Monday, October 18, 2004

Empire of Blood and Oil



The Project for the New American Century envisions the forced creation and imposition on the world of Pax Americana, or American peace. It means creating a global empire that ensures the energy security of the United States and American domination of every part of this planet. Within the Middle Eastern context, this would easily explain why the US concocted the story that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and fraudulently manufactured proof to support that lie and threw in, for good measures, the contention that Saddam Hussein had links with Al Qaeda and posed a direct security threat to the American people. And it also explains why the US so closely aligned with Israel at the cost of its ties with the Arab and Muslim world and is gunning for Iran.
There was no intelligence failure, there was no misreading of evidence and there was no misguiding indication. The Bush administration set its objective as invasion and occupation of Iraq and then worked its way backwards to create a path leading to it. "Evidence" was manufactured whenever the need arose in the dedicated campaign to invade a sovereign country thousands of kilometres from the American shore in order to serve the interests of imperial America.
Anything that cropped up was either dismissed as irrelevant or explained away to fit in the overall scheme of things. Had there been a genuine WMD or terror threat from Iraq, it would have manifested itself. The hawks in the Bush administration would not have had to come up with fabricated charges like Saddam Hussein wanting to buy uranium from Niger and even had drones capable of hitting the US with chemical or biological weapons; nor would British Prime Minister Tony Blair's "intelligence" agencies have had to "sex up" reports on Iraq's military capabilities with outdated university theses.
It is now established that there is no ground for continued insistence that the invasion of Iraq and ouster of Saddam Hussein served to protect Americans from 9/11-style terror attacks using chemical and biological weapons.
The        massive 1,000-page report prepared by the Iraq Survey Group led by American Charles Duelfer has eliminated any excuse or pretext for such insistence. The report established that Iraq had no WMD, was not engaged in any effort to develop it and its 1980s ability to produce WMD had all but eroded at the time when the US-led invading forces went into the country last year.
The 9/11 attacks helped Washington's plans to invade and occupy Iraq since they offered the Bush administration a pretext to portray Saddam as terror threat by linking him with Al Qaeda.

Lure of oil

The reality was that the US wanted to grab a piece of oil-rich real estate in the Middle East in order to secure its energy security, and, in the bargain, set up an advanced military base in the region and also get rid of a potential military threat to Washington's strategic partner, ally and protégé, Israel.
That was what happened, but what the US did not count on was messing up what it had hoped would be a smooth transition to an American-friendly regime to replace Saddam. It has proved a catastrophic humanitarian crisis and military imbroglio that defies solution.
A document drawn up in 2000 showed that George W Bush and his cabinet were planning a premeditated attack on Iraq to secure "regime change" even before he took power in January 2001.
The document, officially titled "Rebuilding America's Defences: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century," was written in September 2000 by the neo-conservative think-tank Project for the New American Century (PNAC). The brains behind it included Dick Cheney, who went to become Bush's vice- president, Donald Rumsfeld, who was named defence secretary by Bush, Paul Wolfowitz, who now serves as Rumsfeld's deputy, Bush's younger brother Jeb and Lewis Libby, who is now Cheney's chief of staff.
In fact, the document was a refurbished version of a plan drawn up by Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz two years earlier. The plan was sent in January 1998 to the then president, Bill Clinton, saying:
"The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing.
"In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy.
"We urge you to articulate this aim, and to turn your administration's attention to implementing a strategy for removing Saddam's regime from power. This will require a full complement of diplomatic, political and military efforts."
Well, Clinton did not have enough time to prepare the ground for an invasion of Iraq, and hence Bush inherited it and implemented it. Rest is history.

