When the US invasion of Iraq started in 2003 how often did we hear the slogan “No Blood for Oil” proclaimed loudly by the anti-war movement?
How often did we hear the accusation that the “insatiable thirst” for oil of the American economy and the American consumer had caused this drive for war against an oil-rich country?
But is this really what we should be focused on?
Ahmed Janabi of Al-Jazeera has good reason, supported by new documentary evidence, to see a far more important motive for the US war-policy.
On November 9, 2009 Janabi wrote:
In 1951 the Arab League established the Bureau for Boycotting Israel. Based in Damascus, Syria, the bureau has lost much of its authority since Egypt, Jordan and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) signed peace treaties with Israel…
Before the US-led invasion, Iraq adhered closely to the instructions of the bureau. Israeli companies, those with Israeli shareholders and companies with dealings with Israel were banned in Iraq….
Before the 2003 invasion, Iraq endured 13 years of UN sanctions. During this time speculation was rife that one of the aims of the sanctions was to force Iraq into a peace process with Israel…
Al Jazeera has obtained a document written by Saddam Hussein’s secretary, which conveys Hussein’s rejection of an offer to partake in a peace process with Israel in exchange for the lifting of sanctions….
Badi Rafaia, a spokesman for the Federation of Anti-Normalisation with Israel Unions Committee in Jordan, said the US-led invasion of Iraq removed one of the last remaining obstacles to Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights.
“[Before the war] Iraq was the main obstacle to Israel’s plan to establish ties with Arab countries and subsequently swallow Palestinians’ rights and demands,” he said.
“We believe that Iraq’s decision to allow companies with ties to Israel to work in the country is the fruit of American strategy in the region.”
Before the the first Gulf war in 1991, Saddam Hussein was actually a US ally:
‘… in 1963, two years after the ill-fated U.S. attempt at overthrow in Cuba known as the Bay of Pigs, the CIA helped organize a bloody coup in Iraq that deposed the Soviet-leaning government of Gen. Abdel-Karim Kassem. [...] Kassem, who had allowed communists to hold positions of responsibility in his government, was machine-gunned to death. And the country wound up in the hands of the Baath party.’
‘At the time () Saddam was a Baath operative studying law in Cairo, one of the venues the CIA chose to plan the coup. [Saddam] was actually on the CIA payroll in those days .
“There’s no question,” Morris says. “It was there in Cairo that (Saddam) and others were first contacted by the agency.”
In 1968 () the CIA encouraged a palace revolt among Baath party elements led by long-time Saddam mentor Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, who would turn over the reins of power to his ambitious protégé [Saddam] in 1979.
“It’s a regime that was unquestionably midwived by the United States, and the (CIA’s) involvement there was really primary,” Morris says.
But the American involvement with the Baath party and Saddam Hussein himself didn´t end there.
In the same year as Saddam was elevated into full power in Iraq, the Islamic revolution in Iran succeeded and the Shah, the American puppet, and his brutal torture regime were ousted, the American embassy was occupied and it´s personnel held hostage by angry Iranians.
Saddam was then encouraged to attack Iran over a border conflict. Without American support, the war would have been over in no time. Iraq, a country with a much smaller population didn´t stand a chance.
the Reagan Administration began supplying Saddam with battlefield intelligence on Iranian troop movements. By the end of the decade, Washington had authorized the sale to Iraq of numerous items that had both military and civilian applications. These included poisonous chemicals and biological viruses, among them anthrax and bubonic plague.’
Contacts between Saddam Hussein and the American government proceeded throughout that war on the highest levels. The Washington Post wrote on December 30, 2002:
‘Declassified documents show that Rumsfeld traveled to Baghdad at a time when Iraq was using chemical weapons on an “almost daily” basis in defiance of international conventions.’
But the end of the Iran-Iraq war wasn´t the end of the US-Iraqi connivance either. Eight days before his Aug. 2, 1990, invasion of Kuwait, Saddam Hussein met with April Glaspie, then America’s ambassador to Iraq. It was the last high-level contact between the two countries before Iraq went to war.
From a translation of Iraq’s transcript of the meeting it seemed quite obvious, that Ms. Glaspie had (in effect) given Saddam a green light to invade.
“We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts,” the transcript reports Glaspie saying, “such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary [of State James] Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction … that Kuwait is not associated with America.”
Why would the American ambassador lead a loyal American ally, a man brought to power by the CIA, into such a trap?
Why, after the attack, where the Iraqi army had been decimated, would the whole Iraqi people subsequently be punished by brutal sanctions costing millions of lives?
