From Afghanistan to Iraq: Connecting the Dots with Oil


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

From Afghanistan to Iraq: Connecting the Dots with Oil
By Richard W. Behan, AlterNet
Posted on February 5, 2007, Printed on February 5, 2007

In the Caspian Basin and beneath the deserts of Iraq, as many as 783 billion 
barrels of oil are waiting to be pumped. Anyone controlling that much oil stands
a good chance of breaking OPEC's stranglehold overnight, and any nation seeking 
to dominate the world would have to go after it.

The long-held suspicions about George Bush's wars are well-placed. The wars in 
Afghanistan and Iraq were not prompted by the terrorist attacks in New York and 
Washington. They were not waged to spread democracy in the Middle East or 
enhance security at home. They were conceived and planned in secret long before 
September 11, 2001 and they were undertaken to control petroleum resources.

The "global war on terror" began as a fraud and a smokescreen and remains so 
today, a product of the Bush Administration's deliberate and successful 
distortion of public perception. The fragmented accounts in the mainstream media
reflect this warping of reality, but another more accurate version of recent 
history is available in contemporary books and the vast information pool of the 
Internet. When told start to finish, the story becomes clear, the dots easier to

Both appalling and masterful, the lies that led us into war and keep us there 
today show the people of the Bush Administration to be devious, dangerous and 
far from stupid.

The following is an in-depth look at the oil wars, the events leading up to 
them, and the players who made them possible.


The Project for a New American Century, a D.C.-based political think tank funded
by archconservative philanthropies and founded in 1997, is the source of the 
Bush Administration's imperialistic urge for the U.S. to dominate the world. Our
nation should seek to achieve a "...benevolent global hegemony," according to 
William Kristol, PNAC's chairman. The group advocates the novel and startling 
concept of "pre-emptive war" as a means of doing so.

On January 26, 1998, the PNAC, sent a letter to President William Clinton urging
the military overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. The dictator, the letter 
alleged, was a destabilizing force in the Middle East, and posed a mortal threat
to "...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 oil supply..." The subjugation of Iraq would be the first application of
"pre-emptive war."

The unprovoked, full-scale invasion and occupation of another country, however, 
would be an unequivocal example of "the use of armed force by a state against 
the sovereignty, territorial integrity, or political independence of another 
state." That is the formal United Nations definition of military aggression, and
a nation can choose to launch it only in self-defense. Otherwise it is an 
international crime.

President Clinton did not honor the PNAC's request.

But sixteen members of the Project for a New American Century would soon assume 
prominent positions in the Administration of George W. Bush, including Dick 
Cheney, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Armitage
and John Bolton.

The "significant portion of the world's oil supply" was of immediate concern, 
because of the commanding influence of the oil industry in the Bush 
Administration. Beside the president and vice president, eight cabinet 
secretaries and the national security advisor had direct ties to the industry, 
and so did 32 others in the departments of Defense, State, Energy, Agriculture, 
Interior, and the Office of Management and Budget.

Within days of taking office, President Bush appointed Vice President Cheney to 
chair a National Energy Policy Development Group. Cheney's "Energy Task Force" 
was composed of the relevant federal officials and dozens of energy industry 
executives and lobbyists, and it operated in tight secrecy. (The full membership
has never been revealed, but Enron's Kenneth Lay is known to have participated, 
and the Washington Post reported that Exxon-Mobil, Conoco, Shell, and BP America
did, too.)

During his second week in office, President Bush convened the first meeting of 
his National Security Council. It was a triumph for the PNAC. In just one 
hour-long meeting, the new Bush Administration turned upside down the 
long-standing focus of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Over Secretary of
State Colin Powell's objections, the goal of reconciling the Israel-Palestine 
conflict was abandoned, and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein was set as the new 
priority. Ron Suskind's book, The Price of Loyalty, describes the meeting in 

The Energy Task Force wasted no time, either. Within three weeks of its 
creation, the group was poring over maps of the Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, 
tanker terminals, and oil exploration blocks. It studied an inventory of 
"Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts" -- dozens of oil companies from 
30 different countries, in various stages of negotiations for exploring and 
developing Iraqi crude.

Not a single U.S. oil company was among the "suitors," and that was intolerable,
given a foreign policy bent on global hegemony. The National Energy Policy 
document, released May 17, 2001 concluded this: "By any estimation, Middle East 
oil producers will remain central to world security. The Gulf will be a primary 
focus of U.S. international energy policy."