Colonising the world

Have a closer look at the 1998 call on Clinton. It talks only about the removal of Saddam from power "in the long term." It talks nothing about any plan beyond it. Obviously, the idea was to retain Iraq as an American colony with whatever that entails.
In fact, the 2000 report identified Iraq, Iran and North Korea as an "axis of evil" and Bush was only borrowing the term from the report when he started using it in late 2002.
While the report had highlighted the "nuclear" threat posed by the three countries grouped in the "axis of evil," the US military invaded and occupied the one country among the three which did not have any nuclear programme at all.
The report listed 27 people as having been closely involved in preparation of the document. Six of them assumed key defence and foreign policy positions in the Bush administration.
It was interesting to hear Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, acknowledging the truth this week that the US would have still gone to war on Iraq even if it had known that Saddam possessed no WMD. But Rice gave it a nice twist.
"He was someone who had an insatiable appetite for weapons of mass destruction. He had the means, he had the intent, he had the money to do it," said Rice. "You were never going to break the link between Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction. And now we know that, had we waited, he would have gotten out of the sanctions, he would have undermined them by both trying to pay off people on the Security Council and doing what he could to keep his expertise in place," she said.
Perhaps Rice should spare a little time and remind herself that Chevron -- the company in which she occupied a director's seat before joining the administration -- was among the recipients of Saddam's "oil vouchers."
Her further comments on the war were even more hilarious. "Because we invaded the country, because we were able to interview the scientists and get the documents that Saddam Hussein had refused to give to the United Nations, we now know that he did not have those stockpiles," she said.
Wow! We thought the US had irrefutable evidence that Saddam had WMD before the first American military tank crossed the border to Iraq on March 20, 2003; we had no idea that the US motive behind the war was to determine whether or not Saddam had WMD.
Rice's next comment took the cake, if indeed one was left.
"He (Saddam) would have gotten out of the sanctions, and rebuilt his weapons of mass destruction programmes," Rice said. "We know he had the means to do so, it was only a matter of time. And it was time for us to take care of this threat."
So, as far as Washington was concerned, it was enough that Saddam had a wishlist of WMD and not necessarily possess them in order for the US to strike.
That brings up the question: Who authorised the US to invade any country simply because that country wished it had WMD?
Well, that where the Project for a New American Century, or Pax Americana comes into play.
Under that doctrine, the US reserves for itself the right to take any action it deems fit not only to protect its interests anywhere in the world but also to establish itself as a global empire which will have the sole responsibility as the policeman of planet Earth.

