The Perennial Battle For Iraq's Oil
And That Of Its Gulf Neighbours

Why They Really Hate Us
Anglo-American Access To Middle East Oil
Is What It Has Always Been About Since At Least 1913

'Democratic' Britain, Not Saddam Hussein, Was The First To Gas The Kurds
As Favoured By Winston Churchill

A Century Of Chasing Iraqi Oil

"It is the need to protect the oil of northern Iraq that drew the US into war with Isis [in 2014]. And so the more rational jihadist commanders will now be realising this particular part of the battlefront cannot be won. The US has a fundamental strategic interest in the flow of cheap oil."
Tumbling oil price hits Putin where it hurts
London Times, 15 October 2014, Print Edition, P28

Iraqhistory.gif (47542 bytes)

Graphic London Times, 16 August 2005

Before 9/11

"The Bush Administration began making plans for an invasion of Iraq, including the use of American troops, within days of President Bush's inauguration in January of 2001 -- not eight months later after the 9/11 attacks, as has been previously reported. That's what former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill says in his first interview about his time as a White House insider.... In the book, O'Neill is quoted as saying he was surprised that no one in a National Security Council meeting questioned why Iraq should be invaded. 'It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying 'Go find me a way to do this,' says O'Neill in the book.... "
Saddam Ouster Planned Early '01?
CBS News, 10 January 2004

"I want to thank you all for coming today. I've assembled a team within my administration, in particular, the Secretary of Energy, as well as the Deputy Secretary of Defense [Paul Wolfowitz], to discuss energy. As the country knows, we're in the process of developing a comprehensive energy plan that will work to increase supplies, as well as encourage conservation. This is a long-run solution to the energy problems we now face.....I think we ought to ask all agencies to review energy policy. We're focused right now on California because that's a state that's going to suffer blackouts. But we've always got to be mindful of being energy efficient.... I think [energy] conservation has got to be an integral part of making sure we've got a reasonable energy policy. But what the Vice President was saying is we can't conserve our way to energy independence; nor can we conserve our way to having enough energy available. So we've got to do both. We must conserve, but we've also got to find new sources of energy. I haven't seen the final report yet, but I suspect the American people will find a balanced approach. But what people need to hear, loud and clear, is that we're running out of energy in America. And it is so important for this nation to improve its infrastructure so we can not only deliver supplies, but we need to go find new supply.....what the Vice President and I understand is that you cannot conserve your way to energy independence. We can do a better job in conservation, but we darn sure have to do a better job of finding more supply. It is naive for the American people and its -- and those who purport to speak for the American people, some of those, to say that we can be okay from an energy perspective by only focusing on conservation. We've got to find additional supplies of energy."
President George W. Bush
Remarks by the President, Secretary of Energy Abraham and Deputy Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz After Energy Advisors Meeting
Office Of The Press Secretary, White House, 3 May 2001

After 9/11

"Rupert Murdoch was the only figure powerful enough to be able to state explicitly, without consequence, that he was backing war on Iraq to bring down the price of oil. So his 'free press' all cheer-led for said war, and began commodifying their version of it, even confecting their own military award ceremonies as though the medal system were inadequate. The whitewashing report into the death of a scientist who questioned the basis for that war was mysteriously leaked to Murdoch's papers – another WORLD EXCLUSIVE – while others in his pay hacked the phones and emails of those casualties of war being repatriated in bodybags, to be monetised as stories all over again. Any complaint about this must be taken before an industry court presided over not by the kangaroo of Rupert's native Australia, but an even less engaged selection of backscratching editors, including his own."
Murdoch and politicians: a special relationship that has only ever worked one way
Guardian, 8 July 2011

"Alan Greenspan, former chair of the Federal Reserve, has declared that '...the Iraq war is largely about oil' in his recently released memoirs. 'People say we're not fighting for oil. Of course we are,' said the Republican Senator from Nebraska Chuck Hagel to law students of Catholic University last September. 'They talk about America's national interest. What the hell do you think they're talking about? We're not there for figs.'"
The Costs of War for Oil
Foreign Policy In Focus, 19 October 2007

"We hope Iraq will be the first domino and that Libya and Iran will follow. We don't like being kept out of [oil] markets because it gives our competitors an unfair advantage."
John Gibson, chief executive of Halliburton's Energy Service Group
Halliburton Eager for Work Across the Mideast
International Oil Daily, 7 May 2003

On This Page
The West's Long Oily Obsession With Iraq
Why They Hate Us In The Post 9/11 Era
Evidence That London 7/7 Attacks
Were Due To Occupations Of Iraq And Afghanistan
Transporting Iraqi Oil And The Strait Of Hormuz
Why Iran, Somalia, Syria And Other States Are Also Part Of The Equation
Gulf Oil
Post Berlin War Era
Gulf Oil
Cold War Era
Gulf Oil
Early 20th Century Era
How Britain, Not Saddam,
Was The First To Gas The Kurds

The West's Long Oily Obsession With Iraq

“I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”
Alan Greenspan, Chairman Of The US Federal Reserve 1987 - 2006
Sunday Times, 16 September 2007

"MI6 told Tony Blair’s adviser there was no convincing intelligence that Iraq was involved in terrorism but removing Saddam Hussain could secure oil supplies, a top secret memo reveals. The briefing note from the Chief of MI6’s private secretary to Sir David Manning, Tony Blair’s foreign policy adviser three months after the September 11 attacks, said there was 'no convincing intelligence (or common sense) case' that Iraq supported Islamic extremists. But it said the 'removal of Saddam remains a prize because it could give new security to oil supplies' as well as 'engage a powerful and secular state in the fight against Sunni extremist terror.' It also said there could be 'climatic change in the psychology of regimes in the region' and that the 'problem of WMD [weapons of mass destruction] is an element in driving for action against Iraq.' The risks, it said, included 'anger on the Arab Street' and an 'increase in radical Islamist extremism, particularly in Egypt' that could threaten tourists. The memo, written on December 3 2001 as Osama bin Laden prepared his getaway from his hide-out at Tora Bora in Afghanistan, has been released by the Iraq Inquiry."
Iraq: MI6 said invading Iraq could secure oil supplies
Telegraph, 12 May 2011

"The United States military spends about $81 billion a year to protect oil supplies around the world and keep fossil fuels flowing into American gas stations, according to new analysis. Securing America's Future Energy, a think tank that advocates for reducing U.S. dependence on oil, released the study the same day President Donald Trump claimed that some Middle Eastern countries are pushing up crude prices while benefiting from U.S. military protection.  The $81 billion price tag is likely "very conservative" and doesn't include the full cost of the 15-year war in Iraq, according to SAFE, whose CEO Robbie Diamond also leads the pro-electric car group the Electrification Coalition. The estimate pencils out to 16-20 percent of the Defense Department's annual base budget, showing the nation's oil habit has a direct military cost, SAFE said. It also means the government subsidizes the cost of oil to the tune of $11.25 per barrel and the price of transportation fuels like gasoline and diesel by 28 cents a gallon. Americans "spend somewhere around $3 per gallon, but we're really paying a lot more because of all the operations in the Middle East," said retired General Charles Wald, vice chairman and senior adviser at consulting firm Deloitte and a member of SAFE's Energy Security Leadership Council. U.S. crude oil production is poised to reach 11 million barrels a day and eclipse output from top producer Russia, but the United States still imports roughly 8 million barrels a day. On Thursday, Trump renewed his call for the 15-nation oil producer group OPEC to tamp down crude prices, which are near four-year highs. Trump suggested that OPEC members like Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait owe the United States, saying "We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us....Defending Persian Gulf oil is a "major distraction" from "existential defense issues," said John Lehman, former Secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan and another member of SAFE's council. "Our existential threats are what we should be concentrating on. We should concentrate on East Asia and an increasingly revanchist Russia," he said. Factoring in in the cost of the Iraq War, the price of protecting oil is closer to $30 per barrel, or 70 cents a gallon, over a 20-year period, a separate analysis found. SAFE said that cost is largely separate from the ongoing cost of $81 billion a year. "The wars in the Middle East have been related to the balance of power in that region and control over oil states," Lehman said. "You don't want to fall into the trap of the left and say that we only went into Iraq for their oil but depending how you phrase it, the costs can be attributed to the strategic dependence we have on Gulf oil.""
US spends $81 billion a year to protect global oil supplies, report estimates
CNBC, 21 September 2018

"....the Persian Gulf, [is] the critical oil and natural gas producing region that we fought so many wars to try and protect our economy from the adverse impact of losing that supply or having it available only at very high prices..."
John Bolton, former Bush Administration Ambassador to the UN
Fox News, 22 (circa) October 2011

"From 2003 onward, when the United States destroyed the balance of power between Iraq and Iran, Iran has been an ascendant power. With the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, Iran became the most influential foreign power there. But Iran has overreached and is itself in crisis. The overreach took place in Syria. As the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad came under attack, the Iranians threw their resources and prestige behind the effort to save it. That effort has failed in the sense that while al Assad retains a great deal of power in Syria, it is as a warlord, not the government. He no longer governs but uses his forces to compete with other forces. Syria has started to look like Lebanon, with a weak and sometimes invisible government and armed, competing factions. Iran simply didn't have the resources to stabilize the al Assad regime. For the United States, an Iranian success in Syria would have created a sphere of influence stretching from Iran to the Mediterranean. The Iranian failure, undoubtedly aided by U.S. and others' covert assistance to al Assad's enemies, ended this threat. Had the sphere of influence materialized, it would have brought pressure to the northern border of Saudi Arabia. The United States, whose primary interest was the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf as part of the global economic system, would have faced the decision of intervening to protect the Saudis.... energy has been the essence of geopolitics since the industrial revolution....."
U.S. Foreign Policy: Room to Regroup
Stratfor, 13 November 2012

"The Iraq war was just the first of this century's 'resource wars', in which powerful countries use force to secure valuable commodities, according to the UK government's former chief scientific adviser. Sir David King predicts that with population growth, natural resources dwindling, and seas rising due to climate change, the squeeze on the planet will lead to more conflict. 'Future historians might look back on our particular recent past and see the Iraq war as the first of the conflicts of this kind - the first of the resource wars,' he told an audience of 400 in London as he delivered the British Humanist Association's Darwin Day lecture. Implicitly rejecting the US and British governments' claim they went to war to remove Saddam Hussein and search for weapons of mass destruction, he said the US had in reality been very concerned about energy security and supply, because of its reliance on foreign oil from unstable states. 'Casting its eye around the world - there was Iraq,' he said....Commenting on the idea of 'resource wars', Alex Evans, of the Centre for International Co-operation at New York University, who last month wrote a report on food security for the Chatham House thinktank, said he believed King was right...King summed up by saying that with growing population and dwindling resources, fundamental changes to the global economy and society were necessary. 'Consumerism has been a wonderful model for growing up economies in the 20th century. Is that model fit for purpose in the 21st century, when resource shortage is our biggest challenge?'"
UK's ex-science chief predicts century of 'resource' wars
Guardian, 13 February 2009

20th Century

"Iraq may have been a British creation, from the ruins of the Ottoman empire, but Churchill remembered all too well how Britain's involvement had begun with a disaster. Over the 43 years of British influence, from that first invasion in 1915 to the revolution of 1958, a remarkable array of Britons had a hand in running the country. Churchill installed the first King of Iraq and his advisers drew up its borders. Gertrude Bell, the archaeologist and traveller, who founded the country's antiquities department, became known as the 'uncrowned Queen of Iraq'. T E Lawrence took part in the invasion and advised Churchill on Iraq policy while Arthur 'Bomber' Harris tried out his theories of aerial bombardment.... By the close of 1918, Britain had occupied all three Mesopotamian provinces - Basra in the south, Mosul in the north and Baghdad in between.....Britain gave Iraq notional independence in 1932. By then, the country's oilfields had become of vital strategic importance and the British remained dominant until King Faisal II and his family were butchered in a 1958 revolution. After that, a bewildering succession of coups and counter-coups bedevilled Iraq. Alternately America, France and the Soviet Union displaced Britain as the power behind the scenes."
Meddling in Mesopotamia was always risky
Daily Telegraph, 18 March 2003

"One cable by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in December 2009 notes that 'donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.' Despite this, 'Riyadh has taken only limited action to disrupt fundraising for the UN 1267-listed Taliban and LeT [Lashkar e-Tayyiba] groups that are also aligned with al-Qaeda.' Clinton raises similar concerns about other states in the Gulf and Central Asia. Kuwait remains reluctant 'to take action against Kuwait-based financiers and facilitators plotting attacks outside of Kuwait.' The United Arab Emirates is 'vulnerable to abuse by terrorist financiers and facilitation networks' due to lack of regulatory oversight. Qatar’s cooperation with U.S. counter-terrorism is the 'worst in the region,' and authorities are 'hesitant to act against known terrorists.' Pakistani military intelligence officials 'continue to maintain ties with a wide array of extremist organizations, in particular the Taliban [and the] LeT.' Despite such extensive knowledge of these terrorism financing activities, successive U.S. administrations have not only failed to exert military or economic pressure on these countries, but in fact have actively protected them, funnelling billions of dollars of military and economic assistance. The reason is oil. Oil has always been an overwhelming Western interest in the region, beginning with Britain’s discovery of it in Persia in 1908. Britain controlled most Middle East oil until the end of World War II, after which the United States secured its sphere of influence in Saudi Arabia. After some pushback, Britain eventually accepted the United States as the lead player in the region. 'US-UK agreement upon the broad, forward-looking pattern for the development and utilisation of petroleum resources under the control of nationals of the two countries is of the highest strategic and commercial importance', reads a 1945 memo from the chief of the State Department’s Petroleum Division. Anglo-U.S. geo-strategy exerted this control through alliances with the region’s most authoritarian regimes to ensure a cheap and stable supply of petroleum to Western markets. Recently declassified secret British Foreign Office files from the 1940s and 1950s confirm that the Gulf sheikhdoms were largely created to retain British influence in the Middle East. Britain pledged to protect them from external attack and to 'counter hostile influence and propaganda within the countries themselves.' Police and military training would help in 'maintaining internal security.' Similarly, in 1958 a U.S. State Department official noted that the Gulf sheikhdoms should be modernized without undermining 'the fundamental authority of the ruling groups.' The protection of some of the world’s most virulent authoritarian regimes thus became integral to maintaining Anglo-U.S. geopolitical control of the world’s strategic hydrocarbon energy reserves. Our governments have willingly paid a high price for this access – the price of national security."
Oil or Terrorism: Which Motivates U.S. Policy More?
Foreign Policy In Focus, 15 December 2010

"Lawrence [of Arabia] was a young officer who had spent the first two years of the First World War in the intelligence department in Cairo. On a diplomatic mission to the Hijaz region of western-central Arabia in 1916, he had formed a personal relationship with Prince Faisal, a commander now ranged in revolt against Ottoman rule. Faisal asked that Lawrence be attached to his service as a British liaison officer. Lawrence's superiors agreed. The Ottoman Empire, though much reduced, still controlled a vast territory from south-eastern Europe to the Caucasus, the Tigris, the Yemen, and the Suez Canal. Plunging into the world war, this ramshackle traditional empire, though fighting a war on four fronts, against the Russians in the Caucasus and the British in Gallipoli, Sinai, and Mesopotamia, proved a tougher opponent than its enemies predicted.... Lawrence's ideas on guerrilla warfare were touched upon in his 'Twenty-seven Articles', which appeared in an internal British intelligence bulletin in 1917. They were then developed in three post-war treatises. Reading closely, one can identify 15 distinct principles of guerrilla warfare (see box). They are extraordinary. They invert many principles of conventional military theory, such as concentration of force, and the centrality of pitched battle to destroy the enemy's main forces and will to fight. In this sense, they are the work of a brilliant maverick – an unconventional intellectual who had not even undergone the military training given to volunteer wartime officers (though he probably learnt something as a member of the Oxford University Officers' Training Corps)."
Guerrilla of Arabia: How one of Britain's most brilliant military tacticians created the Taliban's battle strategy
Independent, 17 September 2010

"It was the wartime petroleum shortage of 1917 and 1918 that really drove home the necessity of oil to British interests and pushed Mesopotamia [Iraq] back to center stage. Prospects for oil development within the empire were bleak, which made supplies from the Middle East of paramount importance. Sir Maurice Hankey, the extremely powerful secretary of the War Cabinet, wrote to Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour that, 'oil in the next war will occupy the place of coal in the present war, or at least a parallel place to coal. The only big potential supply that we can get under British Control is the Persian [Iranian] and Mesopotamian [Iraqi] supply.' Therefore, Hankey said, 'control over these oil supplies becomes a first-class British war aim.' But the newly born 'public diplomacy' had to be considered..... Foreign Secretary Balflour worried that explicitly pronouncing Mesopotamia a war aim would seem too old-fashionably imperialistic. Instead, in August 1918, he told the Prime Ministers of the Dominions that Britain must be the 'guiding spirit' in Mesopotamia, as it would provide the one natural resource the British empire lacked. 'I do not care under what system we keep the oil,' he said, 'but I am quite clear it is all-important for us that this oil should be available.' To help make sure this would happen, British forces, already elsewhere in Mesopotamia, captured Mosul after the armistice was signed with Turkey."
Daniel Yergin - The Prize, 1991
First published in Great Britain by Simon and Schuster Ltd, 1991

"Plans to include the Iraq war in a new GCSE history syllabus have been criticised as 'crazy' by a leading historian. The new course from the Oxford Cambridge and Royal Society of Arts examinations board (OCR) will give pupils the chance to assess the rights and wrongs of the Iraq war, to study the terror attack of 9/11 and to consider why people become terrorists. The course, which has been submitted to the exams regulator Ofqual for approval, covers the debate on weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein’s human rights record, claims about his links to al-Qaeda, the oil industry and the roles of George Bush and Tony Blair in the conflict. Tristram Hunt, a history lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London, said that too little time had elapsed since the conflict began for it to be included on the curriculum for 14-year-olds..... As pupils would be unlikely to know about the British imperial presence in Iraq in the early 20th century, they would not understand the historical context of the war, he added. Dr Hunt said the only context in which it would make sense to teach the Iraq war to GCSE history students would be as an appendix to oil wars that began in the 1970s."
Iraq war and IRA terror included on syllabus in major GCSE review
London Times, 19 April 2008

21st Century

"A top-level United States policy document has emerged that explicitly confirms the Defence Department's readiness to fight an oil war. According to the report, Strategic Assessment 1999, prepared for the US Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defence, 'energy and resource issues will continue to shape international security'. Oil conflicts over production facilities and transport routes, particularly in the Persian Gulf and Caspian regions, are specifically envisaged. Although the policy does not forecast imminent US military conflict, it vividly highlights how the highest levels of the US Defence community accepted the waging of an oil war as a legitimate military option. Strategic Assessment also forecasts that if an oil 'problem' arises, 'US forces might be used to ensure adequate supplies'.... Strategic Assessment was prepared by the Institute for National Strategic Studies, part of the US Department of Defence's National Defence University. The institute lists its primary mission as policy research and analysis for the Joint Chiefs, the Defence Secretary, and a variety of government security and defence bodies. According to the report, national security depends on successful engagement in the global economy, so national defence no longer means protecting the nation from military threats alone, but economic challenges, too. The fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s brought an end to the US's ideological basis for potential conflict. In 1992 Bill Clinton urged that 'our economic strength must become a central defining element of our national security policy'. Since then, members of the Bush Administration have promoted the need for the consolidation of the Cold War victory. In what many may see as an apparent parallel to present events, Strategic Assessment 1999 drew attention to pre-World War II Britain's pursuit of an approach where control over territory was seen as essential to ensuring resource supplies."
Oil wars Pentagon's policy since 1999
Syndey Morning Herald, 20 May 2003

"The global market will need increasing volumes of oil from members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries after non-OPEC production reaches a maximum of about 50 million b/d between 2007 and 2011... A question crucial to future oil supply, therefore is: Can OPEC's old fields deliver....  Most of the supergiant oil fields have had water or gas injection installed to maintain pressure for 20-30 years. Handling produced injection fluids is a growing problem in Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and in older fields in Iraq (Kirkuk, Zubair, and Rumailah).... The oil fields of Iraq are the least depleted and least developed of any of the Persian Gulf oil producing countries, and Iraq has the potential to rapidly increase oil output.... Combined with earlier results, these predictions for OPEC yield an estimate of the world's ultimate recoverable oil reserves of 2.5-2.9 trillion bbl, with 1.29-1.66 trillion bbl remaining (1.224 trillion bbl produced to end 2003)..... It seems unlikely that OPEC can increase production at the rate that was possible in the 1960s and 1970s, when the fields were fresh and initial well production rates were higher... Only Iraq has undeveloped supergiant oil fields (West Qurna, Majnoon, and East Baghdad) and the potential to rapidly increase production to 8-10 million b/d...... The five Persian Gulf countries (Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait and the UAE) are crucial to raising OPEC production. The political situation in Iraq is unlikely to be conducive to major investment in new oil production capacity for some years. Saudi Arabia has serious internal problems, which threaten to destabilize the ruling royal family. Iran remains under unilateral US sanctions. US military intervention in the Gulf and its failure to effectively and fairly engage in resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict conspire to provide a hostile backdrop to western interests in the Middle East. The combination of burgeoning future oil revenues and growing hostility to the US in the region is not conducive to major capacity expansion and will not provide a stable investment environment or offer easy opportunities to the major international oil companies to assist in any capacity expansion projects. Based on these considerations and the maturity of OPEC’s major fields, it seems more likely that OPEC’s considerable reserves will be expressed as a long plateau rather than a sharp peak. It is quite possible that the Persian Gulf countries will not raise production capacity high enough or quickly enough, either for political reasons, the slowness of internal decision-making, or the hostile security environment. The consequences of this for world oil supply are immense, with the likelihood of further military interventions and conflicts within the Middle East .... a series of crises in oil supply is likely over the coming decades. The first, related to the peak and decline of non-OPEC production, is practically upon us and underpins the currently high oil prices...... The imminent inability of non-OPEC production to meet incremental demand and its decline after 2010 precipitates the second crisis as OPEC’s diminishing spare capacity (even with Iraq’s production back to preinvasion levels) becomes less and less able to accommodate short-term fluctuations.....The third crisis, due to OPEC’s incremental supply being unable to meet incremental demand, follows in the first half of the next decade. This assumes that OPEC’s reserves are as published. .....These crises will have global economic and geopolitical significance: The oil price will be high and volatile, and demand growth will have to be curtailed..."
Oil Supply Challenges - 2: What Can OPEC Deliver?
Oil and Gas Journal, 7 March 2005

"Shortly after the Marines rolled into Baghdad and tore down a statue of Saddam Hussein, I visited the Ministry of Oil. American troops surrounded the sand-colored building, protecting it like a strategic jewel. But not far away, looters were relieving the National Museum of its actual jewels. Baghdad had become a carnival of looting. A few dozen Iraqis who worked at the Oil Ministry were gathered outside the American cordon, and one of them, noting the protection afforded his workplace and the lack of protection everywhere else, remarked to me, 'It is all about oil.'...Donald Rumsfeld, the former defense secretary, insisted the invasion of Iraq had 'nothing to do with oil.' But even Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman, rejected that line. 'It is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows,' Greenspan wrote in his memoir. 'The Iraq war is largely about oil.' If it is even partly true that we invade for oil and maintain a navy and army for oil, how much is that costing? This is one of the tricky things about oil, the hidden costs, and one of the reasons we are addicted to the substance -- we don't acknowledge its full price. If we wish to know, we can. An innovative approach comes from Roger Stern, an economic geographer at Princeton University who in April published a peer-reviewed study on the cost of keeping aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf from 1976 to 2007. Because carriers patrol the gulf for the explicit mission of securing oil shipments, Stern was on solid ground in attributing that cost to oil. He had found an excellent metric. He combed through the Defense Department's data -- which is not easy to do because the Pentagon does not disaggregate its expenditures by region or mission -- and came up with a total, over three decades, of $7.3 trillion. Yes, trillion."
The Ministry of Oil Defense
Foreign Policy, 5 August 2010

"The U.S. needs energy — lots and lots of energy — and 37.1% of it is currently supplied by oil. As the population expands and the policy decisions and technological innovations needed to make the switch to green, renewable energy sources lag, thirst for the stuff is only going to grow. Critics have long lamented that when it comes to energy policy, 9/11 was an opportunity for the country to have an honest debate about the choices it needs to make if it's ever going to break its addiction to oil. 'We need to address the underlying issue,' says Lisa Margonelli, director of the New America Foundation's Energy Policy Initiative, 'and that's our dependence on oil.' Having a national conversation now — an adult one — is the only way forward."
The Far-Ranging Costs of the Mess in the Gulf
TIME, 6 May 2010

Guardian - Comment Is Free


The rape of Iraq's oil

The Baghdad government has caved in to a damaging plan that will enrich western companies.

March 22, 2007 1:30 PM | Printable version

The recent cabinet agreement in Baghdad on the new draft oil law was hailed as a landmark deal bringing together the warring factions in the allocation of the country's oil wealth. What was concealed was that this is being forced through by relentless pressure from the US and will sow the seeds of intense future conflict, with serious knock-on impacts on the world economy.

The draft law, now before the Iraqi parliament, sets up "production sharing partnerships" to allow the US and British oil majors to extract Iraqi oil for up to 30 years. While Iraq would retain legal ownership of its oil, companies like Exxon, Chevron, Shell and BP that invest in the infrastructure and refineries would get a large share of the profits.

No other Middle Eastern oil producer has ever offered such a hugely lucrative concession to the big oil companies, since Opec has always run its oil business through tightly-controlled state companies. Only Iraq in its present dire condition, dependent on US troops for the survival of the government, lacks the bargaining capacity to resist.

This is not a new plan. According to documents obtained from the US State Department by BBC Newsnight under the US Freedom of Information Act, the US oil industry plan drafted early in 2001 for takeover of the Iraqi oilfields (after the removal of Saddam) was pushed aside by a secret plan, drafted just before the invasion in 2003, calling for the sell-off of all of Iraq's oilfields.

This secret plan was crafted by neo-conservatives intent on using Iraq's oil to destroy the Opec cartel through massive increases in production above Opec quotas. However, Philip Carroll, the former CEO of Shell Oil USA, who took control of Iraq's oil production for the US government a month after the invasion, stalled the sell-off scheme. As Ariel Cohen of the neo-conservative Heritage Foundation later told Newsnight, an opportunity had been missed to privatise Iraq's oilfields.

Now the plan is being revisited, or as much of it as can be salvaged after the fading of American power on the battlefield made enforced sell-off impossible. This revision of the original plan has been drafted by BearingPoint, a US consultancy firm, at the request of the US government. Significantly, it was checked first with Big Oil and the IMF and is only now being presented to the Iraqi parliament. But if accepted by the Iraqis under intense pressure, it will lock the country into weakness and dependence for decades. The neo-cons may have lost the war, but they are still manipulating to win the most substantial chunk of the peace when and if it ever comes.... neo-conservative eyes Iraq was also required as an alternative to Saudi Arabia to provide a military base for the US to police the whole of Gulf oil. It was no longer possible for the US to maintain troops in Saudi Arabia for that purpose without risking the collapse of the dictatorial Saudi regime and its giant oil assets falling into the hands of Islamic extremists. The removal of US troops from Saudi Arabia was the principal demand contained in Osama bin Laden's fatwa of 1996. This was why, shortly after invading Iraq, the US announced that it was pulling its combat troops out of Saudi Arabia, thereby meeting Bin Laden's principal pre-9/11 political demand. But unfortunately for the US, al-Qaida is now seeking the removal of US troops from Iraq as well.

Above all, the policy is flawed by its extreme short-sightedness. Even if the US were to win its war in Iraq, which now looks virtually impossible, its incremental gain before the oil runs out would be short-term, while its exposure to intensified and unending insurgency because of perceived US seizure of Iraqi oil rights, especially if extended to Iran, would be disproportionately enormous both in the Middle East and maybe also at home. It is diametrically the opposite of the policy to which the whole world will be forced ineluctably by the accelerating onset of climate change. Perhaps the single greatest gain of the west learning this lesson of weaning itself off its oil addiction is that it would end this interference in the internal affairs of Muslim countries simply because they happen to have oil - the central cause of world conflict today.

"Oil ruled the 20th century; the shortage of oil will rule the 21st.... Last Tuesday the lead story in The Financial Times was the latest report from the International Energy Agency. The FT quoted the IEA as saying: 'Oil looks extremely tight in five years’ time,' and that there are 'prospects of even tighter natural gas markets at the turn of the decade'. For an international agency, that is inflammatory language....  27 of the 51 oil-producing nations listed in BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy reported output declines in 2006. One projection of world crude oil production actually forecasts a 10 per cent reduction in total world output between 2005 and 2015. That would be a revolution..... Some analysts think that the peak oil moment has already been reached; some still think that it will not come until 2020 – which is itself only 12 years away. Market trends and the statistics both support the IEA’s view that consumption is accelerating and supplies falling faster than expected. Of course, if the 'crunch' point is only five years’ away for oil, and closer for natural gas, it has, for practical purposes, already arrived....The shortage of oil and natural gas, relative to demand, had already changed the balance of world power. Historians may well conclude that the US decision to invade Iraq was primarily motivated by the desire to gain physical control of Iraq’s oil and to provide defence support to other Middle Eastern oil powers. Political motivations are always mixed, but oil is an essential national interest of the United States. If the US is now deciding to withdraw from Iraq, the price will have to be paid in terms of loss of access to oil.... The world is coming to the end of the age of oil, which produced its own technology, its balance of power, its own economy, its pattern of society. It does not greatly matter whether the oil supply has peaked already or is going to peak in five or 12 years’ time. There is a huge adjustment to be made. There will be some benefits, including higher efficiencies and perhaps a better approach to global warming. But nothing will take us back towards the innocent expectation of indefinite expansion of the first months of the new millennium."
Lord William Rees-Mogg
Are these the last days of the Oil Age?
London Times, 16 July 2007

"I fear we're going to be at war for decades, not years ..... one major component of that war is oil."
James Woolsey, Former Director of The CIA
Report On The Annual Policy Forum Of The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE)
Washington, 6-7 December 2004, 14 December 2004

"Iraq can be seen as the first battle of the fourth world war. After two hot world wars and one cold one that all began and were centered in Europe, the fourth world war is going to be for the Middle East."
Former Director of the CIA, James Woolsey
NATO conference, Prague, November 2002

"[BP's] Lord Browne's said that most exploration for new supplies had halted [in Iraq] when the Iraqis nationalised their industry.... he believed there was a plenty of oil and gas waiting to be discovered in Iraq and that BP should be in prime position to capitalise [after a war with Iraq] because it had found most of the country's oil before being thrown out in the 1970s.... Lord Browne will be listened to carefully in Downing Street because the BP executive team has such close links with the UK government that it was once dubbed Blair Petroleum."
BP chief fears US will carve up Iraqi oil riches
Guardian, 30 October 2002

"Plans to exploit Iraq's oil reserves were discussed by government ministers and the world's largest oil companies the year before Britain took a leading role in invading Iraq, government documents show. The papers, revealed here for the first time, raise new questions over Britain's involvement in the war, which had divided Tony Blair's cabinet and was voted through only after his claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The minutes of a series of meetings between ministers and senior oil executives are at odds with the public denials of self-interest from oil companies and Western governments at the time. The documents were not offered as evidence in the ongoing Chilcot Inquiry into the UK's involvement in the Iraq war. In March 2003, just before Britain went to war, Shell denounced reports that it had held talks with Downing Street about Iraqi oil as 'highly inaccurate'. BP denied that it had any 'strategic interest' in Iraq, while Tony Blair described 'the oil conspiracy theory' as 'the most absurd'. But documents from October and November the previous year paint a very different picture. Five months before the March 2003 invasion, Baroness Symons, then the Trade Minister, told BP that the Government believed British energy firms should be given a share of Iraq's enormous oil and gas reserves as a reward for Tony Blair's military commitment to US plans for regime change. The papers show that Lady Symons agreed to lobby the Bush administration on BP's behalf because the oil giant feared it was being 'locked out' of deals that Washington was quietly striking with US, French and Russian governments and their energy firms. Minutes of a meeting with BP, Shell and BG (formerly British Gas) on 31 October 2002 read: 'Baroness Symons agreed that it would be difficult to justify British companies losing out in Iraq in that way if the UK had itself been a conspicuous supporter of the US government throughout the crisis.' The minister then promised to 'report back to the companies before Christmas' on her lobbying efforts. The Foreign Office invited BP in on 6 November 2002 to talk about opportunities in Iraq 'post regime change'. Its minutes state: 'Iraq is the big oil prospect. BP is desperate to get in there and anxious that political deals should not deny them the opportunity.' After another meeting, this one in October 2002, the Foreign Office's Middle East director at the time, Edward Chaplin, noted: 'Shell and BP could not afford not to have a stake in [Iraq] for the sake of their long-term future... We were determined to get a fair slice of the action for UK companies in a post-Saddam Iraq.' Whereas BP was insisting in public that it had 'no strategic interest' in Iraq, in private it told the Foreign Office that Iraq was 'more important than anything we've seen for a long time'. BP was concerned that if Washington allowed TotalFinaElf's existing contact with Saddam Hussein to stand after the invasion it would make the French conglomerate the world's leading oil company. BP told the Government it was willing to take 'big risks' to get a share of the Iraqi reserves, the second largest in the world. Over 1,000 documents were obtained under Freedom of Information over five years by the oil campaigner Greg Muttitt. They reveal that at least five meetings were held between civil servants, ministers and BP and Shell in late 2002. The 20-year contracts signed in the wake of the invasion were the largest in the history of the oil industry. They covered half of Iraq's reserves – 60 billion barrels of oil, bought up by companies such as BP and CNPC (China National Petroleum Company), whose joint consortium alone stands to make £403m ($658m) profit per year from the Rumaila field in southern Iraq."
Secret memos expose link between oil firms and invasion of Iraq
Independent, 19 April 2011

"Saddam Hussein sits and smiles as the price of his oil - as well as that of his neighbors' (which, he doubtless believes, he may again be able to seize) -- skyrockets, giving him more to spend on his military forces, including longer range ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction. He can be confident that within the next decade or two - the period during which most independent assessments of reserves suggest that world petroleum production will begin to decline - the world's sharply increasing demand for petroleum will increasingly have to be satisfied by him and his neighbors, to their great profit....  Although all these serious [economic, environmental and social] problems may at first seem unconnected, Mr. Chairman, they in fact all have essentially the same cause - over-dependence by the rest of the world on petroleum-derived products that will increasingly have to come from the very troubled and unstable Middle East."
James Woolsey, former Director of the CIA
Statement to Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, Unites States Senate, 11 April 2000

"... the mideast will increasingly become the source of the world's oil, and this is a strategic problem for us and for many other countries."
James Woolsey, Former Director of the CIA

Interview with the Council on Foreign Relations and the Washington Post: June 7, 2000