That rather innocuous statement can be clarified by a top-secret memo dated 
February 3, 2001 to the staff of the National Security Council. Cheney's group, 
the memo said, was "melding" two apparently unrelated areas of policy: "the 
review of operational policies toward rogue states," such as Iraq, and "actions 
regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields." The memo directed
the National Security Council staff to cooperate fully with the Energy Task 
Force as the "melding" continued. National security policy and international 
energy policy would be developed as a coordinated whole. This would prove 
convenient on September 11, 2001, still seven months in the future.

The Bush Administration was drawing a bead on Iraqi oil long before the "global 
war on terror" was invented. But how could the "capture of new and existing oil 
fields" be made to seem less aggressive, less arbitrary, less overt?

During April of 2002, almost a full year before the invasion, the State 
Department launched a policy-development initiative called "The Future of Iraq 
Project" to accomplish this. The "Oil and Energy Working Group" provided the 
disguise for "capturing" Iraqi oil. Iraq, it said in its final report, "should 
be opened to international oil companies as quickly as possible after the war 
... the country should establish a conducive business environment to attract 
investment in oil and gas resources."

Capture would take the form of investment, and the vehicle for doing so would be
the "production sharing agreement."

Under production sharing agreements, or PSAs, oil companies are granted 
ownership of a "share" of the oil produced, in exchange for investing in 
development costs, and the contracts are binding for up to 30 years. What would 
happen, though, if the companies' investments were only minimal, but their 
shares of the production were obscenely, disproportionately large?

This is hardwired. According to a UK Platform article titled "Crude Designs," 
production sharing agreements have now been drafted in Baghdad covering 75 
percent of the undeveloped Iraqi fields, and the oil companies, waiting to sign 
the contracts, will earn as much 162 percent on their investments. And the 
"foreign suitors" are not quite so foreign now: The players on the inside tracks
are Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, BP-Amoco and Royal Dutch-Shell.

The use of PSAs will cost the Iraqi people hundreds of billions of dollars in 
just the first few years of the "investment" program. They would be far better 
off keeping in place the structure Iraq has relied upon since 1972: a 
nationalized oil industry leasing pumping rights to the oil companies, who then 
pay royalties to the central government. That is how it is done today in Saudi 
Arabia and the other OPEC countries.

Production sharing agreements, heavily favored by the oil companies, were 
specified by George Bush's State Department. Paul Bremer's Coalition Provisional
Authority drafted an oil law privatizing the oil sector, and American oil 
interests have lobbied in Baghdad ever since then for the PSAs. Apparently 
successfully: The Oil Committee headed by Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih is 
said currently to be "leaning" toward them.

With the capture of Iraqi oil resources prospectively disguised, the Halliburton
company was then hired, secretly, to design a fire suppression strategy for the 
Iraqi oil fields. If oil wells were to be torched during the upcoming war (as 
Saddam did in Kuwait in 1991), the Bush Administration would be prepared to 
extinguish them rapidly. The contract with Halliburton was signed in the fall of
2002. Congress had yet to authorize the use of force in Iraq.

So a line of dots begins to point at Iraq, though nothing illegal or 
unconstitutional has yet taken place. We are still in the policy-formulation 
stage, but two "seemingly unrelated areas of policy" -- national security policy
and international energy policy -- have become indistinguishable.


The strategic location of Afghanistan can scarcely be overstated. The Caspian 
Basin contains up to $16 trillion worth of oil and gas resources, and the most 
direct pipeline route to the richest markets is through Afghanistan.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the first western oil company to take action
in the Basin was the Bridas Corporation of Argentina. It acquired production 
leases and exploration contracts in the region, and by November of 1996 had 
signed an agreement with General Dostum of the Northern Alliance and with the 
Taliban to build a pipeline across Afghanistan.

Not to be outdone, the American company Unocal (aided by an Arabian company, 
Delta Oil) fought Bridas at every turn. Unocal wanted exclusive control of the 
trans-Afghan pipeline and hired a number of consultants in its conflict with 
Bridas: Henry Kissinger, Richard Armitage (now Deputy Secretary of State in the 
Bush Administration), Zalmay Khalilzad (a signer of the PNAC letter to President
Clinton) and Hamid Karzai.

Unocal wooed Taliban leaders at its headquarters in Texas, and hosted them in 
meetings with federal officials in Washington, D.C.