Building bases

That is further supported by reports saying that amid the fierce guerrilla war in Iraq, the US military is building more than a dozen "enduring bases" in the country to set up a permanent military presence in the Gulf.
The bases run from Kirkuk in the north to Basra in the north and are given names like Camp Victory (adjoining Baghdad airport), Camp Renegade (in Kirkuk) etc. The two American hostages beheaded last month were working as civil engineers constructing a base in Taji, north of Baghdad,
The Pentagon has not released any details of the planned bases to the public. However, it is expected that between 50,000 and 60,000 American soldiers would be housed at these bases in Iraq once Washington realises its hoped-for goal of pacifying Iraq by next year. The plan, in principle, is a repeat of what the US did in Japan after World War II.
The only top official to indirectly refer to the plan for bases in Iraq was Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, who mentioned it even before the US forces invaded that country last year. The US already has bases in Kuwait and Qatar.
Installing a token government in Baghdad through elections in January and then drawing up a permanent constitution leading to fresh elections to another government in 2006 is the American definition of pacifying Iraq.
The building of the bases is parallel and separate from the ongoing US military operations in Iraq.
The US bases in Iraq will serve the military to keep a close eye on developments in the region and move forces to quickly intervene in any area where Washington perceives its interests to be threatened.
The presence will also serve as a reminder to the countries in the region that the US has at its disposal the military capability to invade and occupy countries and remove regimes.
Supplementing the American military presence in Iraq will be Israel's strength. Israel, with only sx million people, is counted among the top 10 strongest countries in the world.
However, Iran is a wild card in the game. The US has to neutralise the Iranians since the US military cannot afford to have its bases in Iraq within Iranian missile range as long as Tehran remains hostile to Washington.
The annual cost of maintaining the bases in Iraq is estimated at between $5 billion and $7 billion, according to Gordon Adams, director of Security Policy Studies at George Washington University in Washington.
The US maintains 890 military installations in foreign countries, ranging from major air force facilities to smaller installations, say a radar station. It is expected that the planned bases in Iraq would enable the Pentagon to close a few of those facilities.
However, the key question remains unanswered: It is widely accepted that a majority of Iraqis oppose the US presence in the country. How would they accept to have permanent American military bases in their land?
But then, what the people of Iraq think is not as important as what the US wants.
Rumsfeld has dismissed suggestions that the US covets Iraqi territory by maintaining bases, but then one only has to remember that the US military still has bases in Japan, nearly 60 years after World War II ended.
The National Security Strategy outlined by President Bush on Sept.20, 2002 -- or the so-called Bush Doctrine -- outlines a newly aggressive military and foreign policy, including pre-emptive attack against those who threaten American interests.
The doctrine bases itself on the neoconservative document of 2000.
As David R Francis, a respected American journalist known for objective and accurate writing, put it, the strategy "includes a plan for permanent American military and economic domination of every region on the globe, unfettered by international treaty or concern. And to make that plan a reality, it envisions a stark expansion of our global military presence."
He quotes from the report:
"The United States will require bases and stations within and beyond Western Europe and Northeast Asia as well as temporary access arrangements for the long-distance deployment of US troops."
While Bush sought to create an impression that the National Security Strategy was inspired by the Sept.11 attacks, Francis notes, the same language is used in the 2002 report.
Francis writes:
"It advocates the 'transformation' of the US military to meet its expanded obligations, including the cancellation of such outmoded defence programmes as the Crusader artillery system. That's exactly the message being preached by Rumsfeld and others.
"It urges the development of small nuclear warheads "required in targeting the very deep, underground hardened bunkers that are being built by many of our potential adversaries." (Francis notes that the Republican-dominated House of Representatives has given the Pentagon the green light to develop such a weapon, called the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, while the Senate has so far balked at approving it).
"To preserve the Pax Americana, the report says US forces will be required to perform 'constabulary duties' -- the United States 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 US troops are already deployed."
According to Francis, the report's recommendation that the US needs permanent military bases in the Middle East, in Southeast Europe, in Latin America and in Southeast Asia is being followed. He notes that the Bush administration rushed to install US troops in Georgia and the Philippines, as well as our eagerness to send military advisers to assist in the civil war in Colombia.
"The 2000 report directly acknowledges its debt to a still earlier document, drafted in 1992 by the Defence Department. That document had also envisioned the US as a colossus astride the world, imposing its will and keeping world peace through military and economic power," says Francis. . When leaked in final draft form, however, the proposal drew so much criticism that it was hastily withdrawn and repudiated by George Bush Senior, he says.

Alliance with Israel

Donald Kagan, a professor of classical Greek history at Yale and an influential advocate of a more aggressive foreign policy who served as served as co-chairman of the 2000 New Century project "willingly embraces the idea that the United States would establish permanent military bases in a post-war Iraq."
"I think that's highly possible," Francis quotes Kagan as saying. "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."
That brings in the alliance between the US and Israel and the American quest to ensure its energy security by not allowing any Arab/Muslim country in the Middle East to reach a position where it could call the shots in the international oil market.
The strength of the US-Israel alliance is conventionally attributed to the powerful political and financial strengths and influence of the pro-Israeli lobby in Washington as well as to the image of Israel as the only democracy in the Middle East sharing American "values."
However, equally important in this equation is the US anxiety to ensure the steady flow of oil from the Middle East to suit American interests.
Proponents of this theory argue that the US has been retaining and is continuing to strengthen its relationship with Israel in order not to allow an Arab/Muslim country in the Middle East to emerge as the dominant regional power that could undermine the US quest for energy security for Americans based on Arab and Muslim oil. That explains why the US was silent when Israel bombed Iraq's Osirak nuclear plant in 1981 and why Washington today supports Israel's contention that Iran poses a threat to it by seeking nuclear weapon-capability.