"In one of his longer ruminations, in May 2004, Rumsfeld considered whether to redefine the terrorism fight as a 'worldwide insurgency.' The goal of the enemy, he wrote, is to 'end the state system, using terrorism, to drive the non-radicals from the world.' He then advised aides 'to test what the results could be' if the war on terrorism were renamed. Neither Europe nor the United Nations understands the threat or the bigger picture, Rumsfeld complained in the same memo. He also lamented that oil wealth has at times detached Muslims 'from the reality of the work, effort and investment that leads to wealth for the rest of the world. Too often Muslims are against physical labor, so they bring in Koreans and Pakistanis while their young people remain unemployed,' he wrote. 'An unemployed population is easy to recruit to radicalism.' If radicals 'get a hold of' oil-rich Saudi Arabia, he added, the United States will have 'an enormous national security problem.'"
From the Desk of Donald Rumsfeld
Washington Post, 1 November 2007

"At the time of the US invasion, Vice-President Dick Cheney and other senior US officials boldly predicted that production would exceed three million barrels a day within eight months, generating more than enough money to rebuild Iraq. They underestimated the desperate state of Iraq’s oil infrastructure after 23 years of war, sanctions and postinvasion looting. 'It was held together with bits of string and chewing gum,' said one US official. Even now the facilities that The Times visited in Kirkuk this week were shockingly corroded and dilapidated. The Bush Administration also failed to foresee the virulence of the insurgency. The website Iraq Pipeline Watch records 466 attacks on oil infrastructure or employees since 2003, and that is probably a fraction of the real total. US officials reckon as many as half the industry’s most skilled workers fled Iraq, or were killed, as Iraq descended into mayhem. The insurgents have used the oil that was supposed to finance the country’s reconstruction to fund their efforts to destroy it. They and other criminals have routinely tapped into the pipelines to steal oil, hijacked tankers and diverted huge amounts of oil from production facilities with the help of corrupt employees.... The Oil Ministry will soon invite bids from international oil companies to increase output from Iraq’s half-dozen poorly-managed, investment-starved 'super-giant' fields from early next year. That would more than double production to six million barrels a day within three or four years, Hussain al-Sharistani, the Oil Minister, told The Times. Thereafter, multinationals will be invited to develop new fields. Competition will be intense, with no guarantee that Western companies will prevail. 'Everybody in the world, more than 45 companies, have approached us . . . the Chinese, Russians, Indians, Brazilians,' Mr al-Sharistani said. "
Beneath the desert sands flows lifeblood of economic recovery
London Times, 1 February 2008

"The Bush Administration began making plans for an invasion of Iraq, including the use of American troops, within days of President Bush's inauguration in January of 2001 -- not eight months later after the 9/11 attacks, as has been previously reported. That's what former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill says in his first interview about his time as a White House insider.... In the book, O'Neill is quoted as saying he was surprised that no one in a National Security Council meeting questioned why Iraq should be invaded. 'It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying 'Go find me a way to do this,' says O'Neill in the book.... "
Saddam Ouster Planned Early '01?
CBS News, 10 January 2004

"President Bush acknowledged for the first time yesterday that he was mapping preparations to topple Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein as soon as he took office. Bush's comments came in response to former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill's contention in a new book that the chief executive was gunning for Saddam nine months before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and two years before the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Bush's comments appeared likely to stoke campaign claims by Democratic rivals for the White House that the president was planning to attack Iraq, possibly in retaliation for Saddam's attempted 1993 assassination of his father, former President Bush. 'The stated policy of my administration toward Saddam Hussein was very clear -- like the previous administration, we were for regime change,' Bush told a joint news conference in Monterrey, Mexico, with Mexican President Vicente Fox. 'And in the initial stages of the administration, as you might remember, we were dealing with (enforcing a no-fly zone over Iraq) and so we were fashioning policy along those lines.'....Asked about O'Neill's contention that the first National Security Council meeting of the Bush administration in January 2001 discussed ousting Saddam, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan didn't deny that account. McClellan tried to focus attention on Bush's claims of success in Iraq rather than preparations to oust Saddam. Bush 'exhausted all possible means to resolve the situation in Iraq peacefully' before launching the invasion in March, McClellan said. Saddam defied a 'final opportunity to comply' with U.N. demands to disarm, prompting Bush to take action 'in the aftermath of Sept. 11th (because) it's important to confront threats before it's too late.' Bush, who fired O'Neill as treasury secretary in December 2002, said he 'appreciated' O'Neill's nearly two years of service in the administration."
Bush admits he targeted Saddam from the start
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 13 January 2004

Bush Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill
On How The Bush Administration Began Preparing For Military Acton Against Iraq
Within Days Of The President's Inauguration

Click Here

"In a world of looming shortage, Iraq represented a unique opportunity. With 115bn barrels, it had the world's third biggest reserves, and after years of war and sanctions they were the most underexploited. In the late 1990s, production averaged about 2m barrels, but with the necessary investment its reserves could support three times that..... Cheney knew, fretting about global oil depletion in a speech in London the following year, where he noted that 'the Middle East with two thirds of the world's oil and lowest cost is still where the prize ultimately lies'. Blair too had reason to be anxious: British North Sea output had peaked in 1999, while the petrol protests of 2000 had made the importance of maintaining the fuel supply excruciatingly obvious. Britain's and the US's fears were secretly formalised during the planning for Iraq. It is widely accepted that Blair's commitment to support the attack dates back to his summit with Bush in Texas in April 2002. What is less well known is that at the same summit, Blair proposed and Bush agreed to set up the US-UK Energy Dialogue, a permanent liaison dedicated to 'energy security and diversity'.  Its existence was only later exposed through a freedom of information inquiry. Both governments refuse to release minutes of Dialogue meetings, but one paper dated February 2003 notes that to meet projected demand, oil production in the Middle East would have to double by 2030 to more than 50m barrels a day. So on the eve of the invasion, UK and US officials were discussing how to raise production from the region - and we are invited to believe this is coincidence. The bitterest irony is, of course, that the invasion has created conditions that guarantee oil production will remain hobbled for years to come, bringing the global oil peak that much closer. So if that was plan A, what on earth is plan B?"
The real casus belli: peak oil
Guardian, 26 June 2007

"Fuel is our economic lifeblood. The price of oil can be the difference between recession and recovery. The western world is import dependent. ....So: who develops oil and gas, what the new potential sources of supply are, is a vital strategic question...The Middle East, we focus on naturally."
Prime Minister's speech at the George Bush Senior Presidential Library, Texas
10 Downing St, Press Release, 7 April 2002

"I would say there are four reasons why the Middle East remains of central importance and cannot be relegated to the second order. First and most obviously, it is still where a large part of the world’s energy supplies are generated, and whatever the long term implications of the USA energy revolution, the world’s dependence on the Middle East is not going to disappear any time soon. In any event, it has a determining effect on the price of oil; and thus on the stability and working of the global economy."
Why the Middle East Matters - a keynote speech by Tony Blair
Office of Tony Blair, 23 April 2014

"The UK is a net exporter of oil, so we have no need of the Iraqi oil."
British Prime Minister, House of Commons, 14 April 2003

".... our energy system faces new challenges.... Our energy supplies will increasingly depend on imported gas and oil..... we need access to a wide range of energy sources."
British Prime Minister, Foreword to DTI Energy White Paper, February 2003

"Plans to exploit Iraq's oil reserves were discussed by government ministers and the world's largest oil companies the year before Britain took a leading role in invading Iraq, government documents show. The papers, revealed here for the first time, raise new questions over Britain's involvement in the war, which had divided Tony Blair's cabinet and was voted through only after his claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The minutes of a series of meetings between ministers and senior oil executives are at odds with the public denials of self-interest from oil companies and Western governments at the time. The documents were not offered as evidence in the ongoing Chilcot Inquiry into the UK's involvement in the Iraq war. In March 2003, just before Britain went to war, Shell denounced reports that it had held talks with Downing Street about Iraqi oil as 'highly inaccurate'. BP denied that it had any 'strategic interest' in Iraq, while Tony Blair described 'the oil conspiracy theory' as 'the most absurd'. But documents from October and November the previous year paint a very different picture. Five months before the March 2003 invasion, Baroness Symons, then the Trade Minister, told BP that the Government believed British energy firms should be given a share of Iraq's enormous oil and gas reserves as a reward for Tony Blair's military commitment to US plans for regime change. The papers show that Lady Symons agreed to lobby the Bush administration on BP's behalf because the oil giant feared it was being 'locked out' of deals that Washington was quietly striking with US, French and Russian governments and their energy firms. Minutes of a meeting with BP, Shell and BG (formerly British Gas) on 31 October 2002 read: 'Baroness Symons agreed that it would be difficult to justify British companies losing out in Iraq in that way if the UK had itself been a conspicuous supporter of the US government throughout the crisis.' The minister then promised to 'report back to the companies before Christmas' on her lobbying efforts. The Foreign Office invited BP in on 6 November 2002 to talk about opportunities in Iraq 'post regime change'. Its minutes state: 'Iraq is the big oil prospect. BP is desperate to get in there and anxious that political deals should not deny them the opportunity.'  After another meeting, this one in October 2002, the Foreign Office's Middle East director at the time, Edward Chaplin, noted: 'Shell and BP could not afford not to have a stake in [Iraq] for the sake of their long-term future... We were determined to get a fair slice of the action for UK companies in a post-Saddam Iraq.' Whereas BP was insisting in public that it had 'no strategic interest' in Iraq, in private it told the Foreign Office that Iraq was 'more important than anything we've seen for a long time'.   BP was concerned that if Washington allowed TotalFinaElf's existing contact with Saddam Hussein to stand after the invasion it would make the French conglomerate the world's leading oil company. BP told the Government it was willing to take 'big risks' to get a share of the Iraqi reserves, the second largest in the world.  Over 1,000 documents were obtained under Freedom of Information over five years by the oil campaigner Greg Muttitt. They reveal that at least five meetings were held between civil servants, ministers and BP and Shell in late 2002. The 20-year contracts signed in the wake of the invasion were the largest in the history of the oil industry. They covered half of Iraq's reserves – 60 billion barrels of oil, bought up by companies such as BP and CNPC (China National Petroleum Company), whose joint consortium alone stands to make £403m ($658m) profit per year from the Rumaila field in southern Iraq.' Mr Muttitt, whose book Fuel on Fire is published next week, said: 'Before the war, the Government went to great lengths to insist it had no interest in Iraq's oil. These documents provide the evidence that give the lie to those claims. We see that oil was in fact one of the Government's most important strategic considerations, and it secretly colluded with oil companies to give them access to that huge prize.' Lady Symons, 59, later took up an advisory post with a UK merchant bank that cashed in on post-war Iraq reconstruction contracts. Last month she severed links as an unpaid adviser to Libya's National Economic Development Board after Colonel Gaddafi started firing on protesters. Last night, BP and Shell declined to comment."
Secret memos expose link between oil firms and invasion of Iraq
Independent, 19 April 2011

"Iraq is the big oil prospect. BP are desperate to get in there and anxious that political deals should not deny them the opportunity to compete. The long-term potential is enormous..."
Foreign Office memorandum, 13 November 2002, following meeting with BP
Independent, 19 April 2011

"Let me just deal with the oil thing because... the oil conspiracy theory is honestly one of the most absurd when you analyse it. The fact is that, if the oil that Iraq has were our concern, I mean we could probably cut a deal with Saddam tomorrow in relation to the oil. It's not the oil that is the issue, it is the weapons..."
Tony Blair, 6 February 2003
Independent, 19 April 2011

"We have no strategic interest in Iraq. If whoever comes to power wants Western involvement post the war, if there is a war, all we have ever said is that it should be on a level playing field. We are certainly not pushing for involvement."
BP, 12 March 2003
Independent, 19 April 2011

"It is not in my or BP's opinion, a war about oil. Iraq is an important producer, but it must decide what to do with its patrimony and oil."
Lord Browne, the then-BP chief executive, 12 March 2003
Independent, 19 April 2011

"We have neither sought nor attended meetings with officials in the UK Government on the subject of Iraq. The subject has only come up during conversations during normal meetings we attend from time to time with officials... We have never asked for 'contracts'."
Shell, 12 March 2003, after saying reports that it had discussed oil opportunities with Downing Street were 'highly inaccurate'
Independent, 19 April 2011

"... in 2002, in the absence of evidence of an imminent threat, 'an ultimatum…in terms Saddam would reject' was delivered through the UNSC to produce a legal justification for military action that would simultaneously mollify public opinion. Indeed, according to a leaked policy options paper produced by the Cabinet Office, the primary objectives of UK policy were 'ensuring energy security' and 'preserving peace and stability in the Gulf,' a region containing over half of the world’s oil, and much of its natural gas. The picture that emerges from this analysis is disturbing. It demonstrates the fundamental politicisation of British intelligence in the run-up to the 2003 invasion; its subservience to US geostrategic ambitions and assumptions which were rarely questioned at Cabinet-level; and the overarching background of a looming energy crisis which drove the development of a joint US-UK strategy focused on opening up Middle East resources. All these factors interplayed to disfigure Britain’s capacity to produce objective intelligence on Iraq, to the extent that political ideology hopelessly impaired the government’s understanding of the facts on the ground. All this played an instrumental role in paving the way for the justification of a policy of regime-change which both US and UK planners had often candidly discussed as being pre-eminent over the issue of weapons of mass destruction.... Iraq is one of the most energy rich countries in the world. According to the National Energy Policy Development Group, the energy task force headed by Dick Cheney while Vice President of the US, Iraq held 11% of the world’s proven oil reserves in 2001.137 The International Energy Administration estimated that Iraq’s proven and probable unproven reserves totalled 220 billion barrels. Production costs are amongst the lowest in the world (from $1.20 per barrel in Southern Iraq).138 In addition, Iraq is incredibly rich in natural gas, and its reserves of approximately 110 trillion cubic feet are 'virtually totally unexploited.'139 Additionally, Stephen Pelletiere, a former CIA analyst during the Iran-Iraq war identifies Iraq’s water wealth as a central facilitating factor in US 'control' of the Middle East.140 Documents obtained from the National Energy Policy Development Group by Judicial Watch under the Freedom of Information Act, entitled Foreign Suitors For Iraqi Oil Field Contracts,141 show that international oil companies (IOCs) had successfully sought agreements to develop Iraqi oilfields with the Iraqi government, at a value estimated at $1.1 trillion by the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2001.142 Russia-based Lukoil and the China-based National Petroleum Company signed active production sharing agreements (PSA’s) with Iraq in 1997, through which they were permitted to commence oilfield development.143 Most of the agreements however, depended on the cessation of the sanctions regime to become active. French companies Elf Aquitaine and Total SA, now part of TotalFinaElf, secured memoranda of understanding to develop fields holding 16-36 billion barrels,144 and CanOxy and the Malaysian company, Petronas, had also secured significant concessions. As Tony Blair noted at the Iraq Inquiry, a general consensus was emerging in the international community that sanctions should be lifted. However, major British and American oil companies had been excluded from negotiations, although it was reported in 1997 that nine US firms had sought agreements unsuccessfully,145 perhaps due to their continued support of sanctions and lead roles in enacting Operation Desert Storm.... Evidence suggests that a key strategic policy objective of military action in Iraq was to secure access to Middle Eastern oil and gas. 'Ensuring peace and stability in the Gulf, and ensuring energy security' was defined as the overarching objective of UK policy159 in the aforementioned leaked policy options paper, published on 8th March 2002 by the Cabinet Office [see: Danner, Mark. (2006) The Secret Way to War - The Downing Street Memo and the Iraq War’s Buried History, New York Review Books: New York], which established the viability of large-scale military action.160 This fit into longstanding recognition that the Gulf region contains over 60 per cent of the world’s proven oil reserves,161 and that, in the words of a UK Ministry of Defense White Paper, Modern Forces for the Modern World: 'Oil supplies from the Gulf are crucial to the world economy.'162 Contrary to Alistair Campbell’s assertion at the Iraq Inquiry that one of two main policy objectives was to uphold the standing of the UN, in fact 'maintaining the credibility and authority of the Security Council' was placed last on a list of six 'subsidiary objectives.' 163  On 6-7th April 2002, Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bush established a bilateral initiative – the US-UK Energy Dialogue – at the summit in Crawford, Texas. The stated aim of the Dialogue was to 'enhance coordination and cooperation on energy issues.' As discussed earlier, trans-Atlantic foreign policy in relation to Iraq appears to have been aligned at the meeting. A report on the Dialogue in the form of a memorandum for the President produced by the US Department of Commerce, shows that Middle Eastern oil particularly from Gulf producers was seen as playing a primary role in meeting forecasted energy needs: 'Current forecasts for the oil sector put global demand by 2030 at about 120 million barrels per day (mbd)… roughly 45 mbd higher than today… a large proportion of the world’s additional demand will likely be met by the Middle East (mainly Middle East Gulf) producers. They hold over half of current proven reserves, exploration costs are the lowest in the world, and production in many fields in the OECD areas is likely to fall…the current installed capacity in the Gulf may need to rise by as much as 52 mbd by 2030.' Nine months later, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw identified 'bolstering the security of British and global energy supplies' as one of seven foreign policy objectives.164'.... How, then, did this intelligence become translated into a concerted policy of regimechange? The evidence suggests that the British intelligence analysis process had become deeply politicised as a consequence of the Anglo-American special relationship. US strategic priorities were agreed at Prime Ministerial level and communicated to the Cabinet, establishing the policy framework in which discussions about UK foreign policy toward Iraq were conducted. Yet the Cabinet office was also well aware that Iraq posed no threat to its neighbours, and that no legal basis for an invasion existed. Yet regime change through military action was defined as policy at least a year prior to the invasion. By 8th March 2002, it had been decided that the only feasible British foreign policy option in Iraq was regime change via military action, in order to 'ensure energy security.' Without a legal justification, the ‘UN Route’ was suggested to develop the appearance of one. As Saddam Hussein would 'continue to play hardball,' the purportedly inevitable failure of this diplomatic process would open the road to war."
Executive Decisions How British Intelligence was Hijacked for the Iraq War
Institute for Policy Research & Development, October 2012

"In 2011, after nearly nine years of war and occupation, US troops finally left Iraq. In their place, Big Oil is now present in force and the country's oil output, crippled for decades, is growing again. Iraq recently reclaimed the number two position in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), overtaking oil-sanctioned Iran. Now, there's talk of a new world petroleum glut. So is this finally mission accomplished? .... In the period before and around the invasion, the Bush administration barely mentioned Iraqi oil, describing it reverently only as that country's 'patrimony'. As for the reasons for war, the administration insisted that it had barely noticed Iraq had one-tenth of the world's oil reserves. But my new book reveals documents I received, marked SECRET/NOFORN, that laid out for the first time pre-war oil plans hatched in the Pentagon by arch-neoconservative Douglas Feith's Energy Infrastructure Planning Group (EIPG).  In November 2002, four months before the invasion, that planning group came up with a novel idea: it proposed that any American occupation authority not repair war damage to the country's oil infrastructure, as doing so 'could discourage private sector involvement'. In other words, it suggested that the landscape should be cleared of Iraq's homegrown oil industry to make room for Big Oil. When the administration worried that this might disrupt oil markets, EIPG came up with a new strategy under which initial repairs would be carried out by KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton. Long-term contracts with multinational companies, awarded by the US occupation authority, would follow. International law notwithstanding, the EIPG documents noted cheerily that such an approach would put 'long-term downward pressure on [the oil] price' and force 'questions about Iraq's future relations with OPEC' - the Organization of the Oil Exporting Countries. At the same time, the Pentagon planning group recommended that Washington state that its policy was 'not to prejudice Iraq's future decisions regarding its oil development policies'. Here, in writing, was the approach adopted in the years to come by the George W Bush administration and the occupation authorities: lie to the public while secretly planning to hand Iraq over to Big Oil. There turned out, however, to be a small kink in the plan: the oil companies declined the American-awarded contracts, fearing that they would not stand up in international courts and so prove illegitimate. They wanted Iraq first to have an elected permanent government that would arrive at the same results. The question then became how to get the required results with the Iraqis nominally in charge. The answer: install a friendly government and destroy the Iraqi oil industry. In July 2003, the US occupation established the Iraqi Governing Council, a quasi-governmental body led by friendly Iraqi exiles who had been out of the country for the previous few decades. They would be housed in an area of Baghdad isolated from the Iraqi population by concrete blast walls and machine gun towers, and dubbed the Green Zone. There, the politicians would feast, oblivious to and unconcerned with the suffering of the rest of the population.  The first post-invasion oil minister was Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum, a man who held the country's homegrown oil expertise in open contempt. He quickly set about sacking the technicians and managers who had built the industry following nationalization in the 1970s and had kept it running through wars and sanctions. He replaced them with friends and fellow party members. One typical replacement was a former pizza chef.  The resulting damage to the oil industry exceeded anything caused by missiles and tanks. As a result the country found itself - as Washington had hoped - dependent on the expertise of foreign companies. Meanwhile, not only did the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) that oversaw the occupation lose US$6.6 billion of Iraqi money, it effectively suggested corruption wasn't something to worry about. A December 2003 CPA policy document recommended that Iraq follow the lead of Azerbaijan, where the government had attracted oil multinationals despite an atmosphere of staggering corruption ('less attractive governance') simply by offering highly profitable deals.  Now, so many years later, the corruption is all-pervasive and the multinationals continue to operate without oversight, since the country's ministry is run by the equivalent of pizza chefs.  The first permanent government was formed under Prime Minister Maliki in May 2006. In the preceding months, the American and British governments made sure the candidates for prime minister knew what their first priority had to be: to pass a law legalizing the return of the foreign multinationals - tossed out of the country in the 1970s - to run the oil sector.   The law was drafted within weeks, dutifully shown to US officials within days, and to oil multinationals not long after. Members of the Iraqi parliament, however, had to wait seven months to see the text. The trouble was: getting it through that parliament proved far more difficult than Washington or its officials in Iraq had anticipated.....  On this issue, the Democrats, by then increasingly against the Iraq War but still pro-Big Oil, lent a helping hand to a Republican administration. Having failed to end the war, the newly Democrat-controlled congress passed an appropriations bill that would cut off reconstruction funds to Iraq if the oil law weren't passed. Generals warned that without an oil law Prime Minister Maliki would lose their support, which he knew well would mean losing his job. To ramp up the pressure further, the US set a deadline of September 2007 to pass the law or face the consequences.  It was then that things started going really wrong for Bush and company. In December 2006, I was at a meeting where leaders of Iraq's trade unions decided to fight the oil law. One of them summed up the general sentiment this way: 'We do not need thieves to take us back to the Middle Ages.' So they began organizing. They printed pamphlets, held public meetings and conferences, staged protests, and watched support for their movement grow.  Most Iraqis feel strongly that the country's oil reserves belong in the public sector, to be developed to benefit them, not foreign energy companies. And so word spread fast - and with it, popular anger. Iraq's oil professionals and various civil society groups denounced the law. Preachers railed against it in Friday sermons. Demonstrations were held in Baghdad and elsewhere, and as Washington ratcheted up the pressure, members of the Iraqi parliament started to see political opportunity in aligning themselves with this ever-more popular cause. Even some US allies in parliament confided in diplomats at the American embassy that it would be political suicide to vote for the law.  By the September deadline, a majority of the parliament was against the law and - a remarkable victory for the trade unions - it was not passed. It's still not passed today. Given the political capital the Bush administration had invested in the passage of the oil law, its failure offered Iraqis a glimpse of the limits of US power, and from that moment on, Washington's influence began to wane. Things changed again in 2009 when the Maliki government, eager for oil revenues, began awarding contracts to them even without an oil law in place. As a result, however, the victory of Big Oil is likely to be a temporary one: the present contracts are illegal, and so they will last only as long as there's a government in Baghdad that supports them.  This helps explain why the government's repression of trade unions increased once the contracts were signed. Now, Iraq is showing signs of a more general return to authoritarianism (as well as internecine violence and possibly renewed sectarian conflict)."
Mission accomplished for Big Oil?
Asia Times, 30 August 2012

"The super-giant fields of southeastern Iraq are the largest concentration of super-giants to be found anywhere in the world....unlike neighbor Saudi Arabia, Iraq has been unable to deploy the latest technology, such as 3-D seismic, to find its reserves. Present reserve estimates of Iraq's oil are based on 2-D seismic technology from the 1980s. Still, the estimated success rate in Iraq ranges from one in two in the Mesopotamian Basin to one in four in the western and northwestern stable platform, with the overall success rate exceeding 72 percent - perhaps the highest success rate achievable anywhere in the world. Oil exploration costs are among the cheapest globally, with the current cost estimated at around 50 cents per barrel....To date, petroleum geologists have delineated and mapped over 526 prospects - drilling 131 prospects to discover 73 major fields. They have identified some 239 as having a high degree of certainty, but those prospects remain undrilled. Thirty fields have been partially developed and only 12 fields are actually onstream. Undrilled structures and undeveloped fields could represent the largest untapped hydrocarbon resource anywhere in the world.....Clearly, large parts of Iraq are still virgin - its large hydrocarbon reserves are still waiting to be developed to their full potential, while most other Middle East countries are fully exploiting their reserves. The main challenges facing the new Iraqi authority are to establish law and order as well as security. Once these issues are resolved, Iraq will perhaps be the most exciting place on Earth with regard to oil development and exploration....International oil companies are looking forward with great anticipation to the opening of Iraq, as they have been waiting for the past 40 years. Hopefully, Iraq will soon be able to offer them acreage, thereby allowing proper development of its huge potential. Open and fair competition will enable oil companies to apply the latest technologies in the search for, and development of, the country's hydrocarbon resources - thus helping Iraq realize its full hydrocarbon potential."
Assessing Iraq’s Oil Potential
Geotimes, October 2003

"When Tony Blair became Leader of the Opposition in 1994, he — like Margaret Thatcher — knew little about foreign policy. What he did have was a series of instincts about how the Major Government and the international community had handled affairs in Bosnia, and he wasn’t impressed. Ever the anti-fatalist, once in office he was inclined to see such problems as requiring a solution. And passing across his desk in autumn 1997 were a series of intelligence reports concerning the dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, and his weapons of mass destruction. 'We cannot let him get away with it,' he told Paddy Ashdown that November..... As the Kosovo crisis developed, Blair had delivered a major foreign policy speech in Chicago that spring. This address outlined a doctrine of liberal interventionism, arguing that there were circumstances when, though its interests were not directly threatened, the international community might intervene in the domestic affairs of sovereign states. The speech singled out two major villains: Milosevic and Saddam..... By Christmas 2001 the Taleban were defeated and Bin Laden was on the run. Now, the question was, what came next? The American answer, by early 2002, was Saddam. Our man at the UN, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, was, he told me, very surprised because he couldn’t see the relevance of Iraq to 9/11. What had changed, Greenstock thought, was the calculus of opportunity — Bush could now get support for action against Iraq that would previously have been opposed by the American people. In London, Tony Blair was thinking about Iraq in a slightly different way. To him, according to Sir David Manning, his foreign policy adviser, it was the calculus of risk that had altered with the attack on America. The nightmare was the confluence of WMD with terrorism; nuclear programmes were believed to be up and running in Libya, Iran and North Korea, and Saddam’s continued defiance of UN resolutions seemed to confirm intelligence reports of continuing WMD capacity. Worse, the existing sanctions regime against Iraq was crumbling. 'What you could get away with before 9/11,' explained David Manning, 'was no longer acceptable.'.... When war came it was the 'coalition of the willing'. Bush had phoned Blair two days earlier to tell him that Britain could stand aside if it meant saving Blair’s premiership. 'I said rather than lose your Government,' Bush told me, 'be passive, you know we’ll go without you if need be.' Blair refused. I asked him why. His answer was impassioned. 'Because I think this is the most fundamental struggle of our time and there is only one place to be which is in the thick of it and trying to sort it out.' Some, including Colin Powell, have subsequently criticised Blair for never really facing Bush down. I put Powell’s words to Blair. 'It wasn’t a bargaining chip for me,' he replied. 'I wasn’t in a position where I was negotiating with him (Bush) in order to get him to do something different. In my view if it wasn’t clear that the whole nature of the way Saddam was dealing with this issue had changed I was in favour of military action. And, I am afraid, in one sense it is worse than people think in so far as my position is concerned. I believed in it. I believed in it then, I believe in it now.'”
Tony Blair: The war? I believed in it, I believed in it then, I believe in it now
London Times, 17 November 2007

"Tony Blair has admitted for the first time that he ignored the pleas of his aides and ministers to deter President Bush from waging war on Iraq because he believed that America was doing the right thing. And he has acknowledged that he turned down a last-ditch offer from Mr Bush to pull Britain out of the conflict. He has also revealed that he wishes he had published the full reports from the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) instead of the infamous September dossier about Saddam Hussein’s alleged weapons of mass destruction that so damaged him, and was almost certainly one of the factors that contributed to him leaving office sooner than he wanted. In frank remarks in a BBC documentary, Mr Blair confirmed openly the belief of many of his closest supporters that he never used his position as America’s strongest ally to try to force Mr Bush down the diplomatic rather than the military route....In return for promising Mr Blair that he would try to help get a second resolution at the UN, he also won Mr Blair’s pledge that if he got 'stuck' in the UN, war would be the only way out. Mr Blair later suggested that Mr Bush tried for a second resolution as a 'favour' to him."
Tony Blair: ‘I wanted war – it was the right thing to do’
London Times, 17 November 2007

"The senior intelligence official responsible for Tony Blair's notorious dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction proposed using the document to mislead the public about the significance of Iraq's banned weapons. Sir John Scarlett, who as head of the Joint Intelligence Committee was placed 'in charge' of writing the September 2002 dossier, sent a memo to Blair's foreign affairs adviser referring to 'the benefit of obscuring the fact that in terms of WMD Iraq is not that exceptional'. The memo, released under the Freedom of Information Act, has been described as one of the most significant documents on the dossier yet published. The disclosure supports the evidence of the former intelligence official Michael Laurie, who told the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war that it was widely understood that the dossier was intended to make a case for war and misrepresented intelligence to this particular end..... Scarlett's memo was sent to Sir David Manning, Blair's chief foreign policy adviser, in March 2002 after an early draft of the dossier had been drawn up covering four countries with 'WMD programmes of concern': Iraq, Iran, Libya and North Korea. Jack Straw, then foreign secretary, had commented that the paper 'has to show why there is an exceptional threat from Iraq. It does not quite do this yet.' In response, Scarlett suggested that the dossier could make more impact if it only covered Iraq. 'This would have the benefit of obscuring the fact that in terms of WMD Iraq is not that exceptional,' he wrote. Clare Short, the Labour cabinet minister who resigned after the war had started, said: 'Those words show that John Scarlett was in on the deception from the beginning and was being duplicitous deliberately.' Elfyn Llwyd, parliamentary leader of Plaid Cymru, said: 'It is clear to me that John Scarlett was not an objective player in all of this.' Llwyd asked why Chilcot had neither published the Scarlett memo nor questioned Scarlett about it. 'It again calls into question the credibility of the inquiry,' he said. Following Scarlett's memo, the dossier was limited to Iraq but a week later it was put on hold for six months. Laurie told Chilcot that the dossier had at this time been 'rejected because it did not make a strong enough case'. Significantly, Scarlett's memo was copied to Sir Joe French, Laurie's boss at the Defence Intelligence Staff. In his evidence to Chilcot, Laurie attributed his belief that the dossier was intended to make a case for war to what he had been told by French."
Memo reveals intelligence chief's bid to fuel fears of Iraqi WMDs
Observer, 26 June 2011

"Former House Speaker [and Republican] Newt Gingrich said Thursday the Bush administration is waging a 'phony war' on terrorism, warning that the country is losing ground against the kind of Islamic radicals who attacked the country on Sept. 11, 2001. A more effective approach, said Gingrich, would begin with a national energy strategy aimed at weaning the country from its reliance on imported oil...."
Gingrich says war on terror 'phony'
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 3 August 2007

"For the world as a whole, oil companies are expected to keep finding and developing enough oil to offset our seventy one million plus barrel a day of oil depletion, but also to meet new demand. By some estimates there will be an average of two per cent annual growth in global oil demand over the years ahead along with conservatively a three per cent natural decline in production from existing reserves. That means by 2010 we will need on the order of an additional fifty million barrels a day. So where is the oil going to come from? Governments and the national oil companies are obviously in control of about ninety per cent of the assets. Oil remains fundamentally a government business. 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."
Dick Cheney, Chief Executive of Halliburton, later US Vice President to George W Bush
Speech at London Institute of Petroleum, Autumn Lunch 1999

"We hope Iraq will be the first domino and that Libya and Iran will follow. We don't like being kept out of [oil] markets because it gives our competitors an unfair advantage."
John Gibson, chief executive of Halliburton's Energy Service Group
Halliburton Eager for Work Across the Mideast
International Oil Daily, 7 May 2003

"Now most Americans accept seven damning facts: (1) President Bush did little or nothing about terrorism before 9/11, (2) there was no Iraqi threat to the United States, (3) the Bush administration began plotting to invade Iraq early in their term, well before 9/11, (4) there is no evidence of an Iraqi hand in 9/11, or of any significant support to al Qaeda, (5) there were no weapons of mass destruction and the White House and Pentagon justified their claims about WMD by citing phony evidence from Iraqi exiles to whom they paid millions of dollars, (6) the Bush administration had no real plan to administer Iraq after the invasion, and (7) Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ignored professional military advice and sent too few troops to Iraq to protect our forces.... There is at least one momentous error that is inescapable: President Bush has sowed the seeds of current and future terrorism against the United States by his needless, counterproductive, deceitful invasion of Iraq.... It pains me that so much of what I wrote in this book is coming to pass.... It is a war we are losing, as more and more of the Islamic world develops antipathy toward the United States and some even develop a respect for the jihadist movement."
Richard Clarke - White House Head Of Counterterrorism 1992 - 2003
Foreword To The Paperback Edition
'Against All Enemies'  - Edition first published in Great Britain by The Free Press in 2004

"On the morning of the 12th [September 2001], DOD's [Department of Defense] focus was already beginning to shift from al Qaeda. CIA was explicit now that al Qaeda was guilty of the attacks, but Paul Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld's deputy, was not persuaded. It was too sophisticated and complicated an operation, he said, for a terrorist group to have pulled off by itself, with out a state sponsor - Iraq must have been helping them. I had a flashback to Wolfowitz saying the very same thing in April when the administration had finally held its first deputy secretary-level meeting on terrorism. When I had urged action on al Qaeda then, Wolfowitz had harked back to the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, saying al Qaeda could not have done that alone and must have had help from Iraq. The focus on al Qaeda was wrong, he had said in April, we must go after Iraqi-sponsored terrorism. He had rejected my assertion and CIA's that there had been no Iraqi-sponsored terrorism since 1993. Now this line of thinking was coming back. By the afternoon on Wednesday, Secretary Rumsfeld was talking about broadening the objectives of our response and 'getting Iraq.'...  Later in the day, Secretary Rumsfeld complained that there were no decent targets for bombing in Afghanistan and that we should consider bombing Iraq, which, he said, had better targets. At first I thought he was joking. But he was serious and the President did not reject out of hand the idea of attacking Iraq. Instead, he noted that what we needed to do with Iraq was to change the government, not just hit it with more cruise missiles, as Rumsfeld had implied."
Richard Clarke - White House Head Of Counterterrorism 1992 - 2003
Chapter 1, Evacuate The White House
'Against All Enemies'  - Edition first published in Great Britain by The Free Press in 2004

