AHMED CHALABI – OIL MAN IN BAGHDAD William Bowles (18/04/03)

Ahmed Chalibi

The Thief of Baghdad
"Mr Chalabi and his movement are failures and are not even qualified to run a grocery shop".
Qatari newspaper Al-Watan.

"Oil is at the heart of the crisis that leads towards a US war against Iraq. For more than a hundred years, major powers have battled to control this enormous source of wealth and strategic power. The major international oil companies, headquartered in the United States and the United Kingdom, are keen to regain control over Iraq’s oil, lost with the nationalization in 1972. Few outside the industry understand just how high the stakes in Iraq really are and how much the history of the world oil industry is a history of power, national rivalry and military force.

"A U.S. client government in Baghdad – or a U.S. military occupation government – would doubtless hand out upstream production concessions to US-UK companies that would set an important precedent in the world oil industry, tipping the balance of power in favor of the companies and away from the producer states. In this way, the war against Iraq would have an effect on the oil industry that would go far beyond the borders of Iraq…. In Venezuela, Iraq, Algeria, Iran, and other producer countries, the US government appeared to be involved in destabilization measures, deepening existing social instability and what some scholars call "the crisis of the rentier state."

"The multinationals argue that their enormous finances, greater technical competence and lower production costs could benefit producer governments, but behind these technocratic arguments lies the threat of further foreign destabilization and even direct military intervention. Clearly, the companies hope to roll the clock back to the "good old days" when they ruled the oil business and gave producer governments only a very small share.

"Even before Iraq had reached its full production potential of 8 million barrels or more per day, the companies would gain huge leverage over the international oil system. OPEC would be weakened by the withdrawal of one of its key producers from the OPEC quota system.

"This would put pressure on all major oil producers like Kuwait, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela to de-nationalize their oil companies and offer US-UK companies new concessions or production-sharing agreements that could lead to far higher company profits in these areas…. US military presence in the Gulf and US clandestine operations to overthrow nationalist governments such as Chavez in Venzuela would increase the pressure. Privatization, even if incomplete, could yield additional tens of billions of profits to the oil companies and would weaken and even destabilize the major oil-producing states. Oil prices might be lowered temporarily to achieve this purpose, then raised later on when a new company-friendly order had been established."

From, Oil in Iraq: the heart of the Crisis, James A. Paul, Global Policy Forum December, 2002
Source:
http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/oil/2002/12heart.htm

Conspiracy?
The Western media, as well as the US and UK governments have consistently poured scorn on the idea that the invasion of Iraq is not about grabbing the oil eg,

"Conspiracy [sic] theories abound…. Others claim it was inspired by oil…. [This] theor[y] [is] largely nonsense."
Source: The Independent April 16, 2003.

Largely nonsense? I’m not sure what the writer means by that but I can duplicate this approach from a dozen different sources. Why do I think that to quote the Bard, "My lady doth protest too much."?

Perhaps we should let the oil men and their friends speak for themselves:

"I would say that especially the U.S. oil companies…look forward to the idea that Iraq will be open for business [after the overthrow of Saddam]," says an executive from one of the world's largest oil companies.

"What they [the neo-conservatives in the Bush administration] have in mind is denationalization, and then parceling Iraqi oil out to American oil companies…. We take over Iraq, install our regime, produce oil at the maximum rate and tell Saudi Arabia to go to hell." James E. Akins, former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

"It's probably going to spell the end of OPEC." Shoshana Bryen, director of special projects for JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs) after the fall of Iraq and the privatisation of its oil, that is.

"American companies will have a big shot at Iraqi oil," Ahmed Chalabi in the Washington Post.

In "The Future of a Post-Saddam Iraq: A Blueprint for American Involvement," a series of Heritage Foundation documents, sets out a plan for the privatisation of Iraq’s oil and indeed the privatisation of its entire economy.
See:
http://www.heritage.org/Research/MiddleEast/bg1589.cfm
http://www.heritage.org/Research/MiddleEast/bg1632.cfm
http://www.heritage.org/Research/MiddleEast/bg1633.cfm

Most telling is the title of the first of these documents:

"In Post-War Iraq, Use Military Forces to Secure Vital U.S. Interests, Not for Nation-Building"

Not for nation-building? It’s actually to secure ‘Vital U.S. Interests’. How silly of me, and I thought the USUK had invaded Iraq precisely to do just that, rebuild the nation (after destroying it of course). The point is, the Heritage Foundation is not just a bunch of academics, they are ‘hard-wired’ into the White House.

