Click here to go to Opinions You Should Have at TITLE: Good Evidence That U.S. Is In It For the Oil, In Part AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 3/15/2003 09:48:00 PM ----- BODY:
This report about U.S. Intentions is a fairly thorough analysis of the reason Iraq's oil is so crucial to U.S. interests in the near future (if not today). It is chock full of something you won't find in many places discussing the war: facts. The facts (in summary) are that OPEC is already producing oil at peak capacity. The demand for oil is rising throughout the world in industrialized countries, and is beginning to be larger than the supply -- hence, rising oil prices over past years. There can be no question that Bush and Cheney -- intimates of the oil business -- thoroughly understand this. The U.S. gets 1/4 of its Middle Eastern oil from Iraq. That's with Iraq's oilfields severely damaged (from the 1991 war) and operating well below capacity due to sanctions. If Iraq's oil fields were properly developed and if sanctions were no longer in place, Iraq would compete with Saudi Arabia as the number one source of oil imports for the United States. Any disruption of that crucial supply would be counter to our national security interests. In an August 2002 Report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, entitled "World Areas to Watch," the U.S. Government noted that
[i]n anticipation of the eventual lifting of economic sanctions, Iraq already has signed potentially lucrative oil and gas deals (which will come into effect when sanctions are lifted) with companies from Russia, France, and China, and has invited international partners to invest in natural gas projects worth $4.2 billion. In August 2002, reports indicated that Russia and Iraq were ready to sign a $40 billion economic cooperation agreement covering a variety of fields, including oil, electricity, and petrochemicals.
Ok. So this would support the argument that France, China, and Russia were set to veto the war resolution because it would disrupt enormously profitable arrangements with the present Iraqi government. But it would also mean a potential change in the ability of the U.S. to secure sufficent oil to meet its needs; there's only so much oil to go around, and France, Russia, and China were set to grab a huge amount of the supply. They could either use this oil for their own needs, and then have none left over, or sell some to the U.S. for exorbitant prices. It cannot be the case that, as pro-war people cynically (and I have nothing against cynicism) point out, France, Russia, and China (and the claim involves Germany as well), are basing their decisions on money and oil while we are not. If the oil in Iraq is of such precious value to these nations, it can be no less valuable to our own interests and no less influential in the decision to invade Iraq. Of course, I have already mentioned this Heritage Foundation report from 1991 which posits that no goal is "as critical to America as maintaining access to Persian Gulf oil or militarily assisting Israel." The argument presented in the National Review that we can't be in it for Iraqi oil because, even if Iraqi oil is snapped up by others in the world market, it always gets sold back to us, is specious when viewed in light of the diminishing supply of world oil and the increasing demand for it elsewhere. Yes, the U.S. will always be a large consumer of the available oil. This, the National review argues, means that we will always be ensured access to the available supply. This is not logical. The only other explanation for this war is plausible, and certainly plays a large part in the decision to invade Iraq: to ensure America's domination as the only world superpower. This was the world order advocated in Paul Wolfowitz's famous 1991 memo. Is it any wonder that Paul is one of the chief hawks leading the charge?
-------- TITLE: France Isn't in It For the Oil AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 3/15/2003 09:35:00 PM ----- BODY:
I've heard time and time again the argument that France's opposotion to the war in Iraq is due to the worth of its many oil contracts with Iraq. I heard one person quote to me that France had $60 billion in oil contracts that would dissolve if there was a war. I never knew whether there was any truth to this -- but one of the most hawkish publications you can find anywere,Jane's Information Group, a compendium of everything about modern weaponry and military affairs, a publication that is for he who delights in all things military, says France will lose barrels of money by opposing the war:
France used to have large oil interests in Iraq, and a reasonable expectation of retaining some influence in the region. Chirac's current policy has put all this at risk.
The point is that France could have stood to gain a great deal from backing the U.S. war in Iraq, putting its hand out when the time to divvy up the oil contracts (and the other industrial contracts), but that France squandered that opportunity to enhance its standing as an international leader. I don't necessarily buy this (see above about France's oil deals with Iraq), but, then again, France's prospective oil deals with Iraq all depended on the lifting of economic sancions against Iraq. So what's wrong with France saying, the inspection process can work, and eventually we will get Saddam to disarm, and we can lift econmic sanctions agianst him? Then everyone will be happy.