"Later, on the evening of the 12th, I left the Video Conferencing Center and there, wandering alone around the Situation Room, was the President. He looked like he wanted something to do. He grabbed a few of us and closed the door to the conference room. 'Look', he told us, 'I know you have a lot to do and all .... but I want you, as soon as you can, to go back over everything, everything. See if Saddam did this. See if he's linked in any way....' 'Look into Iraq, Saddam,' the President said testily and left us. Lisa Gordon-Hagerty stared after him with her mouth hanging open. Paul Kurtz walked in, passing the President on the way out. Seeing our expressions, he asked, 'Geez, what happened here.' 'Wolfowitz got to him, ' Lisa said shaking her head."
Richard Clarke - White House Head Of Counterterrorism 1992 - 2003
Chapter 1, Evacuate The White House
'Against All Enemies'  - Edition first published in Great Britain by The Free Press in 2004

"The super-giant fields of southeastern Iraq are the largest concentration of super-giants to be found anywhere in the world....unlike neighbor Saudi Arabia, Iraq has been unable to deploy the latest technology, such as 3-D seismic, to find its reserves. Present reserve estimates of Iraq's oil are based on 2-D seismic technology from the 1980s. Still, the estimated success rate in Iraq ranges from one in two in the Mesopotamian Basin to one in four in the western and northwestern stable platform, with the overall success rate exceeding 72 percent - perhaps the highest success rate achievable anywhere in the world. Oil exploration costs are among the cheapest globally, with the current cost estimated at around 50 cents per barrel....To date, petroleum geologists have delineated and mapped over 526 prospects - drilling 131 prospects to discover 73 major fields. They have identified some 239 as having a high degree of certainty, but those prospects remain undrilled. Thirty fields have been partially developed and only 12 fields are actually onstream. Undrilled structures and undeveloped fields could represent the largest untapped hydrocarbon resource anywhere in the world.....Clearly, large parts of Iraq are still virgin - its large hydrocarbon reserves are still waiting to be developed to their full potential, while most other Middle East countries are fully exploiting their reserves. The main challenges facing the new Iraqi authority are to establish law and order as well as security. Once these issues are resolved, Iraq will perhaps be the most exciting place on Earth with regard to oil development and exploration....International oil companies are looking forward with great anticipation to the opening of Iraq, as they have been waiting for the past 40 years. Hopefully, Iraq will soon be able to offer them acreage, thereby allowing proper development of its huge potential. Open and fair competition will enable oil companies to apply the latest technologies in the search for, and development of, the country's hydrocarbon resources - thus helping Iraq realize its full hydrocarbon potential."
Assessing Iraq’s Oil Potential
Geotimes, October 2003

"Brigadier-General James Ellery CBE, the Foreign Office’s Senior Adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad since 2003, confirmed the critical role of Iraqi oil reserves in potentially alleviating a 'world shortage' of conventional oil. The Iraq War has helped to head off what Brigadier Ellery described as 'the tide of Easternisation' – a shift in global political and economic power toward China and India, to whom goes 'two thirds of the Middle East’s oil'. After the 2004 transfer of authority to an interim Iraqi civilian administration, Brigadier Ellery set up and ran the 700-strong security framework operation in support of the US-funded Reconstruction of Iraq. His remarks were made as part of a presentation at the School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), University of London, sponsored by the Iraqi Youth Foundation, on 22nd April.... 'The reason that oil reached $117 a barrel last week', he said, 'was less to do with security of supply… than World shortage.' He went on to emphasise the strategic significance of Iraqi petroleum fields in relation to the danger of production peaks being breached in major oil reserves around the world. 'Russia’s production has peaked at 10 million barrels per day; Africa has proved slow to yield affordable extra supplies – from Sudan and Angola for example. Thus the only near-term potential increase will be from Iraq,' he said. Whether Iraq began 'favouring East or West' could therefore be 'de-stabilizing' not only 'within the region but to nations far beyond which have an interest.'.... Brigadier Ellery’s career in the British Army has involved stints in the Middle East, Africa, Bosnia, Germany and Northern Ireland. 'Iraq holds the key to stability in the region,' he said, 'unless that is you believe the tide of ‘Easternisation’ is such that the USA and the West are in such decline, relative to the emerging China and India, that it is the East – not the West – which is more likely to guarantee stability. Incidentally, I do not.' Iraq’s pivotal importance in the Middle East, he explained, is because of its 'relatively large, consuming population' at 24 million, its being home to 'the second largest reserve of oil – under exploited', and finally its geostrategic location 'on the routes between Asia, Europe, Arabia and North Africa - hence the Silk Road.'.... Brigadier-General James Ellery is currently Director of Operations at AEGIS Defence Services Ltd., a private British security firm and US defence contractor since June 2004. In April this year, the same month as Ellery’s SOAS lecture, AEGIS won the renewal of its US defence department (DoD) contract for two more years, which at $475 million is the single largest security contract brokered by the DoD. The contract is to provide security services for reconstruction projects in Iraq conducted by mostly American companies..... During his April presentation at SOAS, AEGIS director Ellery declared, 'Iraq promises a degree of prosperity in the region as it embarks on massive Iraqi-funded reconstruction, a part of which will raise Iraqi’s oil production from 2.5 million bpd today to 3 million by next year and maybe ultimately 6 million barrels per day.'
Ex-British Army Chief Confirms Peak Oil Motive for War; Praises Fraudulent Reconstruction Programs
Atlantic Free Press, 18 June 2008

"The invasion of Iraq by Britain and the US has trebled the price of oil, according to a leading expert, costing the world a staggering $6 trillion in higher energy prices alone. The oil economist Dr Mamdouh Salameh, who advises both the World Bank and the UN Industrial Development Organisation (Unido), told The Independent on Sunday that the price of oil would now be no more than $40 a barrel, less than a third of the record $135 a barrel reached last week, if it had not been for the Iraq war.... Dr Salameh, director of the UK-based Oil Market Consultancy Service, and an authority on Iraq's oil, said it is the only one of the world's biggest producing countries with enough reserves substantially to increase its flow. Production in eight of the others – the US, Canada, Iran, Indonesia, Russia, Britain, Norway and Mexico – has peaked, he says, while China and Saudia Arabia, the remaining two, are nearing the point at of decline. Before the war, Saddam Hussein's regime pumped some 3.5 million barrels of oil a day, but this had now fallen to just two million barrels. Dr Salameh told the all-party parliamentary group on peak oil last month that Iraq had offered the United States a deal, three years before the war, that would have opened up 10 new giant oil fields on 'generous' terms in return for the lifting of sanctions. 'This would certainly have prevented the steep rise of the oil price,' he said. 'But the US had a different idea. It planned to occupy Iraq and annex its oil.'"
Oil: A global crisis
Independent On Sunday, 25 May 2008

"... we've been in the Middle East more than 50 years. We've been in the Middle East ever since the -- however you would like to call the dependency upon oil has developed. And our forces have been there either as naval, air or land forces in one way or another for an awful long time. And once the British pulled out the Arabian gulf, it became more and more necessary for us to provide more and more force in the region..... And ultimately, it comes down to the free flow of goods and resources on which the prosperity of our own nation and everybody else's depends upon.... We need to maintain a presence that protects the small nations and ensures the continued stability of the region and the flow of those resources that are essential to our well-being."
General John Abizaid, Commander of the United States Central Command overseeing US operations in Iraq, confirming to a US Congressional Committee that the United States needs permanent military bases in Iraq in order to maintain access to Gulf oil

Why They Hate Us In The Post 9/11 Era
Evidence That London 7/7 Attacks
Were Due To Occupations Of Iraq And Afghanistan

"The US justice department is investigating the soaring building costs for a huge American embassy in Baghdad. Postponing its scheduled opening last month, the state department said it didn't 'have an answer' as to when it would be finished. The embassy was supposed to have opened by now but has suffered from repeated postponements because work has either been judged to be below standard or because of design changes. The original budget for the embassy, the biggest US one in the world, was $592m (£296m) but this has jumped by a further $144m. The size and cost of the embassy is a signal of US intentions to stay in Iraq. The embassy, in Baghdad's heavily-fortified Green Zone, will be hidden behind blast walls and have 27 separate buildings, housing 615 people."
Inquiry begins into soaring cost of US embassy in Iraq
Guardian, 16 November 2007

Since the attacks of 9/11 the western world has been fighting a so-called 'war on terror' which has included removing civil liberties in its own countries as a supposedly self-defensive move in response. However, the move is essentially an exercise in self-defeating futility as it does not tackle the source of the conflict. Moreover, such moves demonstrate how successful terrorism can be in creating damaging results in western countries in the form of reduced personal freedoms, further incentivising the conduct of such attacks.

Islamic terrorism has spread substantially beyond the central Arab-Israeli dispute in the Middle East largely as a result of actual or perceived western occupations of other Muslim lands such as Saudi Arabia (until 2003), Iraq (from 2003) and Afghanistan (from 2001). Those occupations have taken place largely as a result of the western need to protect access to oil and gas resources in the Middle East and Caspian Sea regions. This simple expediency is the principal underlying cause of the ongoing conflict between the west and the Muslim world.

From the very outset of the 2003 war the United States showed every sign of wishing to maintain a permanent occupation of Iraq.

Consequently until the west develops a coherent energy strategy whereby energy supplies are no longer critically dependent on oil and gas continuing to flow from those territories, particularly with the rise of Asia as a major rival energy consumer, the 'war on terror' is likely to remain unresolved and civil liberties are likely to continue to be removed in the 'free world'.

'It's The Occupations Stupid'

"I rarely speak in public. I prefer to avoid the limelight and get on with my job. I speak not as a politician, nor as a pundit, but as someone who has been an intelligence professional for 32 years..... There has been much speculation about what motivates young men and women to carry out acts of terrorism in the UK. My service needs to understand the motivations behind terrorism to succeed in countering it, as far as that is possible. Al-Qaeda has developed an ideology which claims that Islam is under attack, and needs to be defended.  This is a powerful narrative that weaves together conflicts from across the globe, presenting the West's response to varied and complex issues, from long-standing disputes such as Israel/Palestine and Kashmir to more recent events as evidence of an across-the-board determination to undermine and humiliate Islam worldwide. The video wills of British suicide bombers make it clear that they are motivated by perceived worldwide and long-standing injustices against Muslims - an extreme and minority interpretation of Islam promoted by some preachers and people of influence. And their interpretation as anti-Muslim of UK foreign policy, in particular the UK's involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Speech by Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, Head Of Britains Interior Intelligence Service MI5
BBC Online, 10 November 2006

"Robert Baer, a former CIA spy who presents a television documentary on the history of suicide bombing, says he knew the practice would come to the UK. And it’s not the West’s values, but its foreign policies, that are to blame.... 'The other one thing is, ‘they hate us’, which is just total bullsh**.' [he says] Is it? 'Yes,' he says, 'it is.' In a school run by Hezbollah, he asked a class dominated by the daughters of 'martyrs' if they watched US television. 'Everybody raised their hand. And what did they watch? Oprah. I said, ‘How can you watch this cr**?’ And they said, ‘No, she’s great. We love Oprah.’..... So, it wasn’t our values. It wasn’t Western values. It’s Western presence. They want us to get out.'.....  There is, however, a three-letter reason why the US will not impose a peace plan on Israel and leave the region.  Baer, the author of Sleeping With The Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude, well knows what it is. 'I don’t think any American politician, however at fault we are in Iraq or anywhere else, can say, ‘All right, let the crazies have the oil fields’, because oil at $200 a barrel would put us into a depression.' So because the American economy is at stake, we can’t get out even to save our skins? 'That, I believe, is your classic paradox.' "
Suicide bombing is a virus that’s here to stay
London Times, 2 August 2005

"Britain faced no threat from Iraq when Tony Blair decided to take the country to war, the head of MI5 at the time of the invasion has declared. Baroness Manningham-Buller disclosed that she had warned the then Labour Prime Minister that the UK would be at greater risk of terrorist attacks if he pursued military action against Saddam Hussein’s regime. The former director general of the domestic security service, who retired in 2007, described the Iraq conflict as a “distraction” from efforts to tackle al Qaida and warned that more terrorist attacks on British soil seemed likely. Her comments, in an interview to mark the start of her three Reith Lectures, which will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 this week, represent the most outspoken criticisms to date of the 2003 conflict by such a senior figure in the intelligence services. Mr Blair, and his former communications director, Alastair Campbell, have faced repeated criticism over the Labour government’s public case for military action. Downing Street infamously claimed that Iraq could deploy weapons of mass destruction (WMD) within 45 minutes of an order to do so, although no evidence of such a WMD programme was ever found. In an interview with the Radio Times, Lady Manningham-Buller suggested that she argued at the time that the Government should focus on defeating al Qaida and winning the war in Afghanistan instead of attacking Saddam Hussein. 'Iraq did not present a threat to the UK,' she said. 'The service advised that it was likely to increase the domestic threat and that it was a distraction from the pursuit of al Qaida. I understood the need to focus on Afghanistan. Iraq was a distraction.'... Last year, Lady Manningham-Buller warned that the invasion of Iraq had led to the radicalisation of some young British Muslims. She told the official inquiry into the war, chaired by Sir John Chilcot, that the security services became “overwhelmed” by the upsurge in activity from home-grown extremists convinced that the West was anti-Muslim after the war began."
MI5 told Blair Iraq was no threat to UK
Telegraph, 29 August 2011

"Iraq posed no threat to the UK when then prime minister Tony Blair took Britain to war there, former MI5 boss Dame Eliza Manningham Buller has said. The one-time security service boss has spoken out about the conflict previously, revealing the reservations she had about it at the time. But in a new interview, she told the Radio Times: 'Iraq did not present a threat to the UK. The service advised that it was likely to increase the domestic threat and that it was a distraction from the pursuit of al Qaida. I understood the need to focus on Afghanistan. Iraq was a distraction.'"
Pre-war Iraq 'was no threat to UK'
Press Association, 29 August 2011

"Lady Eliza Manningham-Buller, the former head of MI5, delivered a withering attack on the invasion of Iraq, decried the term 'war on terror', and held out the prospect of talks with al-Qaida.Recording her first BBC Reith lecture on the theme, Securing Freedom, she made clear she believed the UK and US governments had not sufficiently understood the resentment that had been building up among Arab people, which was only compounded by the war against Iraq. Before an audience which included Theresa May, the home secretary, she also said the 9/11 attacks were 'a crime, not an act of war'. 'So I never felt it helpful to refer to a war on terror'. Young Arabs, she said, had no opportunity to choose their own rulers. 'For them an external enemy was a unifying way to address some of their frustrations.' They were also united by the plight of Palestinians, a view that the west was exploiting their oil and supporting dictators. 'It was wrong to say all terrorists belonged to al-Qaida,' added Manningham-Buller. Pursuing a theme which some in the audience may have been astounded to hear from a former boss of MI5, she said terrorist campaigns – she mentioned Northern Ireland as an example – could not be solved militarily. She described the invasion of Iraq as a 'distraction in the pursuit of al-Qaida'. She added: 'Saddam Hussein was a ruthless dictator but neither he nor his regime had anything to do with 9/11.' The invasion, she said, 'provided an arena for jihad', spurring on UK citizens to resort to terror."
MI5 former chief decries 'war on terror'
Guardian, 2 September 2011

"A study of public opinion in predominantly Muslim countries reveals that very large majorities continue to renounce the use of attacks on civilians as a means of pursuing political goals. At the same time large majorities agree with al Qaeda's goal of pushing the United States to remove its military forces from all Muslim countries and substantial numbers, in some cases majorities, approve of attacks on US troops in Muslim countries. People in majority-Muslim countries express mixed feelings about al Qaeda and other Islamist groups that use violence, perhaps due to this combination of support for al Qaeda's goals and disapproval of its terrorist methods. However large majorities support allowing Islamist groups to organize parties and participate in democratic elections. In some majority-Muslim countries, Islamist groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, are forbidden from participating in elections. Steven Kull, director of, comments, 'The US faces a conundrum. US efforts to fight terrorism with an expanded military presence in Muslim countries appear to have elicited a backlash and to have bred some sympathy for al Qaeda, even as most reject its terrorist methods.' The survey is part of an ongoing study of Egypt, Pakistan, and Indonesia, with additional polling in Turkey, Jordan, the Palestinian territories, Azerbaijan and Nigeria. It was conducted by with support from the START Consortium at the University of Maryland. In nearly all nations polled more than seven in 10 say they disapprove of attacks on American civilians. At the same time large majorities endorse the goal of al Qaeda to 'push the US to remove its bases and its military forces from all Islamic countries,' including 87 percent of Egyptians, 64 percent of Indonesians, and 60 percent of Pakistanis. Asked specifically about the US naval forces based in the Persian Gulf, there is widespread opposition across the Muslim world....Significant numbers approve of attacks on US troops based in Muslim countries, presumably as a means to apply pressure for their removal. Opposition to US military presence appears to be related to largely negative views of US goals in relation to the Muslim world. A key belief is that the US has goals hostile to Islam itself. Large majorities ranging from 62 percent in Indonesia to 87 percent in Egypt say they believe that the United States seeks 'to weaken and divide the Islamic world.' Many also perceive the US having goals of economic domination. Large majorities say that it is a US goal to 'maintain control over the oil resources of the Middle East' ranging from 62 percent in Pakistan to nine in 10 in Egypt, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Jordan, and the Palestinian territories....In all Muslim publics polled, majorities see US support for democracy in Muslim countries as conditional at best. Only very small minorities say 'the US favors democracy in Muslim countries whether or not the government is cooperative with the US.' The most common response is that the US favors democracy only if the government is cooperative, while nearly as many say that the US simply opposes democracy in the Muslim countries....The surveys were conducted July through September 2008. As part of an ongoing study, in-depth surveys were conducted in Egypt (1,101 interviews), Indonesia (1,120 interviews), and Pakistan (1,200 interviews). This research was supported by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland."
Muslim Publics Oppose Al Qaeda's Terrorism, But Agree With Its Goal of Driving US Forces Out
World Public Opinion, 24 February 2009

"Nigel Inkster, who was an SIS [MI6] officer from 1975 to 2006 and rose to be Assistant Chief and Director of Operations and Intelligence, was speaking this morning at a counterterrorism conference in London.... Inkster said that there was definitely a need for police and sometimes military action in fighting terrorism, but suggested that it was now widely acknowledged in the spook community that the Iraq invasion - and now the Israeli assault on Gaza - were definite factors in radicalisation of British domestic terrorists."
Top MI6 spy: Terrorism less serious than bird flu
The Register, 11 February 2009

Thomas: "Why do they want to do us harm? And what is the motivation? We never hear what you find out on why."

Brennan: "Al Qaeda is an organization that is dedicated to murder and wanton slaughter of innocents. ... They attract individuals like Mr. Abdulmutallab and use them for these types of attacks. He was motivated by a sense of religious sort of drive. Unfortunately, alQaeda has perverted Islam, and has corrupted the concept of Islam, so that he's (sic) able to attract these individuals. But al Qaeda has the agenda of destruction and death."

Thomas: "And you're saying it's because of religion?"

Brennan: "I'm saying it's because of an al Qaeda organization that used the banner of religion in a very perverse and corrupt way."

Thomas: "Why?"

Brennan: "I think this is a long issue, but al Qaeda is just determined to carry out attacks here against the homeland."

Thomas: "
But you haven't explained why."

Journalist Hellen Thomas, puting questions to White House counter-terrorism official, John Brennan, in January 2010, two weeks after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 'underpants bomber,' tried to down an airliner over Detroit

"Tony Blair faced criticism for attempting to play down the role of the Iraq war in the London bombings after it emerged that the Foreign Office warned more than a year ago that the invasion was fuelling Muslim extremism. Opposition parties attacked Mr Blair's handling of the aftermath of the war after a leaked letter showed Michael Jay, permanent secretary at the Foreign Office, warned that the invasion was a 'key driver of recruitment to extremist organisations'. Mr Blair and Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, have repeatedly sought to play down the role of the war in motivating the July attacks on London, insisting that attacks inspired by al-Qa'ida took place years before the invasion. But the letter from Mr Jay to the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Andrew Turnbull, leaked to The Observer, shows Downing Street was warned of the link between Iraq and Islamic extremism more than a year before the London attacks. Mr Jay warned that British policy in the Middle East and Iraq was a ' recurring theme' in the underlying causes of extremism. The letter, dated 18 May 2004, warned: 'British foreign policy and the perception of its negative effect on Muslims globally plays a significant role in creating a feeling of anger and impotence among especially the younger generation of British Muslims. This seems to be a key driver behind recruitment by extremist organisations.' An attached document warned that Britain was now viewed as a 'Crusader state' and warned of Muslim resentment against the West. It said:   'This was previously focused on the US, but the war in Iraq has meant that the UK is now seen in similar terms. Liam Fox, the shadow Foreign Secretary, said that the Government had been 'inept' by claiming there was no link between terrorism and the war. Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, said the letter undermined Mr Blair's claims that terrorist attacks were not linked to the war....Sir Menzies said: 'When a figure of such experience and authority as Michael Jay highlights the relationship between our foreign policy and disaffection amongst Muslims, the immediate question for the Government must be, what weight did they attach to his advice and what was their response? The continuing political and constitutional crisis in Iraq offers no antidote to Michael Jay's prescription.'"
FO warned Blair that war was fuelling Muslim anger
Independent, 29 August 2005

"Now most Americans accept seven damning facts: (1) President Bush did little or nothing about terrorism before 9/11, (2) there was no Iraqi threat to the United States, (3) the Bush administration began plotting to invade Iraq early in their term, well before 9/11, (4) there is no evidence of an Iraqi hand in 9/11, or of any significant support to al Qaeda, (5) there were no weapons of mass destruction and the White House and Pentagon justified their claims about WMD by citing phony evidence from Iraqi exiles to whom they paid millions of dollars, (6) the Bush administration had no real plan to administer Iraq after the invasion, and (7) Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ignored professional military advice and sent too few troops to Iraq to protect our forces.... There is at least one momentous error that is inescapable: President Bush has sowed the seeds of current and future terrorism against the United States by his needless, counterproductive, deceitful invasion of Iraq.... It pains me that so much of what I wrote in this book is coming to pass.... It is a war we are losing, as more and more of the Islamic world develops antipathy toward the United States and some even develop a respect for the jihadist movement."
Richard Clarke - White House Head Of Counterterrorism 1992 - 2003
Foreword To The Paperback Edition
'Against All Enemies'  - Edition first published in Great Britain by The Free Press in 2004

"Labour's foreign policy has aided radicalisation among Muslims, the security minister, Lord West, has admitted. 'Tony Blair, I'm afraid, would never accept that our foreign policy actually had any impact on radicalisation,' Lord West told a conference in London. 'That's clearly rubbish. Gordon Brown is much clearer. 'The causes are so diverse. We didn't understand it, we still don't totally understand it but we actually have a far, far better understanding than we did in the past. 'To pretend what happens abroad has no impact is nonsense,' the former first sea lord added. The minister also suggested that Israel's action in Gaza earlier this month would also hinder the Government's efforts to prevent the radicalisation of British Muslims."
Labour foreign policy has aided radicalisation, Lord West admits
Daily Telegraph, 28 January 2009

"Government efforts to prevent the radicalisation of British Muslims have been set back by Israel's assault on Gaza, the security and counter-terrorism minister, Lord West of Spithead, announced yesterday. In an outspoken assessment of the terror risk facing Britain, Gordon Brown's security adviser was scathing about the assertion, made by Tony Blair when prime minister, that foreign policy did not alter the UK's risk of a terror attack. 'We never used to accept that our foreign policy ever had any effect on terrorism,' he said. 'Well, that was clearly bollocks.' He added: 'They [the Blair administration] were very unwilling to have any debate about how our foreign policy impacted on radicalisation.'....Earlier this month, the head of MI5, Jonathan Evans, said the Israeli action gave extremist groups in the UK more ideological ammunition. Community groups working with young Muslims have also said that the action has set back their efforts by years."
Minister for terror: Gaza will fuel UK extremism
Guardian, 28 January 2009

"David Cameron is to devote his energies to the by-election in Henley on June 26 rather than the unwanted contest in Yorkshire forced by [the resignation over the 'war on terror' erosion of civil liberties by Conservative shadow Home Secretary] David Davis, it emerged yesterday.... Mr Davis's successor was embroiled in controversy last night when Labour raised comments that he made after the London suicide attacks in 2005. Dominic Grieve, then the Shadow Attorney-General, said that the attacks were 'totally explicable' because of the deep anger felt by many British Muslims over Iraq."
David Davis, Kelvin MacKenzie and a Raving Loony prepare for battle
London Times, 14 June 2008

"Waheed Zaman stared fixedly into the camera lens and told anyone who might one day watch his 'martyrdom video' that he had not been brainwashed. Dressed in a black shirt, wearing a Palestinian-style scarf tied around his forehead and sitting in front of a black flag bearing Arabic script, he declared that he knew exactly what he was doing. 'I have not been brainwashed, I am educated to a very high standard. I am old enough to make my own decision,' Mr Zaman, who studied biomedical science, said. Then the former president of the Islamic Society at London Metropolitan University warned the Western world that death and destruction would sweep through it like a tornado. He said: 'You will not feel any peace or security in your lands until you stop interfering in our lands . . . As you kill us you will be killed. As you bomb us you will be bombed.' Extracts from the film of Mr Zaman were among seven alleged martyrdom videos played or read to a jury at Woolwich Crown Court yesterday. The videos were found by police in August 2006 after the arrests of Mr Zaman and seven other men who are on trial accused of plotting to carry out suicide attacks on transatlantic airliners....The films were found in an unedited state, and in a number of them someone off-camera asks the men how they feel about claiming innocent lives. Each replies that no one in the West is innocent as long as its armies are in Muslim countries....In his videoclip, Mr Islam said: 'We will not leave this path until you leave our lands, until you feel what we are feeling. This is revenge for the actions of the USA in the Muslim lands and their accomplices such as the British and the Jews. '... In another clip, Mr Ali said: 'I’m doing this . . . to punish and to humiliate the kuffar [unbeliever], to teach them a lesson that they will never forget. It’s to tell them that we Muslim people have pride, our people of Allah, the people of Islam, we are brave. We are not cowards. Enough is enough.' He added: 'Sheikh Osama [bin Laden] warned you many times to leave our lands or you will be destroyed and now the time has come for you to be destroyed.'”
Airline terror trial: suspects made martyrdom videos
London Times, 5 April 2008

"The leader of an alleged terrorist gang accused of planning mid-air carnage dismissed a plot to set off a bomb at Westminster as a 'publicity stunt'. Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 27, admitted conspiring to explode a bomb at the Houses of Parliament as a political protest, but he told Woolwich Crown Court that neither he nor two other men involved in the plan wanted to kill or hurt anyone. He said that martyrdom videos found by police, in which he and others threatened violent attacks on the West, were propaganda for an anti-government documentary. Giving evidence in his defence, Mr Ali said that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had driven him to act.... He said: 'The root problem we thought was to try and change foreign policy. We thought we are not American so forget America, we should deal with being a British citizen.'.... Mr Ali, who said that he and Mr Sarwar also considered power stations and Canary Wharf as targets, added: 'It is nothing to do with Islamic funda-mentalism or radical Islam, it is purely down to foreign policy.' ”
Terror suspect: we wanted to bomb Parliament for the publicity, not to kill
London Times, 3 June 2008

"The arrests of three men over terror offences are linked to an investigation into threats to kill Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the BBC has learned. The threats, also against former prime minister Tony Blair, were made in January on a recognised jihadi website. The group posting the statement called itself 'Al Qaeda in Britain' and demanded the withdrawal of British forces from Iraq and Afghanistan."
Terror arrests link to PM threat
BBC Online, 22 August 2008

"The NHS doctor who tried to murder thousands of people in the London and Glasgow car bombings had been part of a terrorist cell in Iraq, counter-terrorism sources have told The Times. Bilal Abdulla came to Britain to open a 'new front' in the Islamist jihad after he had been refused permission to carry out a suicide attack in Baghdad.... Abdulla, a 29-year-old Iraqi born in Aylesbury, showed no emotion as he was convicted yesterday at Woolwich Crown Court of conspiracy to murder and cause explosions. He faces life imprisonment and will be sentenced today....Abdulla, the son of respected physicians who had trained in Britain before returning to Iraq with their five-year old son, had witnessed both the first and second invasions of his home country by allied forces....A senior police source said that Abdulla was an 'intelligent, self-motivated individual' who possessed a burning hatred of both Americans and Shia Muslims. He dedicated a section of his will to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the self-proclaimed leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq who was killed before Abdulla’s attacks. Jim Sturman, QC, for Abdulla, said that his client wanted it to be known that his crimes were motivated by politics and his anger at what he saw as an 'unjust war', not religion."
Glasgow bomber Bilal Abdulla was in Iraq terrorist cell
London Times, 17 September 2008

"The West is losing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan because it does not understand the true motives of terrorists and is thus taking wrong strategies against them, a former analyst of U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) said Sunday. The reason for Osama bin Laden and his followers to fight the West is not because of their different values, or because they hate freedom, democracy or gender equality, but rather lies in Western countries' policies in the Middle East, Michael Scheuer, a retired 22-year CIA veteran told Canadian Television during an interview. American and the West's unqualified support for Israel, support for tyrannical regimes in the Middle East, and dependence on oil in the region are the real factors behind the terrorist acts of Islamic fundamentalist, he pointed out. Western countries so far have not realized or acknowledged these true reasons for terrorism, and so 'we're fighting an enemy that doesn't exist,' he said, adding 'if you don't fight the enemy in the way that he's motivated, you're going to lose.' "
CIA analyst says West losing in Iraq, Afghanistan
Xinhua, 17 September 2007

"A former head of MI5 today describes the response to the September 11 2001 attacks on the US as a 'huge overreaction' and says the invasion of Iraq influenced young men in Britain who turned to terrorism. In an interview with the Guardian, Stella Rimington calls al-Qaida's attack on the US 'another terrorist incident' but not qualitatively different from any others. 'That's not how it struck me. I suppose I'd lived with terrorist events for a good part of my working life and this was as far as I was concerned another one,' she says. In common with Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, who retired as MI5's director general last year, Rimington, who left 12 years ago, has already made it clear she abhorred 'war on terror' rhetoric and the government's abandoned plans to hold terrorism suspects for 42 days without charge. Today, she goes further by criticising politicians including Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, for trying to outbid each other in their opposition to terrorism and making national security a partisan issue. It all began, she suggests, with September 11. 'National security has become much more of a political issue than it ever was in my day,' she says. 'Parties are tending to use it as a way of trying to get at the other side. You know, 'We're more tough on terrorism than you are.' I think that's a bad move, quite frankly.' Rimington mentions Guantánamo Bay, the practice of extraordinary rendition, and the invasion of Iraq - three issues which the majority in Britain's security and intelligence establishment opposed privately at the time.  She challenges claims, notably made by Tony Blair, that the war in Iraq was not related to the radicalisation of Muslim youth in Britain. Asked what impact the war had on the terrorist threat, she replies: 'Well, I think all one can do is look at what those people who've been arrested or have left suicide videos say about their motivation. And most of them, as far as I'm aware, say that the war in Iraq played a significant part in persuading them that this is the right course of action to take.'"
Response to 9/11 was 'huge overreaction' - ex-MI5 chief
Guardian, 18 October 2008

"American military intervention in Muslim countries has bred a generation of 'angry young men' vulnerable to al-Qa'eda recruitment, a report from a leading security analysis group has said. A survey conducted in Iraq last month found that 46% of young men said they were 'angry all the time'.   Similar levels of discontent have been detected in Afghanistan, where America has led the Nato coalition for six years and Somalia, which has not recovered from the chaos that led to a brief US intervention in 1991.... Norine MacDonald, the lead Senlis reseacher, said the resentment of the Muslim young had exposed a 'structural weakness' in the American-led campaign to quash Islamic-based terrorism."
US wars have helped al-Qa'eda, says report
Daily Telegraph, 6 June 2008

"If someone hates us so much that he is prepared to sacrifice his own life in order to commit mass murder, then we want to find a rational explanation in his personality or his background to separate him from the rest of us. He would ideally have grown up in deprivation, with a dysfunctional family, few friends, minimal education, a poverty of expectation and a world view that can be easily moulded by the Islamist zealots whose nihilistic creed offers a simple, deadly solution to all of life’s problems. The reality, disturbingly, is very different. A study of 172 al-Qaeda terrorists conducted four years ago by Marc Sageman, a forensic psychiatrist and former CIA case officer in Pakistan, found that 90 per cent came from a relatively stable, secure background. Three quarters were from middle-class or upper-class families, two thirds went to college and two thirds were professionals or semi-professionals, often engineers, physicians, architects or scientists.....Because the West is seen as engaged in a global war against Islam, jihad in the name of Allah is seen as the duty of every Muslim. That jihadist terrorism is abhorrent to the vast majority of Muslims, and Muslim doctors, living in Britain was emphasised yesterday when a coalition of groups calling itself Muslims United took out advertisements in national newspapers to condemn the car bomb attacks. 'Not in our name,' they said, quoting a verse from the Koran: 'Whoever kills an innocent soul, it is as if he killed the whole of mankind. And whoever saves one, it is as if he saved the whole of mankind.' Your educated, middle-class jihadist will point out that the full verse actually prohibits the killing of another human being 'except as a punishment for murder and other villainy in the land'. The Koran’s fifth chapter continues: 'Those that make war against God and his apostle and spread disorder in the land shall be slain . . .' For some Muslims, especially those who have lived in or near Iraq, it does not demand a great leap of faith, whatever their profession, to include the United States and Britain among those 'that make war against God'."
The unexpected profile of the modern terrorist: 26, from a caring family, married, with children, graduate
London Times, 7 July 2007

"The Gallup poll (which surveyed 10,000 Muslims in 10 different countries) also revealed that the wealthier and better-educated Muslims are, the more likely they are to be politically radical. So if you ever believed that anti-Western sentiment was an expression of poverty and deprivation, think again. Even more perplexingly, Islamists are more supportive of democracy than Muslim moderates. Those who imagined that the Middle East could be stabilised with a mixture of economic and political reform could not have been more wrong. The richer these people get, the more they favour radical Islamism. And they see democracy as a way of putting the radicals into power."
Hatred of America unites the world
Sunday Telegraph, 25 February 2007

