The Issue Is Oil

Plans go beyond Saddam’s overthrow

The Bush’s Administration policy towards the so-called axis of evil increasingly looks incoherent. North Korea admitted it has nuclear weapons and expelled UN inspectors; Bush, however, wants to solve the problem diplomatically. Concerning Iran, another member of the axis of evil, the Administration is totally silent. Iraq, on the other hand, opened its country for UN inspectors to roam around wherever they want. It submitted a lengthy report declaring that it is free of weapons of mass destruction.

The inspectors have not found what they are looking for. The Administration looked through the report and found nothing to prove its claims. Bush’s reaction was that the inspectors cannot find anything in a country big like Texas; and that the Iraqi report is full of gaps without providing evidence to fill those gaps. In this context, however, a look at the larger picture of the Middle East is necessary. It is absurd to believe that deploying thousands of troops and spending astronomical sums of money have only one purpose--to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

It seems that the control of Iraqi oil and a new map of the Middle East are the ultimate goals. According to this map, Iraq would again become a kingdom, the Palestinian territories would form a confederation with Jordan and the Kurds would retain their present status in order not to offend our ally Turkey.

This plan opens the door for a forced solution to the Palestinian question according to Israel’s requirements--preventing the establishment of a Palestinian state. Whether this plan will see the light remains to be seen.

January 8, 2003

Administration lying about war motives

President Bush wants to go to war against Iraq. A majority of Americans, however, are convinced that Bush didn’t make the case. The media like to mention that there is a solid 68% of Americans who support military action and gloss over the fact that this number drops to 26% in the case of unilateral action.

The Administration likes to repeat that war is its last option. Simply put, the American people do not believe that. According to a recent Pew poll, “a solid majority of Americans (62%) think the administration has already decided to go to war with Iraq.”

The Administration continues to confuse the American people by using expressions like “the coalition of the willing.” It seems that it’s no longer possible to form a coalition and “the willing” are only two: Bush and Blair. Another expression is “time is running out,” as if Saddam’s ballistic missiles (that he doesn’t have) are pointed toward the U.S. ready to be launched.

Economic interests are often the reason given for France’s independent position. This may be true. It is also true that American oil companies, like Halliburton (Cheney’s former company) and Schlumberger, are in contact with the Administration. They are seen, according to The Wall Street Journal, (Jan 17, 2003) “as favorites for what could be as much as $1.5 billion in contracts.”

This morally bankrupt Republican Administration is lying to us to satisfy its greed. The name of the game is blood for oil, not the illusory threat that Iraq poses.

January 25, 2003

Administration tries to mislead on Iraq

Are President Bush and his administration trustworthy when they tell us that Iraq is a threat to us? That a country under sanctions for more than a decade poses a threat to the only superpower is, on the face of it, the mother of all jokes.

More seriously, back in September, Bush has cited a report from 1998 by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as evidence that Iraq is six months away from nuclear weapons. However, Mark Gwozdecky, IAEA spokesman stated: ''There's never been a report like that issued from this agency'' (Washington Times, Sept. 27, 2002).

Second, members of the administration keep repeating that in 1998 Iraq expelled the UN inspectors. The truth is that Richard Butler, Executive Chairman of UNSCOM withdrew the inspectors in anticipation of a military attack (Washington Post, Dec. 17, 1998).

Third, Bush in his speech before the UN General Assembly, and Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice in other forums, repeated that Iraq tried to buy thousands of high-strength aluminum tubes that are only suitable for nuclear weapons programs. IAEA experts in a Jan. 8 report said that “the tubes were not directly suitable for uranium enrichment but were consistent with making ordinary artillery rocket.”

Commenting on such disinformation, David Albright, a former inspector, said: “I fear that the information was put out there for a short-term political goal: to convince people that Saddam Hussein is close to acquiring nuclear weapons." (Washington Post, Jan. 24, 2003).
When will Bush administration stop lying and start telling the truth?

January 28, 2003

Oil is the issue

Did president Bush make the case for war against Iraq? Polls, here and abroad, show that he didn’t. The reason is simple: there is no case to be made.

The president keeps saying that Saddam has weapons of mass destruction. The problem, as columnist Robert Novak said on Crossfire (Jan. 28), is that “this weapons of mass destruction (issue) is a subterfuge. It is a pretext… I need him to tell us what the clear and present danger to the American national interest is by Saddam Hussein, who has had weapons of mass destruction for 20 years. He’s never used them on us.”

Had the president brought oil into the equation, he would have a case. It should be noted that Bush was on the board of Harken Energy; vice-president Cheney was CEO of Halliburton; and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice was on Chevron’s board. So, when an article in The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 29) is entitled “U.S. Probes Its Iraq-Oil Rights” the oil case becomes stronger.

For Bush to be credible, he must pledge that not a penny of Iraqi oil will be used to pay for the war; that not a single American company will be granted any oil contract in Iraq; that once Iraq is “liberated” an international independent body will be formed to manage the Iraqi oil business until Iraqis freely elect new leaders. Otherwise, the suspicion will remain that the war is about the control of a country that has the second-largest oil reserve in the world.

