News and opinions on situation in Iran
|4/2/06||Why Russia caved-in on Iran by Mike Whitney|
February 4, 2006
Many war-weary newshounds are probably wondering why Russia caved in at the IAEA board meeting and agreed to have Iran sent before the UN Security Council. Russia, of course, is very familiar with Iran’s nuclear program (having worked with Iran on its nuclear power projects) and fully realizes that the Mullahs are not developing nuclear weapons.
So, why would they go along with the coercive maneuvering of the United States that is so clearly designed to pave the way for war?
Obviously, Russia’s foreign minister’s comment that the referral to the UNSC is “only a warning” doesn’t adequately explain why Russia would have placed its ally in such grave danger of a preemptive attack.
So why did Russia capitulate?
It may be, in the words of the Godfather, that the Bush administration made Putin “a deal he couldn’t refuse”. For one thing, MosNews reports just yesterday that “Lukoil will replace the disgraced Halliburton” in providing fuel in Iraq. MosNews states, “Over three months beginning from April 1, LITASCO will have to deliver 180,000 tons of gasoline and 130,000 tons of diesel fuel to Iraq. After this the contract may be renewed.
Halliburton’s replacement was chosen by a tender, the results of which the Pentagon announced on March 8. The winners were six Turkish companies and the U.S. Refinery Associates which won the right to the largest contract worth $108.5 million.”
That’s a pretty hefty reward for Putin’s vote on Iran, but apparently it only scratches the surface. (We should also note the generous prizes handed out to the 6 Turkish companies. Is this Turkey’s payoff for using its bases in future military operations against Iran?)
Russia’s real goal, however, is “the securing of rights for exploration and extraction at the huge West Qurna-2 oil field.” Putin has always insisted that the Bush administration honor Saddam’s previous commitments with Lukoil. It appears now that Putin is winning that battle.
According to the Boston, Globe Lukoil president Vagit Alekperov met with Iraq’s oil minister Ibrahim al-Ulloum to firm up “an understanding” about Russia’s $6 billion contract to develop the West Qurna-2 oil field. Al-Ulloum, of course, is just following Washington’s directives in reviving the moribund Russian contract. But it is striking that Bush would surrender such an enormous trophy as one of Iraq’s main oil fields just to secure Russia’s vote.
Does the administration really need a war with Iran so desperately?
The truth is, that even the control of oil is not nearly as critical to the US as maintaining it’s continued dominance in the exchange of oil in greenbacks. If Iran is allowed to open its oil bourse (exchange) in March and openly compete with the US’s monopoly on trading oil in petrodollars, the central banks across the globe will dump hundreds of billions of dollars overnight, and the American economy will disappear beneath the waves.
This is not fiction.
The reason the United States is the unchallenged leader of the global economic system is because it has a stranglehold on the oil trade. Even the oil itself, or the price at which it is sold, is of less importance than the means by which it is traded. The nation that controls the currency, determines the rules of the game. It forces other nations to stockpile mountains of its debt-ridden script, while Congress breezily produces oceans of red ink. America’s fat-cat bankers and corporatists are now living off the generosity of the developing world that must hold on to worthless dollars so they can purchase oil. Iran’s plan to sell its oil in petro-euros threatens to break up this massive extortion-ring and put the greenback nose-to-nose with its global competitor; the euro.
The Lukoil transaction should prove to skeptics that Washington is prepared to give up anything to prevent the opening of Iran’s oil exchange. The UN Security Council is just the last step before military operations begin.
The Bush administration is dead-set on attacking Iran and removing this existential threat to the American economy and the ongoing supremacy of the reserve currency.
Now that the case is in the Security Council, things should move ahead fairly quickly.