Was this really in the interest of the American economy or the American oil-companies?
Economist Ismael Hossein-zadeh has written that the desired policy from the perspective of the oil companies had actually been support for local strong-men, like Saddam Hussein, who would guarantee the stability needed for their business, not demolish them.
Hossein-zadeh sees the claim of the anti-war movement, that the American motivation to go to war in Iraq, was to seek the control of oil, as contradicted by observed modern history and as a contradiction in itself.
While some of these (war-) opponents argue that the war is driven by the U.S. desire for cheap oil, others claim that it is prompted by big oil’s wish for high oil prices and profits. Interestingly, most antiwar forces use both claims interchangeably without paying attention to the fact that they are diametrically-opposed assertions.
Hossein-zadeh then points out that oil-prices aren´t actually controlled by the producers, either the oil-corporations or the oil-producing countries, neither is the access to oil:
Today, oil prices (like most other commodity prices) are determined largely by the forces of supply and demand in competitive global energy markets; and any country or company can have as much oil as they wish if they pay the going market (or spot) price
To the extent that competitive oil markets and/or prices are occasionally manipulated, such subversion of competitive market forces are often brought about not so much by OPEC or other oil producing countries as by manipulative speculations of financial giants in New York and London.
…. Wall Street financial institutions have accomplished this feat through “innovative” financial instruments such as establishment of energy hedge funds and speculative oil futures markets in New York and London….
Most of the current theories of imperialism and hegemony that continue invoking that old pattern of Big Oil behavior tend to suffer from an a-historical perspective. Today, as discussed earlier, even physically occupying and controlling another country’s oil fields will not necessarily be beneficial to oil interests. Not only will military adventures place the operations of current energy projects at jeopardy, but they will also make the future plans precarious and unpredictable….
Big Oil interests also know, that not only is war no longer the way to gain access to oil, it is in fact an obstacle to gaining that access.
Exclusion of U.S. oil companies from vast oil resources in countries such as Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and a number of central Asian countries due to militaristic U.S. foreign policy is a clear testament to this fact.
Many of these countries (including, yes, Iran) would be glad to have major U.S. oil companies invest, explore and extract oil from their rich reserves. Needless to say that U.S. oil companies would be delighted to have access to those oil resources.
But U.S. champions of war and militarism have successfully torpedoed such opportunities through their unilateral wars of aggression and their penchant for a Cold War-like international atmosphere.
If the American oil-companies did not expect any advantages from a war against Iraq, who did?
Anti-Zionist-activist Mark Green analyzes a 60 MINUTES segment which aired on Sunday February,18 in 2007. The program claimed:
that Iraq is indeed disintegrating as a nation. But according to host Bob Simon, this isn’t altogether unreasonable or, for that matter, even unfortunate.
The Kurds of Iraq, explained Simon, are the world’s “largest nation without a country”. Simon lends subtle support to the idea that an irredentist “ethic minority” (Kurds) deserve their own separate nation which, like Israel, is poised to spring suddenly into being out of a battered nation of extremist Arabs….
Indeed, a major part of the ‘Kurdistan’ story which was basically ignored by ’60 MINUTES’ is how the Jewish State will benefit enormously by the creation of a brand new, ardently pro-Zionist, and oil-rich ally operating right inside of what’s now Northern Iraq….
Indeed, while Baghdad burns, there’s an economic boom, observes Simon on ’60 MINUTES’, going on right now inside Iraq’s Kurdish region….
Cutting Iraq into pieces, separating a Sunni from a Shiite region and creating an independent Israel-friendly Kurdistan has been on Israel´s policy agenda for at least since the 1980´s, wrote the late Israeli human-rights activist Israel Shahak in his translation of the Oded Yinon policy paper: “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties”.
In 1996 some of the authors of the American Iraq-war strategy within the Bush administration reiterated Yinon´s plan about bombing and cutting Iraq to pieces in their own policy paper : A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm
The paper was written 4 years before Bush the younger brought the Neocon gang with him to power. It was written for Benyamin Netanyahu, then Prime Minister of Israel. The authors were Richard Perle, James Colbert, Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Douglas Feith, Robert Loewenberg, David Wurmser, and Meyrav Wurmser.
The destruction of Iraq, a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation that sympathizes with the Palestinian people and also the most advanced Arab nation, has been on the Israeli wish list for quite some time. Using the Oded Yinon/PNAC goals of securing the Middle East for Israel, the Iraq war has been an astonishing success. Whereas the outcome for U.S. based oil companies has been far from impressive.
Not Sylvia Night
November 16, 2009