"In Leaderless Jihad, the latest book by the author of 2004's Understanding Terror Networks, forensic psychiatrist Marc Sageman attempts to unravel the psychological profile of Islamist terrorists. Like his earlier book, Leaderless Jihad discredits conventional wisdom about terrorists by eschewing anecdotes and conjecture in favor of hard data and statistics. And statistically, the enemy is us. 'It is easy to view terrorists as alien creatures who exist outside normal patterns of social interaction,' he writes. But the sobering reality is that they don't. Sociopaths do not make capable terrorists — they seldom take orders and are rarely willing to sacrifice their lives for a larger goal. Many terrorists on the other hand, share qualities with ordinary, law-abiding people: they can be cooperative, goal-orientated and intelligent, even if emotionally wrought. Often, the start of their radicalization can be traced to a scrupulously moral outrage — not an irrational hatred or base prejudice. Radical Muslims become bombers, Sageman argues, when the causes of their anger — the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the U.S. invasion of Iraq — come to be perceived as part of a general war against Islam. The feeling of being under attack may be amplified by personal experience of discrimination, and then validated by exchanges with like-minded friends, family members and Internet users, before being converted into action by 'al-Qaeda.' Not, as Sageman puts it, 'al-Qaeda Central' (made up of those who have sworn an oath of loyalty to Osama bin Laden), but al-Qaeda the informal network, mobilizing radicalized Islamists around the world without any contact with bin Laden at all....The solution to Islamic terrorism, as the author sees it, is genuine peace in Palestine and an immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, depriving jihadis of their ability to wage a moral war. 'The presence of even one American soldier ... will trump any goodwill policy the United States attempts to carry out in the Middle East.' He also recommends an end to the offering of rewards, publication of 'most wanted' lists and staging of press conferences to proclaim the capture of top terrorists, since jihadis regard all these as badges of honor. It would be better, Sageman says, to treat terrorists like common criminals."
The Jihadi Next Door
TIME, 31 March 2008

"Many Muslims have been alienated from British society by the Iraq war and by public hostility based on the fear that they may be sympathetic to Islamic terrorists. But there are also many Muslims who think terrorism is evil, who are not fundamentalists, who want to create a satisfactory life here. They may well be reluctant to report the nice young man down the road who may, or may not, have joined a terrorist group, but they would be horrified to think that one of their own children could become a bomber.....Many Muslims resent what they regard as injustices to Islam, but few of them support the massacre of the innocent; most of them want to enjoy the pluralist opportunities of modern Britain."
Lord Rees-Mogg
This time we were lucky. This time . . .
London Times, 2 July 2007

"For years, suicide bombings in the Middle East have caused death, destruction and chaos. In turn, they have generated news headlines and analyses that often frame the attacks, like those perpetrated by Palestinians or Iraqi insurgents, as weapons in a holy war. But Pape, author of the provocative new book 'Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism,' contends those reports fuel significant misperceptions about the bombers, their motivations and specifically the role religion plays in their actions. 'There is little connection between suicide terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism, or any one of the world's religions,' he says. Before September 11, Pape's main academic focus was the impact of air power in military conflicts. After the attacks, he shifted his attention to suicide terrorism. Finding out what motivated these bombers and their groups proved challenging, as he discovered little in the way of comprehensive data. So Pape began building a database and then mined it for details. After studying 315 suicide attacks from 1981-2004, the University of Chicago political science professor concludes that suicide bombers' actions stem from logical military strategies, not their religion -- and especially not Islam. While American news-watchers may hear more about Israel and Iraq, Pape calls the Tamil Tigers the leading purveyors of suicide attacks over the last two decades -- until now. An adamantly secular group with Hindu roots, the Tamil Tigers are engaged in a struggle for independence and power with the Sri Lankan government. So what is the suicide bomber's main rationale? It is that the attacks work, Pape found. 'What nearly all suicide terrorist attacks have in common is a specific secular and strategic goal: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from territory that the terrorists consider to be their homeland.' Which means, in the case of al Qaeda and like-minded groups, getting the United States out of the Arabian Peninsula and Iraq.... Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was 'very impressed and very interested' after reading Pape's book and being briefed by him, according to a Lugar aide."
Suicide bombings as military strategy
CNN, 30 June 2005

"Almost every month for the past two years, Chechen suicide bombers have struck. Their targets can be anything from Russian soldiers to Chechen police officers to the innocent civilians who were killed on the subway in Moscow this week. We all know the horror that people willing to kill themselves can inflict. But do we really understand what drives young women and men to strap explosives on their bodies and deliberately kill themselves in order to murder dozens of people going about their daily lives? Chechen suicide attackers do not fit popular stereotypes, contrary to the Russian government’s efforts to pigeonhole them. For years, Moscow has routinely portrayed Chechen bombers as Islamic extremists, many of them foreign, who want to make Islam the world’s dominant religion. Yet however much Russia may want to convince the West that this battle is part of a global war on terrorism, the facts about who becomes a Chechen suicide attacker — male or female — reveal otherwise. The three of us, in our work for the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism, have analyzed every Chechen suicide attack since they began in 2000, 42 separate incidents involving 63 people who killed themselves. Many Chechen separatists are Muslim, but few of the suicide bombers profess religious motives. The majority are male, but a huge fraction — over 40 percent — are women. Although foreign suicide attackers are not unheard of in Chechnya, of the 42 for whom we can determine place of birth, 38 were from the Caucasus. Something is driving Chechen suicide bombers, but it is hardly global jihad. As we have discovered in our research on Lebanon, the West Bank, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and elsewhere, suicide terrorist campaigns are almost always a last resort against foreign military occupation. Chechnya is a powerful demonstration of this phenomenon at work. In the 1990s, the rebels kicked out tens of thousands of Russian troops who had been sent to the region to prevent Chechnya, a republic within the Russian Federation, from declaring independence. In 1999, the Russians came back — this time with more than 90,000 troops — and waged a well-documented scorched-earth campaign, killing an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 civilians out of a population of about 1 million. Ordinary guerrilla tactics and hostage-taking — the keys to ousting the Russians the first time — now got the rebels nowhere. New tactics were employed and women were central from the start. On June 7, 2000, two Chechen women, Khava Barayeva and Luiza Magomadova, drove a truck laden with explosives into a Russian special forces building in Alkhan-Yurt, Chechnya; while the Russians insist only two soldiers were killed, the Chechen rebel claim of more than two dozen fatalities seems more likely. This was the first Chechen suicide attack and showed the many advantages of female suicide bombers. They were deadly, as Chechen female attackers generally are, killing an average of 21 people per attack compared to 13 for males. Perhaps far more important, they could inspire others to follow in their footsteps, women and men alike. Ms. Barayeva made a martyr video, as many suicide bombers do before their attacks. While warning Russia that she was attacking for Chechen independence, she also directed a powerful message clearly meant to provoke men to make similar sacrifices out of a sense of honor. She pleaded for Chechen men to 'not take the woman’s role by staying at home'; so far, 32 men have answered her call. Just as important, Ms. Barayeva is considered responsible for inspiring a movement of 'black widows' — women who have lost a husband, child or close relative to the 'occupation' and killed themselves on missions to even the score. In total, 24 Chechen females ranging in age from 15 to 37 have carried out suicide attacks, including the most deadly — the coordinated bombings of two passenger flights in August 2004 that caused 90 deaths and (according to Russian authorities) the subway blasts on Monday that killed nearly 40. The bombers’ motives spring directly from their experiences with Russian troops, according to Abu al-Walid, a rebel leader who was killed in 2004. 'These women, particularly the wives of the mujahedeen who were martyred, are being threatened in their homes, their honor [is] being threatened,' he explained in a video that appeared on Al Jazeera. 'They do not accept being humiliated and living under occupation.'... Chechen suicide terrorism is strongly motivated by both direct military occupation by Russia and by indirect military occupation by pro-Russia Chechen security forces.”
What Makes Chechen Women So Dangerous?

New York Times, 31 March 2010

"At a time when Islamist terrorism seems to have returned to the centre of London, it is easy to forget that during the 20th century terror was used on a vast scale by secular regimes. Today suicide attacks are automatically linked with a belief in martyrdom followed by paradise in the afterlife. Yet suicide bombing of the kind we now confront is a terrorist technique that was developed by people with no such beliefs. Though they claim to reject all things modern and Western, Islamist terrorists are continuing a modern Western tradition of using systematic violence to transform society. The roots of contemporary terrorism are in radical Western ideology – especially Leninism – far more than religion..... It might be thought that with the rise of Islamism, secular terrorism has died out. This is far from the truth. Suicide bombing may now be the Islamist technique of choice, but it was the Tamil Tigers – a Marxist-Leninist group that recruits mostly from Hindus in Sri Lanka, but which is militantly hostile to all forms of religion – that devised it. It was the Tamil Tigers that developed the explosive belt worn by Hamas and Islamic Jihad suicide bombers, and up to the Iraq war the Tigers had committed more such attacks than any other organisation. The first wave of suicide attacks in Lebanon in the Eighties was also mainly the work of secular groups. Of 41 attacks between 1982 and 1986, including the attack in 1983 that killed more than 100 US Marines, 27 were carried out by members of leftist groups such as the Lebanese communist party and the Arab Socialist Union. Only eight were Islamists, and three were Christians (including a woman high school teacher)."
A trail of terror stretching 200 years
London Times, 30 June 2007

"The War on Terror has radicalised Muslims around the world to unprecedented levels of anti-American feeling, according to the largest survey of Muslims ever to be conducted.....Gallup’s Centre for Muslim Studies in New York carried out surveys of 10,000 Muslims in ten predominantly Muslim countries. One finding was that the wealthier and better-educated the Muslim was, the more likely he was to be radicalised. The surveys were carried out in 2005 and 2006. Along with an earlier Gallup survey in nine other countries in 2001, they represent the views of more than 90 per cent of the world’s Muslims. A further 1,500 Muslims in London, Paris and Berlin are involved in a separate poll to be published in April.... The Gallup findings indicate that, in terms of spiritual values and the emphasis on the family and the future, Americans have more in common with Muslims than they do with their Western counterparts in Europe. A large number of Muslims supported the Western ideal of democratic government. Fifty per cent of radicals supported democracy, compared with 35 per cent of moderates. Religion was found to have little to do with radicalisation or antipathy towards Western culture. Muslims were condemnatory of promiscuity and a sense of moral decay. What they admired most was liberty, its democratic system, technology and freedom of speech.... Researchers set out to examine the truth behind the stock response in the West to the question of when it will know it is winning the war on terror. Foreign policy experts tend to believe that victory will come when the Islamic world rejects radicalism. 'Every politician has a theory: radicals are religious fundamentalists; they are poor; they are full of hopeless-ness and hate. But those theories are wrong,' the researchers reported. 'We find that Muslim radicals have more in common with their moderate brethren than is often assumed. If the West wants to reach the extremists, and empower the moderate majority, it must first recognise who it’s up against.' Gallup says that because terrorists often hijack Islamic precepts for their own ends, pundits and politicians in the West sometimes portray Islam as a religion of terrorism. 'They often charge that religious fervour triggers radical and violent views,' said John Esposito, a religion professor, and Dalia Mogahed, Gallup’s Muslim studies director, in one analysis. 'But the data say otherwise. There is no significant difference in religiosity between moderates and radicals. In fact, radicals are no more likely to attend religious services regularly than are moderates.' They continue: 'It’s no secret that many in the Muslim world suffer from crippling poverty and lack of education. But are radicals any poorer than their fellow Muslims? We found the opposite: there is indeed a key difference between radicals and moderates when it comes to income and education, but it is the radicals who earn more and stay in school longer.' In fact, the surveys found that the radicals were more satisfied with their finances and quality of life than moderates."
Anti-American feelings soar among Muslims, study finds
London Times, 21 February 2007

The Occupation Of Saudi Arabia

"....[After the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait] President Bush was hesitant about how America should respond. His foreign policy alter ego, Secretary of State Jim Baker, and his Defense Secretary, Dick Cheney, were reluctant to act. National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, however, thought that Iraq had just changed the strategic equation in a way that could not be permitted. So did British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The two argued that nothing stood between the advance of units of the Iraqi army in Kuwait and the immense Saudi oil fields. If we did nothing in response to Iraq's seizing Kuwait, Saddam Hussein would think that he could get away with seizing the Saudis' eastern oil fields. If that happened, Baghdad would control most of the world's readily available oil. They could dictate to America.  Reluctantly, Bush and his team decided that they needed to defend the Saudi oil fields, and do so quickly. They needed Saudi permission for the defensive deployment, but there were some in the Pentagon and White House who thought U.S. forces needed to protect the Saudi oil with or without Saudi approval. The mission to persuade the Saudi King to accept U.S forces was given to Defense Secretary Dick Cheney. He assembled a small team, including Under Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Central Command head Norman Schwarzkopf, Sandy Charles of the NSC, and me, then the Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs... Cheney concluded the presentation, promising that U.S forces would come only to defend the Kingdom. President Bush wanted the King to know that he had the President's word that the U.S. forces would leave as soon as the threat was over, or whenever ordered to do so by the King. ..... Unknown to the Americans at the time, the intelligence chief, Prince Turki, had been approached by the Saudi who had recruited Arabs to fight in the Afghan War against the Soviets, Usama Bin Laden........ When Kuwait was invaded, he offered to make them available to the King to defend Saudi Arabia, to drive Saddam out of Kuwait. After we left the palace, perhaps bin Laden was told of the King's decision. His help would not be required. He could not believe it; letting nonbelievers into the Kingdom of the Two Holy Mosques was against the beliefs of the Wahhabist branch of Islam. Large numbers of American military in the Kingdom would violate Islam, the construction magnate's son thought. They would never leave."
Richard Clarke - White House Head Of Counterterrorism 1992 - 2003
Chapter 3, Unfinished Mission, Unintended Consequences
'Against All Enemies'  - Edition first published in Great Britain by The Free Press in 2004

How The Arab-Israeli Conflict Became Enmeshed
In The British Pursuit Of Middle Eastern Oil

Britain, Oil, And The Middle East
The History Channel
'Promises And Betrayals: Britain And The Struggle For The Holy Land'

Transporting Iraqi Oil And The Strait Of Hormuz
Why Iran, Somalia, Syria And Other Target States Are Also Part Of The Equation

"About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, 'Sir, you’ve got to come in and talk to me a second.' I said, 'Well, you’re too busy.' He said, 'No, no.' He says, 'We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq.' This was on or about the 20th of September. I said, 'We’re going to war with Iraq? Why?' He said, 'I don’t know.' ...So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, 'Are we still going to war with Iraq?' And he said, 'Oh, it’s worse than that.' He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, 'I just got this down from upstairs'—meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office—'today.' And he said, 'This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.' I said, 'Is it classified?' He said, 'Yes, sir.' I said, 'Well, don’t show it to me.' And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, 'You remember that?' He said, 'Sir, I didn’t show you that memo! I didn’t show it to you!'.... The truth is, about the Middle East is, had there been no oil there, it would be like Africa. Nobody is threatening to intervene in Africa. The problem is the opposite. We keep asking for people to intervene and stop it. There’s no question that the presence of petroleum throughout the region has sparked great power involvement."
General Wesley Clarke, interviewed by Amy Goodman
Democracy Now, 2 March 2007

"As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan....He said it with reproach--with disbelief, almost--at the breadth of the vision. I moved the conversation away, for this was not something I wanted to hear. And it was not something I wanted to see moving forward, either. ...I left the Pentagon that afternoon deeply concerned."
'Winning Modern' Wars (page 130), General Wesley Clark

"[Condoleeza] Rice will not leave Washington until later today, and it was clear from her pronounced lack of urgency that President George W Bush had torn up previous manuals for Middle East crisis intervention. The White House played down the seriousness of the Lebanon crisis, characterising the death and destruction as the 'birth pangs of a new Middle East'. Officials argued that it was pointless to negotiate with Hezbollah and that only its eradication could create the necessary conditions for a durable political settlement. The crisis was 'an opportunity, not a setback', insisted one senior US official."
Hell in the Holy Lands
Sunday Times, 23 July 2006

Persian Gulf Oil and Gas Exports Fact Sheet
US Department Of Energy, September 2004

Strait of Hormuz
In 2003, the vast majority (about 90%) of oil exported from the Persian Gulf transited by tanker through the Strait of Hormuz , located between Oman and Iran.
The Strait consists of 2-mile wide channels for inbound and outbound tanker traffic, as well as a 2-mile wide buffer zone. Oil flows through the Strait of Hormuz account for roughly two-fifths of all world traded oil, and closure of the Strait of Hormuz would require use of longer alternate routes (if available) at increased transportation costs. Such routes include the approximately 5-million-bbl/d-capacity East-West Pipeline across Saudi Arabia to the port of Yanbu, and the Abqaiq-Yanbu natural gas liquids line across Saudi Arabia to the Red Sea. The 15.0-15.5 million bbl/d or so of oil which transit the Strait of Hormuz goes both eastwards to Asia (especially Japan, China, and India) and westwards (via the Suez Canal, the Sumed pipeline, and around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa) to Western Europe and the United States.

Bab al-Mandab
Oil heading westwards by tanker from the Persian Gulf towards the Suez Canal or Sumed pipeline must pass through the Bab al-Mandab. Located between Djibouti and Eritrea in Africa, and Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula, the Bab al-Mandab connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. Any closure of the Bab al-Mandab could keep tankers from reaching the Suez Canal/Sumed Pipeline complex, diverting them around the southern tip of Africa. This would add greatly to transit time and cost, and effectively tie up spare tanker capacity. In December 1995, Yemen fought a brief battle with Eritrea over Greater Hanish Island, located just north of the Bab al-Mandab. The Bab al-Mandab could be bypassed by utilizing the East-West oil pipeline. However, southbound oil traffic would still be blocked. In addition, closure of the Bab al-Mandab would effectively block non-oil shipping from using the Suez Canal, except for limited trade within the Red Sea region.

Suez/Sumed Complex
After passing through the Bab al-Mandab, oil en route from the Persian Gulf to Europe must pass either through the Suez Canal or the Sumed Pipeline complex in Egypt. Both of these routes connect the Red Sea and Gulf of Suez with the Mediterranean Sea.
Any closure of the Suez Canal and/or Sumed Pipeline would divert tankers around the southern tip of Africa (the Cape of Good Hope), adding greatly to transit time and effectively tying up tanker capacity.

Other Export Routes
Small amounts of oil from the Persian Gulf were exported via routes besides the Strait of Hormuz in 2003. This oil was exported mainly via pipeline from Iraq's Kirkuk oil region to the Turkish port of Ceyhan and by truck to Jordan.

The  Importance Of Syria As A Transit Route For Iraqi Oil

"Iraqi and Syrian oil ministers agreed on Wednesday to repair and subsequently reopen a key pipeline between their two countries that connects Iraq's oil-rich Kirkuk region and a Syrian port. The agreement between Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani and his Syrian counterpart Sufian Allaw came at the end of a three-day visit here by a top Iraqi delegation, headed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The 880-kilometer (550 mile) pipeline links Iraq's northern oil fields to the Syrian port of Baniyas, and reopening it would allow Iraq to use a second export terminal on the Mediterranean Sea. Currently, Iraq exports nearly all its oil through the Persian Gulf. The main export pipeline from Kirkuk to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan has been mostly closed due to sabotage. The pipeline to Baniyas was built in the 1950s but was bombed by U.S. forces during the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein."
Iraqi, Syrian oil ministers agree to reopen key pipeline
Associated Press, 22 August 2007

<<<---- To USA and Europe
Iraqexport2.JPG (46229 bytes)

Blue = Pre-War Iraqi Oil Transit Route To Meditteranian Via Arabian Peninsula And Suez Canal (Suez Cannot Take Largest Tankers)
Red = Post-War Potential Alternative Route Via Syria/Lebanon/Israel


"Veterans of the SAS have launched a campaign to win posthumous Victoria Crosses for two unsung heroes who died fighting a forgotten battle against overwhelming odds during a secret war. Prince William, acting in an unofficial capacity, has unveiled a statue to one of the heroes inside the SAS’s camp at Hereford. But the life-size bronze figure was paid for by an American multi-millionaire, the public cannot see it and there have been no medals for the two men who died in a conflict at the height of the cold war. The survivors of the battle of Mirbat in Oman in July 1972 have dubbed it the SAS’s Rorke’s Drift, a reference to the stand by British soldiers against the Zulus in 1879.... The SAS had been invited to Oman by the sultan to help his small army put down the insurgency. They operated under the pseudonym of the British Army Training Team. If the guerrillas had won that day, they would have gone on to take control of the Strait of Hormuz through which 90% of the world’s oil flowed. It would have given the Soviet Union a strategic stranglehold on the region.... Richard Belfield, an award-winning documentary film-maker who is his co-author, said: 'There was a rationing of medals. The regiment has been angry ever since over who got the medals and who didn’t. An anonymous donor gave the regiment some money and said why don’t you erect a statue to one soldier who absolutely epitomises the regiment. They didn’t give it to Paddy Mayne or David Stirling, who founded the regiment. It went to Laba. But he only got mentioned in dispatches and Tobin got absolutely nothing. Part of the argument was that this was a secret war and people would wonder what was happening in Oman if the medals were announced. But there is a real anger in the regiment that these great heroes have never been properly recognised.”
SAS seeks VCs for heroes of its Rorke’s Drift
Sunday Times, 14 August 2011, Print Edition, P9


"Britain has quietly deployed its most advanced warship off the coast of Yemen to protect a crucial shipping lane from the threat of Iranian-backed missile attacks, The Times has learnt. HMS Daring, a Type 45 destroyer, has been diverted from joining a mission in the Gulf to patrol the Bab al-Mandeb strait after three US warships and a United Arab Emirates vessel were targeted in the area. The Royal Navy operation, which has yet to be made public, was described by one analyst as the most important task being undertaken by the Royal Navy’s surface fleet. Much of Britain’s oil and gas supplies passes through the strait, which leads to the Suez Canal...."
Britain secretly sends warship to hold oil route
London Times, 9 November 2016

"Yemen is key to the stability of the Gulf and the security of global oil supplies."
Colonel Richard Kemp - Accusing the Saudis of war crimes just helps the terrorists
London Times, 9 February 2016, Print Edition, P22

"Imam Yahya, ruler of north Yemen from 1918 to 1948, once confided to a Dutch explorer that an American mining company had offered him $2 million for the right to prospect for oil. When the explorer asked if he had accepted such an advantageous offer, Imam Yahya’s negative was couched in a rhetorical question: 'Can you tell me how many millions it would cost me to be rid of them again?' A strong and confident leader, Imam Yahya loudly and constantly reiterated his claim to be the rightful ruler of a Greater Yemen that included Aden, a clammy, desolate but cosmopolitan port that had been a British Crown colony since 1839. He dispensed free rifles and cash to any protectorate tribesman willing to betray the British infidel who still occupied the southern territory. This was the 1940s, and the Age of Empires was ending. Far from loosening her grip on Aden, however, Britain had begun tightening it after the end of the First World War. As early as 1928, a refusal to do the British bidding by tribesmen in the protectorates around Aden was liable to bring down the destructive wrath of an RAF bombing raid on their villages and crops. Resort to this controversial, if economical, means of control was one that successive administrators of Aden were at pains to justify: 'The Arabs are a proud race and rate personal bravery highly, as highly as they do prestige,' explained a 1950s governor of Aden. 'And frankly, that is far too high. They will not give in to an inferior force, but will shoot it out to the end. They are unlikely to give in to a slightly superior force — but they will give in to an overwhelming force and often be secretly glad to do so.' Aden remained a jewel in the British crown, one worth making concessions to keep. Strategically situated, from the point of view of British oil interests in the Gulf, its Khormaksar airfield was soon handling more traffic than any other RAF base in the world and its harbour more ships than any other, except New York and Liverpool."
End of empire: the brutal and bloody last days of British colonial power in Yemen
London Times, 4 March 2010

"If you ever wonder why seemingly obscure countries like Yemen, Qatar and Bahrain get so much attention, just look at these two narrow straits, and know that nearly 50% of the world's seaborne oil passes through them daily. Then think about the global economic meltdown that would result if the straits were disrupted. So when unrest in Yemen sends its injured (and U.S.-friendly) despot packing, or when Iran helps foster Shiite unrest in Bahrain, or when Saudi Arabia struggles with its own leadership transition... you need know what's really going on and how it could end up affecting you."
Middle East: Strait Shooting
Stratfor, 8 June 2011

"...backed by Iran Houthis are seizing control of Yemen; threatening the strategic straights at the mouth of the Red Sea. Along with the Straight of Hormuz, that would give Iran a second choke point on the world’s oil supply.'
Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister
Speech to the US Congress, 3 March 2015

"If [Iranian] Houthi proxies take over control of Yemen's side of the strait of Bab-el-Mandeb they will be in control of a strategic link between the Mediterranian and the Indian Ocean. Four million barrels of crude oil a day travel through the strait; it is one of the great choke points of global trade."
Iran's masters of disorder threaten the West
London Times, 1 April 2015, Print Edition, P28


"The shimmering blue water washes gently on to golden sands that stretch past the crumbling, whitewashed villas lining the shore. Dolphins leap from the gentle swell of the Indian Ocean....In another age this was known as 'beautiful Mogadishu', a destination for package tourists from Europe. Today it stands beside the most dangerous shipping lane in the world. Pirates armed with rocket-propelled grenades and AK47s control the waters far out to sea; close to shore, the threat of Islamist suicide boats keeps captains watchful. About 30,000 ships use the route as they pass in and out of the Suez Canal, making it a vital artery for global trade. A US-led naval taskforce, set up as part of Operation Enduring Freedom to tackle terrorism, has been given responsibility for trying to keep the sea lanes open. They have established a series of waypoints marking a safe corridor through the Gulf of Aden patrolled by warships and coalition aircraft overhead."
Somalia: Only guns can get aid past the pirates into the gates of Hell
London Times, 20 September 2008

"Islamist extremists prepared last night to unload rocket-propelled grenades and anti-aircraft guns from a Ukrainian freighter seized by Somali pirates even as foreign warships surrounded the vessel. A US destroyer and submarine from an international taskforce set up to patrol the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean and two European-flagged ships were reported to be tracking the freighter that had anchored off the southern Somali coast. The ship's captain contacted media outlets by satellite phone to say that one of his crew had died during the hostage drama....Piracy has flourished around Somalia's lawless coast since the mid-1990s. It was briefly stamped out by the Union of Islamic Courts which took control of the country in 2006. The trade returned when the Islamists were defeated by an Ethiopian assault. In the past the trade was directed at earning hard currency. However, this year the pirates have acquired an ideological dimension. Bruno Schiemsky, a Somali analyst based in Kenya, said that Somalia's al-Shabaab militia — the youth wing of the Islamist movement — had joined forces with the pirates, offering weapons training in return for lessons in plundering at sea. 'This has now gone beyond money. The Shabaab are now at sea looking for Israelis, Americans and other Westerners,' he said. 'This is getting very nasty now.'”
Islamists plunder weapons from hijacked ship in Somalia
London Times, 29 September 2008

"If I were a Somali I would thank Allah for the pirates. For more than 20 years the world has stood by while successive civil wars destroyed Somalia, killing hundreds of thousands of people by bullets, disease and starvation and reducing what was once a prosperous land to a war zone. But the seizure of more than 200 ships by kids with guns in small craft has changed all that. Britain, for which shipping and trade around the Red Sea and the Gulf are vital national interests, has decided to take action. Pirates, the UK Government has realised, cannot be stopped as long as their land bases are not ruled by a government. With Somalia’s Government under attack from Islamic militants who are recruiting and training terrorists, a political solution must now be found for Somalia. So declared William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, clad in flak jacket and helmet, in Mogadishu on Thursday. The search will begin at a conference in London on February 23. At last. And what a conference it will be. Some 40 heads of government have been invited to Lancaster House to discuss the takeover of Somalia. At least that is what the Italians, the former rulers of southern Somalia, want. But we have invited the wrong Somalis. ... The so-called Government lives in luxury hotels and apartments in Nairobi. According to a recent audit of the Somali Government in 2009-2010, 96 per cent — yes, ninety-six per cent! — of direct bilateral assistance disappeared, presumably stolen by corrupt politicians and officials. An official report by the UN Monitoring Group said: 'The endemic corruption of the leadership of the transitional federal institutions ... is the greatest impediment to the emergence of a cohesive transitional authority and effective state institutions.' But it is these people who will be coming to Lancaster House on February 23. We know that in much of Somalia there are very strong civil society organisations led by highly respected men and women. They, however, will not be invited. So perhaps the first thing this great conference should do is apologise to the people of Somalia for ignoring their plight for so long. The second is to usher Somalia’s professional politicians into the garden or off to smart hotels and bring in some Somalis who really represent the interests of the country and its long-suffering people."
Richard Dowden, Director of the Royal African Society
By robbing the rich, Somali pirates have helped the poor
London Times, 4 February 2012, Print Edition P24

"Britain is involved in a secret high-stakes dash for oil in Somalia, with the government offering humanitarian aid and security assistance in the hope of a stake in the beleaguered country's future energy industry. Riven by two decades of conflict that have seen the emergence of a dangerous Islamic insurgency, Somalia is routinely described as the world's most comprehensively 'failed' state, as well as one of its poorest. Its coastline has become a haven for pirates preying on international shipping in the Indian Ocean. David Cameron last week hosted an international conference on Somalia, pledging more aid, financial help and measures to tackle terrorism. The summit followed a surprise visit by the foreign secretary, William Hague, to Mogadishu, the Somali capital, where he talked about 'the beginnings of an opportunity'' to rebuild the country. The Observer can reveal that, away from the public focus of last week's summit, talks are going on between British officials and Somali counterparts over exploiting oil reserves that have been explored in the arid north-eastern region of the country. Abdulkadir Abdi Hashi, minister for international cooperation in Puntland, north-east Somalia – where the first oil is expected to be extracted next month – said: 'We have spoken to a number of UK officials, some have offered to help us with the future management of oil revenues. They will help us build our capacity to maximise future earnings from the oil industry.' British involvement in the future Somali oil industry would be a boon for the UK economy and comes at a time when the world is increasingly concerned about the actions of Iran, the second-biggest oil producer in Opec. Hashi, in charge of brokering deals for the region's oil reserves, also said Somalia was looking to BP as the partner they wanted to 'help us explore and build our oil capacity'. He added: 'We need those with the necessary technical knowhow, we plan to talk to BP at the right time.' Somali prime minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali said his government had little choice but to entice western companies to Somalia by offering a slice of the country's natural resources, which include oil, gas and large reserves of uranium. 'The only way we can pay [western companies] is to pay them in kind, we can pay with natural resources at the fair market value.' Britain is not the only country looking to develop Somalia's vast natural resources. Last month oil exploration began in Puntland by the Canadian company Africa Oil, the first drilling in Somalia for 21 years. Hashi, who sealed the Africa Oil deal, said the first oil was expected to be extracted within the next '20 to 30 days'..... Yet it is the extent of oil deposits beneath the Indian Ocean that is most exciting Somali officials. One said the potential was comparable to that of Kuwait, which has more than 100bn barrels of proven oil reserves. If true, the deposits would eclipse Nigeria's reserves – 37.2bn barrels – and make Somalia the seventh largest oil-rich nation. The state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation has tried to acquire an interest in Somalia's reserves. Senior officials from the Somali transitional government are adamant that the imminent extraction of oil in Puntland next month would kickstart a scramble from the multinationals. On Thursday, the last day of the London conference, BP and Shell unveiled an initiative to support job-creation projects in the coastal regions of Somalia. A subsidiary of Shell was thought to have acquired exploration concessions in Puntland before the descent into lawlessness in 1991."
Britain leads dash to explore for oil in war-torn Somalia
Observer, 25 February 2012

"Somali pirates occupy a unique position, which is right along highly strategic global shipping lanes yet outside the reach of any national power. For international actors, it is politically and militarily easier to try to contain the Somali piracy threat than to eliminate it. ... Several dozen foreign naval ships are deployed to secure the waters for commercial shipping at any given time. Their focus is escorting ships through the Gulf of Aden, but the area of pirate activity is much larger than that, reaching across the Arabian Sea to India and Madagascar."
The Expensive, Diminishing Threat of Somali Piracy
Stratfor, 8 November 2012


"The intrusion of European imperial powers into the region compounded Iran's difficulties in the 19th century, along with the lodging of British power to Iran's west in Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula following the end of World War I. This coincided with a transformation of the global economy to an oil-based system. Then as now, the region was a major source of global oil. Where the British once had interests in the region, the emergence of oil as the foundation of industrial and military power made these interests urgent."
Iran's Strategy
Stratfor, 10 April 2012

"Q: And what are the stakes here? The diplomatic effort has been going on for a long time and it has not worked. In fact, Iran has gone in the other direction. So what are the stakes here?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, remember where Iran sits. It's important to backup I think for a minute and set aside the nuclear question, just look at what Iran represents in terms of their physical location. They occupy one whole side of the Persian Gulf, clearly have the capacity to influence the world's supply of oil, about 20 percent of the daily production comes out through the Straits of Hormuz."
Interview of US Vice President Dick Cheney
ABC News (Australia), 23 February 2007

"The most important facts about Iran go unstated because they are so obvious. Any glance at a map would tell us what they are. And these facts explain how regime change or evolution in Tehran -- when, not if, it comes -- will dramatically alter geopolitics from the Mediterranean to the Indian subcontinent and beyond. Virtually all of the Greater Middle East's oil and natural gas lies either in the Persian Gulf or the Caspian Sea regions. Just as shipping lanes radiate from the Persian Gulf, pipelines will increasingly radiate from the Caspian region to the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, China and the Indian Ocean. The only country that straddles both energy-producing areas is Iran, stretching as it does from the Caspian to the Persian Gulf. In a raw materials' sense, Iran is the Greater Middle East's universal joint.... just as Iran straddles the rich energy fields of both the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea, it also straddles the Middle East proper and Central Asia. No Arab country can make that claim (just as no Arab country sits astride two energy-producing areas).... as its nuclear program attests, is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the Middle East (in keeping with its culture and politics), and as such has built hydroelectric projects and roads and railroads in these Central Asian countries that will one day link them all to Iran -- either directly or through Afghanistan. Moreover, a natural gas pipeline now connects southeastern Turkmenistan with northeastern Iran, bringing Turkmen natural gas to Iran's Caspian region, and thus freeing up Tehran's own natural gas production in southern Iran for export via the Persian Gulf. (This goes along with a rail link built in the 1990s connecting the two countries.) Turkmenistan has the world's fourth-largest natural gas reserves and has committed its entire natural gas exports to Iran, China and Russia. Hence, the possibility arises of a Eurasian energy axis united by the crucial geography of three continental powers all for the time being opposed to Western democracy.14 Iran and Kazakhstan have built an oil pipeline connecting the two countries, with Kazakh oil being pumped to Iran's north, even as an equivalent amount of oil is shipped from Iran's south out through the Persian Gulf. Kazakhstan and Iran will also be linked by rail, providing Kazakhstan with direct access to the Gulf. A rail line may also connect mountainous Tajikistan to Iran, via Afghanistan. Iran constitutes the shortest route for all these natural resource-rich countries to reach international markets. So imagine an Iran athwart the pipeline routes of Central Asia.... "
The Geography of Iranian Power by Robert D. Kaplan
Stratfor, 29 August 2012

"... what's happened is that the United States looks at the Middle East through Israel. And the Arabs and the Persians look at Israel as an outpost of the United States of the West. We've lost this anti-colonial game and the Iranians have won it. They've simply portrayed themselves as not as religious fanatics, but as an anti-colonial power. And everybody in the Middle East, you look at the polls across the board, even countries like Morocco, which are entirely Sunni, look to Tehran as the great anti-imperial power. We've lost the ideological war."
Robert Baer, former CIA agent
Australian Broadcasting Organisation, 26 February 2009


