The Guardian February 5, 2003


Bush and Blair's war without end

by Anna Pha and Peter Symon

So you think the war on Iraq is all about weapons of mass destruction? 
Wrong.

Maybe about Saddam Hussein's dictatorship  about "regime change"? No.

About Iraqi links with al Qaida or other terrorists? Not really!

That Iraq has not complied with the UN Security Council resolutions? Not at all.

That the US and Britain (and their Australian deputy sheriff) are about 
bringing "freedom and democracy"? Unbelievable!

About seizing control of Iraq's oil? That is a main part of the plan but 
even that is not all.

"Regardless of whether we say so publicly", said defence intelligence 
expert Anthony H Cordesman of the influential Washington Center For 
Strategic and International Studies, "we will go to war because Saddam sits 
at the centre of a region with more than 60% of all the world's oil 
reserves."

In a draft plan prepared by the Pentagon and quoted in the New York Times 
(9-3-92) it was stated quite bluntly: "In the Middle East and South 
West Asia our overall objective is to remain the predominant outside power 
in the region and preserve US and western access to the regions oil."

Ten years on that objective has not changed.

Vice-President Dick Cheney received an energy policy report five months 
before September 11, 2001, advocating the use of military force against any 
enemy such as Iraq to secure US access to and control of Middle Eastern oil 
fields.

"Iraq remains a destabilising influence to . the flow of oil to 
international markets from the Middle East. Saddam Hussein has also 
demonstrated a willingness to threaten to use the oil weapon and to use his 
own export program to manipulate oil markets", said the report to the 
Pentagon.

The report titled Strategic Energy Policy Challenges for the 21st 
Century describes the energy sector as being in a critical condition. 
It says, "A crisis could erupt at any time [which] could have a potentially 
enormous impact on the US . and would affect US national security and 
foreign policy in dramatic ways."

The report raises concerns about the US becoming too reliant on foreign 
powers supplying it with oil and gas and the growing anti-American feeling 
in the oil rich states.

"Gulf allies are finding their domestic and foreign policy interests 
increasingly at odds with US strategic considerations, especially as Arab-
Israeli tensions flare", said the report.

"They have become less inclined to lower oil prices. A trend towards anti-
Americanism could affect regional leaders' ability to co-operate with the 
US in the energy area."

This fear of oil states in the Middle East being beyond the control of the 
US and its energy corporations is behind the wider objective of the US 
which is expressed when George Bush says in his State of the Union speech, 
"Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any 
other we have ever seen".

George Bush makes it very clear when he says, "Every nation in every region 
now has a decision to make. Either you are with us or you are with the 
terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbour or 
support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile 
regime."

Hence the agenda, of which war on Iraq is only the beginning, is not only 
the establishment of a US base in Iraq and a compliant Government, but it 
involves a far broader objective  that of controlling all Middle Eastern 
oil. Any threat to this objective will be dealt with.

Redrawing the map

For many decades British and French imperialist interests dominated the 
Middle East. With the break-up of the Ottoman Empire and following WW I, 
the spoils were divided up and new states carved out by these two powers. 
French power predominated in Syria and Lebanon. British power held absolute 
sway in Jordan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

The US objective is not simply to seize control of Iraqi oil but all the 
oil resources of the Middle East and if this involves the redrawing of the 
political map in the face of rising anti-American sentiments, this will 
also be done.

Today the four biggest and most powerful petroleum corporations in the 
world are based in Britain and the US: Exxon-Mobil, Shevron-Texaco, British 
Petroleum-Amoco and Royal Dutch-Shell.

This explains why the Blair Government has so enthusiastically lined up 
with the US objectives of war and re-division. It also explains the 
resistance of France and Germany. They are being excluded and as a by-
product, the Euro as a currency will be weakened against the dollar.

Sasha Lilley who is an independent producer and correspondent for Free 
Speech Radio News, reports on an interview with British Labour Party 
Member of Parliament George Galloway. He confirmed that the aims of the US 
and Britain go well beyond replacing the Iraqi leader.

Lilley quotes Mr Galloway as saying: "They include a recasting of the 
entire Middle East, the better to ensure the hegemony of the big powers 
over the natural resources of the Middle East and the safety and security 
of the vanguard of imperialist interests in the area  the State of 
Israel. And part of that is actually redrawing boundaries."

Mr Galloway is vice-chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party Foreign 
Affairs Committee and, says Lilley, has close relations to Britain's 
Ministry of Defence. "Galloway says that British Ministers and former 
Ministers are primarily focused on the break-up of Saudi Arabia and Iraq in 
the wake of an attack against Saddam Hussein, but are also discussing the 
possible partition of Egypt, Sudan, Syria and Lebanon", reports Lilley.

"These officials have become taken with the realisation that the borders of 
the Middle East are recent creations dating back only to WWI when Britain 
and France divided the region between themselves."

Lilley continues, "This divvying up of the region by imperial powers led to 
the creation of the states of Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq among others. 
Under the aegis of Britain, the modern state of Saudi Arabia emerged in the 
late 1920s, absorbing the hitherto separate eastern, central and western 
regions  including the holy sites of Mecca and Medina  of what 
constitutes the country today.

"The partition of the Middle East was partially driven by the oil 
conglomerates of the time."

Lilley makes the point that, "While massive upheaval in the Middle East 
would hurt oil revenues initially, a new constellation of power there could 
in the long run safeguard the interests of the petroleum conglomerates from 
the present instability of the region."

Saudi Arabia, with a quarter of the world's petroleum reserves is one of 
the main areas of concerns to the US. There are fears that the present 
regime will be overthrown and replaced by more progressive and anti-US 
Government.

