Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Truth Behind The Iraq Invasion And A Possible US Conflict With Iran

It is now openly obvious why the US (and its 'coalition of the willing') invaded Iraq (without UN backing) in 2003 under the banner ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’. It wasn't for the reasons the Bush administration maintained at the time (suspected WMD, a link between Saddam and Al Qaeda, etc. etc.) but to do with the petrodollar. Many people suspected that oil was the underlying reason but few were aware of the more important need to maintain the 'petrodollar recycling' system.

Petrodollar recycling was introduced by the US in the early 70's, when Middle Eastern countries were beginning to produce oil of their own under the OPEC group of nations. Previously, most of the worlds oil was supplied by the US and all trading in this market was carried out using US dollars. When OPEC came into competition with the US oil giants, the Americans struck a deal with their Middle Eastern counterparts in which they would supply Saudi Arabia, etc. with arms as long as OPEC traded their oil in dollars. This meant that if a country wanted oil, for example Japan, they had to sell to the US their home-produced products (Toyota cars for example) in order to raise the necessary dollars to buy their oil from an OPEC country. These dollars were then invested back into the US by, for example, Saudi Arabia and this left the US in a great position. As long as they could print enough dollars to meet demand they would continue to dominate the worlds oil markets and would (and did) make a fortune doing so. This is what ultimately has made the US into the worlds only superpower, with the ability to afford the necessary military might to match.

Thirty years later, at the turn of the millenium, this cosy arrangement came under threat. Saddam Hussein announced his intention to begin trading oil in the other world currency - Euros - and began doing so before the US invasion in 2003. This gave the US serious concerns. With a massive dept of trillions of dollars (made worse by the habit of the average US citizen to spend far more than they saved, using credit to do so) the US could not afford to stand by and watch the petrodollar recycling system be undermined. The risk to the country's status as sole superpower was massive and with the debt the prospect of US economic collapse was very much a reality.

When elected into office, George Bush had as priority #1 to sort out this petrodollar threat by gaining control of Iraq and in 2003 he invaded. One of the first post-war actions was to revert the country's oil trading currency back to the US dollar, even though this meant that approximately 13% of Iraqs trading value was instantly lost (because the Euro was worth more than the dollar at the time). The invasion was also to serve as an example to neighbouring oil producers not to go down the same 'petroeuro' route.

Unfortunately, Iran has plans to begin trading its oil in Euros and Saudi Arabia is giving serious consideration to the idea. Should this happen the US is likely to economically implode, with its massive military very quickly becoming an unaffordable asset. America would become little more than just another country and its global influence would be consigned to the history books, something that is regarded as unthinkable by the corporate elite.

So the US looks increasingly likely to carry out an attack on Iran, probably involving tactical 'battlefield' nuclear weapons (in an attempt to destroy underground installations there). It is not because the Iranians are close to producing their own nuclear arsenal (the Washington Post reported that the most recent National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of Iran’s nuclear program revealed that, “Iran is about a decade away from manufacturing the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon, roughly doubling the previous estimate of five years.” (see source) but rather to keep the petrodollar on track.

Wargame simulations carried out by the US resulted in the following conclusion being reached by Sam Gardiner, the retired Air Force colonel who has run war games at the National War College for the past two decades: “After all this effort, I am left with two simple sentences for policymakers: You have no military solution for the issues of Iran. And you have to make diplomacy work.” The problem is, as was highlighted in the Iraq invasion and post-war years, that the neo-cons in the Bush administration are prone to acting illogically and against advice provided by people who know far better than themselves. Internationally-respected reporter Seymour Hearsh wrote the following in The New Yorker one year ago:

In my interviews [with former high-level intelligence officials], I was repeatedly told that the next strategic target was Iran. Everyone is saying, ‘You can’t be serious about targeting Iran. Look at Iraq,’ the former [CIA] intelligence official told me. But the [Bush administration officials] say, ‘We’ve got some lessons learned – not militarily, but how we did it politically. We’re not going to rely on agency pissants.’ No loose ends, and that’s why the C.I.A. is out of there."

However, a disturbing article by intelligence analyst Philip Giraldi who, in an article entitled “In Case of Emergency, Nuke Iran,”, said:

The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney's office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing – that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack – but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections.

