Howard’s End: Citing Mid-East Intelligence Sources
If Scoop's Mid-East intelligence reports are correct there will not be an invasion of Iraq until at least March 1 when Tony Blair delivers a promised dossier to Russia's President Putin over the whereabouts of Iraq's hidden locations of VX nerve agent and Anthrax supplies and oil deals are cut. Maree Howard writes.
Despite the Blix-El Baradei report to the UN that Iraq is conducting an active programme of denial and deception instead of voluntary disarmament which is in violation of Security Council Resolution 1441, there will apparently be no invasion;
(1) because engineers of the US Naval Construction Battalion will not have finished extending the runaways at three norther-Iraq airports to take C-130 troop and transport aircraft;
(2) despite the visit to Moscow last weekend of Israel's National Security head Halevy, and an early morning phone call from Tony Blair, Russian President Vladimir Putin stands by his demand to give UN arms inspectors more time.
Scoop also understands the following:
Turkey and Jordan are now back on side after firstly creating tension over the future carve-up of Iraq after the war and what happens to its oil.
That the US will carry the cost of the war and its after-math single-handed. Estimates are that around 70,000 troops will remain in Iraq to protect the oil fields and maintain Iraq's post-war stability - a total cost, including the war, of around $150 billion.
The US plans to recover that cost by raising Iraq's oil output from 1.6 million to 6.5 million barrels per day. This will require a further heavy outlay of cash and pork-barrel work by Texas-based US firms to renovate the badly run-down Iraqi oil production equipment.
At the same time, the long-term military-backed control over Iraq's oil resources - at the coal face rather than from afar - will make the US the leading strategic-political-military force in the Middle East and Persian Gulf as well as giving Washington a controlling interest in the global oil market.
In consideration of Washington's design for the Middle East, Turkey has apparently decided that its wisest course would be to shelve its two-hundred-year claim to Iraq's oil fields. A formal agreement is being drawn-up between Turkey and the US to formalise Turkey's standing in Iraq after the war and for it to receive substantil economic aid.
Jordan's role is crucial to the occupation of western Iraq and King Abdullah has been given the green light to purchase more US-made weaponry. Israel has also provided a guarantee to Jordan that it will defend the Hashemite rule.
This guarantee is in the Jordan-Israel 1994 peace accord and is now to be reinforced. Abdullah also wants access to Israeli television which is seen as a move to establish himself as the senior Arab arbiter of the destiny of Palestinians after Saddam Hussein goes and the power of his long-time allay Yasser Arafat is diminshed. Abdullah wants to reclaim authority over the West Bank and Arab Jerusalem which his father, Hussein, lost by losing the 1967 war. Palestinians are likely to be shunted into Iraq once it is broken-up.
drums of war are beating louder with the players in the
orchestra practicing and tuning-up. But the crashing
crescendo of the finale involving the full orchestra of
missiles, bombs and death is not yet in tune. We can only
hope it never will be and the conductor will finally give it
up as a lost cause.