Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Operation Iraqi Liberation (OIL)

Didn't Rummy once say the Iraq invasion had "nothing to do with oil, literally nothing to do with oil"? Australian PM John Howard said very recently that Australia is "not there because of oil and we didn’t go there because of oil." He had to go out of his way to again deny that the war in Iraq is all about oil due to the unfortunate comments made by his Defense Minister, Brendan Nelson, who let the cat out of the bag by letting slip that one of the reasons the Aussies are in Iraq "is energy security." [MSNBC]

But that's just them. We're not, though, keep that in mind.

Two points of interest then:

The International Herald Tribune reports:

"Guided by American legal advisers, the Iraqi government has canceled a development contract with the Russian company Lukoil for a vast oil field in Iraq's southern desert, freeing it up for potential international investment." [By "international," read America.]

What do you know about that?

The history of Lukoil's contract to develop the West Qurna energy deposits, thought to hold 15 billion barrels of oil, starts in 1997 when they signed the deal with Saddam. A 2004 article in Eurasia Insight reports that in December of 2002 Saddam nixed the deal with the Russians, "Reportedly because Saddam became outraged upon hearing reports that Lukoil was trying to hedge its bets. The company supposedly sought guarantees from Washington and Iraqi opposition groups that the contract would be honored in the event of regime change. Lukoil maintains that it never violated the terms of the deal, and thus the pact should remain in force."

Not any more, apparently.

And then there is this from Haaretz:

"The United States has asked Israel to check the possibility of pumping oil from Iraq to the oil refineries in Haifa. The request came in a telegram last week from a senior Pentagon official to a top Foreign Ministry official in Jerusalem . . .

The Prime Minister's Office, which views the pipeline to Haifa as a 'bonus' the U.S. could give to Israel in return for its unequivocal support for the American-led campaign in Iraq. . .

The new pipeline would take oil from the Kirkuk area, where some 40 percent of Iraqi oil is produced, and transport it via Mosul, and then across Jordan to Israel. "

That is, however, if the Turks don't get there first. Kirkuk is still up for grabs by the Arabs, the Kurds and the Turkomen. There were supposed to have been elections, but you know, there's that little violence problem. But if the Kurds start pushing the Turks around too much or look like they're going to really begin to make some money from all the oil deals they're making on the side then you could see the Turks move from border incursions to a full scale invasion.

That's another war, though.

The more things change the more they stay the same . . . Here's another interesting story about the Israelis involvement in another pipeline from Iraq to Jordan.

The Gulf of Aqaba pipeline and another "bonus" for the Israelis:

Back in the early eighties, the Aqaba pipeline was an idea hatched by Bechtel -- whose former boss, George Schultz, just happened to have moved straight from that job to be Reagan's Secretary of State (sound like anyone else we know?) -- to convince Saddam to let them run a pipeline from the Euphrates River in Iraq to the Gulf of Aqaba in Jordan.

Rummy was sent over to see Saddam and seal the deal. One little problem along the way was that Saddam was concerned about the Israelis bombing it.

According to Tom Vallette, the author of Crude Vision:

"So for the next few years, while Saddam Hussein was unleashing thousands of chemical bombs on the Iranians, the Reagan Administration and many of the architects of this war were spending their time shuttling back and forth between Baghdad, Amman, Israel and Washington, trying to get the Israelis to guarantee that there wouldn’t be an attack on the pipeline and to assuage Saddam’s fears that there wouldn’t be an attack. . .

Bechtel met with a Swiss billionaire Bruce Rappaport, who was close personal friends with the Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. Rappaport and another agent E. Robert Wallace tried to make certain arrangements with the Israeli government, which included funneling off oil pipeline profits into Peres’ Labor Party. . .

Peres was reportedly offered $700 million over ten years. Rappaport was later investigated by the FBI for illegal oil dealing. Wallace and his former client Attorney General Edwin Meese were investigated by a special prosecutor for their role in the bribing scandal. " [This is all in the GWU's National Security Archives]

Apparently, the $700 million was another "bonus" for Israel's unequivical support for US in Iraq.

Casualties down in Iraq:

There were only 38 American killed in Iraq last month. See, the Surge is working. But the WaPo reports that the five soldiers and one sailor killed yesterday . . .

"Brought the total death toll for American troops in Iraq this year to 852, higher than the 849 killed in 2004."

That's what they call progress these days, I guess. Lt. Col. Dale Kuehl, a battalion commander in western Baghdad, says " am confident that we have established a much more secure environment for the people we have been tasked to protect. "

Cuz, tha's what it's all about. Protecting the Iraqi people.

"However," Kuehl adds, "A part of me is afraid to believe what we have accomplished, knowing what it has cost to get us to today."

Yeah, how about that?


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