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The Great Gamble: Oil, War, Iraq & Iran

The 1973 Arab-Israeli war resulted in an oil embargo by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. Americans had to spend hours filling gasoline in their cars and prices shot up. Nixon and all subsequent presidents since then, failed to formulate an energy policy. Europe took sensible and proper steps to tax oil, promote public transportation and produce energy efficient cars. Gasoline in the EU costs nearly two dollars fifty cents or one hundred INRs a liter. Another oil shock was delivered by the 1979 Iranian revolution with the overthrow of the Shah, takeover by Khomeini and the taking of American diplomats hostage in Tehran and the Iran-Iraq war. Once again America took no sensible measures to conserve energy or develop alternate energy resources.

Oil prices shot up again when Saddam captured Kuwait a decade later. Brazil used its tropical location to grow sugarcane and make ethanol from it and use it as an additive or replacement for petrol. America fooled King Fahd of Saudi Arabia into believing that his illegitimate rule was threatened by Saddam and landed hundreds of thousands of its troops in the kingdom to defeat Saddam. The war was over in days but America kept large numbers of troops, planes and arms in Saudi Arabia, generating fears in the ruling family, unease in the population and animosity in the Salafists. Repeated terrorist attacks by Osama and Al Qaeda led to demands of withdrawal by the Saudis. This was a second setback. The fall of the Shah had dealt the first blow to the US Middle East policy of making the Shah as a linchpin and delegated junior bully to carry out US foreign policy there.

The election of the Bush Cheney neo-con cabal, the worsening US economy after the tech bubble blew up in 2000 and the September 2001 terrorist attack provided a perfect excuse to lie, misinform and instill fear into the ignorant and gullible American public to attack Iraq, to take over its rich oil resource and to establish permanent military bases in the Middle East to keep Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States in line and to have a stranglehold on the oil jugular of Europe, Japan, China and India. Russia was a basket case after the break up of the Soviet Union with an economy spiraling downward and a military unable to defeat even the Chechnya uprising. Lies of Saddam being responsible for the 9-11 attack and being on the verge of sending out unmanned aerial vehicles loaded with nuclear weapons to bomb America were used to justify attacking Iraq.

The UN Security Council that India is dying to become a permanent member of, is nothing but a rubber stamping lowly clerk of America and with veiled threats, promise of aid and some arm twisting, unanimously passed a resolution ordering Iraq to comply or face dire consequences. The rest of the foolish Council members did not see the US ruse till it was too late. By the time France and Russia realized and threatened to veto a second resolution permitting use of military force by America, it claimed that the first resolution had already authorized the use of force. Thus the US started an illegal and immoral war that by the UN charter constituted the worst war crime. The toothless hags of the Security Council and its Secretary General (really just a peon called a Class 4 government servant in India) then far from prosecuting the US as a war criminal, gave it the legitimate authority of an occupying power and allowed it to imprison, torture and kill Iraqis and manage and spend Iraq's oil income.

The UN mandate as an occupying power ends in December 2008 and is not renewable as Iraq has a sort of elected government mainly consisting of incompetent crooks who like Indian MPs and ministers, do no work, bicker when the parliament is in session, take frequent trips abroad at government expense, fly free within the country and take long vacations. Initially the US appointed the Iraqi government and wanted to select the Iraqis to write the Iraq Constitution but Ayatollah Sistani objected, so they reluctantly agreed to elections, so much for spreading democracy in Iraq, not to mention the democracies the US supports in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Gulf States and Pakistan with their kings, generals and tyrants.

Then the US tried to privatize Iraq's oil by selling it for a song to western oil companies, but the Iraqi oil workers union protested and the UN said an occupying power has no right to do that. For the last few years it has been pressing the Iraqi parliament by arm twisting and rumors of bribes to pass an oil law to allow the nationalized oil company to keep only a small percent of the oil wells and let the western oil companies buy the oil wells and exploration rights of most of the oil wells. It also wants the western oil companies to pick and choose the exploration areas first leaving mostly dry areas with poor prospects to the Iraqi oil company. (Like Enron's Dabhol power plant and bribes)

Does that sound familiar like the pressure on India to sign a civil nuclear pact which gives India no reprocessing technology, puts most of its reactors under intrusive IAEA and US inspection in perpetuity (meaning forever), does not guarantee Uranium fuel and delays all reprocessing of spent fuel until a new approved reprocessing facility is built to new US specifications with rights of intrusive inspection by the US? In addition it forbids India from testing nuclear weapons forever with a threat to take back billions of dollars of nuclear power stations bought from America at highly inflated prices. On top of all this it commits India to a future fissile material cutoff treaty limiting its nuclear weapons initially and reducing them to zero by attrition for lack of Plutonium. As though all this is not enough, it requires India to follow US foreign policy objectives and refrain from any natural gas or energy deals with Iran. The Indian people who are advocating the signing of the nuclear deal from the start or have recently changed their mind in its favor are either stupid, looking for new American Sahibs to replace the British masters, may have financial benefits from the trade or may have been persuaded by other means, which I leave the reader to conceive and imagine.

