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President Cites Oil as a 'Core Interest' in the Middle East

“The United States of America is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure these core interests in the region."

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly on September 24, 2013 in New York City. Over 120 prime ministers, presidents and monarchs are gathering this week for the annual meeting at the temporary General Assembly Hall at the U.N. headquarters while the General Assembly Building is closed for renovations. Credit: Getty Images

President Barack Obama told the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday that oil is a key reason for seeking to maintain stability in the Middle East.

President Barack Obama speaks at the United Nations General Assembly, Sept. 24, 2013 in New York City. More than 120 prime ministers, presidents and monarchs are gathering this week for the annual meeting at the temporary General Assembly Hall at the U.N. headquarters while the General Assembly Building is closed for renovations. (Getty Images)

"So let me take this opportunity to outline what has been U.S. policy towards the Middle East and North Africa, and what will be my policy during the remainder of my presidency," Obama said after discussing the Syria issue.

He continued:

The United States of America is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure our core interests in the region.

We will confront external aggression against our allies and partners, as we did in the Gulf War.

We will ensure the free flow of energy from the region to the world.  Although America is steadily reducing our own dependence on imported oil, the world still depends on the region’s energy supply, and a severe disruption could destabilize the entire global economy.

Much of Obama's own Democratic Party is hostile to the use of fossil fuels at a time when they are trying to push a green economy. Meanwhile, many in the anti-war left that were his ardent supporters in 2008 were fond of the declaration, “no blood for oil.”

Obama spoke about several issues including responding to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, engagement with Iran and peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

He made the case for why the United States must be continually engaged in the region.

“The United States is chastised for meddling in the region, and accused of having a hand in all manner of conspiracy," Obama said. "At the same time, the United States is blamed for failing to do enough to solve the region’s problems, and for showing indifference toward suffering Muslim populations."

“I realize some of this is inevitable, given America’s role in the world. But these attitudes have a practical impact on the American peoples’ support for our involvement in the region, and allow leaders in the region – and the international community – to avoid addressing difficult problems,” he added. “The United States of America is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure these core interests in the region. We will confront external aggression against our allies and partners, as we did in the Gulf War.”

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