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ArabNews.com: The Global Shell & Pea Game

Tanya Cariina Hsu, [email protected]
 
Shocking in its passivity, the world is quietly watching to see what the United States will do about Iran. No one is willing to take affirmative action, draw the line, and say no; the US takes this as tacit approval to go full steam ahead in moving to its next step toward its conquest of the Middle East and its energy resources, in order to control the world’s economic supply. The war has never been about weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, or bringing democracy to a people who would greet the “liberators” with flowers. Prior to the “New Pearl Harbor” of Sept. 11, 2001, the US already had attack plans drawn up and ready for a bombing campaign in Afghanistan. The neoconservatives were merely the Bush cheerleading team, touting the wars freely across the media, in personal readiness of the increased military spending to come their way via massive defense contract commissions, especially linked to the seemingly ever-threatened Israel.

In 2001, the US was the Taleban’s second largest donor; it gave $124.2 million up until May. Ostensibly for agricultural aid and humanitarian assistance, such largesse was a seduction of the Taleban into allowing American UNOCAL to build a pipeline from the energy rich Caspian Sea through Afghanistan and out to the warm waters of the Gulf and Indian Ocean. The Taleban rejected the offer. In August 2001, Christina Rocca of the US State Department warned the Taleban, “Accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs.” The Taleban instead signed a deal to build with Bridas, an Argentinean company. The following month, on Sept. 11, the Pentagon and Twin Towers were attacked and the US indeed bombed Afghanistan in October. Hamid Karzai, former UNOCAL consultant and translator for the Taleban, was installed as head of the country, the previous pipeline contract with Argentina was nullified, and the US was fully in charge.

In 2000, Saddam Hussein had announced his own death sentence: He was switching the currency for oil in Iraq from petrodollars to petroeuros. Within a week of coming into office, Dick Cheney’s secret “Energy Task Force” was examining Iraqi oil field and pipeline maps, and their priority No. 1, announced in May of 2001 stated, “Middle East oil producers will remain central to world security. The Gulf will be a primary focus of US international energy policy.” That’s diplomatic speak for foreign national military policy and interest. Once having switched to euros, Saddam Hussein had cut the US out of his market, the second largest reserves in the world. Suddenly his WMDs were “imminent” and America had to stop the potential mushroom cloud. In 2003, the US attacked the threatening and now armed-and-dangerous Saddam Hussein. They did find Saddam’s chemical weapons: A few baking soda boxes in one of his refrigerators.

A year before the bombing of Iraq, the State Department demanded that Iraq “should be open to international oil companies”, meaning the USA. The new Iraqi government voided all previous oil agreements with other nations and switched petroeuros back to petrodollars. This month the new Iraqi hydrocarbon law goes into effect whereby the “international companies” such as Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips and Royal Dutch Shell, under Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs), receive up to 75 percent of Iraq’s oil profits indefinitely until the companies decide they’ve been paid enough reimbursement for any initial rebuilding investments. After that, they will receive an unheard-of in the Middle East 20 percent of profits, twice the industry standard. Mission accomplished.

Six weeks ago, after a year of speculation, Iran changed its oil bourse from petrodollars to petroeuros. US rhetoric against the leadership of Iran was therefore ratcheted up in latter 2006. First, Ahmadinejad’s call to erase the Zionist political entity from the pages of time was translated in to “wipe Israel off the map”, alarming the world to a specter of a new holocaust. Second, Iran’s nuclear weaponry intentions were disclosed — a new imminent threat — but the American taxpayers weren’t buying that one so easily this time. Thus, the new story of Iranian supplies to insurgents in Iraq is told at bedtime (less than one percent of attacks on US troops in Iraq are by Shiites).

It’s a new spin on the US Iran-Contra era: In 1980, the US sold arms from anywhere, friend or foe, to both Iraq and Iran just as long as they would fight each other out. It did not matter whether they were Shiite or Sunni — they were all Muslims and who knew the difference? When it appeared that Iran was winning the Iran-Iraq war in 1987, the US increased its funding to Saddam and supplied him with the intelligence he needed to attack Iran’s navy.

The US is selling the intended “non-war” on Iran as a religious necessity, Iraq versus Iran, Sunni versus Shiite. Don’t believe it. Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and William Gates have all visited the region to alert Gulf governments to the threat from the Shiites in Iran. They sold the threat of Saddam Hussein’s attack on the Kingdom in 1990 by showing satellite images doctored to reveal amassing troops on the Saudi border.

Leaders in the Middle East may want to believe that this is now all about a growing Shiite crescent threat. A natural emotional reaction given historical animosity. The US wants the Sunni leaders to believe that it’s about Islamic divisions, knowing fully it may appeal to their sentiments. Moreover, America will supply whatever it can muster to convince Sunni leaders of precisely such a concern, evidencing whatever it can to prove such a threat, as it did in 1990. And so it goes again: Iran-Iraq all over. Let the Sunnis and Shiites fight it out whilst we carry on with securing that oil.

US Air Force carriers are now in the Gulf. Extra Patriot missiles are in place, minesweepers sent out, and President Bush has ordered oil reserves to be stockpiled. War games took place in Alabama a year ago (STRATCOM Conplan 8022) theorizing a dirty-bomb attack, and a consequential nuclear aerial response by the US against an un-named Asian country. Reasons have been produced — Iranian arms killing Sunnis in Iraq, which as any illegal arms dealer can attest show nothing but point of manufacture, not origin of. And, the Iranians have dared to switch their oil trading currency to those pesky petroeuros.

It’s all about controlling the energy, religious or political threats sold as a shell and pea game of global proportions.

Oh, and that Afghanistan pipeline that was supposed to have been built? One small problem: It hasn’t been done. The only alternative for the US is now to go through Iran’s existing pipelines. Much faster.

— Tanya Cariina Hsu is Saudi-US political analyst originally from London. She lives in Riyadh.

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2 Comments on “ArabNews.com: The Global Shell & Pea Game”

  1. #1 Al
    on Feb 16th, 2007 at 09:20

    President Ahmadinejad’s views are summarized on this website: ahmadinejadquotes.blogspot.com

  2. #2 Roger Morris
    on Feb 15th, 2007 at 08:17

    Hello Tanya

    I read your article with great interest

    You stated that this month the Iraqi Hydrocarbon Law goes into effect.

    My understanding is that the Draft Law is still being argued over, and has yet to reach the cabinet prior to Parliamentary approval. I also understand that Parliament is now on a holiday until 1st March.

    Are you suggesting that the law has in fact been passed, but hasn’t yet been announced?

    I’d very much appreciate your comments.

    Best wishes

    Roger Morris [England]

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