Should the US decide to carry out such an attack on Iran, China would undoubtedly become involved, since its massive economic expansion is heavily reliant on oil from the region. With Iran planning on introducing its Euro-based trading system in March this year (coinciding with Israel accelerating its US-backed strike plan - see source) events are likely to come to a head very soon. The US is leading us down a road to potential global conflict in order to protect its dominance in the world oil markets and is seemingly likely to bring about the pre-conditions to justify an attack regardless of the consequences. Hopefully there will be no 'coalition of the willing' giving Bush and Cheney some kind of international credibility and this may help to deter them from following their plans through, but we're surely in for a bumpy year, one in which the spectre of the US administration and its shadowy backers showing its true colours is quite horrifying.


Anonymous said...

This article presents some interesting points, which seem to be intentionally ignored in the media.

There is a paradox forming here: governments are starting to realize they have a delusional madman in the US who is consolidating the power of the executive, trouncing on domestic civil rights to posture for martial rule. On the one hand, the world knows that the US military can be deflated in a week. If they dump dollars and US Treasury notes, the system will collapse and the Pentagon will be flaccid. On the other hand, they need to keep lending the US 2 billion dollars a day in order for them to buy their plastic crap from China and other imports. If the dollar collapses, it is going to really really hurt.

The question is where is the line, at what point will the world's self-interest in preservation and stopping the next Hitler make it worth the financial hit. It may well be the attack on Iran. I believe the US will use nukes. Bush's rationalization will be 2-fold. First, it will be that only nukes can bust their bunkers. The second is that a "conventional" bombing of their nuclear facilities will generate radioactive fallout anyway, so what's the difference?

There is a third option, which is even more frightening. Bush's regime has made a point of saying they will nuke anyone who attacks the US with WMDs. Since everyone knows Iran cannot produce a functional warhead, but is purifying uranium, the Bush cabal could do a domestic dirty bomb, blame the Iranians, and nuke them in response.

Either way, the world will eventually have to pull the plug on US debt, and it will trigger an economic depression. In the end, though, we will be better off.

There is one more scenario that one can dream for. If the holders of US debt could get their act together and tell Bush as a collective, they are ready to dump their trillion dollars worth of treasury notes if he misbehaves, they may be able to control him. Maybe, unless that voice from God gets to him first.

Anonymous said...

Why do the stupid Rethuglicans always assume our greatest asset is our military strength? Oh that's right, they are bullying Rethuglicans.

Our greatest asset is our diversity of people, cultures and opinions, plus our ability to effectively work together to create new products and advancements in technologies that other countries, including countries in Western Europe, and Southeast Asia, can only dream of.

We don't need to be a super power bully to dominate the world. We just need to do what we do best, which is to continue to take the lead in exploring and developing new frontiers in science and technology.


Alamaine said...

Now that the truth is finally out of the bag, why don't we recommend a book entitled Petrodollar Warfare: Oil, Iraq And The Future Of The Dollar
by William R. Clark (ISBN: 08657-1514-9, Publisher: Consortium Book Sales and Dist
Publish Date: 15 May, 2005). The book, not longish, explores all of these issues in some good depth, covering the newsy items about the public relations campaign for invading and occupying Iraq as well as the economic and industrial issues surrounding oil and the conversion to the petroEuro. In order to understand the headlong rush to conflict (no war was ever declared) and operations (the legitimate designation, however botched), the Russkies' support of Iran, the Chinese dumping the Dollar, and the importance of Venezuela, all of these issues are tied to localising operations in and around the Persian/Arabian Gulf in order to prevent a wider series of conflicts from erupting. Recall that the original Gulf "War" was intended to do something similar, that of restricting Saddam Hussein's designs and control over the region's oil and the means to deliver it to the World. Kuwait was invaded for similar reasons, that of effecting a strengthening of the Iraqi currency and preventing others from undermining Iraq's authority in the region. Aside from filling teeth, making computer parts, and trinkety jewelry, gold is worthless as currency. Clark points out -- as I have long maintained -- that it is BLACK GOLD that is the medium of exchange. And we're right.

Brian de Ford said...

You're not the first to have brought up the petrodollar/Euro as the cause of the US invasion of Iraq. And whilst the argument is superficially plausible, the evidence is firmly against it.

The idea that the Iraq war is all about the petrodollar is refuted by the evidence. The idea that the Iraq war is mainly about the petrodollar is also refuted by the evidence. At most, the petrodollar/Euro threat was a minor factor and probably did no more than advance the timing slightly.