Unocal and the Clinton Administration hoped to have the Taliban cancel the 
Bridas contract, but were getting nowhere. Finally, Mr. John J. Maresca, a 
Unocal Vice President, testified to a House Committee of International Relations
on February 12, 1998, asking politely to have the Taliban removed and a stable 
government inserted. His discomfort was well placed.

Six months later terrorists linked to Osama bin Laden bombed the U.S. embassies 
in Kenya and Tanzania, and two weeks after that President Clinton launched a 
cruise missile attack into Afghanistan. Clinton issued an executive order on 
July 4, 1999, freezing the Taliban's U.S.-held assets and prohibiting further 
trade transactions with the Taliban.

Mr. Maresca could count that as progress. More would follow.

Immediately upon taking office, the new Bush Administration actively took up 
negotiating with the Taliban once more, seeking still to have the Bridas 
contract vacated, in exchange for a tidy package of foreign aid. The parties met
three times, in Washington, Berlin, and Islamablad, but the Taliban wouldn't 

Behind the negotiations, however, planning was underway to take military action 
if necessary. In the spring of 2001 the State Department sought and gained 
concurrence from both India and Pakistan to do so, and in July of 2001, American
officials met with Pakistani and Russian intelligence agents to inform them of 
planned military strikes against Afghanistan the following October. A British 
newspaper told of the U.S. threatening both the Taliban and Osama bin Laden -- 
two months before 9/11 -- with military strikes.

According to an article in the UK Guardian, State Department official Christina 
Rocca told the Taliban at their last pipeline negotiation in August of 2001, 
just five weeks before 9/11, "Accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury 
you under a carpet of bombs."

The Great Game and Its Players

The geostrategic imperative of reliable oil supplies has a long history, 
arguably beginning with the British Navy in World War I. First Lord of the 
Admiralty Winston Churchill repowered the British fleet -- from coal (abundant 
in the UK) to oil (absent in the UK), and thus began the Great Game: jockeying 
by the world powers for the strategic control of petroleum. (Churchill did this 
to replace with oil pumps the men needed to shovel coal -- a large share of the 
crew -- so they could man topside battle stations instead.) Iraq today is a 
British creation, formed almost a century ago to supply the British fleet with 
fuel, and it is still a focal point of the Game.

The players have changed as national supremacy has changed, as oil companies 
have morphed over time, and as powerful men have lived out their destinies.

Among the major players today are the Royal family of Saudi Arabia and the Bush 
family of the state of Maine (more recently of Texas). And they are closely and 
intimately related. The relationship goes back several generations, but it was 
particularly poignant in the first Gulf War in 1990-91, when the U.S. and 
British armed forces stopped Saddam Hussein in Kuwait, before his drive reached 
the Arabian oil fields. Prime Minister John Major of the UK, and President 
George H.W. Bush became the much esteemed champions of the Arabian monarchy, and
James Baker, Bush's Secretary of State, was well regarded, too. (Years earlier, 
Mr. Baker and a friend of the royal family's had been business partners, in 
building a skyscraper bank building in Houston.)

The Carlyle Group: Where the Players Meet to Profit

After President Bush, Secretary Baker, and Prime Minister Major left office, 
they all became active participants and investors in the Carlyle Group, a global
private equity investment firm comprised of dozens of former world leaders, 
international business executives (including the family of Osama bin Laden); 
former diplomats, and high-profile political operatives from four U.S. 
Administrations. For years, Carlyle would serve as the icon of the Bush/Saudi 

Carlyle, with its headquarters just six blocks from the White House, invests 
heavily in all the industries involved in the Great Game: the defense, security,
and energy industries, and it profits enormously from the Afghan and Iraqi wars.

In the late 1980s, Carlyle's personal networking brought together George W. 
Bush, the future 43rd U.S. president, and $50,000 of financial backing for his 
Texas oil company, Arbusto Energy. The investor was Salem bin Laden 
(half-brother of Osama bin Laden) who managed the Carlyle investments of the 
Saudi bin Laden Group. (After the tragedy of 9/11, by mutual consent, the bin 
Laden family and Carlyle terminated their business dealings.) George Bush left 
Carlyle in 1992 to run for governor of Texas.