February 5, 2003

Powell’s presentation was not credible

With every passing day, Secretary of State Colin Powell’s “show” on Feb. 5 in the UN Security Council is turning to be a farce. If it deserves an A on theatrics, on substance, however, it gets a D, which will rapidly become an F if more revelations surface.

First, the British government dossier that Powell profusely praised is not based on “intelligence material” but was taken from published academic articles, some of them several years old.  According to The Guardian, 4 of the 19 pages were copied “from the internet version of an article by Ibrahim al-Marashi which appeared in the Middle East Review of International Affairs last September… 6 more pages relies heavily on articles that appeared in Jane’s Intelligence Review in 1997 and last November.” Whether Powell didn’t know or didn’t want to reveal this plagiarism is indicative of the deceptive mentality this administration has.

Second, in his presentation, Powell referred to a poison and explosive training center camp located in northeastern Iraq. According to the Associated Press: “journalists who visited the site depicted in Powell’s satellite photo found a half-built compound filled with heavily armed Kurdish men, video equipment and children but no obvious sign of chemical weapons manufacturing.” Not only was the information provided inaccurate, but this supposedly dangerous center is located, by Powell’s own words, “outside Saddam Hussein’s controlled Iraq” and run by his enemies.

Much more can be said about Powell’s presentation; suffice it to say that by giving half-baked information he discredited himself and the administration.

February 11, 2003

Why is administration so eager for a war?

In your Feb. 15 editorial, you seem to belittle the progress made by U.N. inspectors in Iraq by writing that France, China and Russia “seized on those meager” results to pursue the inspection. On the other hand, you characterized Powel’s assessment as more realistic. What is so realistic about saying: “More inspectors – sorry, not the answer.” What’s the answer then? War?

It is hoped that the message sent from inside the Security Council chamber and on the streets of cities all over the world to the warmongers in this country was loud and clear. Which is better? To kill thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians or continue the inspections until Iraq is totally disarmed?

It is true that the Council decided on a two-step approach, as France suggested. This doesn’t entail that the second step should be taken now, given the fact that Hans Blix’s report to the Council that day was more positive toward Iraq than the one he gave two weeks ago.

It is legitimate to ask: Why this administration is so eager to go to war? What is it that Bush see that the rest of the world doesn’t see? Is it oil by any chance?

It is hypocritical on the part of Bush to demand that Saddam Hussein respect international law while he shows no compunction in breaking it, since he keeps repeating that the US will go to war with or without an authorization from the Security Council. It is his credibility, not that of the UN that is at stake.

February 21, 2003

Administration motivated by oil

It is becoming increasingly obvious that President Bush's goal is not to disarm Iraq. Had this been the case, the destruction so far of 16 out of about 100 missiles that Iraq voluntarily declared, the private interviews with Iraqi scientists that have resumed, and the additional documents Iraq provided about the destruction of its biological and chemical agents would have been enough to show that disarmament is in progress.

But, as Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, said on CNN's Inside Politics of Feb. 28, "I think if we want disarmament, there's still a possibility . . . If we want regime change, it will have to be war." In fact, according to PBS's Frontline of Feb. 20, the idea of going to war against Iraq was talked about immediately after 9/11, even though no links were established between Iraq and al-Qaida.

Bush's administration decided early on to go to war and then went on a fishing expedition to find a pretext. That's why the reason given kept changing from "Saddam is a threat" to "spreading democracy" to "liberating the Iraqis." The idea that this war is about liberating Iraq is as ludicrous as the idea that the first gulf war was about liberating Kuwait. In a moment of truth, Jim Baker, then secretary of state, said the first gulf war was about oil. This one is also about oil.

Shame on an administration that is putting its commercial interests over human lives! Such mendacity needs to be exposed.

March 8, 2003

Puzzling questions

The following are a number of puzzling questions:

Statements like “the UN should enforce its own resolutions; if it doesn’t, we will” makes one wonder who put the Bush administration in charge of enforcing UN resolutions? If it is in charge will it also enforce the some sixty plus UN resolutions taken against Israel?

The Bush administration is also trying very hard to pass a second resolution which will be interpreted as authorizing war. It does, however, say it doesn’t really need one. Does this sound logical?

The administration also says that if this second resolution gets the majority of nine votes, even if France uses its veto, it will be a moral victory. Since when can bribing and coercing smaller countries be considered a "moral" victory?

“Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is dangerous since he can give them to the terrorists.” Why is it that Saddam Hussein with hundreds of inspectors roaming around would do such a thing and not North Korea that expelled the inspectors and reactivated its nuclear program?

The Bush administration keeps repeating that action is better than inaction. Only someone with bad faith can describe the intrusive inspections by UNMOVIC as inaction.

The point is this. Why in the world is it necessary to kill thousands of innocent Iraqis, destroy, for a second time, the infrastructure of Iraq, put our soldiers in harm’s way, if disarming Iraq can be done peacefully, especially given that Iraq does not pose an imminent danger, as the Bush administration wants us to believe?

March 18, 2003