And it’s clear that US big business is not going to stop at Iraq, Saudi Arabia will be next. We have to remember that Saudi oil used to belong to Aramco, a consortium of Exxon, Mobil, Texaco and Chevron until it was nationalised in 1972. And ever since the oil crisis of 1973, when it became clear just how vulnerable US capitalism is to the power of OPEC (the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries), the US has been desperate to get its grubby hands on all that oil again and destroy OPEC into the bargain. Far-fetched? Read on…

Max Singer, co-founder of the Hudson Institute suggested in an article entitled, "Free the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia," that a new country should be created called The Muslim Republic of East Arabia and that the US should "help" create it. And Richard Perle has suggested something similar. And of course that’s where most of the oil is located.

"William Kristol, a long-time friend of Bush from Yale days, wrote in a book he co-authored: 'The mission begins in Baghdad, but it does not end there. We stand at the cusp of a new historical era. It is so clearly about more than Iraq. It is about more even than the future of the Middle East. It is about what sort of role the United States intends to play in the twenty-first century.'"
Ed Vulliamy, Sunday April 13, 2003 The Observer.

And James E. Akins again, former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia doesn’t mince his words when he says,

    'If the ultimate goal [of the US] is to be world dominatrix, then she will need the oil of Arabia, from Kirkuk to Muscat,' he states. 'The ideological, imperial aim and that of commanding the oil markets for the rest of the oil era, entwine into the same game plan. If we do this, and move into Saudi Arabia, we are masters of the universe - the American Imperium.'
    Ed Vulliamy, Sunday April 13, 2003 The Observer.

And again, according to the Observer article quoted above,

    "State Department sources [say that] Israel is integral to plans to attack Syria. They say a guarantee to remove Hizbollah and its sponsorship is a secret ingredient to the Middle East 'road map', agreed between Washington and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon."
    Source:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/Print/0,3858,4647248,00.html

"Furthermore, despite Saudi Arabia being our `client state,' the Saudi regime appears increasingly weak/threatened from massive civil unrest. Some analysts believe a `Saudi Revolution' might be plausible in the aftermath of an unpopular U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq (ie. Iran circa 1979). Undoubtedly, the Bush administration is acutely aware of these risks. Hence, the neo-conservative framework entails a large and permanent military presence in the Persian Gulf region in a post-Saddam era, just in case we need to surround and control Saudi's Ghawar oil fields in the event of a coup by an anti-western group. But first back to Iraq."

Quoted from, "The Real Reasons for the Upcoming War With Iraq: A Macroeconomic and Geostrategic Analysis of the Unspoken Truth" by W. Clark, January 2003 (last revised 6 March). This is a must read article for those interested in the role of the Petro-dollar in propping up an almost bankrupt US economy and the competition between the EU and USUK.
Source:
http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/RRiraqWar.html

And who’s going to facilitate this outrageous resources grab in Iraq? Why our man Ahmed Chalabi, the friend of big oil.

It’s ALL About Oil
"The Bush objective is to drive the price of oil down and simultaneously drive a stake through OPEC, forestalling a further and perhaps catastrophic crash in the U.S. economy. News analyses from Pravda to Fox News have foreseen that a successful U.S. invasion will result in crude oil prices of between $12 and $16 per barrel. Oil currently costs $30 per barrel.

"That would destroy Russia's economic recovery as it sells hand over fist its own diminishing reserves -- oil that is more expensive to produce and of a lesser quality than Mideast crude, while prices are at $30. Iraq owes Russia $7 billion in debt from the Soviet era.

"And on Aug. 19, Russia and Iraq signed a $40 billion infrastructure development deal, which, as reported in the Tehran Times, saw a team of Russian engineers on their way to what may soon be targets of U.S. bombing raids.