Oil dependency

A report written by Erich Marquardt appearing on underlines this point. Marquardt writes:
"The primary motives behind US support of Israel can be explained by Washington's foreign policy aims of securing a Middle East capable of producing a stable supply of oil at a low price that buoys the economies of oil dependent countries. Israel, a state that is dependent on the United States due to its strategic and cultural isolation in a region that is hostile to its existence, can be relied on by Washington to assist in maintaining the status quo by preventing any Middle Eastern country from accruing enough power to alter the regional balance in a way that would damage the interests of the United States and other oil dependent countries."
Michael T Klare, a professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College and author of Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Petroleum Dependency, points out that America's dependence on imported petroleum has been growing steadily since 1972.
Domestic production in the US was 11.6 million barrels per day in 1972 and today it stands at 9mbpd and is expected to continue to decline.
"Even if some oil is eventually extracted from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, as the Bush administration desires, this downward trend will not be reversed " he asserts.
On the other hand, the total oil consumption in the US today is estimated at around 20 million barrels per day and is expected to hit 29mbpd by 2025.
"This means ever more of the nation's total petroleum supply will have to be imported - 11mbpd today (about 55 per cent of total US consumption) but 20mbpd/d in 2025 (69 per cent of consumption)," says Klare.
In an implicit reference to the Middle East, Klare notes that an increasing share of that oil will come from "hostile, war-torn countries in the developing world, not from friendly, stable countries such as Canada or Norway. "
"Because oil is viewed as the primary motive for US involvement in these (hostile) areas, and because the giant US oil corporations are seen as the very embodiment of US power, anything to do with oil - pipelines, wells, refineries, loading platforms - is seen by insurgents as a legitimate and attractive target for attack; hence the raids on pipelines in Iraq, on oil-company offices in Saudi Arabia, and on oil tankers in Yemen," according to Klaire.
Klare notes that the US military is having a tough time ensuring the security of oil installations in Iraq, meaning that the very objective of the war remains under threat.

Blood and oil

"Iraq has developed into a two-front war: the battles for control over Iraq's cities and the constant struggle to protect its far-flung petroleum infrastructure against sabotage and attack," he says. "The first contest has been widely reported in the US press; the second has received far less attention."
He points out: "Iraq is hardly the only country where US troops are risking their lives on a daily basis to protect the flow of petroleum. In Colombia, Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Georgia, US personnel are also spending their days and nights protecting pipelines and refineries, or supervising the local forces assigned to this mission.
"American sailors are now on oil-protection patrol in the Gulf, the Arabian Sea, the South China Sea, and along other sea routes that deliver oil to the United States and its allies. In fact, the US military is increasingly being converted into a global oil-protection service."
And the going is getting tougher for American forces, he notes.
"With thousands of kilometers of pipeline and hundreds of major facilities at risk, this task will prove endlessly demanding -- and unrelievedly hazardous," he says.
"While anti-terrorism and traditional national-security rhetoric will be employed to explain risky deployments abroad, a growing number of American soldiers and sailors will be committed to the protection of overseas oilfields, pipelines, refineries and tanker routes," Klare observes. "And because these facilities are likely to come under increasing attack from guerrillas and terrorists, the risk to American lives will grow accordingly. Inevitably, Americans will pay a higher price in blood for every additional litre of oil they obtain from abroad."
Seen in that vein, although Klare does not refer to that aspect, the natural Israeli role is to step in and take over part of the American policeman's job at some point or another; and countries like Iraq (had it remained under the Saddam regime) and Iran would challenge that Israeli role, and hence the need to ensure that they are reshaped to suit American interests. That is what happened in Iraq, and Iran would be subjected to similar treatment if the US plans go ahead as they were drawn up by the Project for the New American Century that aims to create a global American empire.