portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article

imperialism & war

It's About Oil, Say U.S. Officials

The true meaning of "security" - 2 articles
Please spread this info far and wide!
From the Sydney Morning Herald.
Defence redefined means securing cheap energy
December 26 2002
Behind George Bush's high-minded rhetoric on why
America may go to war with Iraq is a long history of
weighing the price of securing its oil supplies. Ritt
Goldstein writes. As troops and equipment pour into
the Gulf for a looming war with Iraq, United States
military thinkers admit that "defence" means
protecting the circumstances of "daily life" - and in
the US daily life runs on cheap oil.As far back as
1975, Henry Kissinger, then secretary of state, said
America was prepared to wage war over oil. Separate
plans advocating US conquest of Saudi oilfields were
published in the '70s. So it should come as little
surprise that in May last year - four months before
the terrorist attacks on Washington and New York - a
battle plan for Afghanistan was already being reviewed
by the US Command that would carry it out after
September 11. Military strategists were highlighting
the energy wealth of the Caspian Sea and Central Asia
and its importance to America's "security".The Indian
media and Jane's Intelligence Review reported that the
US was fighting covert battles against the Taliban,
months before the "war on terrorism" was
declared.General William Kernan, commander-in-chief of
the US Joint Forces Command, let the revelation about
the battle plan review casually drop in July while
extolling the success of America's Millennium
Challenge war games to Agence France-Presse.Earlier,
during the northern spring last year, Michael Klare,
an international security expert and author of
Resource Wars, said the military had increasingly come
to "define resource security as their primary
mission". ");document.write("

Over several months beginning in April last year a
series of military and governmental policy documents
was released that sought to legitimise the use of US
military force in the pursuit of oil and gas.
Simultaneously, the energy task force of the
Vice-President, Dick Cheney, was working to tackle a
looming US oil crisis. Reflecting a shifting strategic
policy, the influential Council on Foreign Relations
urged that the Defence Department be included in
Cheney's energy group.
During that spring of 2001, as the US military
examined the all-out battle scenario that would soon
become the operational plan for the war in
Afghanistan, events fatefully spun towards September
11's trigger. But these events did not occur in a
vacuum.
Providing a summary of the US military's coming role,
over the summer of 2000 the Army War College (a
foundry for the US military's strategic thinking)
published a declaration that security "is more than
protecting the country from external threats; security
includes economic security".
The policy statement appeared in an article by
Lieutenant-Colonel P. H. Liotta, professor of national
security affairs at the Naval War College, one of a
handful of present US national security gurus.
His article went on to advocate the use of military
force "for more than simply protecting a nation and
its people from traditional threat-based challenges".
Colonel Liotta argued that defence meant protecting
the US lifestyle, the circumstances of "daily life".
Reflecting the relationship between pronouncements by
such policy gurus and Washington's actual policies, in
the Journal of Homeland Security of August this year,
Colonel Liotta said America "will practise pre-emption
against those who seek to harm our vital interests and
our way of life".
At the end of September President Bush unveiled a
national security strategy of pre-emption.
And so the months preceding September 11 saw a
shifting of the US military's focus. Publications of
the US Army War College and the army General and
Command Staff College argued that, when it came to oil
and gas, "where US business goes, US national
interests follow". They highlighted the energy wealth
of Central Asia and its importance to America's
"security". Oil and gas were on the military's agenda.
Cutting to the crux of present-day issues, a spring
2001 article by Jeffrey Record in the War College's
journal, Parameters, argued the legitimacy of
"shooting in the Persian Gulf on behalf of lower gas
prices".
Mr Record, a former staff member of the Senate armed
services committee (and an apparent favourite of the
Council on Foreign Relations), also advocated the
acceptability of presidential subterfuge in the
promotion of a conflict. Mr Record explicitly urged
painting over the US's actual reasons for warfare with
a nobly high-minded veneer, seeing such as a necessity
for mobilising public support for a conflict.
Amplifying the impact of the military papers, in a
document commissioned early in the Bush presidency,
two key US policy groups, the Council on Foreign
Relations and the James A. Baker III Institute for
Public Policy, explicitly advocated a convergence of
military and energy issues.
Their joint report - Strategic Energy Policy
Challenges for the 21st Century - aproved of "military
intervention" to secure energy supplies. It also urged
Pentagon participation in Mr Cheney's energy task
force. And the report warned that the US was running
out of oil, with a painful end to cheap fuel already
in sight.
Virtually concurrent with the report's release on
April 10 last year, Tommy Franks, commander of US
forces responsible for the Persian Gulf/South Asia
area, added his voice.
An April 13 report on his congressional testimony
defined General Franks's command's key mission as
"access to [the region's] energy resources". That May
it was his command that reviewed the soon-to-be-used
details for the coming war in Afghanistan.
Also early last year, the security expert Michael
Klare warned that US military action to secure oil
"could emerge as the favoured response to future [oil]
crises". In the months preceding September 11, US
governmental and military policymakers increasingly
built military frameworks around energy questions.
Iraq has 10 per cent of the world's proven oil
reserves, with The New York Times reporting in October
that the Bush White House is planning for the
installation of a US military government there in the
event of a war leading to the overthrow of Saddam
Hussein. In a parallel with Afghanistan, US covert
action has reportedly already begun.