"Israel stands to benefit greatly from the US led war on Iraq, primarily by getting rid of an implacable foe in President Saddam Hussein and the threat from the weapons of mass destruction he was alleged to possess. But it seems the Israelis have other things in mind. An intriguing pointer to one potentially significant benefit was a report by Haaretz on 31 March that minister for national infrastructures Joseph Paritzky was considering the possibility of reopening the long-defunct oil pipeline from Mosul to the Mediterranean port of Haifa. With Israel lacking energy resources of its own and depending on highly expensive oil from Russia, reopening the pipeline would transform its economy.... All of this lends weight to the theory that Bush's war is part of a masterplan to reshape the Middle East to serve Israel's interests. Haaretz quoted Paritzky as saying that the pipeline project is economically justifiable because it would dramatically reduce Israel's energy bill. US efforts to get Iraqi oil to Israel are not surprising. Under a 1975 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the US guaranteed all Israel's oil needs in the event of a crisis. The MoU, which has been quietly renewed every five years, also committed the USA to construct and stock a supplementary strategic reserve for Israel, equivalent to some US$3bn in 2002. Special legislation was enacted to exempt Israel from restrictions on oil exports from the USA. Moreover, the USA agreed to divert oil from its home market, even if that entailed domestic shortages, and guaranteed delivery of the promised oil in its own tankers if commercial shippers were unwilling or not available to carry the crude to Israel. All of this adds up to a potentially massive financial commitment. The USA has another reason for supporting Paritzky's project: a land route for Iraqi oil direct to the Mediterranean would lessen US dependence on Gulf oil supplies. Direct access to the world's second-largest oil reserves (with the possibility of expansion through so-far untapped deposits) is an important strategic objective."
Oil from Iraq : An Israeli pipedream?
Jane's Foreign Report, 16 April 2003

"The United States has asked Israel to check the possibility of pumping oil from Iraq to the oil refineries in Haifa. The request came in a telegram last week from a senior Pentagon official to a top Foreign Ministry official in Jerusalem. The Prime Minister's Office, which views the pipeline to Haifa as a 'bonus' the U.S. could give to Israel in return for its unequivocal support for the American-led campaign in Iraq, had asked the Americans for the official telegram. The new pipeline would take oil from the Kirkuk area, where some 40 percent of Iraqi oil is produced, and transport it via Mosul, and then across Jordan to Israel. The U.S. telegram included a request for a cost estimate for repairing the Mosul-Haifa pipeline that was in use prior to 1948. During the War of Independence, the Iraqis stopped the flow of oil to Haifa and the pipeline fell into disrepair over the years. The National Infrastructure Ministry has recently conducted research indicating that construction of a 42-inch diameter pipeline between Kirkuk and Haifa would cost about $400,000 per kilometer. The old Mosul-Haifa pipeline was only 8 inches in diameter. National Infrastructure Minister Yosef Paritzky said yesterday that the port of Haifa is an attractive destination for Iraqi oil and that he plans to discuss this matter with the U.S. secretary of energy during his planned visit to Washington next month. Paritzky added that the plan depends on Jordan's consent and that Jordan would receive a transit fee for allowing the oil to piped through its territory. The minister noted, however, that 'due to pan-Arab concerns, it will be hard for the Jordanians to agree to the flow of Iraqi oil via Jordan and Israel.' Sources in Jerusalem confirmed yesterday that the Americans are looking into the possibility of laying a new pipeline via Jordan and Israel. (There is also a pipeline running via Syria that has not been used in some three decades.) Iraqi oil is now being transported via Turkey to a small Mediterranean port near the Syrian border."
U.S. checking possibility of pumping oil from northern Iraq to Haifa, via Jordan
Haaretz, 1 August 2007

Gulf Oil
Post Berlin War Era

"The United States is planning a significant military presence of 13,500 troops in Kuwait to give it the flexibility to respond to sudden conflicts in the region as Iraq adjusts to the withdrawal of American combat forces and the world nervously eyes Iran, according to a congressional report. The study by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee examined the U.S. relationship with the six nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman - against a fast-moving backdrop. In just the last two days, Saudi Arabia's ruler named Defense Minister Prince Salman bin Abdul-Aziz as the country's new crown prince after last week's death of Prince Nayef, and Kuwait's government suspended parliament for a month over an internal political feud. The latest developments inject even more uncertainty as the Middle East deals with the demands of the Arab Spring, the end to U.S. combat operations in Iraq at the end of 2011 and fears of Iran's nuclear program. 'Home to more than half of the world's oil reserves and over a third of its natural gas, the stability of the Persian Gulf is critical to the global economy,' the report said. 'However, the region faces a myriad of political and security challenges, from the Iranian nuclear program to the threat of terrorism to the political crisis in Bahrain.'.... As it recalibrates its national security strategy, the United States is drawing down forces in Europe while focusing on other regions, such as the Middle East and Asia. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said he envisions about 40,000 troops stationed in the Middle East region after the withdrawal from Iraq. By comparison, a cut of two Army combat brigades and the withdrawal of two other smaller units will leave about 68,000 troops in Europe."
US plans significant military presence in Kuwait
Associated Press, 19 June 2012

BBC, March 2005
Bush Administration Made Plans For War And Iraq's Oil Before 9/11 Attacks

"The Bush administration made plans for war and for Iraq's oil before the  9/11 attacks, sparking a policy battle between neo-cons and Big Oil, BBC's Newsnight has revealed..... Two years ago today - when President George Bush announced US, British and  Allied forces would begin to bomb Baghdad - protesters claimed the US had a secret plan for Iraq's oil once Saddam had been conquered. In fact there were two conflicting plans, setting off a hidden policy war between neo-conservatives at the Pentagon, on one side, versus a combination of 'Big Oil' executives and US State Department 'pragmatists'. 'Big Oil' appears to have won. The latest plan, obtained by Newsnight from the US State Department was, we learned, drafted with the help of American oil industry consultants. Insiders told Newsnight that planning began 'within weeks' of Bush's first taking office in 2001, long before the September 11th attack on the US....The industry-favoured plan was pushed aside by a secret plan, drafted just before the invasion in 2003, which called for the sell-off of all of Iraq's oil fields. The new plan was crafted by neo-conservatives intent on using Iraq's oil to destroy the Opec cartel through massive increases in production above Opec quotas. The sell-off was given the green light in a secret meeting in London headed  by Ahmed Chalabi shortly after the US entered Baghdad, according to Robert Ebel. Mr Ebel, a former Energy and CIA oil analyst, now a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told Newsnight he flew to the London meeting at the request of the State Department.....Philip Carroll, the former CEO of Shell Oil USA who took control of Iraq's oil production for the US Government a month after the invasion, stalled the sell-off scheme.... Ariel Cohen, of the neo-conservative Heritage Foundation, told Newsnight that an opportunity had been missed to privatise Iraq's oil fields..... New plans, obtained from the State Department by Newsnight and Harper's Magazine under the US Freedom of Information Act, called for creation of a state-owned oil company favoured by the US oil industry. It was completed in January 2004 under the guidance of Amy Jaffe of the James Baker Institute in Texas. Formerly US Secretary of State, Baker is now an attorney representing Exxon-Mobil and the Saudi Arabian government.... "
Secret US plans for Iraq's oil
BBC News, 17 March 2005

The Energy Task Force Led By Edward Morse And Amy Jaffe Of The Baker Institute
That Reported In April 2001

"President Bush's Cabinet agreed in April 2001 that 'Iraq remains a destabilizing influence to the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East' and because this is an unacceptable risk to the US 'military intervention' is necessary.  Vice-president Dick Cheney, who chairs the White House Energy Policy Development Group, commissioned a report on 'energy security' from the Baker Institute for Public Policy, a think-tank set up by James Baker, the former US secretary of state under George Bush Sr. The report, Strategic Energy Policy Challenges For The 21st Century, concludes: 'The United States remains a prisoner of its energy dilemma. Iraq remains a de- stabilizing influence to ... the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East. Saddam Hussein has also demonstrated a willingness to threaten to use the oil weapon and to use his own export program to manipulate oil markets. Therefore the US should conduct an immediate policy review toward Iraq including military, energy, economic and political/ diplomatic assessments. 'The United States should then develop an integrated strategy with key allies in Europe and Asia, and with key countries in the Middle East, to restate goals with respect to Iraqi policy and to restore a cohesive coalition of key allies.' Baker who delivered the recommendations to Cheney, the former chief executive of Texas oil firm Halliburton, was advised by Kenneth Lay, the disgraced former chief executive of Enron, the US energy giant which went bankrupt after carrying out massive accountancy fraud. The other advisers to Baker were: Luis Giusti, a Shell non-executive director; John Manzoni, regional president of BP and David O'Reilly, chief executive of ChevronTexaco. Another name linked to the document is Sheikh Saud Al Nasser Al Sabah, the former Kuwaiti oil minister and a fellow of the Baker Institute. President Bush also has strong connections to the US oil industry and once owned the oil company Spectrum 7. The Baker report highlights massive shortages in world oil supplies which now leave the US facing 'unprecedented energy price volatility' and has led to recurring electricity black-outs in areas such as California. The report refers to the impact of fuel shortages on voters. It recommends a 'new and viable US energy policy central to America's domestic economy and to [the] nation's security and foreign policy'. Iraq, the report says, 'turns its taps on and off when it has felt such action was in its strategic interest to do so', adding that there is a 'possibility that Saddam Hussein may remove Iraqi oil from the market for an extended period of time' in order to damage prices. The report also says that Cheney should integrate energy and security to stop 'manipulations of markets by any state', and suggests that Cheney's Energy Policy Group includes 'representation from the Department of Defense'. 'Unless the United States assumes a leadership role in the formation of new rules of the game,' the report says, 'US firms, US consumers and the US government [will be left] in a weaker position.'"
Official: US Oil at the Heart of Iraq Crisis
The Herald (Scotland), 6 October 2002

"For many decades now, the United States has been without an energy policy. Now, the consequences of not having an energy policy that can satisfy our energy requirements on a sustainable basis have revealed themselves in California. Now, there could be more Californias in America’s future. President George W. Bush and his administration need to tell these agonizing truths to the American people and thereby lay the basis for a new and viable U.S. energy policy. That Americans face long-term energy delivery challenges and volatile energy prices is the failure of both, Democrats and Republicans to fashion a workable energy policy. Energy policy was allowed to drift by both political parties despite its centrality to America’s domestic economy and to our nation’s security. It was permitted to drift despite the fact that virtually every American recession since the late 1940s has been preceded by spikes in oil prices. The American people need to know about this situation and be told as well that there are no easy or quick solutions to today’s energy problems. The President has to begin educating the public about this reality and start building a broad base of popular support for the hard policy choices ahead. This recommendation sits at the core of an Independent Task Force Report sponsored by our two organizations. The Task Force was chaired by Edward L. Morse, a widely recognized authority on energy, and ably assisted by Amy Myers Jaffe of the James A. Baker III Institute of Rice University. Their Task Force included experts from every segment of the world of energy—producers, consumers, environmentalists, national security experts, and others.... the world is currently precariously close to utilizing all of its available global oil production capacity, raising the chances of an oil-supply crisis with more substantial consequences than seen in three decades. These limits mean that America can no longer assume that oil-producing states will provide more oil. Nor is it strategically and politically desirable to remedy our present tenuous situation by simply increasing dependence on a few foreign sources. So, we come to the report’s central dilemma:  the American people continue to demand plentiful and cheap energy without sacrifice or inconvenience. But emerging technologies are not yet commercially viable to fill shortages and will not be for some time. Nor is surplus energy capacity available at this time to meet such demands. Indeed, the situation is worse than the oil shocks of the past because in the present energy situation, the tight oil market condition is coupled with shortages of natural gas in the United States, heating fuels for the winter, and electricity supplies in certain localities. This Independent Task Force Report outlines some of the hard choices that should be considered and recommends specific policy approaches to secure the energy future of the United States. These choices will affect other U.S. policy objectives: U.S. policy toward the Middle East; U.S. policy toward the former Soviet Union and China; the fight against international terrorism, environmental policy and international trade policy, including our position on the European Union (E.U.) energy charter, economic sanctions, North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and foreign trade credits and aid. The Bush administration is in a unique position to articulate these tradeoffs in a non-partisan manner and to rally the support of the American public. U.S. strategic energy policy must prioritize and coordinate domestic and foreign policy choices and objectives, where possible. ....For the most part, U.S. international oil policy has relied on maintenance of free access to Middle East Gulf oil and free access for Gulf exports to world markets. The United States has forged a special relationship with certain key Middle East exporters, which had an expressed interest in stable oil prices and, we assumed, would adjust their oil output to keep prices at levels that would neither discourage global economic growth nor fuel inflation. Taking this dependence a step further, the U.S. government has operated under the assumption that the national oil companies of these countries would make the investments needed to maintain enough surplus capacity to form a cushion against disruptions elsewhere. For several years, these assumptions appeared justified. But recently, things have changed. These Gulf allies are finding their domestic and foreign policy interests increasingly at odds with U.S. strategic considerations, especially as Arab-Israeli tensions flare. They have become less inclined to lower oil prices in exchange for security of markets, and evidence suggests that investment is not being made in a timely enough manner to increase production capacity in line with growing global needs. A trend toward anti-Americanism could affect regional leaders’ ability to cooperate with the United States in the energy area. The resulting tight markets have increased U.S. and global vulnerability to disruption and provided adversaries undue potential influence over the price of oil. Iraq has become a key 'swing' producer, posing a difficult situation for the U.S. government......Consumers have the prospect of the market assisting them yet again in achieving low energy costs. Some of the real costs, such as the high-cost U.S. military presence in the Middle East, are already accepted and forgotten by the public. But the problem is that there is overwhelming evidence that there will be no 'free lunch' for taxpayers. A disruption might well occur at a time when the mechanisms for dealing with it have become outmoded, too narrowly confined to too narrow a segment of the world community to make a difference. And meanwhile, the market volatility of the past few years may be a precursor of much worse to come—a roller coaster of prices confusing the investment climate and impeding the marshaling of capital required to overcome supply obstacles whose emergence triggered the new critical state to begin with. Under this scenario, the United States remains a prisoner of its energy dilemma, suffering on a recurring basis from the negative consequences of sporadic energy shortages. These consequences can include recession, social dislocation of the poorest Americans, and at the extremes, a need for military intervention. Moreover, this approach leaves festering the conflict between rising energy demand and its potentially devastating impact on the global environment..... The recommendations of the Task Force are divided into two sections: The first comprises actions to be considered in the very short term to assure that appropriate mechanisms are in place to deal with potential supply disruptions and to buffer the economy from adverse impacts of price volatility. ... Recent oil market-price volatility has been driven by a number of complex factors. However, three key drivers continue to fuel upward pressure on prices: OPEC policy and the organization’s lack of spare productive capacity; the policies of Iraq and concerns about the reliability of its U.N.-monitored oil exports; and fears of a possible flare-up in the Arab-Israeli conflict. These factors have created uncertainty in markets that has at various times outweighed considerations of immediate market supply availability, fueling speculation and pushing prices above $30––$35 a barrel at various times in recent months.... Over the past year, Iraq has effectively become a swing producer, turning its taps on and off when it has felt such action was in its strategic interest to do so. Saudi Arabia has proven willing to provide replacement supplies to the market when Iraqi exports have been reduced. This role has been extremely important in avoiding greater market volatility and in countering Iraq’s efforts to take advantage of the oil market’s structure. Saudi Arabia’s role in this needs to be preserved, and should not be taken for granted. There is domestic pressure on the GCC leaders to reject cooperation to cool oil markets during times of a shortfall in Iraqi oil production. These populations are dissatisfied with the 'no-fly zone' bombing and the sanctions regime against Iraq, perceived U.S. bias in the Arab-Israeli peace process, and lack of domestic economic pressures. ...  Some European country positions on economic sanctions against Iraq differ from the U.S. position, most notably France but also some other IEA countries including Japan. Still, the IEA must be assured of efficient joint decision-making in the event of a supply disruption under tight market conditions. This includes any possibility that Saddam Hussein may remove Iraqi oil from the market for an extended period of time and that Saudi Arabia will not or cannot replace all of the barrels. (This is a contingency that hangs over the market given the ability of Baghdad to continue to earn revenues through smuggling and other uncontrolled oil exports, even if it officially cuts off exports that are permitted through U.N. procedures.) ....   The bombing of Iraq by the United States led coalition in February 2001 spurred anti-U.S. demonstrations in support of Iraq in traditional U.S. allies such as Egypt. Moreover, Saddam Hussein is trying to recast himself as the champion of the Palestinian cause to some success among young Palestinians. Any severe violence on the West Bank, Gaza, or Southern Lebanon will give Iraq more leverage in its efforts to discredit the United States and U.S. intentions. A focus on the anti-Israeli sympathies of some Arab oil-producing countries diverts attention from the repressive nature of the Iraqi regime. Instead it rewards Iraq in its claim to Arab leadership for 'standing up to the United States for ten years.' ...  Iraq remains a destabilizing influence to U.S. allies in the Middle East, as well as to regional and global order, and to the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East. Saddam Hussein has also demonstrated a willingness to threaten to use the oil weapon and to use his own export program to manipulate oil markets. This would display his personal power, enhance his image as a 'Pan Arab' leader supporting the Palestinians against Israel, and pressure others for a lifting of economic sanctions against his regime.  The United States should conduct an immediate policy review toward Iraq, including military, energy, economic, and political/diplomatic assessments. The United States should then develop an integrated strategy with key allies in Europe and Asia and with key countries in the Middle East to restate the goals with respect to Iraqi policy and to restore a cohesive coalition of key allies.... Once an arms-control program is in place, the United States could consider reducing restrictions on oil investments inside Iraq. Like it or not, Iraqi reserves represent a major asset that can quickly add capacity to world oil markets and inject a more competitive tenor to oil trade. However, such a policy will be quite costly as this trade-off will encourage Saddam Hussein to boast of his 'victory' against the United States, fuel his ambitions, and potentially strengthen his regime. Once so encouraged and if his access to oil revenues were to be increased by adjustments in oil sanctions, Saddam Hussein could be a greater security threat to U.S. allies in the region if weapons of mass destruction (WMD) sanctions, weapons regimes, and the coalition against him are not strengthened. Still, the maintenance of continued oil sanctions is becoming increasingly difficult to implement. Moreover, Saddam Hussein has many means of gaining revenues, and the sanctions regime helps perpetuate his lock on the country’s economy. Another problem with easing restrictions on the Iraqi oil industry to allow greater investment is that GCC allies of the United States will not like to see Iraq gain larger market share in international oil markets. In fact, even Russia could lose from having sanctions eased on Iraq, because Russian companies now benefit from exclusive contracts and Iraqi export capacity is restrained, supporting the price of oil and raising the value of Russian oil exports. If sanctions covering Iraq’s oil sector were eased and Iraq benefited from infrastructure improvements, Russia might lose its competitive position inside Iraq, and also oil prices might fall over time, hurting the Russian economy. These issues will have to be discussed in bilateral exchanges.....There are few options available to United States to expand supply in the short run whether or not there are energy supply shortfalls. There are even fewer options available to reduce short-term demand. Fortunately, in the area of petroleum, the government has a fairly robust strategic reserve. But beyond petroleum, the options are severely limited. It is in this context that the Task Force recommends that the government consider all possible means of de-bottlenecking supplies and removing obstacles to delivery of supplies, both domestically and internationally. Options need to be considered that are unilateral as well as those that are bilateral, regional, and international or multinational by nature. In addition, the government needs to establish permanent machinery for integrating energy policy with economic, environmental, and foreign policy on a sustained basis. Virtually all domestically available raw-material energy resources are being produced that can be. In fact, there are virtually no actions that can be taken in the short term to increase these home-grown supplies. ....Generally speaking, all oil-producing countries outside of OPEC are producing at maximum rates. There are a few exceptions where political problems block immediate shipments, such as pipeline problems in Colombia, where guerrilla warfare against the government extends to attacks on oil installations..... For energy policy to be integrated with overall economic policy, environmental policy, and foreign policy, it needs to be vetted and articulated through a 'permanent' interagency process that brings those responsible for these areas together. The Bush administration has moved rapidly in this direction through the creation of the White House Energy Policy Development Group headed by Vice President Dick Cheney. That group appropriately includes representations from the Departments of Energy, Interior, Commerce, Treasury, and State as well as representation from the Environmental Protection Agency and the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). As this process unfolds, the administration should find ways to establish a permanent framework for articulating energy policy, perhaps including representation from the Department of Defense as well.... Middle East Gulf crude oil currently makes up around 25 percent of world oil supply, but could rise to 30–40 percent during the next decade as the region’s key producers pursue higher investments to capture expanding demand for oil in Asia and the developing world. If political factors were to block the development of new oil fields in the Gulf, the ramifications for world oil markets could be quite severe.... it is clear that unless the United States assumes a leadership role in the formation of new rules of the game, it will not simply forfeit such a role, which others will assume. It will rather become reactive to initiatives put forth by other governments which, if agreed by others, could leave U.S. firms, U.S. consumers, and the U.S. government in a weaker position than is warranted. This could be already happening, for example, with respect to the establishment of a new information base for energy, given the commitment of the Saudi government to house such a base within its borders. It could also be happening with respect to the European Energy Charter, if Moscow agrees to ratify the Energy Charter treaty. In addition, such an effort would assist in preventing the emergence of international groupings of countries that could be antithetical to U.S. interests—for example an effort by Venezuela, Iraq, and Russia to align their interests against the United States on a host of international energy and non-energy issues....Almost every American recession in the past sixty years was preceded by spikes in energy prices. Now, the United States faces the prospect of unprecedented energy price volatility and recurrent shortages of electricity and other energy supplies. The U.S. government needs to make it clear to the American people that there are no short-term bandaids available and that the situation requires long-term solutions. A comprehensive national energy security policy is needed now to assure continued improvement in our standard of living in the twentyfirst century. In almost every energy source—including electricity, natural gas, and petroleum—we have used up the cushions of surplus capacity on which we have traditionally depended. With virtually no surplus in world oil-production capacity to cushion the blow of an accident or unexpected event, the United States and other oil-importing countries face unacceptable risks from a future market disruption or potential manipulation by adversaries. In the United States, rising international oil prices are compounded with severe energy production constraints, as well as inadequate domestic electricity and natural gas delivery infrastructures. All these factors will raise domestic energy costs."
Report of an Independent Task Force Sponsored by the
James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy of Rice University and the Council on Foreign Relations - April 2001


Report of an Independent Task Force
Sponsored by the
James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy of Rice University
and the
Council on Foreign Relations

Edward L. Morse, Chair
Amy Myers Jaffe, Project Director
Click Here

"For the world as a whole, oil companies are expected to keep finding and developing enough oil to offset our seventy one million plus barrel a day of oil depletion, but also to meet new demand. By some estimates there will be an average of two per cent annual growth in global oil demand over the years ahead along with conservatively a three per cent natural decline in production from existing reserves. That means by 2010 we will need on the order of an additional fifty million barrels a day. So where is the oil going to come from? Governments and the national oil companies are obviously in control of about ninety per cent of the assets. Oil remains fundamentally a government business. 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."
Dick Cheney, Chief Executive of Halliburton, now Vice President of the United States
Speech at London Institute of Petroleum, Autumn Lunch 1999

"Optimists about world oil reserves, such as the Department of Energy, are getting increasingly lonely. The International Energy Agency now says that world production outside the Middle Eastern Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (opec) will peak in 1999 and world production overall will peak between 2010 and 2020. This projection is supported by influential recent articles in Science and Scientific American. Some knowledgeable academic and industry voices put the date that world production will peak even sooner—within the next five or six years. The optimists who project large reserve quantities of over one trillion barrels tend to base their numbers on one of three things: inclusion of heavy oil and tar sands, the exploitation of which will entail huge economic and environmental costs; puffery by opec nations lobbying for higher production quotas within the cartel; or assumptions about new drilling technologies that may accelerate production but are unlikely to expand reserves. Once production peaks, even though exhaustion of world reserves will still be many years away, prices will begin to rise sharply. This trend will be exacerbated by increased demand in the developing world....."
Richard G. Lugar and R. James Woolsey (Former Director of the CIA)
The New Petroleum - Foreign Affairs January/February 1999

Ex-CIA Chief Predicted 'Peak' Oil Crisis In 1999 CFR Paper

"The United States cannot afford to wait for the next energy crisis to marshal its intellectual and industrial resources.... Our growing dependence on increasingly scarce Middle Eastern oil is a fool's game—there is no way for the rest of the world to win. Our losses may come suddenly through war, steadily through price increases, agonizingly through developing-nation poverty, relentlessly through climate change—or through all of the above."
Richard G. Lugar and R. James Woolsey (Former Director of the CIA)
The New Petroleum - Foreign Affairs January/February 1999

"Years before George W. Bush entered the White House, and years before the Sept. 11 attacks set the direction of his presidency, a group of influential neo-conservatives hatched a plan to get Saddam Hussein out of power... The group was never secret about its aims. In its 1998 open letter to Clinton, the group openly advocated unilateral U.S. action against Iraq.... Of the 18 people who signed the letter, 10 are now in the Bush administration. As well as Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, they include Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage  ... "
Were Neo-Conservatives’ 1998 Memos a Blueprint for Iraq War?
ABC News, 10 March 2003

"We are writing you because we are convinced that current American policy toward Iraq is not succeeding..... It hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil will all be put at hazard....Given the magnitude of the threat, the current policy, which depends for its success upon the steadfastness of our coalition partners and upon the cooperation of Saddam Hussein, is dangerously inadequate. The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy."
Open Letter To President Bill Clinton, 26 January 1998

Signed by: Elliott Abrams, Richard L. Armitage, William J. Bennett, Jeffrey Bergner, John Bolton, Paula Dobriansky, Francis Fukuyama, Robert Kagan Zalmay Khalilzad, William Kristol, Richard Perle, Peter W. Rodman, Donald Rumsfeld, William Schneider, Jr., Vin Weber., Paul Wolfowitz, R. James Woolsey, Robert B. Zoellick

"I think this is a very hard choice, but the price - we think the price is worth it."
US Ambassador to the UN Madeline Albright,
in response to a question about the killing of 500,000 Iraqi children
as a result of US/UK pressured international sanctions against Iraq
CBS-TV '60 Minutes', 15 May 1996

View Albright Interview On YouTube
Click Here

The Occupation Of Saudi Arabia

"....[After the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait] President Bush was hesitant about how America should respond. His foreign policy alter ego, Secretary of State Jim Baker, and his Defense Secretary, Dick Cheney, were reluctant to act. National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, however, thought that Iraq had just changed the strategic equation in a way that could not be permitted. So did British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The two argued that nothing stood between the advance of units of the Iraqi army in Kuwait and the immense Saudi oil fields. If we did nothing in response to Iraq's seizing Kuwait, Saddam Hussein would think that he could get away with seizing the Saudis' eastern oil fields. If that happened, Baghdad would control most of the world's readily available oil. They could dictate to America.  Reluctantly, Bush and his team decided that they needed to defend the Saudi oil fields, and do so quickly. They needed Saudi permission for the defensive deployment, but there were some in the Pentagon and White House who thought U.S. forces needed to protect the Saudi oil with or without Saudi approval. The mission to persuade the Saudi King to accept U.S forces was given to Defense Secretary Dick Cheney. He assembled a small team, including Under Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Central Command head Norman Schwarzkopf, Sandy Charles of the NSC, and me, then the Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs... Cheney concluded the presentation, promising that U.S forces would come only to defend the Kingdom. President Bush wanted the King to know that he had the President's word that the U.S. forces would leave as soon as the threat was over, or whenever ordered to do so by the King. ..... Unknown to the Americans at the time, the intelligence chief, Prince Turki, had been approached by the Saudi who had recruited Arabs to fight in the Afghan War against the Soviets, Usama Bin Laden........ When Kuwait was invaded, he offered to make them available to the King to defend Saudi Arabia, to drive Saddam out of Kuwait. After we left the palace, perhaps bin Laden was told of the King's decision. His help would not be required. He could not believe it; letting nonbelievers into the Kingdom of the Two Holy Mosques was against the beliefs of the Wahhabist branch of Islam. Large numbers of American military in the Kingdom would violate Islam, the construction magnate's son thought. They would never leave."
Richard Clarke - White House Head Of Counterterrorism 1992 - 2003
Chapter 3, Unfinished Mission, Unintended Consequences
'Against All Enemies'  - Edition first published in Great Britain by The Free Press in 2004

"For just so long Kuwait, a small country at the head of the Persian Gulf, had been set free and independent from its long-time British protector. And during that time Kuwait had developed its oil fields and become immensely rich. Saddam Hussein claimed that Kuwait was part of Iraq. To have and to hold it would put him on the way to achieving something that the Soviets had yearned for right after the Second War and been denied by the intervention of the United Nations, which was to be sovereign of the Gulf - and so, as Churchill foresaw and warned about, soon to be able to conquer Europe without a war by possessing 60% of the oil Western Europe lived by and so be able to dictate to countries like Britain, France, Germany, that they should abandon their precious democratic ways and get themselves governments friendly to Iraq.....[Following Saddam's invasion of Kuwait] President Bush - the first that is - called a dawn meeting of the National Security Council at which the likely commander of any military action, one General Schwarzkopf, expressed the general feeling that the United States might fight for Saudi Arabia but hardly for Kuwait. President Bush told the press there was no thought of American intervention. The United Nations anyway had voted to impose a total embargo on Iraq. Two days after the invasion President Bush took a half day out to keep a promise to the British prime minister who was addressing a conference in Aspen, Colorado, a resort town in the Rockies. He found Mrs Thatcher in finer fighting fettle than all but one of his own advisers. She stressed that fighting for Kuwait now might be a necessary step to saving Saudi Arabia from invasion later on. ..... What so swiftly transformed the views and policy of the United States and the onlooking allies-to-be was the recognition, first pressed on President Bush by Mrs Thatcher and then rather late in the day realised by the King of Saudi Arabia, that once he held Kuwait there was nothing to stop Saddam from seizing the Saudi oil fields."
Alistair Cooke's Letter From America
BBC Online, 24 June 2002

"If one episode sums up Margaret Thatcher's instinctive, no-nonsense approach to international affairs, it was her appearance in Aspen, Colorado, in August 1990. Staying at the country home of the then US ambassador to London, Henry Catto, Thatcher was informed that Saddam Hussein had invaded Kuwait. According to her memoirs, Thatcher went for a short walk to sort out her ideas and then, within hours, was laying down the law in person to a slightly bemused President George Bush (the elder). First, she said, Britain and the US were not in the business of appeasing dictators – an obvious reference to her successful stand against Argentina's junta in the Falklands crisis, as well as Winston Churchill's defiance of Hitler. Second, she warned that if Saddam were not stopped, Saudi Arabia and most of the west's oil reserves in the Gulf could soon be under his control. Bush agreed, but was initially reluctant to contemplate sending troops to the Middle East to expel Iraq from Kuwait. Growing exasperated, Thatcher told the president during a subsequent phone conversation that 'this is no time to go wobbly'. There were other mutterings about backbone and the like. Bush got the message eventually, announcing that he was "drawing a line in the sand". Despite entreaties from Egypt's president, Hosni Mubarak, and others to allow an Arab solution, Bush told Saddam to get out or face military action. In the event, Saddam was evicted in 1991 in Operation Desert Storm – the first Gulf war."
No-nonsense Iron Lady punched above UK's weight on world stage
Guardian, 8 April 2013

"Energy is vital to a country's security and material well-being. A state unable to provide its people with adequate energy supplies or desiring added leverage over other people often resorts to force. Consider Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, driven by his desire to control more of the world's oil reserves, and the international response to this threat. The underlying goal of the U.N. force [in the 1991 Gulf war], which included 500,000 American troops, was to ensure continued and unfettered access to petroleum...."
Richard G. Lugar and R. James Woolsey (Former Director of the CIA)
The New Petroleum - Foreign Affairs January/February 1999

"We're there because the fact of the matter is that part of the world controls the world supply of oil, and whoever controls the supply of oil, especially if it were a man like Saddam Hussein, with a large army and sophisticated weapons, would have a stranglehold on the American economy and on — indeed on the world economy."
Dick Cheney, US Secretary of Defense 1990
New York Times, 24 February 2006

"Worry about the supply and price of oil is one reason the United States dispatched more than half a million troops to fight in the first Gulf War in 1990 when Iraq seized Kuwait right next to Saudi Arabia. "
Rising US Oil Production May Cut Saudi Influence In Washington
VOA News, 25 October 2013

"America began a historic reshaping of its presence in the Middle East yesterday, announcing a halt to active military operations in Saudi Arabia and the removal of almost all of its forces from the kingdom within weeks. The withdrawal ends a contentious 12-year-old presence in Saudi Arabia and marks the most dramatic in a set of sweeping changes in the deployment of American forces after the war in Iraq. Withdrawal of 'infidel' American forces from Saudi Arabia has been one of the demands of Osama bin Laden, although a senior US military official said that this was 'irrelevant'.... Behind the dry talk of rearranging America's military 'footprint' in the Gulf, the great imponderables were bin Laden and Muslim radicals' complaints about the presence of 'infidels' in the birthplace of Islam. That presence was cited as one of the main justifications for the September 11 attacks. Despite American insistence that the withdrawal had not been 'dictated' by al-Qa'eda and that bin Laden was 'irrelevant', there can be little doubt that undercutting a central plank of al-Qa'eda's platform is one of several advantages offered by withdrawal from Saudi Arabia."
America to withdraw troops from Saudi Arabia
Daily Telegraph, 30 April 2003

"America's announcement of its intention to withdraw its military bases from Saudi Arabia [following the moving of US troops into Iraq] answers Osama bin Laden's most persistent demand. More than any other cause it was the presence of 'crusader' forces in the land of Islam's holiest sites - Mecca and Medina - that turned bin Laden from Afghan jihadi [and US ally] into an international terrorist [and US opponent]. A wealthy Saudi with royal connections, bin Laden fell out with the House of Saud largely because it permitted US bases in the country. When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, bin Laden offered his own forces to the Saudi regime to help expel the Iraqis from the Gulf. He was enraged when the Saudi royal family turned instead to Washington and more than 500,000 US troops were sent. The same year the Americans arrived, bin Laden fled Saudi - where he faced house arrest - and established his base in Sudan. He and his al-Qa'eda forces moved to Afghanistan in 1996, issuing the first of his international fatwas through the London-based Al Quds Al Arabi newspaper. After railing against the persecution of Muslims around the world, bin Laden stated: 'The latest and greatest of these aggressions incurred by Muslims since the death of the Prophet … is the occupation of the land of the two Holy Places - the foundation of the House of Islam, the place of the revelation, the source of the message and the place of the noble Ka'ba, the Qiblah of Muslims, by the armies of the American Crusaders and their allies. We bemoan this and can only say 'No power and power acquiring except through Allah'. '.... The US withdrawal from Saudi will not be enough to satisfy bin Laden or his followers. It may, however, make life easier for the Saudi regime, which has been struggling to quell growing dissent within the kingdom over the presence of 'infidel' soldiers."
Bin Laden's main demand is met
Daily Telegraph, 30 April 2003