According to George Galloway one of the scenarios being discussed in 
British government circles is to divide Saudi Arabia into two or possibly 
three countries.

This "would have the helpful bonus of avoiding foreign forces having to 
occupy the holiest places in Islam, when they're only interested really in 
oil wells in the eastern part of the country".

According to Galloway, the US troops based throughout Saudi Arabia could be 
withdrawn from the areas containing Mecca and Medina, the most hallowed 
sites of the Islamic world, where the US military presence is a source of 
great anti-American sentiment amongst many Saudis."

Soldiers would then occupy the eastern province of the country which 
contains the major oil fields, including the largest oil field in the 
world, Ghawar, and the industrial centres of the kingdom.

Lilley raises the question of the destabilisation of the region with war on 
Iraq in which "radical anti-American protesters move to overthrow their 
governments and the US intervenes to prevent the emergence of such hostile 
regimes. The US long ago granted itself permission to intervene in Saudi 
Arabia if the House of Saud were threatened by internal revolt, and this 
could be extended elsewhere under the licence of the 'war on terrorism'."

What is being talked about here is a reorganisation, or redistribution of 
boundaries in the Middle East and a re-colonisation by the US and Britain. 
Such thinking is not only prevalent in British Government circles but also 
in the US.

Securing the realm

The Under-Secretary of Policy at the US Department of Defense, Douglas 
Feith, who is now in the number three position at the Pentagon, prior to 
his Pentagon appointment wrote with others a document headed A Clean Break: 
A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.

He advised the Israeli Government to "work closely with Turkey and Jordan 
to contain, destablise, and roll back some of its most dangerous threats", 
including attacking Lebanon and Syria.

"Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and 
Jordan, by weakening, containing and even rolling back Syria", wrote Feith 
and others.

Apart from using the war on Iraq as an opportunity to attack Syria, "Israel 
could once and for all settle the 'Palestinian question' by expelling the 
Palestinian population to Jordan as many in Israel have been advocating", 
says Lilley.

Henry Kissinger summed up the sentiment held by the US administration's 
thinking in the opening to his Does America Need a Foreign Policy, with the 
words, "the US is enjoying a pre-eminence unrivalled by even the greatest 
empires in the past".

Thinking in British circles is very similar. In an article entitled "A 
Civilisational Challenge", Kanan Makiya says, "the problem is much deeper 
than bin Laden and his associates, and will not end with their demise. Nor 
is it about Islam and its relation with the West; it is above all about the 
mess that the Arab part of the Muslim world is in, and that part is some 
seventeen per cent of the whole."

Kanan Makiya teaches at Brandeis University, a Jewish college near Boston.

He refers to the ultimate target being the whole post Ottoman Arab order. 
"This is a revolt of the sons against the fathers who had to make all the 
compromises and broker all the dirty little deals that created the 
constellation of ultimately failed states that we see today in the Middle 
East."

These "dirty little deals" were the cut up and reworking of boundaries made 
by the French and the British imperialists, but there is no mention of the 
French and British creating "failed states", it's all the fault of the 
Arabs.

This article appeared in a publication called Re-Ordering the World, 
the long term implications of the 11 September. It was published by the 
Foreign Policy Centre in Britain, whose patron is British Prime Minister 
Tony Blair and whose President is former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook.

In that publication Robert Cooper, an adviser to Tony Blair, says, "The 
challenge to the postmodern world [the successful states] is to get used to 
the idea of double-standards. Among ourselves, we operate on the basis of 
laws and open cooperative security. But when dealing with more old 
fashioned kind of states outside the post-modern continent of Europe, we 
need to revert to the rougher methods of an earlier era  force, pre-
emptive attack, deception, whatever is necessary to deal with those who 
still live in the 19th century world of 'every state for itself'."

Robert Cooper goes on to propose a return to colonialism and imperialism. 
"Empire and imperialism are words that have become terms of abuse in the 
postmodern world. Today there are no colonial powers willing to take on the 
job, though the opportunities, perhaps even the need, for colonisation is 
as great as it ever was in the 19th century."

Cooper talks about "a new kind of imperialism".

He said that if states wished to benefit "they must open themselves up to 
the interference of international organisations and foreign states .". He 
goes onto cite the example of Kosovo where intervention has resulted in not 
only the on-going presence of foreign forces but the imposition of police, 
judges, prison officers, central bankers, 100 NGOs and many others who also 
remain on an on-going basis.

The UN is involved in the establishment, training and financing of this 
infrastructure.

Cooper dresses up his vision of re-colonisation with warm-sounding terms 
such as "cooperative empire", "dedicated to liberty and democracy".

The post-modern states, and he means Britain and the US in the first place, 
will colonise the "failed states" in a new world "which is open for 
investment and growth". This is Cooper and Blair's "new kind of 
imperialism" .

The Middle East is just the beginning.

* * *
References: 1. Re-Ordering the World: the long-term implications of 11 September, The Foreign Policy Centre, 2002, London 2. Third World Resurgence Magazine, November/December 2002, Issue No147/148, from the following articles: Invitation to a war (Jeremy Seabrook) The Iraq Syndrome: Demonic victims and angelic demons (Claude Alvares) The US's battle for oil (Neil Mackay) The new world imperial order (Jim Lobe) A new age of empire (Sasha Lilley) The rediscovery of imperialism (John Bellamy Foster) These and a number of other extremely important articles may be read on the Third World Network's website by clicking onto The US War Against Iraq: Some Perspectives: http://www.twnside.org.sg

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