Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Firas Al-Atraqchi: Scorched Earth?

Scorched Earth?


By Firas Al-Atraqchi

The day after U.S. President George Bush announced his near-declaration of a war against Iraq during the State of the Union Address, the Dow Jones and NASDAQ looked flimsy at best. Bush's economic recovery plan has failed to impress and the opening statements on the economy seem to have fallen on deaf ears as the Bush administration (thanks in large part to Karl Rove) trumpets the calls for war.

War is shaking the economy. As fears of worldwide economic despair (should the U.S. invade Iraq) become more boisterous, the previously taunted AOL/Time-Warner merger, a free market, capitalist feat, is quickly fading to black.

The world's largest, most ambitious media giant announced a nearly (U.S) 45 billion dollar fourth quarter loss. This represents the single greatest financial loss in conglomerate history in a single quarter.

On the one hand, this may seem like more recession blues to most investors. On the other, economic woes might serve as a catalyst for war in some circles.

Why?

Iraq is sitting on nearly 125 billion barrels of untapped oil reserves. While sanctions have crippled the Iraqi oil industry, unfettered geo-mining and remote sensing are sure to uncover another cache of oil reserves. In essence, Iraq is a black gold rush waiting to happen.

All the more reason to pursue a war against Iraq immediately, some might say. They argue that the price of economic recovery (and we are talking major prosperity down the yellow brick road) far outweighs the lives of American soldiers and Iraqi civilians.

The Bush administration has not hidden the fact that it plans to seize Iraqi oilfields at the outset of military action. "To hold for the Iraqi people," says U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

While some may argue that this is not a war about oil, the U.S. is planning to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, both domestically and in Iraq, to elevate Iraq's current oil production levels from 1.3 million barrels a day to a whooping 6.5 million barrels a day. That figure would quickly outpace Saudi Arabia's production capacity in a few years, lower the price of oil from the current (U.S.) 32 dollars a barrel to nearly 10, and give the U.S. economy an explosive kick start.

"But the war on Eye Rack will cost nearly (U.S.) 300 billion," some will argue. Indeed, but Iraq's so-called oil-economy recovery will pay that off.

So, why are we going to war again? It's the economy, stupid.

The anti-war, pro-inspections camps have asserted that the rush to war is due to Bush's lack of domestic economic policy and the need to inject Iraqi oil revenues into the U.S. economy.

To that charge, White House Spokesperson Ari Fleischer replies:

"If this were about Iraq's oil, we would have simply lifted the sanctions and allowed Iraq to pump oil again." (White House Briefing January 30, 2003)

The above statement is true in principle. However, Fleischer does not mention that if the sanctions were indeed lifted it would be Russia's Lukoil, a rising power in the global oil industry, which stands to benefit from Iraqi oil fields. Lukoil joins a list of other Russian oil companies who have signed multi-billion euro deals with Iraq to develop and enhance Iraq's oil infrastructure once sanctions are lifted.

China, Jordan, Germany, Egypt, and France would be the next in line to reap the benefits.

Where do the U.S. and the U.K come in? Nowhere. They aren't even on the list of countries awarded oil contracts with Iraq. Ironically, the U.S. imports 70 percent of Iraq's oil output, directly and through third parties.

The world knows this. Today, Former South African Nelson Mandela, who helped his country dispose of its nuclear armaments program, launched an inflamed attack against the Bush administration:

"Bush is leading us to a holocaust for oil," he said.

Most in North America are not aware of what the rest of the world is saying.

The world also knows that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is fully willing to destroy Iraq's oil infrastructure in a Stalinist scorched earth policy rather than let it fall into anyone else's hands. Reminds one of James Tiberius Kirk who would rather blow up the Enterprise than let it fall into Romulan hands.

(Tariq Aziz, Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister, denied his country had weapons of mass destruction, but promised that Iraq would use every means at its disposal to fight off an invasion.)

And Saddam is not alone. Many Iraqis (in Iraq) are aware that they are being targeted for oil, and some even go as far as to curse this wealth beneath their feet. Would they carry out Saddam's orders to blow up their own oil refineries? It's anyone's bet at this point.

So great is the threat of Saddam blowing up Iraq's oil fields that the U.S. is drawing up contingency plans involving U.S. Special Forces who would capture these oil fields and refineries, and "hold them for the Iraqi people" as Powell reminded us last week.

At this point, the race to "hold" Iraq's oil fields is on.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news