"A defector from Osama bin Laden's terrorist army has given an American court rare details of how the group works. A secret informant said the Saudi multi-millionaire's organisation was helped by the Hizbollah guerrillas in Lebanon and the Sudanese government. Giving evidence at the trial of four men accused of the bombing of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, Jamal Ahmed Fadl said he had been one of the earliest members of al Qaeda - 'The Base'.Fadl, whose identity was kept secret until he went into the witness box, has been working with American intelligence as an informer since 1996. The 38-year-old Sudanese former militant told the court in New York that he joined bin Laden in 1989 when he decided to set up al Qaeda following the defeat of Soviet forces by Islamic militants in Afghanistan. Fadl quoted bin Laden's vow to end the presence of American troops in his Saudi homeland, quoting the fugitive terrorist as saying: 'We have to cut the head off the snake and stop them.' Fadl told the jury.'The snake is America.' He described the political structure of al Qaeda, which he said was involved in operations from Chechnya to Yemen. He said bin Laden moved his headquarters to Sudan in 1989 and in 1991 declared war on America after it established bases in Saudi Arabia. He was incensed by the presence of 'infidels' on territory sacred to Muslims. Fadl told the court: 'He said, 'They can't let the American army stay in the Gulf, taking our oil, taking our money. We have to do something to take them out. We have to fight them'."
Bin Laden 'wanted to behead the US snake'
Daily Telegraph, 8 February 2001

"The London cell had a vital part to play. Allegedly led by Fawwaz, its primary role was to spread bin Laden's message around the world, usually through Arab media outlets, a large number of which are based in London. In 1996 he received and distributed bin Laden's 'declaration of jihad against the Americans occupying the land of the two holy mosques'. In February 1998, following a flurry of calls from bin Laden's satellite phone, Fawwaz arranged for the publication of a fatwa on all Americans, issued in the name of the International Islamic Front for Jihad on the Jews and Crusaders."
Worldwide trail of bloodshed that leads to suburban London
Daily Telegraph, 19 September 2001

"During the 1980s, resistance fighters in Afghanistan developed a world-wide recruitment and support network with the aid of the USA, Saudi Arabia and other states. After the 1989 Soviet withdrawal, this network, which equipped, trained and funded thousands of Muslim fighters, came under the control of Osama bin Laden..... After graduation, Bin Laden became deeply religious. His exact date of arrival in Pakistan or Afghanistan remains disputed but some Western intelligence agencies place it in the early 1980s. Azzam and Prince Turki bin Faisal bin Abdelaziz, chief of security of Saudi Arabia, were his early mentors, and later Dr Ayman Zawahiri, became his religious mentor. In 1982-1984 Azzam founded Maktab al Khidmatlil-mujahidin al-Arab (MaK), known commonly as the Afghan bureau. As MaK's principal financier, Bin Laden was considered the deputy to Azzam, the leader of MaK. Other leaders included Abdul Muizz, Abu Ayman, Abu Sayyaf, Samir Abdul Motaleb and Mohammad Yusuff Abass. At the height of the foreign Arab and Muslim influx into Pakistan-Afghanistan from 1984-1986, Bin Laden spent time traveling widely and raising funds in the Arab world. He recruited several thousand Arab and Muslim youths to fight the Soviet Union, and MaK channeled several billion dollars' worth of Western governmental financial and material resources for the Afghan jihad. MaK worked closely with Pakistan, especially the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), the Saudi government and Egyptian governments, and the vast Muslim Brotherhood network.....At the end of the campaign Bin Laden returned to Saudi Arabia where he helped Saudi Arabia to create the first jihad group in South Yemen under the leadership of Tariq al Fadli. After Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, the failure of Saudi rulers to honor their pledge to expel foreign troops when the Iraqi threat diminished led Bin Laden to start a campaign against the Saudi royal house. He claimed the Saudi rulers were false Muslims and it was necessary to install a true Islamic state in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi regime deported him in 1992 and revoked his citizenship in 1994. Meanwhile, the National Islamic Front, led by Hasan al Turabi, came to power in Sudan and sent a delegation to Pakistan. Bin Laden had moved his infrastructure of well-trained and experienced fighters from Pakistan to Sudan beginning in 1989 and remained there until international pressure forced him to return to Afghanistan."
Jane's Intelligence Review, 1 August 2001

Gulf Oil
Cold War Era

The Carter Doctrine

"Twenty-nine years ago, President Jimmy Carter adopted the radical and dangerous policy of using military force to ensure U.S. access to Middle Eastern oil. 'Let our position be absolutely he clear,' he said in his State of the Union address on January 23, 1980.  'An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region [and thereby endanger the flow of oil] will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.' This principle — known ever since as the Carter Doctrine — led to U.S. involvement in three major wars and now risks further military entanglement in the greater Gulf area.   It's time to repudiate this doctrine and satisfy U.S. energy needs without reliance on military intervention."
Repudiate the Carter Doctrine
Foreign Policy In Focus, 23 January 2009

Oil And Iraq

"In light of the subsequent history of Iraq, it seems almost unthinkable that 30 years ago Britain sold millions of pounds of military equipment to the country's Baathist government. Foreign Office papers, just released by the National Archives in London, show that defence sales to Iraq in 1976 amounted to an estimated £70m. At this time, Saddam Hussein was the de facto leader of Iraq - taking on a more prominent role than the ageing president, Gen Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr - before formally taking power in 1979. April 1976 - a month after the Memorandum of Understanding was signed - a note from the British foreign and defence secretaries seems to contradict the idea of restricting the supply of defence equipment to Iraq. Their memo to other ministers reads: 'The confidence engendered by a more comprehensive supply of defence equipment is likely to have a favourable effect upon general commercial relations between the two countries.' Their note continues with a statement sure to interest critics of the current conflict who suggest that the UK and US intervention was motivated by oil in Iraq. 'We could lose the goodwill we have been slowly and painfully trying to build up since the resumption of diplomatic relations aimed at gaining access to large projects and the Iraqis' huge oil wealth.' It adds: 'In light of the above considerations, it is recommended that we should tell the Iraqis that we would be prepared to supply the optical version of Rapier [surface-to-air missile], the Scorpion family of armoured vehicles and the 105mm Light Gun.'"
UK arms sales to 'respectable' Iraq
BBC Online, 28 December 2007

"The National Security Archive at George Washington University today published on the Web a series of declassified U.S. documents detailing the U.S. embrace of Saddam Hussein in the early 1980's, including the renewal of diplomatic relations that had been suspended since 1967. The documents show that during this period of renewed U.S. support for Saddam, he had invaded his neighbor (Iran), had long-range nuclear aspirations that would 'probably' include 'an eventual nuclear weapon capability,' harbored known terrorists in Baghdad, abused the human rights of his citizens, and possessed and used chemical weapons on Iranians and his own people. The U.S. response was to renew ties, to provide intelligence and aid to ensure Iraq would not be defeated by Iran, and to send a high-level presidential envoy named Donald Rumsfeld to shake hands with Saddam (20 December 1983). The declassified documents posted today include the briefing materials and diplomatic reporting on two Rumsfeld trips to Baghdad, reports on Iraqi chemical weapons use concurrent with the Reagan administration's decision to support Iraq, and decision directives signed by President Reagan that reveal the specific U.S. priorities for the region [which included] preserving access to oil...."
US National Security Archive, George Washington University, Press Release 25 February 2003

"An investigation of US corporate sales to Iraq, headed by Republican Congressman Donald Riegle and published in May 1994, listed some of the biological agents exported by US corporations with George Bush's approval as head of the CIA and later as vice-president under Ronald Reagan. The Iraqis are reported to have acquired stocks of anthrax, brucellosis, gas gangrene, E. coli and salmonella bacteria from US companies."
Who Armed Iraq?
Janes Defence News, 17 March 2003

"In the 1980s, a Virginia company called American Type Culture Collection kept samples of Ames anthrax and sent them to labs around the world - including ones in Iraq, which the United States was helping at the time."
DNA is just anthrax clue, not clincher
Philadelphia Inquirer, 10 August 2008

"Iraq's 11,000-page report to the UN Security Council lists 150 foreign companies, including some from America, Britain, Germany and France, that supported Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction program, a German newspaper said yesterday. Berlin's left-wing Die Tageszeitung newspaper said it had seen a copy of the original Iraqi dossier which was vetted for sensitive information by US officials before being handed to the five permanent Security Council members two weeks ago. An edited version was passed to the remaining 10 members of the Security Council last night. British officials said the list of companies appeared to be accurate. Eighty German firms and 24 US companies are reported to have supplied Iraq with equipment and know-how for its weapons programs from 1975 onwards and in some cases support for Baghdad's conventional arms program had continued until last year. It is not known who leaked the report, but it could have come from Iraq. Baghdad is keen to embarrass the US and its allies by showing the close involvement of US, German, British and French firms in helping Iraq develop its weapons of mass destruction when the country was a bulwark against the much feared spread of Iranian revolutionary fervor to the Arab world. The list contained the names of long-established German firms such as Siemens as well as US multinationals. With government approval, Siemens exported machines used to eliminate kidney stones which have a 'dual use' high precision switch used to detonate nuclear bombs. Ten French companies were also named along with a number of Swiss and Chinese firms. The newspaper said a number of British companies were cited, but did not name them. 'From about 1975 onwards, these companies are shown to have supplied entire complexes, building elements, basic materials and technical know-how for Saddam Hussein's program to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction,' the newspaper said. 'They also supplied rockets and complete conventional weapons systems,' it added. The five permanent members of the Security Council – the United States, Britain, Russia, France and China – have repeatedly opposed revealing the extent of foreign companies' involvement, although a mass of relevant information was collected by UN weapons inspectors who visited the country between 1991 and 1998. The UN claims that publishing the extent of the companies' involvement in Iraq would jeopardize necessary co-operation with such firms. German involvement outstripped that of all the other countries put together, the paper said. During the period to 1991, the German authorities permitted weapons cooperation with Iraq and in some cases 'actively encouraged' it, according to the newspaper which cited German assistance allegedly given to Iraq for the development of poison gas used in the 1988 massacre of Kurds in northern Iraq. "
Leaked Report Says German and US Firms Supplied Arms to Saddam
Independent, 18 December 2002

"Iraq started the war [with Iran] with a large Soviet-supplied arsenal, but needed additional weaponry as the conflict wore on. Initially, Iraq advanced far into Iranian territory, but was driven back within months. By mid-1982, Iraq was on the defensive against Iranian human-wave attacks. The U.S., having decided that an Iranian victory would not serve its interests, began supporting Iraq... The U.S., which followed developments in the Iran-Iraq war with extraordinary intensity, had intelligence confirming Iran's accusations, and describing Iraq's 'almost daily' use of chemical weapons, concurrent with its policy review and decision to support Iraq in the war... Following further high-level policy review, Ronald Reagan issued National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 114, dated November 26, 1983, concerned specifically with U.S. policy toward the Iran-Iraq war.... It states, 'Because of the real and psychological impact of a curtailment in the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf on the international economic system, we must assure our readiness to deal promptly with actions aimed at disrupting that traffic.'  It does not mention chemical weapons.... Soon thereafter, Donald Rumsfeld .... was dispatched to the Middle East as a presidential envoy. His December 1983 tour of regional capitals included Baghdad, where he was to establish 'direct contact between an envoy of President Reagan and President Saddam Hussein,'..."
Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein: The U.S. Tilts toward Iraq, 1980-1984
US National Security Archive, George Washington University, 25 February 2003

"A victory by Tehran [in the Iran-Iraq war], which seemed imminent, would pose a major threat to US interests in the Gulf, such as access to the region's oil.... For the next five years, Washington would quietly ensure that Saddam received all the military equipment he needed to stave off defeat, even precursor chemicals that could be used against Iranian soldiers and Kurdish civilians.... How much more of this intimate relationship Saddam will recall when he gets a public forum is undoubtedly a concern of many current and past administration figures.... the CIA was tasked to ensure that its former charge not run short of either weapons or vitally needed intelligence on the disposition of Iranian forces, a task, according to a 1995 affidavit by Teicher, that then CIA director William Casey took to with abandon. Casey, for example, used a Chilean arms company, Cardoen, to supply Iraq with cluster bombs that he thought would be particularly effective against Iranian 'human wave' tactics.  In addition to the credit, equipment and covert military assistance, Saddam also received diplomatic help from Washington at the United Nations and elsewhere in fending off condemnations of his use of banned weapons during the war, as well as efforts in Congress to cut off US help.  The CIA was still providing intelligence and other help when Saddam used poison gas that killed some 5,000 Kurdish non-combatants in Halabja in March 1988."
Rumsfeld and his 'old friend' Saddam
Inter Press Service, 17 December 2003

"United Press International has interviewed almost a dozen former U.S. diplomats, British scholars and former U.S. intelligence officials to piece together the following account. The CIA declined to comment on the report. While many have thought that Saddam first became involved with U.S. intelligence agencies at the start of the September 1980 Iran-Iraq war, his first contacts with U.S. officials date back to 1959, when he was part of a [failed] CIA-authorized six-man squad tasked with assassinating then Iraqi Prime Minister Gen. Abd al-Karim Qasim.... According to current and former U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Iraq was then regarded as a key buffer and strategic asset in the Cold War with the Soviet Union.... Washington watched in marked dismay as Qasim began to buy arms from the Soviet Union and put his own domestic communists into ministry positions of 'real power,' according to this official.... In the mid-1980s, Miles Copeland, a veteran CIA operative, told UPI the CIA had enjoyed 'close ties' with Qasim's ruling Baath Party, just as it had close connections with the intelligence service of Egyptian leader Gamel Abd Nassar. In a recent public statement, Roger Morris, a former National Security Council staffer in the 1970s, confirmed this claim, saying that the CIA had chosen the authoritarian and anti-communist Baath Party 'as its instrument.' According to another former senior State Department official, Saddam, while only in his early 20s, became a part of a [failed] U.S. plot to get rid of Qasim.... during this time Saddam was making frequent visits to the American Embassy where CIA specialists such as Miles Copeland and CIA station chief Jim Eichelberger were in residence and knew Saddam, former U.S. intelligence officials said.... In February 1963 Qasim was killed in a Baath Party coup.... Noting that the Baath Party was hunting down Iraq's communist, the CIA provided the submachine gun-toting Iraqi National Guardsmen with lists of suspected communists who were then jailed, interrogated, and summarily gunned down, according to former U.S. intelligence officials with intimate knowledge of the executions. Many suspected communists were killed outright, these sources said. Darwish told UPI that the mass killings, presided over by Saddam, took place at Qasr al-Nehayat, literally, the Palace of the End....The CIA/Defense Intelligence Agency relation with Saddam intensified after the start of the Iran-Iraq war in September of 1980."
Saddam Key in Early CIA Plot
United Press International, 11 April 2003

"Iraq's story is the tragic tale of a country conceived and baptized by an imperialist power for its own aggrandizement that now may come to a crashing end because of the imperialist lust and hubris of another. The inability of Iraq's current parliament, under American military occupation, to hammer out a constitution that would satisfy the aspirations of all of its major ethnic and sectarian segments — Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds — is a reflection of its artificial and perennially tenuous common identity. It was a castle built on sand dunes that was bound to collapse one day. Britain carved Iraq out of three Mesopotamian vilayets (provinces) of the vanquished Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I for its own political and economic convenience. Oil, the 20th-century's most prized natural resource, had been discovered at Kirkuk, in the then vilayet of Mosul, before World War I broke out, just as it had been struck, earlier, at Masjid-e-Suleiman in Persia, today's Iran. Britain had to have its hands on the newly discovered black gold, necessitating its complete political mastery of the region surrounding the Persian Gulf. Hence the three vilayets of Mosul in the north, Baghdad in the centre and Basra in the southern part of Mesopotamia were cobbled together to midwife the birth of Iraq. Knowing they couldn't get the disparate constituents of their artificial national entity to agree on a local ruler, the British imperialists imported a king for the new country from the Hejaz, the western end of today's Saudi Arabia, where earlier they had bribed and cajoled its Ottoman-appointed sharif (vassal) to throw in his lot with them against his paymasters. The ruling family of Iraq was transplanted from the Hejaz and one of the sons of the sharif was proclaimed King of Iraq. The British didn't fancy democracy for Iraq in the way their spiritual progeny, George W. Bush, does. They opted instead for strongman rule in Iraq in order to give themselves unhindered access to its fabulous riches for full exploitation. The Iraqis, themselves, experimented off and on with parliamentary democracy — but not federalism — without much success. Iraq was stalked and enthralled by one strongman after another, both during the monarchical and post-monarchical periods. The rise of Saddam Hussein in 1979 brought this process to its zenith. Of course Iraq's ersatz unity came at the cost of wanton disregard, and at times brutal suppression, of the rights of its Shiite majority over a span of eight long decades. Surprisingly, nobody in the outside world ever felt a pang of sorrow for the wilful disenfranchisement of Iraq's majority population the way voices of concern have been raised in world capitals about the rights of its Sunni minority, now deemed threatened. Bush and his neo-cons were the first to pay lip service to the rights of the Iraqi Shiites in order to swing the majority behind their plans for the newly conquered country. But the neo-cons were either too ignorant or too naive not to realize that the majority would want to have its own way, and dictate its own agenda, which is quite a fundamental norm of democracy throughout the world. The Iraqi Shiites have the bitter lesson of history on their side not to put their faith in the unalloyed concept of a unitary Iraq that treated them as second-class citizens and grew powerful at the expense of their resources, while they grovelled in misery and penury. By the same token, the Shiites have the example of the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq during the years since the end of the 1991 Gulf War as a powerful magnet to attract them. The Kurdish areas thrived and prospered in virtual isolation from Baghdad because of the American canopy over their heads. Hence the Shiite insistence that a democratic Iraq must be pegged on a federal system, giving its three constituent units the right to safeguard and promote their own economic and political destiny. There is every reason to fear that the Oct. 15 referendum mandated by the American-imposed interim constitution may well see the Sunnis reject the new draft constitution. Ironically, the Bush neo-cons had woven the veto provision into the interim constitution to conjure up a shield for their Kurdish proteges. Now the Sunnis may wield it to torch the Bush dream of a united and democratic Iraq. The biggest losers would be none other than the Americans, who thought of turning Iraq into the launch pad of Pax Americana in that part of the world."
Karamatullah K. Ghori is a former Pakistani diplomat who served as ambassador to Iraq from 1996 to 1999
Iraq: A nation built on sand
Toronto Star, 1 September 2005

"Iraq has the second largest oil reserves in the world, it is right in the midst of the major energy reserves in the world. Its been a primary goal of US policy since World War II (like Britain before it) to control what the State Department called 'a stupendous source of strategic power' and one of the greatest material prizes in history. Establishing a client state in Iraq would significantly enhance that strategic power, a matter of great significance for the future. As Zbigniew Brzezinski observed, it would provide the US with 'critical leverage' of its European and Asian rivals, a conception with roots in early post-war planning. These are substantial reasons for aggression -- not unlike those of the British when they invaded and occupied Iraq over 80 years earlier, at the dawn of the oil age."
Noam Chomsky
Washington Post, 24 March 2006

Oil And Suez

"Britain and France have charged that Nasser's lone handed control of the canal imperils Western Europe's lifelines, particularly the flow of Middle East oil."
Nasser's OK On Suex Bid Talks Is Seen
The Miami News, 27 August 1956

"The Suez Crisis, which occurred 50 years ago, was the full stop at the end of the British Empire. In 1945, at the close of the Second World War, Britain still governed the world’s largest Empire, with an independent Commonwealth of the Old Dominions. The Raj ruled India. Britain enjoyed a strong influence in the oil-rich Middle East and was still a genuine world power, behind the United States and the Soviet Union.... If one had to pick a day for the end of the British Empire, it might be July 26, 1956, the day that President Nasser of Egypt nationalised the Suez Canal.... In 1956 I was writing leaders for The Financial Times. I had been commissioned to write a brief life of the Prime Minister, Anthony Eden, a man whom I liked and admired. I had also become involved as an assistant speech writer to Eden, specialising in economic policy..... In July to November 1956 I was a convinced advocate of Eden’s Suez policy.....Middle Eastern oil was as essential, in 1956 as now, to the economy and security of the United States, Europe and world trade. So long as Britain had influence in the Middle East, Britain would remain a real world power. Yet Britain could not maintain that influence without American support. Nasser’s nationalisation of the canal was a direct challenge to the West. Eden believed that the challenge had to be met. Eisenhower and Dulles, his Secretary of State, were not prepared to meet it; at the Suez Canal Users Conference held in London it became apparent that American policy could not be trusted. Dulles promised action, which he failed to take. The shift of Western power in the Middle East should have been a relay race, in which Britain would transfer the baton to the United States. Eden was willing to transfer the baton in August 1956 but Eisenhower, with his re-election campaign much in mind, was not ready to take the transfer. Only in October did Eden adopt the joint Anglo-French-Israeli plan that was indeed a disaster. Eisenhower had made the mistake of leaving Eden with no better option. The world community had an essential interest in the free flow of oil through the canal. That could have been secured only by joint Anglo-American action. Eisenhower decided against such action; Dulles’s conduct convinced Eden that he personally was hostile and untrustworthy. The Suez Crisis was indeed the end of the Empire, but it was a blunder of American policy, for which the United States is still paying a very high price."
Lord William Rees-Mogg
Suez: why I blame it on Ike
London Times, 24 July 2006

How Britain Conspired With Israel And France To Create And Incident That Would Allow The Invasion Of Suez - Click Here

"[Former British Foreign Secretary] Douglas Hurd has done the impossible. Together with his co-author, Edward Young, he has produced a page-turning book about the history of British foreign policy....Labour's Ernest Bevin can lay claim to be the greatest 20th century foreign secretary, as he shaped Nato, the Marshall Plan, the Council of Europe and its human rights court, the OECD, as well as granting India and Pakistan statehood. But he failed to get in on the ground floor of European construction in 1950. His Tory successor Anthony Eden's two main foreign policy decisions were to collude in the overthrow of the elected Iranian government and to invade Suez in 1956. We are still living with the consequences of these blunders."
Choose Your Weapons, By Douglas Hurd
Independent, 26 February 2010

Oil And Iran

"The early years of the Anglo-Persian Oil Co Ltd were full of problems, not least the inability to find markets in an already well-established and competitive business. By 31 March 1913 the Company had still not begun to trade. Fortunes changed when Winston Churchill persuaded Parliament on 17 June 1914 to confirm a Government Agreement of 20 May 1914 to buy a controlling shareholding in the Company in order to secure fuel oil supplies for the Navy. Churchill’s signature can be seen on this Admiralty Fuel Oil Supply Contract, also of 20 May 1914."
Spotlight on… BP And the Admiralty
BP Document Archive, 20 August 2012

'Operation Ajax'

In 1954 a CIA officer wrote a classified official account of the Anglo-American orchestrated coup d'etat in Iran in 1953 known as 'Operation Ajax'. Nearly fifty years later classified CIA documentation on this episode was leaked to the New York Times which published it in 2000. One document is entitled 'Appendix B' and details proposed American and British planning for the operation. (It is available on the web site of the National Security Archive at George Washington University.  Also available is a general narrative explaining these matters on the web site of the New York Times).

Amongst other measures, these proposals included provision for the funding of opposition groups in Iran, the mustering of thousands of street activists, the bribery of Iranian members of parliament, the publication of fabricated documents and of anti-government propaganda, and the conducting of staged attacks on Iranians to be falsely blamed on the incumbent government in order to turn the population against it. An extract from the Appendix follows below.

Although his regime is not comparable to Mossadeq's democratic government (Iran's first), some of these methods are also likely to have been deployed against President Assad during the Syrian crisis of 2011/12. In both cases (one aimed at toppling a democracy, the other a dictatorship) the aim was 'regime change'. What both had in common was the goal of replacing an existing Middle Eastern government that was not compliant with western economic interests.  

Though they can be dressed up in the clothes of other claimed concerns (e.g. 'humanitarian') those interests continue to centre around oil, and in that respect particularly around Iran.  In the early 21st century Syria has been targeted because of its alliance with Iran, which controls fully one half of the shoreline of the Persian Gulf.

As demonstrated by simultaneous western support for the (anti-Iranian Sunni) dictatorship in Bahrain, which suppressed a popular uprising with assistance from western armed Saudi Arabia in 2011, it is compliant governments in general (whether democracies or dictatorships) in the Middle East that NATO is seeking, rather than democratic ones in particular.

This struggle has being going on, since the original Operation Ajax in 1953, for well over over half a century. It arises because of the failure of the western world to develop alternative energy technology to reduce its economic dependence on oil as the primary basis of its transport systems.

Appendix B
'London' Draft of the TPAJAX Operational Plan

(Classified Document Obtained By The New York Times Relating To 1953 Coup D'etat In Iran)

"Phase 2 - A massive propaganda campaign against Mossadeq and his government but with Mossadeq as the principle target. This will begin only a week or two before the climax of Situation A so as not to offer too much time for a sharp reaction by Mossadeq and so that the impact will not be dispersed by being long drawn out. ...  Phase 3. Phase 3 - This is Situation A which is described in full in a following paragraph....  At Headquarters and at the [CIA] field station  US personnel will draft and put into Persian the texts for articles, broadsheets and pamphlets, some pro-Shah and some anti-Mossadeq. The material designed to discredit Mossadeq will hammer the following themes.... [including] Mossadeq is an enemy of Islam ..... the British group can muster up to approximately 3,000 street activists to be committed to Situation A.... It is our belief that nearly all the important religious leaders with large followings are firmly opposed to Mossadeq. Both the US field station and the British group have firm contacts with such leaders. These leaders include... ***** [name redacted] and his terrorist gang......The terrorist group [is] to threaten that they are ready to take direct action against pro-Mossadeq deputies and members of Mossadeq's entourage and government... [They will ensure] full participation of themselves and followers in Situation A.... the pre-coup activities of the organization as described above will be primarily for the purpose of creating Situation A which is described below. (1) On the appointed day, staged attacks will be made against respected religious leaders in Tehran. (2) Other religious leaders will at once say that these attacks were ordered by Mossadeq as his reaction to the disfavor in which his government is held by the religious leaders of the entire country. (3) A number of the more important leaders will at once take sanctuary in the Majlis [i.e. Iranian parliament] grounds.(4) At this time, these religious leaders will release statements through their followers denouncing in the strongest terms the anti-religious attitude and behavior of Mossadeq. (5) At the same time as 2.b.(4) 9 (d) above, the fullest publicity will be given to the US station fabricated documents which prove and record in detail a secret agreement between Mossadeq and the Tudeh, with the latter promising to use all their force in support of Mossadeq and against the religious leaders, the Army, and the police. (6) Simultaneously, these leaders will call on their followers to take sanctuary all over Tehran in mosques, telegraph and post offices, banks, etc. The British group and the US station will supply all the demonstrators they can to swell their ranks...."

"There's nothing like being surrounded by a crowd chanting 'Death to America' on the day of the most historic U.S. presidential Inauguration in memory to make an American foreign correspondent feel homesick....Anti-Americanism is a potent political trope here because it is rooted in grievances. Just down the road from the Khomeini shrine is the Behesht-e Zahra martyrs' cemetery--one of many such scattered plots that contain the remains of more than 200,000 Iranian soldiers who died in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. The widows and mothers who come here on Thursdays--the beginning of the weekend in Iran--to wash graves and pass out sweets and fruit to strangers remember that the rockets, jets and chemical weapons used to kill their sons and husbands were provided to Saddam Hussein by the U.S. and Europe. 'Every strike against our country has come from the United States,' says Azam Omrani, 63, whose son Amir died in the war. From the CIA-led coup in 1953 that reinstalled the Shah to the millions of dollars Washington spends on covert operations and propaganda against their government today, Iranians believe the U.S. has interfered in Iran's internal affairs. The effect has been to create a siege mentality even among those Iranians who don't support the government."
Talking and Listening to Iran
TIME, 12 Februay 2009

"Fifty years ago this week, the CIA and the British SIS orchestrated a coup d'etat that toppled the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mossadegh. The prime minister and his nationalist supporters in parliament roused Britain's ire when they nationalised the oil industry in 1951, which had previously been exclusively controlled by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company [later renamed as BP]. Mossadegh argued that Iran should begin profiting from its vast oil reserves. The British government tried to enlist the Americans in planning a coup... The crushing of Iran's first democratic government ushered in more than two decades of dictatorship under the Shah... The author of All the Shah's Men, New York Times reporter Stephen Kinzer, argues that the coup planted the seeds of resentment against the US in the Middle East, ultimately leading to the events of September 11.... The coup and the culture of covert interference it created forever changed how the world viewed the US, especially in poor, oppressive countries. For many Iranians, the coup was a tragedy from which their country has never recovered. Perhaps because Mossadegh represents a future denied, his memory has approached myth."
The spectre of Operation Ajax
Guardian, 20 August 2003

"[Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatullah] Khamenei was born in the north-eastern Iranian shrine city of Mashhad. The second of eight children, he followed in the footsteps of his father, a religious scholar, and studied in the holy Shi'ite city of Qum... It was there that he met his predecessor and mentor, Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of Iran's Islamic revolution, and the first man to hold the title of Supreme leader. It was Khomeini who branded America 'the Great Satan' and instilled a hatred for the West among his followers. Khamenei didn't need persuading. By the time of the revolution, he had already been jailed six times by Iran's pro-American monarch, Shah Reza Pahlavi. While the Shah had a glamorous image in the West, he was a thug at home, reinstalled in a 1953 CIA-led coup and protected by a U.S.-trained secret police with a record of brutal torture - torture that Khamenei experienced firsthand. Visitors to a former interrogation center at a prison where he was held in solitary confinement - now an anti-Shah museum - can see a portrait of a young Khamenei with a black beard, shortly cropped hair and thick glasses, and a video in which he describes how an interrogator for the secret police, known as SAVAK, one poured alcohol on his beard and set in on fire. A plaque indicating Khamenei's old cell now bears a telling quote from him: 'Unless you are faced with such brutal and vicious circumstances, you will not have any true and deep understanding of those hardships and difficulties.' Khamenei likely holds the U.S. at least party responsible for this misery, says the Iranian-American journalist Hooman Majd. 'He saw the U.S. support someone he considered a vicious dictator in whose jails he spent time.' Almost every speech Khamenei delivers is shot through with that animosity. His rhetoric suggests a man who doubts that the U.S. could ever strike a deal in good faith. 'America,' he said in a 2009 address, 'appears with a deceitful smile but has a dagger behind its back ... That is its true nature.' Even ostensible allies cannot trust Washington, he warned an audience recently. 'When America has the opportunity,' he said, 'it will stab them in the back and tear their hearts open.'"
The deal breaker
TIME, 13 October 2014, Print Edition, P35

"If the 15 British sailors currently held by Iran's revolutionary guards are shocked by the hostility to Britain shown by their captors, it will be less surprising to British diplomats engaged in the delicate process of securing their release. Hostility to all things British is, as every foreign office mandarin knows, the default mode of Iran's staunchly anti-western political leadership. From its perspective, Britain - along with America - is in the vanguard of 'global arrogance', Iranian political shorthand for the contemporary western interventionism whose alleged goal is to dominate and control the resources of developing nations such as Iran.... But this is not just President Ahmadinejad. The antipathy goes back to colonial times, and the long and tortured history of British intervention in Iran. This anti-British sentiment is shared by ordinary Iranians. Its resonance defies boundaries of age, education, social class or political affiliation. In the eyes of a broad cross-section of the population, Britain - as much, or even more than, the US - is the real enemy. Four decades after the sun set on its imperial might, the Machiavellian instincts of the 'old coloniser' are believed to be alive, well and still acting against the interests of Iran. For every mishap - whether a bombing, rising living costs or simply the advent of an unpopular government - a hidden British hand is often thought to be at work..... In 1901, William Knox D'Arcy, a London-based lawyer and businessman, was granted exploration rights in most of Iran's oil fields for the princely sum of £20,000. It took several years for D'Arcy's investment to bear fruit but when it did - after he struck oil in Masjid-e Suleiman in 1908 - its effect was enduring and fateful. It turned out to be the world's largest oil field to date and a year later, D'Arcy's concession was merged into the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC). In 1913, with war clouds gathering in Europe, the British admiralty - under Winston Churchill - discarded coal in favour of oil to power its battleships. To safeguard the decision, the government bought a 51% stake in APOC. The importance of oil - and Iran - in British imperial expansion was now explicit. It was a priority of which Churchill, for one, would never lose sight.... anger over the arrogant behaviour of the now-renamed Anglo-Iranian Oil Company - it later became BP - was leading inevitably to a fateful confrontation between Britain and Iran. Resentment over Iran's paltry share of company profits had festered for years. In 1947, out of an annual profit of £40m, Iran received just £7m. Iranian anger was further fuelled by the treatment of oil-company workers who were restricted to low-paid menial jobs and kept in squalid living conditions, in contrast to the luxury in which their British masters lived. Attempts at persuading the oil company to give Iran a bigger share of the profits and its workers a fairer deal proved fruitless. The result was a standoff that created conditions ripe for a nationalist revolt. Into this ferment walked Mohammad Mossadegh, a lawyer and leftwing secular nationalist politician fated to go down as perhaps Iranian history's biggest martyr before British perfidy. Mossadegh was elected prime minister in 1951 advocating a straightforward solution to the oil question - nationalisation. It was a goal he carried out with single-minded zeal while lambasting the British imperialists in tones redolent of a later Iranian leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Within months, he had ordered the Iranian state to take over the oil company and expelled its British management and workers. The company and the British government reacted furiously. The Labour government of Clement Attlee imposed a naval blockade in the Gulf and asked the UN security council to condemn Iran. Instead, the council embarrassingly came out in Iran's favour. Meanwhile, Mossadegh - who often did business in his pyjamas - embarked on an American tour in the naive belief that the US would back him against the British 'colonisers'. It was a serious misjudgment. The oil company's executives were clamouring for a coup to overthrow Mossadegh. Attlee rebuffed the idea but when a Conservative government took office in October 1951, led by Churchill, it fell on more sympathetic ears. With British power in decline, however, Churchill was unable to mount such a venture alone. American help would be needed. The result was Operation Ajax, a CIA-MI6 putsch that co-opted a loose coalition of monarchists, nationalist generals, conservative mullahs and street thugs to overthrow Mossadegh. With the economy teetering in the face of the British blockade, Mossadegh was ousted after several days of violent street clashes. The shah, at that time a weak figure, had fled to Rome fearing the coup would fail. When he heard the news of Mossadegh's demise, he responded: 'I knew they loved me.' He subsequently returned to install a brutally repressive regime - maintained in power by the notorious Savak secret police -backed to the hilt by both America and Britain for the next 25 years.... After the revolution, the Islamic authorities continued to draw on national resentment at more than a century of British interference, damning Britain as the 'little Satan' (the US was the 'Great Satan'). Such feelings were further fed by London's support for Saddam Hussein during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, despite Baghdad having started the war and subsequently resorting to chemical weapons. London and Tehran were at loggerheads again in 1989 after the revolution's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa (religious edict) sentencing the British author, Salman Rushdie, to death for blasphemy over his novel, The Satanic Verses. The antipathy resurfaced most recently in June 2004 in an incident with uncanny parallels to the current stand-off. Then, eight British sailors were seized and paraded blindfold on state TV after allegedly straying into Iranian waters in the Shatt al-Arab waterway, where the 15 currently in detention were intercepted and arrested last Friday. On the previous occasion, the Britons were released following an apology from the foreign secretary at the time, Jack Straw.... The British RAF personnel and marines in Iran's captivity may well be oblivious to the long-accumulated resentments that have provided the backdrop to their detentions. Perhaps they are learning something of this tortured history from their captors."
A bitter legacy
Guardian, 30 March 2007