Ex-President Bush, Ex-Prime Minister Major, and Ex Secretary Baker, in the 
1990's, were Carlyle's advance team, scouring the world for profitable 
investments and investors. In Saudi Arabia they met with the royal family, and 
with the two wealthiest, non-royal families -- the bin Ladens and the bin 

Khalid bin Mahfouz was prominent in Delta Oil, Unocal's associate in the Afghan 
pipeline conflict. He was later accused of financing al Qaeda, and named in a 
trillion dollar lawsuit brought by the families of 9/11 victims. (It was Mr. bin
Mahfouz who had been Mr. Baker's business associate in Houston.)

Carlyle retained James Baker's Houston law firm, Baker-Botts, and Baker himself 
served as Carlyle Senior Counselor from 1993 until 2005. (Other clients of 
Baker-Botts: Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, Texaco, Shell, Amoco, Conoco-Phillips, 
Halliburton, and Enron.)

Mr. Baker has long been willing to put foremost the financial advantage of 
himself, his firm, and his friends, often at the expense of patriotism and 
public service. As President Reagan's Secretary of the Treasury, he presided 
over the savings-and-loan scandal, in which S&L executives like Charles Keating 
and the current President's brother Neil Bush handed the American taxpayers a 
bill to pay, over a 40-year period, of $1.2 trillion. His law firm willingly 
took on the defense of Prince Sultan bin Abdul Azis, the Saudi Defense Minister 
sued by the families of 9/11 victims for complicity in the attacks.

We will encounter Mr. Baker again soon.
September 11, 2001

In September of 2000, the Project for a New American Century published a report,
"Rebuilding America's Defenses." It advocated pre-emptive war once again, but 
noted its acceptance would be difficult in the absence of "some catastrophic and
catalyzing event, like a new Pearl Harbor."

President Bush formally established the PNAC's prescription for pre-emptive, 
premeditated war as U.S. policy when he signed a document entitled "The National
Security Strategy of the United States of America" early in his first term.

Still nothing illegal or unconstitutional had been done.

But the rationale and the planning for attacking both Afghanistan and Iraq were 
in place. The preparations had all been done secretly, wholly within the 
executive branch. The Congress was not informed until the endgame, when 
President Bush, making his dishonest case for the "war on terror" asked for and 
was granted the discretion to use military force. The American people were 
equally uninformed and misled. Probably never before in our history was such a 
drastic and momentous action undertaken with so little public knowledge or 
Congressional oversight: the dispatch of America's armed forces into four years 
of violence, at horrendous costs in life and treasure.

Then a catastrophic event took place. A hijacked airliner probably en route to 
the White House crashes in Pennsylvania, the Pentagon was afire, and the Twin 
Towers of the World Trade Center were rubble.

In the first hours of frenetic response, fully aware of al Qaeda's culpability, 
both President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld sought frantically to link Saddam 
Hussein to the attacks, as we know from Richard Clarke's book, Against All 
Enemies. They anxiously waited to proceed with their planned invasion of Iraq.

If the Bush Administration needed a reason to proceed with their invasions, they
could not have been handed a more fortuitous and spectacular excuse, and they 
played their hand brilliantly.

9/11 was a shocking event of unprecedented scale, but it was simply not an 
invasion of national security. It was a localized criminal act of terrorism, and
to compare it, as the Bush Administration immediately did, to Pearl Harbor was 
ludicrous: The hijacked airliners were not the vanguard of a formidable naval 
armada, an air force, and a standing army ready to engage in all out war, as the
Japanese were prepared to do and did in 1941.

By equating a criminal act of terrorism with a military threat of invasion, the 
Bush Administration consciously adopted fear mongering as a mode of governance. 
It was an extreme violation of the public trust, but it served perfectly their 
need to justify warfare.

As not a few disinterested observers noted at the time, international criminal 
terrorism is best countered by international police action, which Israel and 
other nations have proven many times over to be effective. Military mobilization
is irrelevant. It has proven to be counterproductive.

Why, then, was a "war" declared on "terrorists and states that harbor 

The pre-planned attack on Afghanistan, as we have seen, was meant to nullify the
contract between the Taliban and the Bridas Corporation. It was a matter of 
international energy policy. It had nothing to do, as designed, with 
apprehending Osama bin Laden -- a matter of security policy.

But the two "seemingly unrelated areas of policy" had been "melded," so here was
an epic opportunity to bait-and-switch. Conjoining the terrorists and the states
that harbored them made "war" plausible, and the Global War on Terror was born: 
It would be necessary to overthrow the Taliban as well as to bring Osama bin 
Laden to justice.

