US Readies Invasion Armada For Jan-Feb 2003
By Maree Howard
Removing the Iraqi government and installing a US military regime that would control the country's oil fields, is at least as important as eliminating weapons of mass destruction. That makes war with Iraq guaranteed around the end of January to mid-February. Maree Howard writes.
Following the invasion of Iraq the US will establish a military government along the same lines as the US occupation regime established in Japan at the end of World War II under General MacArthur.
If the US military remains in Iraq in numbers nobody can use oil as a weapon. Least of all, OPEC, which turned off the spigots and caused prices to rise which brought about the oil-shock of 1973 onwards.
Establishing US military rule over Iraq will also strengthen Washington's hand in relation to the other top Middle East oil producer, Saudi Arabia, effectively crippling its ability to set an independent oil policy.
The US will see having two major oil producers not part of a radical Muslim government or any other unfriendly government, as a huge additional factor in the Western-world's economies.
The US has recently asked Germany to provide 2,000 troops to guard its German bases at the end of January and last week British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, ordered the army to be prepared for war.
Meanwhile, the US and Britain have been accused of not sharing intelligence with the UN over the whereabouts of Iraq's unconventional weapons.
It all adds up to war - whether we like it or not.
The oil equation is the most interesting and the most deadly. Iraq has 130 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. This is the second-largest national source of oil after Saudi Arabia.
Saddam Hussein has cut deals with Russian and French oil companies, leaving traditional Anglo-American oil companies out of the loop. And they don't like it, because Anglo-American oil companies have been the dominant Western participants in the extraction of Middle East oil ever since it was discovered there.
The Western Alliance will win the war in Iraq but at some cost.
Primarily, the US will then be in charge of establishing control over the sale of oil but it will not do this directly.
It will install a puppet government because the hatred of the US in Iraq is sufficient so that democracy will not be able to work without its intervention.
Once the US military has established control over the oil fields, which it will do at the beginning of the invasion, Iraq will not be able to feed itself. Control the flow of oil and you control the only thing worth controlling in Iraq.
The puppet government will likely fall but who cares, the US government will control the oil. In the first instance, the oil drilling concessions will be handed out by the US government's puppet regime.
The Western Alliance depends on oil as its most important commodity. To maintain its leadership, the US government must see to it that the price of the central commodity stays low.
But China and Asia are coming on stream economically, which means the demand and price for oil will rise. The CIA has estimated that by 2015, 75% of Middle East oil will go to Asia, with only 10% flowing to the West.
The US buys its imported oil from Canada (15%) Mexico (12%) and Venezula (14%). Middle Eastern countries account for 24% of US oil imports. These figures combined amount to 65% of US oil consumption.
But oil is priced in terms of supply and demand internationally. Obviously, an increase in supply that lowers the price of oil in the Middle East also lowers it in Venezula.
The US intends to defend the interests of the Western Alliance by bringing new supplies into production.
This was what the invasion of Afghanistan was all about. Establishing protection over the new pipeline from the Caspian Sea oil fields, either through Afghanistan and Pakistan and into the tankers, or through Turkey. This pipeline is vital to US interests if Russia is not to control this flow of oil.
Once the US government controls the output of the Iraqi oil fields, OPEC will almost be useless or fall into line. Unless, of course, it has been in cahoots with Western oil companies all along in setting prices. The Iraqi war will see who was telling the truth.
The important factor in the oil equation is that the price of oil is established by the price at the margin.
This means that the price of the latest barrel sold is imputed to all of the barrels of oil remaining to be sold. It does not take a great increase in supply to lower the price of oil. An extra million barrels a day will drop the price if buyers expect this added output to continue.
Iraq's oil fields are capable of providing far more than a million extra barrels of oil a day and the US Army or its puppet government will control the spigots.
As soon as US military control is established we will then see who is really in control. If the price of oil stays about $25/barrel we will know that OPEC and the Western Alliance have been in agreement on the higher price of oil.
If we are bombarded with explanations about 'maintaining orderly oil prices' when the US Army can simply open the Iraqi oil spigots, we will know the interests of politicians and their oil cartel allies are dominant and the interests of consumers will continue to be sacrificed for oil company profits.
Either way, of course, Iraq and its people will be the real losers and suffer death because of it.
Controlling Iraqi oil fields and the flow of oil, will also allow the US the ability to cut the revenues of other oil exporting countries, drastically reducing their governments' revenues which will mean they will likely topple or be overthrown.
The problem with regime changes is that they usually produce radical anti-Western regimes. This is why the US maintains 5,000 permanent troops in Saudi Arabia which are there to keep the pipelines open.
Iraq borders on Iran and Saudi Arabia the two other major oil producing countries in the region. When there are 250,000 troops permanently stationed in Iraq it will mean that any thoughts of exercising independence or radical revolution will be put to rest.
Nevertheless, the US itself, will be able to bring about global regime changes in the oil-exporting counties at any time simply be controlling Iraq's oil. It will control the flow and, therefore, it will set the price. The US will be able to drive the price of oil down to $10 a barrel or keep it at $30 a barrel - and it will also control the government's of independent sovereign nations.
And this is why the war with Iraq is guaranteed.
Rather than build roads, bridges, schools, water plants and other infrastructure for these people we, in the West, build weapons of war with the US having a current military budget of $396 billion with the next highest being Russia at $60 billion. Israel, surrounded by enemy states while simultaneously fighting a guerrilla war within its borders spends just $9 billion in comparison.
The cost of the Iraqi invasion is put at US$200 billion. The Western-Alliance is, in effect, in an arms race with itself.
The problem with having a powerful
military is similar to the problem of having a big hammer -
pretty soon, everything starts looking like a nail to be