado. Its reserves and production are puny: key pre-2011 operators Total and Shell had struggled to offset output decline. Reserves look especially meagre when compared to those of the key external protagonists...