Back again to Iraq. The US is also pressuring the Iraqi parliament to sign a Status Of Forces Agreement instead of a treaty. By American law, a treaty signed by America with another nation has to be ratified by the US Senate. The Senate controlled by Democrats may vote down a treaty but can do nothing about a SOFA which is totally left to the president and needs no Senate approval. A prior president had signed a Comprehensive Test (nuclear) Ban Treaty, but the US Senate few years ago refused to ratify it, so the US reserves the right to test nuclear weapons which it is banning India from doing because our dumb prime minister wants to sign treaties in opposition to the majority of our parliament and wants to trap India by pushing it into the CTBT and NPT by the backdoor. The best defense of the current Indian government is that it is made up entirely of a stupid ruling coalition, the worst reason I once again leave to your imagination. Interested readers can google a recent article by Dr. Iyengar former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission or Dr. Chellaney, a well known strategic thinker.

The SOFA gives the US to maintain a large number of military bases in Iraq with as many personnel as it wants. They would be authorized to attack, imprison, inflict violence and even kill any Iraqi and would be exempt from and immune to any Iraqi law. It further allows the US to use its military assets in Iraq to attack any other (most likely Iran) country without notifying the Iraqi government. It gives the US total control of Iraqi airspace and puts the Iraqi Defense, Interior and National Security ministries under US supervision for ten years, as also any Iraqi armament purchases. The only missing part of the deal is what the British gave us Indians, the exclusive right to pull the rope of the Punkah to keep the Sahibs comfortable by blowing a cooling breeze in the hot summers.

The US administration is said to be twisting arms, coercing and may even be bribing the Iraqi parliament to sign the deal. Subtle hints have been made that the Iraqi prime minister's post is in jeopardy if the SOFA is not signed by July 2008. An additional threat used is appropriating 40% of the fifty billion dollars of Iraqi oil sale funds that the US holds. Currently the US government has banned execution of all court judgment reparations against Saddam's government for civil and criminal cases. The US government is threatening that if the present Iraqi government doesn't sign the SOFA in its present form, the US will allow the US court judgments currently banned and held in abeyance to collect the monetary fines which will deplete twenty billion dollars. In other words it is telling Iraq that if you don't sign to become our slaves, you will lose twenty of the fifty billion dollars that we are holding as your trustee. At the same time the US is appealing to other countries to extinguish and forgive Iraq's debts. Will our stupid Indian leaders ever learn that with friends like these who needs enemies?

By the way any arms bought from the US cannot be used by India in any war that the US disapproves of. Only Israel can use US arms anywhere and Pakistan is allowed to use US arms obtained under the false pretext of fighting terrorism to attack India or occupy Kargil. The US gave nuclear bomb capable F-16s to Pakistan to fight Al Qaeda. If you are as foolish as our prime minister to believe that, only stupid Indians like us will elect you and your party to rule besides those who hope to get rich during corrupt governance.

That brings me to the last but not the least item of this article. Bush Jr., while addressing the Israeli parliament has clearly stated that Iran must be stopped from uranium enrichment which can lead to acquiring nuclear weapons at all cost and by all means. Israeli prime minister at the Israeli lobby's annual convention has urged the US to attack Iran and threatened to do so himself if the US doesn't. John McCain, the Republican nominee and Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama, all have unequivocally stated at the same convention that Iran must be stopped even by military means if needed. There are already two US aircraft carriers in place in the Straits of Hormuz. When Iraq signs the SOFA agreement the attack on Iran will begin. It is already being blamed for insurgent attacks on American troops in Iraq, supporting Hamas in Gaza and Hizbollah in Lebanon without incontrovertible proof (like accusing Saddam of having nuclear weapons). Starting a new war is Bush's hope of diverting the American people's attention from the economic debacle and improving the chances of Republican McCain's election because of his war and military experience (versus none of Obama).

In the meantime US banks with huge losses and diminishing capital are given a free rein to generate obscene profits by trading from wild gyrations of the US (other markets are dragged up and down the same way) markets and stratospheric and ballistic rise in oil and other commodities. This will help to partly replenish their capital, with the Federal Reserve Bank providing the money to bet and gamble. So in the present day America, the private financial institutions, the national reserve bank and the government are all betting big to gamble for oil on which the economy and daily life of Americans are addicted to. This is leading to starvation, privation and riots in other parts of the world. But who cares, when told that the others in France could not get or afford to eat bread, France's Queen Marie Antoinette said, 'Then let them eat cake'.


More by :  Gaurang Bhatt, MD

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