(In retrospect, the monumental fraud of the "war on terror" is crystal clear. In
Afghanistan the Taliban was overthrown instead of bringing the terrorist Osama 
bin Laden to justice, and in Iraq there were no terrorists at all. But 
Afghanistan and Iraq are dotted today with permanent military bases guarding the
seized petroleum assets.)

On October 7, 2001 the carpet of bombs is unleashed over Afghanistan. Hamid 
Karzai, the former Unocal consultant, is installed as head of an interim 
government. Subsequently he is elected President of Afghanistan, and welcomes 
the first U.S. envoy -- Mr. John J. Maresca, the Vice President of the Unocal 
Corporation who had implored Congress to have the Taliban overthrown. Mr. 
Maresca was succeeded by Mr. Zalmay Khalilzad -- also a former Unocal 
consultant. (Mr. Khalilzad has since become Ambassador to Iraq, and has now been
nominated to replace John Bolton, his PNAC colleague, as the ambassador to the 

With the Taliban banished and the Bridas contract moot, Presidents Karzai of 
Afghanistan and Musharraf of Pakistan meet on February 8, 2002, sign an 
agreement for a new pipeline, and the way forward is open for Unocal/Delta once 

The Bridas contract was breached by U.S. military force, but behind the combat 
was Unocal. Bridas sued Unocal in the U.S. courts for contract interference and 
won, overcoming Richard Ben Veniste's law firm in 2004. That firm had 
multibillion-dollar interests in the Caspian Basin and shared an office in 
Uzbekistan with the Enron Corporation. In 2004, Mr. Ben Veniste was serving as a
9/11 Commissioner.

About a year after the Karzai/Musharraf agreement was signed, an article in the 
trade journal "Alexander's Gas and Oil Connections" described the readiness of 
three US federal agencies to finance the prospective pipeline: the U.S. 
Export/Import Bank, the Trade and Development Agency, and the Overseas Private 
Insurance Corporation. The article continued, "...some recent reports ... 
indicated ... the United States was willing to police the pipeline 
infrastructure through permanent stationing of its troops in the region." The 
article appeared on February 23, 2003.

The objective of the first premeditated war was now achieved. The Bush 
Administration stood ready with financing to build the pipeline across 
Afghanistan, and with a permanent military presence to protect it.

Within two months President Bush sent the armed might of America sweeping into 

Then came the smokescreen of carefully crafted deceptions. The staging of the 
Jessica Lynch rescue. The toppling of the statue in Baghdad. Mission 
accomplished. The orchestrated capture, kangaroo court trial, and hurried 
execution of Saddam Hussein. Nascent "democracy" in Iraq. All were scripted to 
burnish the image of George Bush's fraudulent war.

The smokescreen includes the cover-up of 9/11. Initially and fiercely resisting 
any inquiry at all, President Bush finally appoints a 10-person "9/11 

The breathtaking exemptions accorded President Bush and Vice President Cheney in
the inquiry rendered the entire enterprise a farce: They were "interviewed" 
together, no transcription of the conversation was allowed, and they were not 
under oath. The Commission report finally places the blame on "faulty 

Many of the 10 commissioners, moreover, were burdened with stunning conflicts of
interest -- Mr. Ben Veniste, for example -- mostly by their connections to the 
oil and defense industries. The Carlyle Group contributed to Commissioner Tim 
Roemer's political campaigns. Commission Chairman Thomas Kean was a Director of 
Amerada Hess, which had formed a partnership with Delta Oil, the Arabian company
of Khalid bin Mahfouz, and that company was teamed with Unocal in the Afghan 
pipeline project. Vice-Chairman Lee Hamilton serves on the board of Stonebridge 
International consulting group, which is advising Gulfsands Petroleum and Devon 
Energy Corporation about Iraqi oil opportunities.

The apparent manipulation of pre-war intelligence is not addressed by the 9/11 
Commission, the veracity of the Administration's lies and distortions is assumed
without question, and the troubling incongruities of 9/11 are ignored: The 
theories of controlled demolition, the prior short-selling of airline stock, the
whole cottage industry of skepticism.

The doubters and critics of 9/11 are often dismissed as conspiracy crazies, but 
you needn't claim conspiracy to be skeptical. Why did both President Bush and 
Vice President Cheney pressure Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to forego any 
investigation at all? Failing in that, why did the President then use "Executive
Privilege" so often to withhold and censor documents? Why did the White House 
refuse to testify under oath? Why the insistence on the loopy and unrecorded 
Oval Office interview of Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney simultaneously?