From the London Observer:
Focus: Iraq

Carve-up of oil riches begins

US plans to ditch industry rivals and force end of
Opec, write Peter Beaumont and Faisal Islam

Sunday November 3, 2002
The Observer

The leader of the London-based Iraqi National
Congress, Ahmed Chalabi, has met executives of three
US oil multinationals to negotiate the carve-up of
Iraq's massive oil reserves post-Saddam.
Disclosure of the meetings in October in Washington -
confirmed by an INC spokesman - comes as Lord Browne,
the head of BP, has warned that British oil companies
have been squeezed out of post-war Iraq even before
the first shot has been fired in any US-led land
invasion.
Confirming the meetings to US journalists, INC
spokesman Zaab Sethna said: 'The oil people are
naturally nervous. We've had discussions with them,
but they're not in the habit of going around talking
about them.'
Next month oil executives will gather at a country
retreat near Sandringham to discuss Iraq and the
future of the oil market. The conference, hosted by
Sheikh Yamani, the former Oil Minister of Saudi
Arabia, will feature a former Iraqi head of military
intelligence, an ex-Minister and City financiers.
Topics for discussion include the country's oil
potential, whether it can become as big a supplier as
Saudi Arabia, and whether a post-Saddam Iraq might
destroy the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting
Countries.
Disclosure of talks between the oil executives and the
INC - which enjoys the support of Bush administration
officials - is bound to exacerbate friction on the UN
Security Council between permanent members and
veto-holders Russia, France and China, who fear they
will be squeezed out of a post-Saddam oil industry in
Iraq.
Although Russia, France and China have existing deals
with Iraq, Chalabi has made clear that he would reward
the US for removing Saddam with lucrative oil
contracts, telling the Washington Post recently:
'American companies will have a big shot at Iraqi
oil.'
Indeed, the issue of who gets their hands on the
world's second largest oil reserves has been a major
factor driving splits in the Security Council over a
new resolution on Iraq.
If true, it is hardly surprising, given the size of
the potential deals. As of last month, Iraq had
reportedly signed several multi-billion-dollar deals
with foreign oil companies, mainly from China, France
and Russia.
Among these Russia, which is owed billions of dollars
by Iraq for past arms deliveries, has the strongest
interest in Iraqi oil development, including a $3.5
billion, 23-year deal to rehabilitate oilfields,
particularly the 11-15 billion-barrel West Qurna
field, located west of Basra near the Rumaila field.
Since the agreement was signed in March 1997, Russia's
Lukoil has prepared a plan to install equipment with
capacity to produce 100,000 barrels per day from West
Qurna's Mishrif formation.
French interest is also intense. TotalFinaElf has been
in negotiations with Iraq on development of the Nahr
Umar field.
Planning for Iraq's post-Saddam oil industry is being
driven by a coalition of neo-conservatives in
Washington think-tanks with close links to the Bush
administration, and with INC officials who have long
enjoyed their support. Those hawks have long argued
that US control of Iraq's oil would help deliver a
second objective. That is the destruction of Opec, the
oil producers' cartel, which they argue is 'evil' -
that is, incompatible with American interests.
Larry Lindsey, President Bush's economic adviser,
recently said that a successful war on Iraq would be
good for business.


=====
"Is there any man here... who does not know that the seed of war in the
modern world is industrial and commercial rivalry?" - President Woodrow
Wilson, St. Louis, 1919