"After the Shah of Iran consolidated his power with CIA help in 1953 in what is known as Operation Ajax, the country became America’s most important ally in the Middle East after Israel. In return for access to Iran’s bountiful oil fields, Washington sold the Shah an arsenal of modern weapons. With state-of-the-art fighter jets, new rockets and powerful tanks, Iran became a leading military power in the Persian Gulf. Some 40,000 US military advisors taught Iranians how to use the weapons. After the Islamic fundamentalist regime led by Ayatollah Khomeini toppled the Shah in 1979 and sparked a crisis by taking 52 Americans hostage, it became painfully clear to Washington that its weapons were now in the wrong hands. And so the US government quickly turned to the biggest enemy of the religious fundamentalists -- Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. For eight years -- until 1988 -- Hussein waged a brutal war with his eastern neighbors, supported with weapons and know-how from American sources. Even Donald Rumsfeld, who would go on to plan the current war in Iraq as defense secretary under US President George W. Bush, visited Hussein in 1983. As a sweetener, the Americans offered Baghdad classified aerial photographs that allowed Hussein’s generals to inflict great damage on Iranian forces -- sometimes using chemical weapons. Only a few years later, of course, US soldiers would wage a war with the very Iraqi military that Washington had so meticulously helped build."
The Checkered History of American Weapons Deals
Der Spiegel, 8 June 2007

"Regional security issues, particularly in the Middle East, will not move one iota until you sit around the table and discuss the grievances that have accumulated over the last 56 years between Iran and the international community - from 1953, when the CIA and MI6 removed Mohammed Mossadegh, the first nationally elected government, to the hostage crisis in 1979. This is the past, but the present is fundamentally a competition of power in the Middle East between Iran, which has its own specific ideology, and the United States and some of Iran's neighbors."
Director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei
Washington Post, 1 February 2009

Secrets of History: The CIA in Iran
By James Risen
New York Times, 16 April 2000

More Details
New York Times document web archive - Click Here
US National Security Archive at George Washington University - Click Here

"As millions of Iranians prepared for revolution, and tension mounted on the streets of Tehran, the British Ambassador had a more urgent matter in mind: Margaret Thatcher’s hair. Secret correspondence from 1978 released by the National Archives shows that Sir Anthony Parsons was desperate to reassure the British Government that its interests would be safe under the weakening rule of the Shah. He was distracted, however, by Mrs Thatcher, the Leader of the Opposition, who was due to visit Iran in the spring of 1978 and wrote in advance to request a 'good local hairdresser' who 'should bring Carmen rollers' to prepare her trademark bouffant. Sir Anthony’s priorities should, perhaps, have been elsewhere. Months after receiving assurances from Sir Anthony that the Shah would not be overthrown, the British Government looked on aghast as revolution swept through Iran in early 1979, deposing the Shah and leaving hundreds of millions of pounds of British investment at risk. Millions of Iranians will take to the streets today to celebrate the 30th anniversary of those tumultuous events. A series of encrypted telegrams sent to Britain by Sir Anthony show that his faith in – and personal friendship with – the Shah may have blinded him to the civil unrest on the streets around him. In 1977 Britain made £600 million of exports to Iran and, in 1978, Iran supplied 14 per cent of Britain’s oil. More than £1 billion of military projects had either begun or were due to start in cooperation with Iran in 1978 when the Government sought assurances from Sir Anthony that British investments were safe."
Ambassador in Iran dealt with Margaret Thatcher’s hair as revolution began
London Times, 10 February 2009

"Nowruz, the Persian new year, begins with a televised message from the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. Yesterday’s alternative message from Barack Obama may have reached a smaller audience at first but it is unlikely to take long for word of the speech to filter all the way through this nation of 68 million. Mr Obama’s speech was broadcast with Farsi subtitles on Middle Eastern satellite channels beamed illegally into four million Iranian homes....Mr Obama’s remarks were welcomed by reformists as they gear up for a battle to unseat Mr Ahmadinejad in June’s presidential elections. They seized on the regime’s intransigence as evidence that rapprochement would be better conducted under their more moderate government. 'Things cannot continue the way they are,' Mehdi Karoubi, a prominent political reformist, told The Times. 'We can never forget what the Americans did in the Fifties when they overthrew Mossadegh’s Government but it doesn’t justify the continuation of hostilities between us.'”
Behind the story: Barack Obama’s message will seep through
London Times, 21 March 2009

"Iran cautiously welcomed Barack Obama’s videotaped message for a 'new beginning' between the US and Tehran yesterday, but said that the new Administration needed a change in attitude for relations between them to improve. Aliakbar Javanfekr, an aide to President Ahmadinejad of Iran, reacted to the appeal by saying: 'The Iranian nation has shown that it can forget hasty behaviour.' Iran, he said, would 'not show its back' to Mr Obama if the US put its words into practice, but the new Administration needed 'a fundamental change in attitude'....The opaque nature of the Iranian leadership is one of those complications. The ultimate authority over its nuclear programme is Mr Khamenei, not Mr Ahmadinejad. There also indications that time is against Mr Obama. Admiral Mike Mullen, America’s top military officer, said recently that Iran already had sufficient nuclear material for one bomb. The level of mistrust is also profound. Mr Javanfekr blamed America’s 'hostile policy towards Iran' for the tensions and said that the country 'will never forget' the 1953 US-backed coup that overthrew the democratically elected Prime Minister Mohamed Mossadegh."
Barack Obama tells Iran to choose between terror and peace
London Times, 21 March 2009

"US President Barack Obama made a major gesture of conciliation to Iran today when he admitted US involvement in the 1953 coup which overthrew the government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh. 'In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government,' Mr Obama said during his keynote speech to the Muslim world in Cairo. It is the first time a serving US president has publicly admitted American involvement in the coup. The CIA, with British backing, masterminded the coup after Mossadegh nationalised the oil industry, run until then in by the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.  For many Iranians, the coup demonstrated duplicity by the United States, which presented itself as a defender of freedom but did not hesitate to use underhand methods to get rid of a democratically elected government to suit its own economic and strategic interests. Mr Obama also said: 'For many years, Iran has defined itself in part by its opposition to my country, and there is in fact a tumultuous history between us. 'Since the Islamic Revolution, Iran has played a role in acts of hostage-taking and violence against US troops and civilians. This history is well known. 'Rather than remain trapped in the past, I've made it clear to Iran's leaders and people that my country is prepared to move forward. The question now is not what Iran is against, but rather what future it wants to build.' Shortly after Mr Obama's inauguration on January 20, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad demanded apologies for 'crimes' he said the United States had committed against Iran, starting with the 1953 coup."
Obama admits involvement in Iran coup
Agence France Presse, 5 June 2009

"With his black Porsche, his playboy good looks and a £1.3m Massachusetts home, Prince Ali Reza Pahlavi of Iran was scarcely short of comfort or money three decades after his family was forced to flee Tehran. Yet the gilded life of the younger son of Iran’s last shah came to a melancholic halt last week, plunging his formerly regal family into a familiar cycle of grief, loss and regret. Pahlavi’s suicide aged 44 — he shot himself — marked another self-inflicted disaster for a disintegrating dynasty that has never come to terms with the theocratic revolution that ended its rule in 1979.... As the younger brother of Crown Prince Reza Cyrus Pahlavi, Ali Reza had seemed destined for a life of unimaginable riches. Then the Peacock throne turned to ashes and millions of Iranians took to the streets to celebrate the departure of the tyrant most had come to hate.... When his father died of cancer in Egypt a year after fleeing Tehran, Reza publicly declared himself the shah, but over the next 30 years his ambitions were steadily diminished by the grim realisation that few Iranians were clamouring for his return. Nor has the growing popular opposition to Islamic rule produced nostalgia for the shah.....For some of the former shah’s critics, the post-revolutionary miseries of his family amount to some kind of cosmic retribution for the bloodspattered evils that the Pahlavi dynasty inflicted on dissenters from the moment Reza’s grandfather — also named Reza — seized power in a coup in December 1925. From his Parisian exile, Khomeini had famously complained that 'the crimes of the kings of Iran have blackened the pages of history ... it is the kings of Iran that have constantly ordered massacres of their own people'. Yet even those familiar with the violent record of the shah’s Savak secret police — trained with the help of America’s CIA and Britain’s MI6 — might feel that the Pahlavi children have paid a terrible price for their past."
Empress bewails the family curse
Sunday Times, 9 January 2011

"Oil is Iran’s defining commodity, a source of wealth and pride; Britain’s control of that oil for most of the 20th century has left a well of aggressive nationalism and paranoia that is virtually inexhaustible. In 1901 a millionaire London socialite named William Knox D’Arcy negotiated the first oil concession in Iran. More than a century later Britain is still, in Iranian eyes, an oil-thirsty bully.... For Tehran nuclear development is the means to restore Iran’s status as a great Asian power alongside India and China. Half a millennium before Christ, the great Persian kings Cyrus, Darius and Xerxes forged a mighty superpower. When Western Europeans were still living in caves, Persian poets wrote verse of distilled beauty and Persian scientists and mathematicians flourished..... History matters in Iran in a profound way and understanding Iran’s current posture is impossible without appreciating its sense of its own past and Britain’s perceived role in it. As early as 1872 a British company had won a 'concession' to run Persian industry, exploit its resources and print its money, an arrangement that the Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon, described as 'the most complete and extraordinary surrender of the entire industrial resources of a kingdom into foreign hands'. Iran was never part of the British Empire but was treated like a colony. What British entrepreneurs saw as investment, many Iranians regarded as economic pillage. By 1913 all Iranian oil was British property. Under the Anglo-Persian Agreement of 1919 Britain took control of Iran’s treasury, military and transport system. The Anglo-Persian (later Anglo-Iranian) Oil Company became the largest overseas asset owned by Britain, the very life-blood of empire, powering the British economy and improving British living standards. Reza Pahlevi was crowned Shah with British approval but when he leant too close to the Nazis in 1941 the Allies marched in and replaced him with his 21-year-old son, Mohammed Reza. A decade later the highly educated and profoundly nationalist Mohammed Mossadeq was elected Prime Minister. He nationalised the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, insisting that 'our greatest national resource is oil'. Outraged, Britain first imposed sanctions and then helped the CIA to engineer a coup to oust Mossadeq, who was arrested, imprisoned and sentenced to life under house arrest.... At the height of the Iranian hostage crisis in 1980 Jimmy Carter was asked at a press conference: 'Mr President, do you think it was proper for the United States to restore the Shah to the throne in 1953 against the popular will within Iran?' He replied: 'That’s ancient history.' But in Iran ancient history defines today — and tomorrow."
Oil and history fuel Iran’s extreme paranoia
London Times, 21 February 2012, Print Edition, P23

"British diplomats tried to convince their US counterparts to suppress 'very embarrassing' details of MI6’s role in the 1953 coup in Iran, new documents reveal. Foreign Office records from 35 years ago show elaborate efforts by the British embassy in Washington to keep secret Britain’s part in the overthrow of Iran’s democratically-elected Mosaddegh government. The US academic behind the disclosures told told The Daily Telegraph that even today, 60 years after the coup, Britain may still be working behind the scenes to hide details of the secret mission known as 'Operation Boot'. Malcolm Byrne, deputy director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University, said he believed British diplomats were still working to conceal MI6’s activities from more than half a century ago. 'Sixty years after the coup we are still not able to get a full picture of the role played by British and American intelligence,' he said. 'It appears the reason is that history and current politics are intersecting and the British are still reluctant to have their role acknowledged.' The covert action in 1953 by MI6 and the CIA toppled Mohammad Mosaddegh, Iran’s prime minister, in retaliation for his decision to nationalize British oil assets in the country. Mr Mossaddegh was replaced by autocratic rule by the Shah of Iran. But by 1978 the Shah’s government was tottering on the verge of collapse as Iranians protested on the streets. Watching from afar, the Foreign Office grew concerned that its own role in installing the Shah would become public and further in flame anti-Western sentiments. Chief among their worries was a plan by historians at the US State Department to release documents related to the 1953 coup, according to records found by researchers at National Security Archive. In a confidential memo from October 1978, one diplomat wrote warned that 'if released, there would be some very embarrassing things about the British in them'. By December a second diplomat had written to London saying that a friendly State Department official had promised 'to sit on the papers'. The document shows the embassy approached the historians’ office directly, inquiring how they could keep the files from being made public. The embassy’s efforts appear to have succeeded because the documents were never officially released. ... A spokesman for the Foreign Office said it was department policy to neither confirm nor deny British involvement in the coup."
British diplomats tried to suppress details of MI6 role in Iran coup
Telegraph, 19 August 2013

"As the Iranian revolution crested in 1978-1979, the CIA approved a memoir by Kermit Roosevelt, one of the architects of the 1953 coup against Iran's nationalist prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddeq. After first balking at the potential exposure of numerous 'secrets,' the CIA relented when Roosevelt agreed to delete all mention of MI6 and made over 150 other changes that rendered the book 'essentially a work of fiction,' according to recently declassified CIA files posted today by the National Security Archive. The internal CIA deliberations over Roosevelt's Countercoup: The Struggle for the Control of Iran (McGraw-Hill, 1979 [sic]) were released through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and provided to the National Security Archive by the original requester, researcher Faisal A. Qureshi. They are posted here for the first time. Missing from the documents is what happened when British Petroleum discovered that Countercoup (falsely) identified its predecessor, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), as the instigator of the operation. In fact, MI6 originated the plan. The oil concern threatened to file suit, which prompted publisher McGraw-Hill to pull virtually the entire print run of 7,500 copies in 1979. 400 copies had already made it out to reviewers and bookstores, but most of those were returned. In a final twist, the revised version of the book hit the streets in August 1980 (retaining the 1979 date on the copyright page), but with the reinsertion of numerous references to 'British intelligence' as the key player on the British side (replacing 'AIOC'), even though disguising MI6's role had been one of the principal reasons for censoring the volume in the first place.[2] No official explanation has ever surfaced for this decision, which has directly undermined continuing claims by both U.S. and British intelligence that any acknowledgement of London's part in planning the coup would present a grave threat to the national security. ... The back story to the publication of Countercoup has long been a puzzling subplot to the troubled historiography of the 1953 events in Iran. How could the CIA permit a former operative to publish a 217-page personal account about a major covert operation, yet for decades rebuff virtually every public request to declassify the underlying documentation? One of those requests led to a National Security Archive FOIA lawsuit in the late 1990s. The Archive sought the release of a well-known CIA internal history of the operation but obtained only a single sentence out of the 200-page document. The New York Times, which obtained a leaked version of the classified history, subsequently published it on its Web site in April 2000.... Running through several of the documents posted today is the theme of preferred treatment for favored individuals on the matter of what they are authorized to publish. Prior to the early 1970s, senior officials who wanted to write about intelligence activities or their own experiences typically met little resistance, if not outright encouragement. That changed substantially with United States v. Marchetti, a 1972 court case involving former CIA operative Victor Marchetti who, with ex-State Department official John Marks, eventually published a groundbreaking, but censored, exposé of the agency, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence (Alfred A. Knopf, 1974). After the courts in the case mainly sided with the intelligence community, the CIA instituted a formal mechanism for clearing works by current and prior officials, the early experience with which is reflected in today's posting. Still, Roosevelt had certain expectations about his freedom to write about his clandestine exploits and he enjoyed a level of responsiveness from former agency colleagues that would be unimaginable to the average FOIA requester.... Since leaving the intelligence world in the late 1950s, Roosevelt had become a consultant specializing in the Middle East, and maintained lucrative ties to the Shah, lobbying for him and encouraging him to buy U.S. military equipment from other Roosevelt clients.... Before the book can be published, another hurdle arises when crowds overrun the U.S. Embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979, and take its American occupants hostage. In this memo to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance six weeks into the crisis, DCI Stansfield Turner reports that Roosevelt has agreed to hold off publication until six weeks after the hostages' release. In fact, McGraw-Hill eventually goes forward with publication of the revised version — complete with reinstated references to British intelligence — in September 1980, four months before the end of the crisis."
Iran 1953: The Strange Odyssey of Kermit Roosevelt's Countercoup
National Security Archive, George Washington University, 12 May 2014

"Well, Iran has made little secret of its desire to gain hegemony in the region of the Persian Gulf, the critical oil and natural gas producing region that we fought so many wars to try and protect our economy from the adverse impact of losing that supply or having it available only at very high prices..."
John Bolton, former Bush Administration Ambassador to the UN
Fox News, 22 (circa) October 2011

Gulf Oil
Early 20th Century

"In 1901, an Australian-British mining magnate named William Knox D'Arcy won a concession from Persia (now Iran) to explore for oil in the country's rugged, arid southwest. Seven years later, after almost giving up, D'Arcy's surveyors struck it rich atop a sulfurous patch near where the armies of Alexander the Great had supposedly once seen the lights of black liquid fires burning upon the earth. The Anglo-Persian Oil Company emerged from this discovery and stood in command of what was the greatest oil find of its time. The British government became the company's major stakeholder on the eve of World War I thanks to the vociferous prodding of Winston Churchill — then the chief of the British navy — who saw in Persia's wells a bottomless source of fuel for Britain's modernizing fleet. By the Great War's end, says BP's own website, 'war without oil would be unimaginable.' The company made handsome profits through the 1920s and 30s as much of Western society moved toward a world sped along in petroleum-burning automobiles and illuminated by petroleum-burning power plants. The company — renamed the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) in 1935 when new leadership in Tehran opted to shift the nation's name away from the archaic 'Persia' — operated what was then the world's largest refinery near the city of Abadan. Over 200,000 workers toiled in scorching heat and often desperate conditions. Observers recounted the inequities between the Iranian workers housed in a rickety slum known as Kaghazabad, or 'Paper City,' and the British officials who oversaw them from air-conditioned offices and lawn-fringed villas. Water fountains were marked 'Not for Iranians.' During World War II, the refinery continued to feed the Allied war machine despite food shortages and a cholera epidemic among workers. Manucher Farmanfarmaian, then director of Iran's Petroleum Institute, wrote grimly in 1949 of the misery of life there: 'In winter the earth flooded and became a flat, perspiring lake. The mud in town was knee-deep and canoes ran alongside the roadways for transport. When the rains subsided, clouds of nipping, small-winged flies rose from the stagnant waters to fill the nostrils, collecting in black mounds along the rims of cooking pots and jamming the fans at the refinery with an unctuous glue.' Needless to say, many Iranians were not happy with AIOC's presence. In 1951, the country's democratically elected premier, Mohammed Mossadegh, decided to nationalize its holdings. The takeover plunged the world into crisis — an essential pipeline was shut off as the U.K. and the U.S. boycotted Iran and blocked other European technicians from replacing the British ones who had been fired. TIME made Mossadegh Man of the Year in 1951, depicting him, somewhat uncharitably, as a 'strange old wizard' leading a hapless, faraway nation into the clutches of Communists. Ultimately, U.S. fears of Soviet influence — and the British desire to regain their oil — led to a joint CIA and British intelligence operation known as 'Operation Ajax.' It toppled Mossadegh in a carefully orchestrated 1953 coup and eventually handed the country back to the pro-Western Shah, who assumed autocratic powers. In 1954, in an attempt perhaps to move beyond its image as a quasi-colonial enterprise, the company rebranded itself the British Petroleum Company. But the template was already set in the Middle East: future generations of Iranians would remember a meddling West, self-serving and thirsty for oil. BP's controversial legacy played no small part in the political rhetoric of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, which ousted the Shah and paved the way for the Islamic Republic. BP's oil interests elsewhere in the Middle East were also curtailed by the nationalization schemes of Arab states — in 1975, it transported 140 million tons of oil from the region, but only 500,000 in 1983."
A Brief History of BP
TIME, 2 June 2010

"It would have been unthinkable only a few years ago, but one of Ireland’s most republican counties is celebrating the life of the founder of Britain’s intelligence agencies. William Melville was born in the Kerry village of Sneem to a publican’s family and fled his roots to forge a stellar career in London as a detective fighting terrorism. When he 'retired' in 1903 from the Metropolitan Police at the height of his fame, he went on to establish the forerunner of MI5, providing the inspiration for James Bond’s boss in Ian Fleming’s books.... In 1903 Melville announced that he was retiring to spend more time with his family and garden. Instead he moved into offices in Victoria Street, adjacent to Scotland Yard, and under the nameplate William Morgan, General Agent, created a cover story that allowed him to gather intelligence for the War Office. He reported under the alias 'M'. In that year the War Office set up a Directorate of Military Operations and Melville was head-hunted for the role of field operative to act as a controller for agents abroad as well as to undertake missions himself. One of his first was to help to secure British access to Persian oil. In this he succeeded by derailing French negotiations and allowing a British syndicate to seal the deal. The company that emerged from the machinations became BP. In 1909 the Secret Service Bureau was set up to coordinate intelligence work under two sections, home and foreign, which became, respectively, MI5 and MI6. As the bureau’s chief detective, Melville set up a register of aliens to track suspicious foreigners."
M: Britain's first spymaster was an Irishman who played patriot game
London Times, 2 July 2007

"At the beginning of the 20 Century King Edward VII ruled over a vast empire with interests in every part of the world. India became increasingly important because it was the second pillar of British power in the world. Moving the Indian army about was extremely important in extending British interests and British influence across the globe and the Suez canal was of course the quick way to do that.   It's very important for the British geopolicital position to ensure the Suez canal remains safe and secure. With this aim in mind Britain had become the only European power to establish a major foothold in the Middle East, in the principalities around the Persian Gulf, in Aden, and in Egypt.... Pouring over a map of the Levant, Sykes and Picot personally drew in the areas they wished to see under their control. Their secret deal amounted to the virtual carve up of the Middle East.... [France was to have Greater Syria and] ... the area...  known as Iraq with its strategic ports, railways, and oil...  was to be under British rule. ... Palestine.... was envisaged as an international zone, except for Haiffa. What the British wanted was the oil of Iraq and they concentrated on getting Iraq and getting a way from Iraq to the Meditteranian in order to transport this oil. So they got Haiffa on the Palestinian coast and they got most of Iraq.  ... Unaware of these secret dealings behind their backs Hussein and Feisal proclaimed independence and in June 1916 attacked the Turkish troops... The Turkish garrason at Mecca was soon overun and the sea port at Jiddha seized... In a pincer movement Britain had launched a campaign from the south west to ensure control of the Suez canal and the Levant, and from the South East it was fighting to secure the oil wells of Iraq... In the east the Ottoman area of  Messoptamia, which included the oil fields of Mossul, was given to Britain as the mandate for Iraq. ... this  was basically the importance of the Sykes-Picot agreement, to divide what was called the fertile crescent between Iraq and Syria, and let Britain get access to the oil of the area and be able to exploit it in the future...."
Promises & Betrayals
The History Channel & Gulf Research Center
Content Productions 2002
Broadcast Monday 14th March  2005 on History Channel - 53 Minutes

"This lucid film [Promises & Betrayals] recounts the complicated history that led to the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. In the words of the former British Ambassador to Egypt, it is a story of intrigue among rival empires and of misguided strategies. It is often claimed that the crisis originated with Jewish emigration to Palestine and the foundation of the State of Israel. Yet the roots of the conflict are to be found earlier. In 1915, when the Allies were besieged on the Western front, the British wanted to create a second front against Germany, Italy and the Ottoman Empire. Turkish nationalism had spread to the rest of the Ottoman Empire and the British exploited this feeling. They promised Arab groups their own independent states, including Palestine. Secretly, the Allies planned to carve up the Ottoman Empire: France would get 'Greater Syria;' Britain would get Iraq for its oil and ports, and Haifa, to distribute the oil; Palestine would be an international zone; Russia would get Constantinople.  The next British government under Lloyd George believed that 'worldwide Jewry' was a powerful force, and that the Jews in the new Bolshevik government could prevent the Russian army from deserting the Allied side. This mistaken strategy, along with other factors including the persuasiveness of Chaim Weitzman, led to the Balfour Declaration in 1917, which endorsed a national home for the Jews in Palestine. At the same time, the Arab leader Shariff Hussein was promised that Palestine would be part of a new Arab state. This contradiction has contributed to the ongoing struggle for control in the Holy Land."
(With Prof. Lieven, London School of Economics; Prof. Choueiri, University of Exeter, and other academics)

Britain and the Struggle for the Holy Land
Film Makers Library, Middle East Studies

"[Gertrude Bell] was one of the world's most powerful women at the beginning of the 20th century, a key shaper of the version of the Middle East over which our soldiers are killing and dying, for us, right now.....In 1914, the British indeed brought war to Mesopotamia. From their long-held (since the 17th century) base in Basra, they sent an army north along the Euphrates River toward Baghdad. But here's where things stop looking like an old Imperial expedition and more like the nightmare battlefield of the 20th century. Over three months, the British lost 25,000 men during a siege at Kut. It was, at the height of British power, the nation's biggest military disaster to that time. Iraq was a battleground in the First World War for one reason. As Wallach describes the British position at the beginning of the war, their 'unrivaled navy delivered goods around the world and brought home three-quarters of (the country's) food supply. To maintain its superiority, in 1911 the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, had ordered a major change, switching the nation's battleships from coal-burning engines to oil. Far superior to the traditional ships, these new oil-burning vessels could travel faster, cover a greater range, and be refueled at sea; what's more, their crews would not be exhausted by having to refuel, and would require less manpower.' Wallach continues, 'Britain had been the world's leading provider of coal, but she had no oil of her own. In 1912, Churchill signed an agreement for a major share in the Anglo-Persian oil company, with its oil wells in southern Persia and refineries at Abadan, close to Basra. It was essential for Britain to protect that vital area...the British either wouldn't or couldn't put together an Iraqi government. In truth, they weren't totally convinced they wanted to sponsor an Iraqi state at all. Churchill favored letting most of Iraq go, fortifying only the oil fields near Basra.... Many officials wanted to pull out of Mesopotamia altogether, except for the Persian Gulf. Bell and a few others, like T.E. Lawrence, argued for making and backing an Arab kingdom in Iraq. Bell's party eventually persuaded Churchill that Arab monarchies with British power behind them would make for a more stable region, cheaper in the long run as a provider of oil.... Carefully drawing a red line across the face of it, [Sir Percy Cox] assigned a chunk of the Nejd to Iraq; then to placate Ibn Saud, he took almost two thirds of the territory of Kuwait and gave it to Arabia. Last, drawing two zones, and declaring that they should be neutral, he called one the Kuwait neutral zone and the other the Iraq neutral zone. When a representative of Ibn Saud pressed Cox not to make a Kuwait neutral zone, Sir Percy asked him why. 'Quite candidly,' the man answered, 'because we think oil exists there.' 'That,' replied the High Commissioner, 'is exactly why I have made it a neutral zone. Each side shall have a half-share.' The agreement, signed by all three sides at the beginning of December 1922, confirmed the boundary lines drawn so carefully by Gertrude Bell. But for seventy years, up until and including the 1990 Gulf War involving Iraq and Kuwait, the dispute over the borders would continue.' With the creation of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Iraq, the map of the modern Middle East was complete. The British managed to keep their royal surrogates in Iraq until 1958, when military officers shot the young king (Faisal's grandson), his regent and prime minister."
Gertrude Bell and the Birth of Iraq
Anderson Valley Advertiser, 26 May 2004

"The oil supplies of the world were in the hands of vast oil trusts under foreign control. To commit the navy irrevocably to oil was indeed to take arms against a sea of troubles.... If we overcame the difficulties and surmounted the risks, we should be able to raise the whole power and efficiency of the navy to a definitely higher level; better ships, better crews, higher economies, more intense forms of war power--in a word, mastery itself was the prize of the venture."
Winston S. Churchill
The World Crisis, Vol. 1 (New York: Scribner's, 1923), pp. 133-36.

"Less than a year ago it seemed that Indian soldiers might actually be sent off to support the military occupation of Iraq by the United States. Elections have set aside that discussion, and I hope it has been buried forever. Once before during World War I, India's manpower had been used with profligacy to extend another superpowers' quest for oil and influence in Iraq — then made up of the three Ottoman vilayets of Basra, Mosul and Baghdad. Of the roughly 1.3 million Indian combatants and non-combatants sent overseas to fight for the British empire, the largest chunk were routed to Mesopotamia. The refineries of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company in Abadan provided a crucial reason for seizing Basra. In 1911, recognising the vital importance of oil for the British navy, Winston Churchill had acquired 90 per cent stake for the British government in this corporation. Easy victories at the outset encouraged the idea that the Indian Expeditionary Force could march right up to Baghdad."
Iraq: on duty once again?
The Hindu, 21 May 2004

"...beyond the ranks of petroleum-industry historians, Churchill’s outsize role in the history of energy is insufficiently appreciated. Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911. With characteristic vigor and verve, he set about modernizing the Royal Navy, jewel of the empire. The revamped fleet, he proclaimed, should be fueled with oil, rather than coal—a decision that continues to reverberate in the present. Burning a pound of fuel oil produces about twice as much energy as burning a pound of coal. Because of this greater energy density, oil could push ships faster and farther than coal could. Churchill’s proposal led to emphatic dispute. The United Kingdom had lots of coal but next to no oil. At the time, the United States produced almost two-thirds of the world’s petroleum; Russia produced another fifth. Both were allies of Great Britain. Nonetheless, Whitehall was uneasy about the prospect of the Navy’s falling under the thumb of foreign entities, even if friendly. The solution, Churchill told Parliament in 1913, was for Britons to become 'the owners, or at any rate, the controllers at the source of at least a proportion of the supply of natural oil which we require.' Spurred by the Admiralty, the U.K. soon bought 51 percent of what is now British Petroleum, which had rights to oil 'at the source': Iran (then known as Persia). The concessions’ terms were so unpopular in Iran that they helped spark a revolution. London worked to suppress it. Then, to prevent further disruptions, Britain enmeshed itself ever more deeply in the Middle East, working to install new shahs in Iran and carve Iraq out of the collapsing Ottoman Empire. Churchill fired the starting gun, but all of the Western powers joined the race to control Middle Eastern oil. Britain clawed past France, Germany, and the Netherlands, only to be overtaken by the United States, which secured oil concessions in Turkey, Iraq, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. The struggle created a long-lasting intercontinental snarl of need and resentment. Even as oil-consuming nations intervened in the affairs of oil-producing nations, they seethed at their powerlessness; oil producers exacted huge sums from oil consumers but chafed at having to submit to them. Decades of turmoil—oil shocks in 1973 and 1979, failed programs for 'energy independence,' two wars in Iraq—have left unchanged this fundamental, Churchillian dynamic, a toxic mash of anger and dependence that often seems as basic to global relations as the rotation of the sun."
What If We Never Run Out of Oil?
The Altantic, 24 April 2013

"In late 1915 and early 1916, a British official and a Frenchman hammered out an understanding for the postwar order in Mesopotamia. Known by their names as the Sykes-Picot agreement, it rather casually assigned Mosul in northeatern Mesopotamia, one of the most promising potential oil regions, to a future French sphere of influence. This 'surrender' of Mosul immediately outraged many officials in the British government, and strenuous effort was thereafter directed towards undermining it. The issue became more urgent in 1917 when British forces captured Baghdad. For four centuries, Mesopotamia had been part of the Ottoman Empire. That Empire which had once stretched from the Balkans to the Persian Gulf, was now over, a casualty of war. A host of independent and semi-independent nations, many of them rather arbitrarily drawn on the map, would eventually take its place in the Middle East. But, at the moment, in Mesopotamia, Britain had the controlling hand. It was the wartime petroleum shortage of 1917 and 1918 that really drove home the necessity of oil to British interests and pushed Mesopotamia [Iraq] back to center stage. Prospects for oil development within the empire were bleak, which made supplies from the Middle East of paramount importance. Sir Maurice Hankey, the extremely powerful secretary of the War Cabinet, wrote to Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour that, 'oil in the next war will occupy the place of coal in the present war, or at least a parallel place to coal. The only big potential supply that we can get under British Control is the Persian [Iranian] and Mesopotamian [Iraqi] supply.' Therefore, Hankey said, 'control over these oil supplies becomes a first-class British war aim.' But the newly born 'public diplomacy' had to be considered..... Foreign Secretary Balflour worried that explicitly pronouncing Mesopotamia a war aim would seem too old-fashionably imperialistic. Instead, in August 1918, he told the Prime Ministers of the Dominions that Britain must be the 'guiding spirit' in Mesopotamia, as it would provide the one natural resource the British empire lacked. 'I do not care under what system we keep the oil,' he said, 'but I am quite clear it is all-important for us that this oil should be available.' To help make sure this would happen, British forces, already elsewhere in Mesopotamia, captured Mosul after the armistice was signed with Turkey."
Daniel Yergin - The Prize, 1991
First published in Great Britain by Simon and Schuster Ltd, 1991

"In 'Imperial Quest for Oil: Iraq 1910-1918,' the German historian Helmut Mejcher detailed the policy debate that took place within the British government. 'There is no military advantage in pushing forward in Mesopotamia,' Sir Maurice Hankey, the Secretary of the War Cabinet, wrote to Lloyd George. However, Hankey went on, 'would it not be an advantage, before the end of the war, to secure the valuable oil wells in Mesopotamia?' Arthur Balfour, the Foreign Secretary, derided Hankey’s 'purely Imperialist War Aim,' but Lloyd George followed Hankey’s advice, and in the fall of 1918 British troops marched into Mosul. Under the San Remo Agreement, which was completed in 1920, the northern province became part of Iraq, a League of Nations protectorate under British control. Faisal, the third son of Hussein, the Sharif of Mecca, was installed as king of the new country. The French, who considered Mosul to be within their colonial sphere of influence, demanded compensation for the British démarche, and they obtained a promise that Paris would receive a quarter of any future Iraqi oil revenues. Meanwhile, Walter Teagle, the formidable head of Standard Oil of New Jersey, America’s largest oil company (and the precursor of ExxonMobil), headed for London to stake his firm’s claim. 'It should be borne in mind that the Standard Oil Company is very anxious to take over Iraq,' Sir Arthur Hirtzel, a British colonial officer, warned his colleagues. Before the war, an Armenian entrepreneur named Calouste Gulbenkian had established the Turkish Petroleum Company, with the backing of Royal Dutch/Shell and Anglo-Persian (later renamed British Petroleum), to explore for commercial deposits of oil in Mesopotamia. In 1925, King Faisal granted the Turkish Petroleum Company a monopoly on oil exploration in Iraq for seventy-five years, along with the sole authority to determine how much oil would be pumped and at what price it would be sold. In return, the government in Baghdad would get a small royalty on each barrel produced. This one-sided arrangement became the model for subsequent deals between Western oil companies and Arab governments in the nineteen-thirties and forties. The Turkish Petroleum Company quickly struck oil. In October, 1927, a team of geologists was drilling near Kirkuk, a hundred and fifty miles north of Baghdad. One morning, a roar was heard in the drilling area, and a great gusher burst from the ground, carrying rocks fifty feet above the derrick. 'The countryside was drenched with oil, the hollows filled with poisonous gas,' the energy expert Daniel Yergin recounts in 'The Prize,' his panoramic history of the oil industry. 'Whole villages in the area were threatened, and the town of Kirkuk itself was in danger. Some seven hundred tribesmen were quickly recruited to build dikes and walls to try to contain the flood of oil.' Intensive discussions followed about how to restructure the now immensely valuable Turkish Petroleum Company. In July, 1928, the interested parties agreed to divide the business between its founder, Gulbenkian, who got five per cent of the equity, and four Western companies: Royal Dutch/Shell, Anglo-Persian, Compagnie Française des Pétroles, and an American consortium led by Teagle’s Standard Oil. In 1929, three years before Iraq gained independence, the Turkish Petroleum Company was renamed the Iraq Petroleum Company, but the Westerners remained in control—a situation that prevailed for decades. As the twentieth century progressed, the United States gradually usurped Britain’s role as the dominant military power in the Middle East. Economic self-interest drove this strategic shift. In 1940, the United States produced two-thirds of the entire world’s oil supply. During the Second World War, however, fears arose that American reserves might eventually be depleted, and Harold Ickes, the Secretary of the Interior, published an article entitled 'We’re Running Out of Oil!' When American officials began to look covetously at Britain’s Middle East reserves, Winston Churchill was moved to write to Franklin D. Roosevelt and point out that some people in London feel 'that we are being hustled.' In one of a series of cables, Roosevelt tried to reassure Churchill: 'Please do accept my assurances that we are not making sheep’s eyes at your oil fields in Iraq or Iran.'”
Beneath The Sand
New Yorker, 14 July 2003