There is much we don't know about 9/11.
The Iraq Study Group

Viewing the carnage in Iraq, and seeking desperately to find a way out of it, 
the U.S. Congress appointed on March 15, 2006 the Iraq Study Group. It was also 
called the Baker-Hamilton Commission after its co-chairmen, the peripatetic 
problem-solvers James Baker and Lee Hamilton. It was charged with assessing the 
situation in Iraq and making policy recommendations.

The Commission assessed the situation as "grave and deteriorating" and 
recommended substantive changes in handling it: draw down the troop levels and 
negotiate with Syria and Iran. These recommendations were rejected out of hand 
by the Bush Administration, but those about the oil sector could hardly have 
been more pleasing.

The Commission's report urged Iraqi leaders to "... reorganize the national 
industry as a commercial enterprise." That sounds like code for privatizing the 
industry (which had been nationalized in 1972.) In case that wasn't clear 
enough, the Commission encouraged "...investment in Iraq's oil sector by the 
international energy companies." That sounds like code for Exxon/Mobil, 
Chevron/Texaco, Conoco/Phillips, BP/Amoco and Royal Dutch Shell. The Commission 
urged support for the World Bank's efforts to "ensure that best practices are 
used in contracting." And that sounds like code for Production Sharing 

Mr. Baker is a clever and relentless man. He will endorse pages and pages of 
changes in strategy and tactics -- but leave firmly in place the one inviolable 
purpose of the conflict in Iraq: capturing the oil.

A Colossus of Failure

The objectives of the oil wars may be non-negotiable, but that doesn't guarantee
their successful achievement.

The evidence suggests the contrary.

As recently as January of 2005, the Associated Press expected construction of 
the Trans Afghan Pipeline to begin in 2006. So did News Central Asia. But by 
October of 2006, NCA was talking about construction "... as soon as there is 
stability in Afghanistan."

As the Taliban, the warlords, and the poppy growers reclaim control of the 
country, clearly there is no stability in Afghanistan, and none can be expected 

Unocal has been bought up by the Chevron Corporation. The Bridas Corporation is 
now part of BP/Amoco. Searching the companies' websites for "Afghanistan 
pipeline" yields, in both cases, zero results. Nothing is to be found on the 
sites of the prospective funding agencies. The pipeline project appears to be 

The Production Sharing Agreements for Iraq's oil fields cannot be signed until 
the country's oil policies are codified in statute. That was supposed to be done
by December of 2006, but Iraq is in a state of chaotic violence. The 
"hydrocarbon law" is struggling along -- one report suggests it may be in place 
by March -- so the signing of the PSA's will be delayed at least that long.

The U.S. and British companies that stand to gain so much -- Exxon/Mobil, 
Chevron/Texaco, Concoco/Phillips, BP/Amoco and Royal Dutch Shell -- will stand a
while longer. They may well have to stand down.

On October 31, 2006 the newspaper China Daily reported on the visit to China by 
Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein Shahristani. Mr. Shahristani, the story said, 
"welcomed Chinese oil companies to participate in the reconstruction of the 
Iraqi oil industry." That was alarming, but understated.

Stratfor, the American investment research service, was more directly to the 
point, in a report dated September 27, 2006 (a month before Minister 
Shahristani's visit, so it used the future tense). The Minister "... will talk 
to the Chinese about honoring contracts from the Saddam Hussein era. ... This 
announcement could change the face of energy development in the country and 
leave U.S. firms completely out in the cold."

The oil wars are abject failures. The Project for a New American Century wanted,
in a fantasy of retrograde imperialism, to remove Saddam Hussein from power. 
President George Bush launched an overt act of military aggression to do so, at 
a cost of more than 3,000 American lives, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, 
and half a trillion dollars. In the process he has exacerbated the threats from 
international terrorism, ravaged the Iraqi culture, ruined their economy and 
their public services, sent thousands of Iraqis fleeing their country as 
refugees, created a maelstrom of sectarian violence, dangerously destabilized 
the Middle East, demolished the global prestige of the United States, and 
defamed the American people.

Richard W. Behan lives and writes on Lopez Island, off the northwest coast of 
Washington state. He is working on a new book, To Provide Against Invasions: 
Corporate Dominion and America's Derelict Democracy. He can be reached at 
•••@••.•••. (This essay is deliberately not copyrighted: It may be 
reproduced without restriction.)

© 2007 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.

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