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Oil Drums of War

article - SchNEWS,  10 Jan 2003

Britons woke up to a planned terrorist attack on their shores this week. But any chemical attack using ricin produced in a north London flat is nothing compared to what's in store for the people of Iraq, with a leaked UN report saying that up to 500,000 Iraqi people could suffer serious injuries during the first phase of a terrorist attack.

That's state terrorism brought to you by America and Britain - so they can get their hands on Iraqi oil. Foreign secretary Jack Straw said as much on Monday when he told 150 British ambassadors at a meeting in London that one of the key priorities of British foreign policy was "to bolster the security of British and global energy supplies". It's just an amazing coincidence that Iraq has the second biggest known oil reserves in the world.

The US burns a quarter of all the oil consumed and is world champion at producing the greenhouse gases that are causing global warming. A study sponsored by the US Council on Foreign Relations says that "the American people continue to demand plentiful and cheap energy without sacrifice or inconvenience". Seeing as the world's oil reserves will begin to seriously decline within 5 to 10 years it's not surprising US Vice President Dick Cheney calls Iraq "the great prize".

In the National Security Strategy, a document in which each American administration outlines its approach to defending the country, Bush laid out his aggressive military and foreign policy, embracing pre-emptive attacks against perceived enemies. It speaks in blunt terms of ignoring international opinion if it suits U.S. interests and lays out a plan for permanent U.S. military and economic domination of every region on the globe - which will come from the $379 billion it's budgeting on the military.

The Strategy sounds very similar to a report issued in September 2000 by a bunch of conservative business leaders called the Project for the New American Century. This stated "At no time in history has the international security order been as conducive to American interests and ideals. The challenge of this coming century is to preserve and enhance this American peace." Written way before September 11th, the authors of the Project report included Paul Wolfowitz, now deputy defence secretary, John Bolton, undersecretary of state, Stephen Cambone, head of the Pentagon's Office of Program, Analysis and Evaluation, and Eliot Cohen and Devon Cross, members of the Defence Policy Board, which advises Secretary Of Defence Donald Rumsfeld.

The Project clearly identified Iran, Iraq and North Korea as primary short-term targets, well before 'elected' President Bush dubbed them as the Axis of Evil. It says U.S. forces will be required to perform "constabulary duties" - acting as policeman of the world - and says that such actions "demand American political leadership rather than that of the United Nations." To meet those responsibilities, and to ensure that no country dares to challenge the United States, the report advocates a much larger military presence spread over more of the globe, in addition to the roughly 130 nations in which U.S. troops are already deployed. It wants permanent military bases in the Middle East, in Southeast Europe, in Latin America and in Southeast Asia.


While the 'weapons of mass destruction' façade has well and truly fallen off the oil war in Iraq, last year's oil war in Afghanistan was far better dressed up as something else, allowing the good work to go ahead.

The latest US ambassador to Afghanistan - a senior executive of US oil company Unocal - along with the current Afghani president Hamid Karzai (once employed by a Unocal subsidiary) - are oiling the wheels for a lucrative pipeline to carry oil and gas across the country from the Caspian sea. And who's building this pipeline? Er. Unocal.

As the BBC reported on September 18, 2001: "Niaz Niak, a former Pakistani foreign minister, was told by senior American officials in mid-July 2001 (pre 9-11) that military action against Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of October. It was Naik's view that Washington would not drop its war against Afghanistan even if bin Laden were to be surrendered immediately by the Taliban." As journalist John Pilger puts it "One of the reasons the Americans attacked Afghanistan was not to liberate women but to liberate the pipeline deal."

Pilger continues, "This is the hidden agenda of the "war on terrorism" - a term that is no more than a euphemism for the Bush administration's exploitation of the September 11 attacks and America's accelerating imperial ambitions. In the past 14 months, on the pretext of "fighting terror", US military bases have been established at the gateways to the greatest oil and gas fields on earth, especially in Central Asia, which is also coveted as a 'great prize.'"

Meanwhile Donald Kagan, who served as co-chairman of the 2000 New American Century Project, embraces the idea that the United States should establish permanent military bases in a post-war Iraq. "We will probably need a major concentration of forces in the Middle East over a long period of time. That will come at a price, but think of the price of not having it. When we have economic problems, it's been caused by disruptions in our oil supply. If we have a force in Iraq, there will be no disruption in oil supplies."

For the past 10 years one of the world's dirtiest wars has been fought out in Algeria, between "Islamists" and "security forces", in which almost 200,000 people - mostly civilians - have been killed. Groups such as Human Rights Watch have accused the Algerian Government of "arbitrary arrest, disappearances and torture" and even America has been critical of the country's human rights record. That criticism changed after September 11th, thanks to Algeria support for Americas so called 'war on terror' and as a thank you they got promises of increased military aid. US Assistant Secretary of State William Burns, during a visit to Algiers, even went as far to say "Washington has much to learn from Algeria on ways to fight terrorism." Incidentally, Algeria is the second biggest natural gas exporter in the world and ranks fourteenth in oil reserves.

To read more about the Project for the New American Century report visit -

To see the leaked UN report -

- SchNEWS  (10th January 2003)

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revised 18 November 2005