"Iraq is the product of a lying empire. The British carved it duplicitously from ancient history, thwarted Arab hopes, Ottoman loss, the dunes of Mesopotamia and the mountains of Kurdistan at the end of the first world war. Unsurprisingly, anarchy and insurrection were there from the start. The British responded with gas attacks by the army in the south, bombing by the fledgling RAF in both north and south. When Iraqi tribes stood up for themselves, we unleashed the flying dogs of war to 'police' them. Terror bombing, night bombing, heavy bombers, delayed action bombs (particularly lethal against children) were all developed during raids on mud, stone and reed villages during Britain's League of Nations' mandate. The mandate ended in 1932; the semi-colonial monarchy in 1958. But during the period of direct British rule, Iraq proved a useful testing ground for newly forged weapons of both limited and mass destruction, as well as new techniques for controlling imperial outposts and vassal states. The RAF was first ordered to Iraq to quell Arab and Kurdish and Arab uprisings, to protect recently discovered oil reserves, to guard Jewish settlers in Palestine and to keep Turkey at bay. Some mission, yet it had already proved itself an effective imperial police force in both Afghanistan and Somaliland (today's Somalia) in 1919-20. British and US forces have been back regularly to bomb these hubs of recalcitrance ever since. Winston Churchill, secretary of state for war and air, estimated that without the RAF, somewhere between 25,000 British and 80,000 Indian troops would be needed to control Iraq. Reliance on the airforce promised to cut these numbers to just 4,000 and 10,000. Churchill's confidence was soon repaid. An uprising of more than 100,000 armed tribesmen against the British occupation swept through Iraq in the summer of 1920. In went the RAF. It flew missions totalling 4,008 hours, dropped 97 tons of bombs and fired 183,861 rounds for the loss of nine men killed, seven wounded and 11 aircraft destroyed behind rebel lines. The rebellion was thwarted, with nearly 9,000 Iraqis killed. Even so, concern was expressed in Westminster: the operation had cost more than the entire British-funded Arab rising against the Ottoman Empire in 1917-18. The RAF was vindicated as British military expenditure in Iraq fell from £23m in 1921 to less than £4m five years later. This was despite the fact that the number of bombing raids increased after 1923 when Squadron Leader Arthur Harris - the future hammer of Hamburg and Dresden, whose statue stands in Fleet Street in London today - took command of 45 Squadron. Adding bomb-racks to Vickers Vernon troop car riers, Harris more or less invented the heavy bomber as well as night 'terror' raids. Harris did not use gas himself - though the RAF had employed mustard gas against Bolshevik troops in 1919, while the army had gassed Iraqi rebels in 1920 'with excellent moral effect'. Churchill was particularly keen on chemical weapons, suggesting they be used 'against recalcitrant Arabs as an experiment'. He dismissed objections as 'unreasonable'. 'I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes [to] spread a lively terror ' In today's terms, 'the Arab' needed to be shocked and awed. A good gassing might well do the job."
Our last occupation
Guardian, 19 April 2003

"The most important news from Iraq last week was not the much ballyhooed constitutional pact by Shias and Kurds, nor the tragic stampede deaths of nearly 1,000 pilgrims in Baghdad. The U.S. Air Force's senior officer, Gen. John Jumper, stated U.S. warplanes would remain in Iraq to fight resistance forces and protect the American-installed regime 'more or less indefinitely.' Jumper's bombshell went largely unnoticed due to Hurricane Katrina. Gen. Jumper let the cat out of the bag. While President George Bush hints at eventual troop withdrawals, the Pentagon is busy building four major, permanent air bases in Iraq that will require heavy infantry protection. Jumper's revelation confirms what this column has long said: The Pentagon plans to copy Imperial Britain's method of ruling oil-rich Iraq. In the 1920s, the British cobbled together Iraq from three disparate Ottoman provinces to control newly-found oil fields in Kurdistan and along the Iranian border.  London installed a puppet king and built an army of sepoy (native) troops to keep order and put down minor uprisings. Government minister Winston Churchill authorized use of poisonous mustard gas against Kurdish tribesmen in Iraq and Pushtuns in Afghanistan (today's Taliban). The RAF crushed all revolts. It seems this is what Jumper has in mind. Mobile U.S. ground intervention forces will remain at the four major 'Fort Apache' bases guarding Iraq's major oil fields. These bases will be 'ceded' to the U.S. by a compliant Iraqi regime. The U.S. Air Force will police the Pax Americana with its precision-guided munitions and armed drones. The USAF has developed an extremely effective new technique of wide area control. Small numbers of strike aircraft are kept in the air around the clock. When U.S. ground forces come under attack or foes are sighted, these aircraft deliver precision-guided bombs. This tactic has led Iraqi resistance fighters to favour roadside bombs over ambushes against U.S. convoys.   The USAF uses the same combat air patrol tactic in Afghanistan, with even more success. The U.S. is also developing three major air bases in Pakistan, and others across Central Asia, to support its plans to dominate the region's oil and gas reserves."
U.S. the New Saddam
Toronto Sun, 4 September 2005

"During World War I (1914-18), strategists for all the major powers increasingly perceived oil as a key military asset, due to the adoption of oil-powered naval ships, new horseless army vehicles such as trucks and tanks, and even military airplanes. Use of oil during the war increased so rapidly that a severe shortage developed in 1917-18. The strategists also understood that oil would assume a rapidly-growing importance in the civilian economy, making it a vital element in national and imperial economic strength and a source of untold wealth to those who controlled it. Already in the United States, John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil Company, was the world’s richest person. The British government, ruling over the largest colonial empire, already controlled newly-discovered oil in Persia (now Iran) through the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. Since Britain lacked oil in the home islands, British strategists wanted still more reserves to assure the future needs of their empire. An area of the Ottoman Empire called Mesopotamia (now Iraq), shared the same geology as neighboring Persia, so it appeared especially promising. Just before war broke out in 1914, British and German companies had negotiated joint participation in the newly-founded Turkish Petroleum Company that held prospecting rights in Mesopotamia. The war ended the Anglo-German oil partnership and it exposed the territories of the German-allied Ottoman Empire to direct British attack. As war continued, oil seemed ever more important and shortages ever more menacing to the imperial planners. ...... To this end, British forces raced to capture the key northern city of Mosul several days after the armistice was signed. Britain thus outmaneuvered the French, establishing a military fait accompli in the oil zone of Northern Mesopotamia. The French were furious. France, too, lacked oil fields in its home terriorites, and its politicians and imperial strategists saw Mesopotamia as a key resource for France’s future industrial and military might. In the months after the armistice, nothing caused greater friction between the two allies than the oil question. During the Versailles Peace Conference, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George and his French counterpart Georges Clemenceau nearly came to blows over Mesopotamian (Iraqi) oil, according to eyewitness accounts. US President Wooddrow Wilson apparently intervened and only barely restrained them.... Finally, in the secret San Remo Agreement of 1920, the two rivals agreed to give Britain political control over all Mespoltamia, in return for France taking over the German quarter share in the Turkish Petroleum Company. All this before a drop of oil had been discovered in the disputed territory! The French government was not satisfied with its secondary role in world oil, fearing the might of the big British and US companies. In an effort to strengthen and 'liberate' France, the government in Paris set up the Compagnie Francaise des Pétroles in 1924 to take up the French share in Mesopotamia – now a British colony renamed Iraq . Further French legislation in 1928 referred to the company as an instrument to curtail 'the Anglo Saxon oil trusts' and to develop Mesopotamian oil as a strategic resource of the French empire. The uneasy settlement between the British and the French did not end the great power dispute over Iraq’s oil, however. The United States government and US oil companies were furious at the Anglo-French agreement, which left nothing for them! Before the end of 1920, following the companies’ strategic prompting, the US press began to denounce the Anglo-French accord as 'old-fashioned imperialism.' In Washington, some talked of sanctions and other measures against these ungrateful recent allies. Relations between Washington and London cooled swiftly and a young State Department legal advisor named Allen Dulles drew up a memorandum insisting that the Turkish Petroleum Company (TPC) concession agreement with the dismembered Ottoman Empire was now legally invalid and would no longer be recognized by the United States. Soon London bowed to this transatlantic pressure and signaled that it was ready for a deal that would give the US a 'fair' share. In response, Washington told its major oil companies that they should act as a consortium in future negotiations. Walter Teagle, Chairman of Jersey Standard (later Exxon), the biggest US company, took the lead role as negotiator for the consortium. Thus began lengthy secret talks in London. No oil had yet been found, but prospects had brightened. In October 1927, the British exploration team under D’Arcy hit a gusher, proving oil reserves in large quantities near Kirkuk in northern Iraq. In July 1928, the quarreling parties finally reached a famous accord, known as the 'Red Line Agreement,' which brought the US consortium into the picture with just under a quarter of the shares and an agreement to jointly develop fields in many other Middle East countries falling within the red line marked on the map by the negotiators. Throughout this phase, as in all later phases of Iraq’s oil history, major international powers combined national military force, government pressure and private corporate might to win and hold concessions for Iraq’s oil. The defeated and dismembered Ottoman Empire and its defeated ally Germany lost all oil rights they might otherwise have claimed. At the same time, the three victors of the war – Britain, France and the United States – shared out Iraqi oil among themselves on a basis of relative power. The dominant colonial power, Britain, came out with nearly a half share, while the two lesser powers on the regional stage – the US and France – each won close to a quarter share."
Great Power Conflict over Iraqi Oil: the World War I Era
Global Policy Forum, October 2002

"The U.S. is playing today roughly the same role with respect to Iraq’s oil riches that Britain did early last century. History has a habit of repeating itself, albeit with different nuances and different actors. In this two-part series, we shall review the intricacies of oil-related events in Iraq .... Discovery of oil in 1908 at Masjid-i Suleiman in Iran – an event that changed the fate of the Middle East – gave impetus to quest for oil in Mesopotamia. Oil pursuits in Mesopotamia were concentrated in Mosul, one of three provinces or 'vilayets' constituting Iraq under the Ottoman rule. Mosul was the northern province, the other two being Baghdad (in the middle) and Basra (in the south) provinces. Foreign geologists visited the area under the disguise of archeologists. For a good part of the last century, interests of national governments were closely linked with the interests of oil companies, so much so that oil companies were de facto extensions of foreign-office establishments of the governments. The latter actively lobbied on behalf of the oil companies owned by their respective nationals. The oil companies, in return, would guarantee oil supply to respective governments – preferably at a substantial discount..... Among the foreign powers the British, seeing Iraq as a gateway to their Indian colony and oil as lifeblood for their Imperial Navy, were most aggressive in their pursuits in Mesopotamia, aspiring to gain physical control of the oil region. Winston Churchill, soon after he became First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911, declared oil to be of paramount importance for the supremacy of the Imperial Navy. Churchill was educated about the virtues of oil by none other than Marcus Samuel, the founder of Shell. During the war, Sir Maurice Hankey, secretary of the War Cabinet, advised Foreign Secretary Arthur Belfour in writing that control of the Persian and Mesopotamian oil was a 'first-class British war aim.' Britain captured the towns of Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, capitals of the provinces bearing the same names, in November 1914, March 1917 and November 1918, respectively. Mosul was captured 15 days after Britain and Turkey signed the Mudros Armistice ending hostilities at the end of the war, an event that drew protests from the Turkish delegation at the Lausanne Peace Conference four years later. In 1913 Churchill sent an expeditionary team to the Persian Gulf headed by Admiral Slade to investigate oil possibilities in the region. More or less coincident with Admiral Slade expedition, Britain signed a secret agreement with the sheikh of Kuwait who, while ostensibly pledging allegiance to the Ottoman Sultan in Istanbul, promised exclusive oil rights to the British. Kuwait became a British protectorate in November 1914. The British were so concerned about the security of their oil supply prior to the war that they wanted to have guaranteed British dominance in any oil company exploiting Mesopotamian oil. The government favored Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC, predecessor of BP) over Royal Dutch/Shell (RDS) in TPC. APOC, already holding oil concession in Iran but not one of the original participants in TPC, was 100 percent British while RDS, an original participant, was 40 percent British....World War I augured another fundamental change in the oil scene in Mesopotamia: assertiveness on the part of the American government for an 'open-door policy' on oil concessions. Forcefully advanced by President Wilson, the policy meant equal access for American capital and interests. The policy was in response to reluctance of European oil companies to welcome American companies to the Mesopotamian oil scene....A rising demand for oil, fuel shortages and price increases during the war, and rumors of depleting domestic resources soon after the war rallied the American administration to give active support to American oil companies in search of foreign oil. Mesopotamia would not be a preserve for the European oil interests, Washington decided. The British initially tried to foil the American efforts by stonewalling American requests and by refusing access to American geologists who wanted to survey oil potential in the region. Britain’s tactics drew strong protest from Washington. The American government withheld its recognition of the Draft Mandate for Iraq on the grounds that it sanctioned discrimination against nationals of other countries. The San Remo agreement, in particular, caused consternation in Washington and catapulted the State Department and American oil companies into action. Walter Teagle, the head of Jersey (later Exxon), became the spokesperson for American corporate oil interests.....The Lausanne Peace Conference held in November 1922-February 1923 (1st session) in Switzerland marked the height of political brinkmanship and skullduggery in oil politics. The 'Mosul question,' i.e. whether Mosul belonged to Turkey or whether it would be included within the borders of a newly created Iraq, was taken up by a special Council dealing with territorial issues. The Turkish delegation, headed by Foreign Minister Ismet Pasha, came to the Conference with explicit instructions from Ankara to keep Mosul within Turkey, in accord with the National Pact ('Misak-i Milli') adopted by the last Ottoman parliament in January 1920. The British had a totally different agenda..... Lord Curzon argued that the policy of His Majesty’s Government on Mosul was not in any way related to oil, that instead it was guided by the desire to protect interests of Iraqi people consistent with its mandatory obligations, that he had never spoken to an oil magnate or an oil concessionaire regarding Mosul oil, but that a company called TPC had obtained a concession from the Ottoman government [in June 1914] before the war that his government had concluded was valid, that his government and TPC had no monopolistic designs on Iraqi oil, and that the Iraqis would be the chief beneficiaries of oil exploitation in IraqHe added that Turkey would benefit as well. Considering British governments past knee-deep involvement in Mesopotamian oil, and TPC’s monopolistic charter (see below) and exclusionary tactics, it was almost surreal that Lord Curzon would make such statements, including the intimation that he was unaware of oil-related developments surrounding Mosul. At the time of the Lausanne Conference the British, Dutch, French and American oil companies were negotiating the future of TPC in London, and Lord Curzon was kept fully informed on the progress of these negotiations. The American observer at the Conference was bemused at Lord Curzon’s high-principled claims. In a vague, convoluted language, he remarked that the character of TPC concession should be evaluated by an impartial tribunal and that his government had not given up on the 'open-door' policy. In a subsequent diplomatic note to Britain, the State Department expressed its discomfort on some of the claims made by Lord Curzon at the Conference. Lord Curzon also misled and appeased a war-weary British public by making similar statements in British press. The British public was longing for peace and did not want a new military conflict for the sake of oil. Similar attempts by the government at the Parliament were less successful. Some members of the Parliament expressed deep skepticism on Britain’s motivations on Mosul, including one MP who complained about the 'vein of hypocrisy' running through Britain’s policy on Mosul. The government repeatedly ignored requests from MPs to produce the so-called oil concession agreement, or state clearly its terms.... in 1921, when Lord Curzon was already the Foreign Minister, Whitehall was forced to admit that the TPC concession was on shaky legal grounds. That did not deter Lord Curzon from making his preposterous claims a year later at Lausanne. With no solution in sight, and after receiving veiled threats from Lord Curzon on renewed hostilities in Iraq (which prompted a worried France to urge Turkey not to turn down the British proposal), Ankara reluctantly agreed in March 1923 to British proposal to refer the Mosul question to the League Nations for arbitration if direct negotiations with Britain failed. These talks, indeed, bore no fruit, and Britain took the Mosul question to the League of Nations. When the Lausanne Conference (2nd session) ended in July 24, 1923, the communiqué issued officially recognized these developments. The British, however, failed in their efforts to have inserted into the treaty a clause indicating Ankara’s acceptance of the so-called TPC concession. In January 1923, Britain, as the mandatory power, pressured Iraq to forego its right to 20 percent participation in TPC, voiding the provision that was included in the 1920 San Remo Agreement signed with France....In March 1925, TPC concluded an oil concession agreement with Iraq. The agreement, to be in effect for 75 years, stipulated that TPC would be and remain a British company registered in Great Britain....Discovery of the Kirkuk field was the second major oil-related event in the Middle East history after Masjid-i Suleiman in Iran. The event marked the fulfillment of a long-hoped dream for the TPC partners and shaped the destiny of Iraq, in fact the Middle East, until our times. The field, with reserves of 16 billion barrels, or 2150 million tons, lived up to expectations as to its immense size. In June 1929 TPC changed its name to Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC)."
Oil in Iraq: The Byzantine Beginnings
Global Policy Forum April 25, 2003

"In April 1932, a British-dominated international consortium, British Oil Development Company (BODC), obtained a 75-year oil concession for territory lying west of Tigris and north of 33rd parallel. The consortium was intended to be a competitor to IPC in Iraq. Ten years later, before it would start production, BODC was bought out by Mosul Petroleum Company (MPC), a fully owned subsidiary of IPC. Likewise, in December 1938, Basra Petroleum Company (BPC), another subsidiary of IPC, obtained a 75-year concession for the rest of Iraq. Thus all of Iraq, with the exception of the 'transferred territory,' came under IPC’s control. Competition was entirely eliminated. IPC was not meant to be a profit-making enterprise. It operated as a production and transport company that delivered oil to its shareholders at export terminals (initially Haifa in Palestine and Tripoli in Lebanon) in proportion to participation interest. The partners were charged a nominal fee for the oil. Real profits were made by the partners which shipped, refined and sold the oil in foreign markets. (Until 1948 some of the crude was refined in Haifa). Until 1940 or so, IPC maintained a strategy to delay production in Iraq. The strategy was aimed at protecting the interests of the British, American and Dutch partners, who had crude production of their own in areas outside Iraq and wanted to shield such production from competition. CFP and Gulbenkian, who had production interests only in Iraq, opposed the delay strategy; but with their minority shareholding, they had limited success. For good reason, the policy of retarding production irritated the Iraqi government as well. During its operation IPC was frequently at loggerheads with the Iraqi government on a number of issues. The oil revenue structure, the pace of oil development, building refineries, participation in shareholding, and representation at company’s board, were the chief areas of dispute. The disputes led to nationalization of Iraq’s oil industry in 1972.... As destiny would have it, Iraq’s oil development was affected not so much by internal conflicts but by external factors. Iraq significantly benefited from the Iran oil crisis in the early 1950’s, but suffered during the Suez crisis. The biggest setbacks were during the Iraq-Iran war and the Gulf War. And now, the American-led Iraq War has brought a new era of destruction and uncertainty. The players in the big Mesopotamian oil game included an assortment of foreign countries and nationalistic oil companies that had a symbiotic and at times incestuous relationship with each other. What lip service was paid to free trade and competition, both in word and on paper, was soon discarded and forgotten when rhetoric clashed with self-interest. In many ways, these were not glorious days for the oil companies. Nor were the governments that knowingly supported the monopolistic designs and sometimes clandestine undertakings of these companies without blame..... Judging the players, the British played big poker and won. For Britain, oil was an instrument of imperial ambitions, and at times blood was the sacrifice that had to be accepted – e.g., 2500 British lives lost during the internal uprising in Iraq in 1920. The British camouflaged their true intentions on oil through pretexts, e.g., their righteous claim of being the trustees of Iraqi people’s rights on oil. The Americans were more open in their intentions, although their tacit acceptance of the self-denial clause left them cold and dry on charges of hypocrisy. Lacking the colonial over-drive of the British, and having relinquished Mosul to British control in San Remo in return for the German share in TPC, the French were relegated to play second fiddle in the big Anglo-American grab for oil in the Middle East. The French never trusted the British, and later the Americans, but were reconciled to their dominance on matters of oil. As for the Dutch, they were the easiest winners. Thanks to 40 percent British share in RD Shell, the Dutch virtually got a free ride on the back of the British. At the beginning of WWI, RD Shell acquiesced to British control in order to operate freely on the high seas.....The Turks were the big losers in the oil game. The major reason for that, of course, was defeat during WWI and the headaches that the defeat brought. But Turks, the Ottoman Turks in particular, trailed the West in science and technology, which put them behind in appreciating the strategic value of oil. It is a poignant historical irony that at the time Admiral Slade expedition was surveying the Persian Gulf region for oil on instructions from Winston Churchill in 1913, Grand Vizier (Chief Minister) Mahmut Sevket Pasha, in blissful ignorance, was telling his cabinet in Istanbul that Qatar and Kuwait were 'unimportant desert' sheikdoms that were not worth creating conflict with Britain."
Oil in Iraq: The Byzantine Beginnings
Global Policy Forum, 26 April 2003

How Britain, Not Saddam,
Was The First To Gas The Kurds

It Began With Gasing The Turks In 1917

"Yup, chemical weapons are bad news, folks. That’s why the US supplied Saddam with the components for them, along with Germany (of course). That’s why, when Saddam first used gas on Halabja, the UMIS told CIA officers to blame Iran.... And by the way, which was the first army to use gas in the Middle East? Saddam? Nope. The Brits, of course, under General Allenby, against the Turks in Sinai in 1917."
Robert Fisk - Bashar al-Assad, Syria, and the truth about chemical weapons
Independent, 8 December 2012

The Kurds Got Their Turn In 1920

"Winston Churchill's finest hour may, yet again, be upon us. More than 50 years after he won the war and lost the election, Churchill is the man of the moment. On the night of September 11 his biography was on the bedside table of the then New York mayor, Rudolph Giuliani; now his bust sits on the Oval office desk of George Bush....There is a certain irony in the timing of this transatlantic adulation. As Tony Blair and Bush trot the globe warning of the evils of chemical weapons, Churchill hardly stands out as a role model. As president of the air council in 1919, he wrote: 'I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisonous gas against uncivilised tribes.' A few years later mustard gas was used against the Kurds."
Churchill - the truth
Guardian, 30 September 2002

"Who was the first high government official to authorize use of mustard gas against rebellious Kurdish tribesmen in Iraq? If your answer was Saddam Hussein's cousin, the notorious 'Chemical Ali' -- aka Ali Hassan al-Majid -- you're wrong. The correct answer: Sainted Winston Churchill. As colonial secretary and secretary for war and air, he authorized the RAF in the 1920s to routinely use mustard gas against rebellious Kurdish tribesmen in Iraq and against Pashtun tribes on British India's northwest frontier. Iraq's U.S.-installed regime has just announced al-Majid, one of Saddam's most brutal henchmen, will stand trial next week for war crimes. Al-Majid is accused of ordering the 1988 gassing of Kurds at Halabja that killed over 5,000 civilians. He led the bloody suppression of Iraq's Shias, killing tens of thousands. These were the same Shias whom former U.S. president George Bush called to rebel against Saddam's regime, then sat back and did nothing while they were crushed. The Halabja atrocity remains murky. The CIA's former Iraq desk chief claims Kurds who died at Halabja were killed by cyanide gas, not nerve gas, as is generally believed. At the time, Iraq and Iran were locked in the ferocious last battles of their eight-year war. Halabja was caught between the two armies that were exchanging salvos of regular and chemical munitions. Only Iran had cyanide gas. If the CIA official is correct, the Kurds were accidentally killed by Iran, not Iraq. But it's also possible al-Majid ordered an attack. Kurds in that region had rebelled against Iraq and opened the way for invading Iranian forces. What's the difference between the U.S. destroying the rebellious Iraqi city of Fallujah and Saddam destroying rebellious Halabja? What difference does it make if you're killed by poison gas, artillery or 2,000-pound bombs? 'Chemical Ali' was a brute of the worst kind in a regime filled with sadists. I personally experienced the terror of Saddam's sinister regime over 25 years, culminating in threats to hang me as a spy. Saddam Hussein and his entourage should face justice. But not in political show trials just before U.S.-'guided' Iraqi elections nor in Iraqi kangaroo courts. They should be sent to the UN's war crimes tribunal in The Hague, where Saddam should be charged with the greatest crime he committed -- the invasion of Iran, which caused one million casualties. Britain, the U.S., Kuwait and Saudi Arabia convinced Iraq to invade Iran, then covertly supplied Saddam with money, arms, intelligence, and advisers. Meanwhile, Israel secretly supplied Iran with $5 billion US in American arms and spare parts while publicly denouncing Iran for terrorism. Who supplied 'Chemical Ali' with his mustard and nerve gas? Why, the West, of course. In late 1990, I discovered four British technicians in Baghdad who told me they had been 'seconded' to Iraq by Britain's ministry of defence and MI6 intelligence to make chemical and biological weapons, including anthrax, Q-fever and plague, at a secret laboratory at Salman Pak. The Reagan administration and Thatcher government were up to their ears in backing Iraq's aggression, apparently with the intention to overthrow Iran's Islamic government and seize its oil. Italy, Germany, France, South Africa, Belgium, Yugoslavia, Brazil, Chile and the USSR all aided Saddam's war effort against Iran, which was even more a victim of naked aggression than was Kuwait in 1991. I'd argue senior officials of those nations that abetted Saddam's aggression against Iran and supplied him with chemicals and gas should also stand trial with Ali and Saddam. What an irony it is to see U.S. forces in Iraq now behaving with much the same punitive ferocity as Saddam's army and police -- bombing rebellious cities, arresting thousands, terrorizing innocent civilians, torturing captives and sending in tanks to crush resistance. In other words, Saddamism without Saddam. A decade ago, this column predicted that when the U.S. finally overthrew Saddam, it would need to find a new Saddam. Finally, let's not forget that when Saddam's regime committed many of its worst atrocities against rebellious Kurds and Shiites, it was still a close ally of Washington and London. The West paid for and supplied Saddam's bullets, tanks, gas and germs. He was our regional SOB. Our hands are very far from clean."
Eric Margolis - West Has Bloodied Hands
Toronto Sun, 19 December 2004

"Speaking of biochemical war in Mesopotamia/Iraq, [T.E] Lawrence wrote several newspaper editorials on the subject. In a letter to the Sunday Times of London, Lawrence, using a sharp and twisted wit, spelled out to the British public what Churchill had been privately considering. At this writing, Lawrence had no foreknowledge of the plans of the Colonial Office for biochemical war to be waged on Mesopotamia.  'How long will we permit millions of pounds, thousands of Imperial troops and tens of thousands of Arabs to be sacrificed on behalf of a form of Colonial administration which can benefit nobody but its administrators?' Lawrence asked. 'It is odd we do not use poison gas on these occasions. By gas attacks, the whole population of offending districts [in Iraq] could be wiped out neatly; and as a method of government it would be no more immoral than the present system.'"
A long history of conflict
WorldNetDaily, 31 August 2000

"Britain bears some responsibility for the Kurdish problem. It ignored the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres, which promised Kurds their independence, and surplanted it with the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne with Turkey, leading to the division and subjugation of the Kurdish people. Restive Kurds in Iraq subsequently were bombed and gassed into acquiescence by the RAF and British Army. Mr Talabani now looks to the British to make amends by safeguarding the rights of Iraq’s Kurdish minority. 'When I met Tony Blair once, I told him that as a student I had taken part in many demonstrations saying ‘British go home’,' he said."
Kurd who will seal Saddam's fate
London Times, 24 February 2005

"Even in the darkest days of 1940, working in the government bunkers beneath central London with German bombs raining down on the city above, Wendy Maxwell had no doubt the Allies would win World War Two. The source of her optimism was the man her boss worked with day and night, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. 'Even through the evacuation from Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain, the blitz, the fall of Singapore we never, never thought we wouldn't win,' she told Reuters on Wednesday at the opening of the first museum in Britain dedicated to Churchill. He insisted that the museum did not gloss over Churchill's multiple mistakes in his long career – including the disastrous Dardanelles Campaign in 1915 during World War One and using gas against Kurds in 1920 during the British occupation of Iraq."
Britain opens museum of Winston Churchill's life
Reuters, 9 February 2005

"Citing Churchill to support Bush’s war to rid Iraq of alleged weapons of mass destruction was particularly ironic in light of Churchill’s own record with respect to WMDs in Iraq. As colonial secretary in 1919, Churchill wanted to use gas against the ‘unco-operative Arabs’ in Iraq. He explained, in terms that Saddam might have used to justify his gassing of Iraqi Kurds, ‘I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poison gas against uncivilised tribes.’"
Churchill for dummies
The Spectator, 24 April 2004

"Laid waste, a chaotic post-invasion Iraq may now well be policed by old and new imperial masters promising liberty, democracy and unwanted exiled leaders, in return for oil, trade and submission. Only the last of these promises is certain. The peoples of Iraq, even those who have cheered passing troops, have every reason to mistrust foreign invaders. They have been lied to far too often, bombed and slaughtered promiscuously. Iraq is the product of a lying empire. The British carved it duplicitously from ancient history, thwarted Arab hopes, Ottoman loss, the dunes of Mesopotamia and the mountains of Kurdistan at the end of the first world war. Unsurprisingly, anarchy and insurrection were there from the start. The British responded with gas attacks by the army in the south, bombing by the fledgling RAF in both north and south....Adding bomb-racks to Vickers Vernon troop car riers, Harris more or less invented the heavy bomber as well as night 'terror' raids. Harris did not use gas himself - though the RAF had employed mustard gas against Bolshevik troops in 1919, while the army had gassed Iraqi rebels in 1920 'with excellent moral effect'. Churchill was particularly keen on chemical weapons, suggesting they be used 'against recalcitrant Arabs as an experiment'. He dismissed objections as 'unreasonable'. 'I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes _ [to] spread a lively terror _' In today's terms, 'the Arab' needed to be shocked and awed. A good gassing might well do the job."
Our last occupation: Gas, chemicals, bombs: Britain has used them all before in Iraq
Guardian, 19 April 2003

"Recently, Winston Churchill's grandson published an article in the Wall Street Journal titled: 'My grandfather invented Iraq.' In the article he mentions: 'My grandfather's experience has lessons for us'. What he failed to disclose was that this so-called 'invention' was connected with treachery and betrayal. Britain which built an empire through cruel, greedy and dishonest schemes now behaves self-righteous, making every attempt to conceal the toxic passages of history. It is therefore worthwhile to scrutinize historical facts to understand today's crisis in Iraq, because history ignored will lead to history repeated. Forces and events that contributed to the creation of Iraq are highly controversial. The Sykes-Picot Agreement, Paris Peace Conference, and Cairo conference are genres of political dominance of the imperial powers, which shifted borders and annexed territories inventing conceptions of dependency through mandates and protectorates. When the British first entered Basra in 1914, their real intentions were to protect the potential oil fields and secure communications routes to India... Britain merged the provinces Baghdad, Basra and Mosul into a new entity, the state of Iraq, inhabited by three different groups of people: Shias, Sunnis and Kurds. Problems appeared as the British administration did not give administrative posts to the local people. Soon imperial order penetrated at all levels. Under the British rule the Iraqis were subjected to pay more taxes than to the Ottomans. They armed themselves and revolted against the British rulers in 1920. To crush the rebellion Churchill, at that time the Secretary of State for War, introduced new tactics - bombing as means of shock and awe. He encouraged the usage of mustard gas stating: 'I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas, I am strongly in favour of using poison gas against uncivilised tribes'. He argued that gas fired from ground-based guns or dropped from aircraft, would cause only discomfort or illness but not death. Others protested saying gas would permanently damage eyesight and kill sickly persons and children who are most vulnerable to such a situation. Churchill remained unimpressed arguing that the usage of gas is a 'scientific expedient' and it 'should not be prevented by the prejudices of those who do not think clearly'.... In 1920, the Times published an article from the English diplomat, T. E. Lawrence, known as Lawrence of Arabia, who gave a full account of the circumstances in Iraq: 'We said we went to Mesopotamia to defeat Turkey. We said we stayed to deliver Arabs from the oppression of the Turkish government, and to make available for the world its resources of corn and oil....We keep 90,000 men with aeroplanes, armoured cars, gunboats and armoured trains... Our government is worse than the old Turkish system... We have killed about 10,000 Arabs in this rising summer... How long will we permit millions of pounds, thousands of imperial troops, tens of thousands of Arabs to be sacrificed on behalf of colonial administration which can benefit nobody but its administrators?.'.... The parameter for Iraq's future was set at the Cairo Conference. Churchill's main ambition was to preserve the route to India, protect potential oil resources and control Iraq politically through the British mandate."
The origins of shock and awe
Sunday Observer (Sri Lanka), 23 April 2003

Britain Ignored Saddam's Gassing Of The Kurds

"Richard Beeston was one of the finest and most corrageous foreign correspondents of his generation.... Iraq is the country where Beeston's fearlessness and dogged investigation won him early acclaim. He was one of the first reporters to make his way to Halabja, the Kurdish village in northern Iraq where Saddam Hussein, in an act of unspeakable cruelty, ordered the bombing of the civilian population with chemical weapons in March 1988, killing 5,000 people - mostly women and children - with a combination of mustard gas and nerve agents..... As he later recalled.... 'Even by Saddam's ruthless standards the massacre broke new boundaries. Yet what was more shocking was was the cynical response of the West. The US attempted to blame this crime on Iran. Britain carried on business as usual with the regime in Baghdad. Saddam was shielded from any meaningful punishment.'"
Richard Beeston, Obituary
London Times, 20 May 2013, Print Edition, P43

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