"Both Russia and France have development interests in major Iraqi oil fields. The Reuters story reported, "Although [France's] TotalFinaElf has no contract, it has been earmarked by Saddam's government to develop the Majnoon and Bin Umar fields with reserves totaling 26 billion barrels. [Russia's] Lukoil has signed a contract for the 15 billion-barrel West Qurna field.""

And just in case you still don’t get it, from the same piece:

    "And in Saudi Arabia, Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal made a second about face on Monday and once again categorically withdrew any Saudi support for the U.S. war. The timing was possibly influenced by a Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) report released today that was exceptionally critical of the Bush Administration for not cracking down on Saudi Arabia's extensive financial ties to al Qaeda. The CFR investigation, directed by Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, CEO of American International Group (AIG), was chartered by the CFR to be an intelligence analyis[t] of terrorist financing. Greenberg, a staunch Israeli supporter, is well qualified for this task.

    "The CFR criticism of Bush is significant for many reasons. First, it signals that the CFR is anxious to pursue an agenda that will likely result in the demise of the Saudi kingdom and the division of that country, with the U.S. simultaneously occupying both Iraq and the oil producing regions of Saudi Arabia."
    Source: "The Unseen Conflict" by Michael C Ruppert, October 18, 2002.

Ahmed Chalabi – Oil Man in Baghdad and Bag Man in Tel Aviv
"He's a criminal banker," says Akins, the former ambassador to Saudi Arabia. "He’s a swindler. He's interested in getting money, and I suspect it’s all gone into his bank accounts and those of his friends."

And who was it I saw the other day, posing for a photo op when US marines toppled the statue of Saddam and draped it in the flag (conveniently to hand of course) that flew over the Pentagon on 911? Why it’s our man Ahmed Chalabi again.

And lest you pour scorn on one of the other "largely nonsense…conspiracy theories" (the Israel connection) like the Independent does, Chalabi is also ‘our’ man in Tel Aviv.

    ""Chalabi's cheerleaders include the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). "Chalabi is the one that we know the best," says Shoshana Bryen, director of special projects for JINSA, where Chalabi has been a frequent guest at board meetings, symposia and other events since 1997. "He could be Iraq's national leader," says Patrick Clawson, deputy director of WINEP, whose board of advisers includes pro-Israeli luminaries such as [Richard] Perle, [Paul] Wolfowitz and Martin Peretz of The New Republic.""
    Robert Dreyfuss, "Tinker, Banker, NeoCon, Spy," The American Prospect vol. 13 no. 21, November 18, 2002.

He gets around does Chalabi. Most important of all, he’s the oil companies favourite man in the White House, where it really counts, never mind that the State Department and the CIA think he’s a flake and a thief.

"The US-UK companies, keen to regain their former dominance in Iraq, fear that they would lose their leading role in the world oil industry if these contracts [with France and Russia]…come to fruition.

    "We will review all these agreements, definitely," said Faisal Qaragholi to a Washington Post reporter in September. Quaragholi is a petroleum engineer who directs the London office of the Iraqi National Congress (INC)… that is backed by the United States. "Our oil policies should be decided by a government in Iraq elected by the people."

    "Ahmed Chalabi, the INC leader, went even further, saying he favored the creation of a U.S.-led consortium to develop Iraq's oil fields, which have deteriorated under more than a decade of sanctions. "American companies will have a big shot at Iraqi oil," Chalabi said."
    Source:
    http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/oil/2002/12heart.htm

As ever, the Western media whether pro- or ‘anti-war’, when push comes to shove, knows where it stands and is prepared to ignore the obvious as it dishes up pathetic excuses for western imperialism in the name of ‘objective’ journalism and its attempts to relegate opponents of the war as ‘loony conspiracists’. Yet the facts speak for themselves, which is why I’ve gone to such lengths to research this piece from as many different sources as possible, lest there be any doubters amongst you who think I’m loony too.

After all, it doesn’t need to be a conspiracy in order to be true. It’s just the way things are, but it needn’t be, not if we don’t want it to. It’s up to you.

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