Back in 1992, Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney had the Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz draft a strategy report. Said report caused an outrage when it was leaked to the press. Today it wouldn't cause a murmur of disapproval because it has been adopted as Dubya's foreign policy. As the sole remaining superpower, the US should be prepared to move aggressively and militarily around the globe. It should form ad hoc coalitions if it can but should be prepared to go it alone. It should maintain a military dominance capable of "deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role." Wolfowitz's report also outlined plans for military intervention in Iraq as an action necessary to assure "access to vital raw material, primarily Persian Gulf oil."

Over the years, various other neocons publicly stated variations on the same theme. One of them was Zalmay M. Khalilzad who was Chief Consultant to Union Oil of California (Unocal) in Afghanistan, was later Dubya's special envoy to Afghanistan, and later still was Dubya's special envoy to Iraq (guess who will be special envoy to the next oil-rich country Dubya invades).

All your favourite neocons were calling for an invasion of Iraq so they could steal its oil. They even formed a group called "Project for a New American Century" (PNAC). Most of the PNAC members either became major figures when the Bush administration stole power or exerted strong influence upon it. You can read all about PNAC and the calls of those who formed it, ever since 1992, to invade Iraq (and the rest of the Middle East) so they could steal the oil in this marvellous PNAC Primer by Bernard Weiner.

Why did the neocons want to do this? Because of a problem known as Peak Oil. We have used up around half of the recoverable oil reserves on the planet. At that point the maximum rate at which oil can be extracted starts to decline and the energy cost of extracting that oil rises. Today output only just meets demand. Demand is growing exponentially as the world population increases and nations like China, India and Pakistan industrialize. Basically, we are heading for a Mad Max kind of world (except the reality won't be as pleasant).

One thing the PNAC Primer doesn't mention is Dick Cheney's speech to the London Institute of Petroleum in 1999. The speech does not explicitly mention Peak Oil, but if you read between the lines Cheney is certainly aware of it. It is most notable for this quote: "While many regions of the world offer great oil opportunities, the Middle East with two thirds of the world's oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies, even though companies are anxious for greater access there, progress continues to be slow."

It has always been about stealing oil, and the petrodollar/Euro thing is a trivial additional reason at best. Those who have noted the administration's psychopathic delight in rubbing our noses in what they're doing ("even when we tell you in advance what we're going to do, you cannot stop us because we are like Gods compared to you") will probably remember that the original name for the illegal invasion of Iraq was "Operation Iraqi Liberation" (which spells "OIL").

BTW, if you read the PNAC Primer carefully, you will note that PNAC's White Paper written in 2000 (which is essentially Wolfowitz's 1992 strategy paper brought up to date) acknowledged that the transformation of the US military (into a gang of raping, pillaging, torturing thugs who will help steal oil) "is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event-like a new Pearl Harbor." You may perhaps recall an event of 2001, which apparently happened because of the incompetence of the Bush administration, which has often been referred to as "a new Pearl Harbor."

What a coincidence! Due to their own (apparent) incompetence, the neocons got the very event they had been praying for and which made their wet dreams come true. It couldn't have worked out better for them if they had planned it that way.

Jonathan said...

I’m not taken to believe in conspiracy theories. But if we are attacked again by “terrorists” and the Bushies use it as an excuse to attack another country, Iran say, than I would have to start rethinking things.

It is interesting that Cheney told STRATCOM to draw up plans to attack Iran if there were to be another 9/11.

Anonymous said...

potential global conflict

should read if you are military-

certain global thermonuclear war

or if you're a Bible-thumping Bushy-


or if you're into evolution-

extinction of every lifeform on this planet larger than a bacterium

Think this is an over reaction? Let me tell you the future-

1. US launches nuclear strike on Iran

2. China being an ally of Irans orders a nuclear counterstrike

3. US nukes China

4. Russia, though no longer communist, still has an alliance with China, meaning they will strike back at the US

5. US nukes Russia

6. those not caught up in the initial strikes die from the fallout or from the resulting nuclear winter.

This is all inevitable.

Anonymous said...

Are there no heroes left? No brave men and women who know things and can stop this madness and these delusional despots? These neocons who are brazen enough to publish their plans for the world to see and who have all but destroyed our country and are planning the same for the world? Is their evil machine so effective that people fear them to this level?