Control Over Natural Resources at the Root of War
|February 25, 2003||Posted by Staff under The Progress Report|
Control Over Natural Resources at the Root of War
U.S. Oil Interests Are Driving the Invasion of Iraq, Say Greens
Here is a news release from the Green Party of the United States.
“Oil isn’t the only motivation, but it’s a major reason President Bush plans to launch an invasion of Iraq,” said Mark Dunlea, Chair of the Green Party of New York State. “While the White House and its apologists deny it regularly, the evidence is clear that the Bush Administration and American oil companies are trying to win control over the world’s second largest source of oil.”
Iraq has the second largest oil reserves, after Saudi Arabia, with 11% of the world’s oil. “Other Arab and Muslim nations would recognize the appropriated Iraqi oil money as proof of the U.S.’s motivation for the invasion,” added Dunlea.
The Green Party of the United States has called for massive reduction in the U.S.’s reliance on fossil fuels, calling for conversion to clean wind, solar, and fuel cell energy and the promotion of energy efficiency. Greens also protest the influence of oil and other corporations over U.S. government and public policy and have demanded extensive reform in campaign finance laws.
“Oil and gas companies hardly need to lobby the Bush White House to get their way,” said Beth Moore Haines, Media Coordinator for the Green Party of California. “They contributed $26.7 million in campaign funds to Bush and other Republican candidates in 2000, and $18 million to Republicans in 2002. Bush, Cheney, and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice are all former oil company execs. Big Oil policy is White House policy.”
There’s ample evidence of the importance of oil in the drive to invade Iraq, say Greens:
*** U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, Republican Party chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has threatened France and Russia, saying that if they don’t support Bush’s invasion plans they’ll get no share in Iraq’s oil resources (Oil and Gas International’s ‘World Industry News’, January 27, 2003).
*** The Bush Administration’s most outspoken war-for-oil proponent is Richard Perle, chair of the Defense Policy Board, a Pentagon advisory group. Perle’s Rand Corporation report briefing submitted in July, 2002 recommended invading Iraq as a first step in gaining U.S. control over oil throughout the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia (Boston Globe, September 10, 2002).
*** “Oil giants including ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, and ConocoPhillips are the most likely to lead any development efforts in a post-war Iraq,” according to energy analyst Peter Zeihan of Stratfor, an intelligence-consulting group based in Austin, Texas (“Reaping the spoils of war: Ousting Saddam could put U.S. oil giants in ‘driver’s seat’,” CBS.MarketWatch.com, January 31, 2003).
Executives from U.S. oil firms have been conferring with officials from the White House, State Department and Defense Department on lucrative contracts to rebuild and run Iraq’s oil industry after the war, according to The Wall Street Journal. “[T]he early spoils would probably go to companies needed to keep Iraq’s already run-down oil operations running, especially if facilities were further damaged in a war. Oil-services firms such as Halliburton Co., where Vice President Dick Cheney formerly served as chief executive, and Schlumberger Ltd. are seen as favorites for what could be as much as $1.5 billion in contracts. The major oil and natural-gas producers won’t be far behind.” (“U.S. Oil Wants to Work in Iraq”, January 16, 2003)
Such reports have prompted consumer advocate and 2000 Green presidential candidate Ralph Nader to ask about the extent to which oil companies were involved in the decision to invade Iraq. “The American people also have a right to know what was discussed in the numerous secret meetings Vice President Cheney’s national energy task force held with oil and gas executives.” (“What Role the Oil Industry Playing in Bush’s Drive to War?”, by Ralph Nader, CommonDreams.org, February 14, 2003)
*** The U.S. consumes 26% of the world’s oil, but possesses only 2% of the world’s oil reserves. The U.S. imports 9.8 million barrels of oil a day, more than half of its 19.5 million barrels a day consumption. Cheney’s national energy plan, drafted during the secret meetings with oil executives, wants the U.S. to import 17 million barrels a day, or 2/3 of daily oil consumption, by 2020. The plan makes energy security, including control over the availability of oil to other nations, a priority of U.S. foreign policy.
Outside the U.S., the oil motivation is more openly discussed. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw acknowledged in a recent speech to British ambassadors that oil is the main motivation for Blair’s support for Bush’s war, much more so than any threat of weapons of mass destruction.
“The Blair government is concerned about global energy supplies, especially oil imports, during the coming years,” said Beth Moore Haines. “And the Bush Administration and its oil company backers want to control the Iraqi oil spigot, whether or not any of that oil actually comes to America. That’s what makes Bush’s planned invasion such a blatant and dangerous exercise in empire building.”
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