Sociology 3313

Spring 2004


I find that most U. S. citizens are very poorly informed about the politics and technology issues that underlie the Iraq War.  So I have tried to assemble here a very brief set of readings that are suggestive of some of the main factors about which every informed citizen should at least be aware.  I try to take no obvious position here as to the “correct” view of things.  Instead, I hope to sensitize the reader to viewpoints, processes, and events they may wish to investigate further, and to follow in the days to come. (Raymond A. Eve – hereafter “rae”).


The following piece is a bit less scholarly than one might like, but it is generally highly accurate.  Note that while it is critical of neoconservatives, the piece has its origins on a conservative website.  It therefore illustrates nicely an emerging split within the conservatives of the U. S.  (rae)


Neoconservatives are pro-bombing, pro-empire heavyweight intellectuals (very rarely a business or military background) who have filled the vacuum on the Right, where most Americans have little interest in foreign policy.  They dominate Republican foreign policy because they care about it, whereas most Americans don't.  NATO expansion was an example; most Americans don't think about it and don't care.  "Neocons" do.  Also they heavily influence the Democratic Party from whence they came.  They are close to European Social Democrats, many of whom have also now favor pro-interventionist wars, since the collapse of communism..

     Americans, who have lived abroad and know foreign cultures, are much less likely to be "Neocons."   Indeed Neoconservatives are notable for their absence of experience in foreign nations (except sometimes England, or, more rarely France), most never lived abroad, don't speak foreign languages, and never served in the military themselves.  They are almost all Washington "policy wonks" who also rarely worked at all in private, much less international, business. They provide the brains, while the Military/Industrial/Congressional complex, provides the brawn of the “War Party,” meaning those who want, or thrive during, wars or preparation for war.

    They also include minor players with particular interests.  One is the "English Contingent,"  that is Englishmen who want to see an American World Empire on the mode of England's old imperium.  Another are European ethnics such as Zbigniew Brzezinski, who have particular nationalist concerns, e.g. wanting to divide up Russia and having NATO expand so America will be obliged to look after Poland, but they hardly support America going out to rule the world, unlike the English supporters.  A leader of the neo-cons and with a typical background is Richard Perle.  His WHO'S WHO biography shows a lifetime in government or academic work with foreign study only in England.  Another, John Bolton, Vice President of the American Enterprise Institute is a brilliant Phi Beta Kappa from Yale, but also with little foreign affairs education until becoming Chief Counsel for the Agency for International Development and then working for the Reagan Administration.

     The  "Neocon" flagship publications are the NEW REPUBLIC, WEEKLY STANDARD (a recent editorial urged that any budget surplus be used to buy more weaponry) and COMMENTARY; but "Neo-cons" equally dominate the editorial pages of the WALL STREET JOURNAL (it's one sidedness is the worst of all major newspapers at ever printing a non War Party view),  and  NATIONAL REVIEW (although Buckley's columns are less so, he delivered NR into War Party hands), WASHINGTON POST,  AMERICAN SPECTATOR (AS has changed since Kosovo War and publishes other views).   The NEW YORK TIMES and WASHINGTON TIMES publish more varied opinions, although now the latter has become hot for conflict with China.  The CHICAGO TRIBUNE publishes some very fair op-eds.   FOREIGN AFFAIRS publishes excellent analyses. The NATIONAL INTEREST is an excellent publication with fair presentations on both sides and solid understanding of the world beyond England and France. (Ironically, it is published by Irving Kristol who was a major founder of neo-conservatism, but a man who always kept his feet on the ground).  To understand the differences, it's worth keeping in mind that New York thrives on and thinks of trade.  Washington thinks and thrives from war.  "War is the Health of the State (read Big Government)," is a classic proverb.

    The Kosovo war weakened the "neocons" past virtual control of conservative publications on foreign policy, but now they are again gaining power as principal advisors to President elect George Bush.  The WASHINGTON TIMES, for example, published many anti-empire views during the Kosovo war, but now has returned to its mainly neo-conservative viewpoints. 

    In Washington "neocon" views dominate the major networks' Sunday talk shows (although FOX now provides welcome new viewpoints).   They are specifically represented by Richard Perle, Bill Kristol & Richard Brooks (WEEKLY STANDARD), Paul Wolfowitz, Fred Barnes, Morton Kondracke, Charles Krauthammer, Frank Gaffney (former aid to Richard Perle and WASHINGTON TIMES columnist),  Robert Kagan (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace), columnist Cal Thomas, a dispensationalist, and others.  Strong opposition to the Neocon line is presented on CNN by Robert Novak and formerly by Pat Buchanan and all over the INTERNET.  Also on NBC by John McLaughlin of the Group, who last 11/15/99 brought attention to the plight of "500,000" dead Iraqi children from the UN/US blockade.  You'll never hear "Neocons" express much sympathy for the civilian casualties of their wars.  In the print media there is much open resistance to the "neocons" by Paul Craig Roberts, Joseph Sobran, Charley Reece, Don Feder (at least as far as Europe is concerned-not for the Middle East) and others.

      "Neoconservatives" are mostly former leftists/liberals who converted to conservatism during the '70's and when Ronald Reagan became President. In domestic policy they tend to be moderate "welfare" Republicans. However, their major concern is foreign policy. They strongly favor US military interventions overseas and becoming the world’s policeman. They promoted the First Iraq War and are constantly the instigators for more confrontation with Iraq, Iran, the Sudan, and other Moslem states.  They were among the chief instigators of the Kosovo War. 

     "Neocons" almost never explain reasons for terrorists' hatred towards America, because that would bring questions about the "costs" of having a world empire.  So they "explain" terrorists as just "crazies" who enjoy killing people, just because they oppose freedom and American values.  Typical is Washington's neo-con CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES, which released a long analysis of terrorism in December.  Foreign terrorists are simply described as those who “resent pre-eminent U.S. power and/or have disdain for the West.”

     In the Middle East they support the most intransigent elements in Israel and the Likud Party for occupation and new settlements (a large percentage of the settlers are Americans) on Arab lands.  (the "idiotic settlements," Thomas Friedman NY TIMES, 11/24,  calls them).  Polls show that most Israelis want peace and compromise, but they are undermined by the American Neoconservatives who denouce any compromise peace which would allow the cutting back of American military forces in the Middle East.   Among conservatives they are not alone in this position.  Key leaders of  the "Religious Right" also promote the settlements, some openly arguing that they will help to bring about "Armageddon" and the return of Christ.   On the extreme fringe of the religious right are the Dispensationalists.

     Neoconservatives are the dominant force over establishment Republicans in Congress (although here again Kosovo weakened them a bit) and in most of the major conservative think tanks. Their main base among think tanks is the AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE ( a policy paper in January, 2001, urges American attacks on Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Gaza.  Others are the HERITAGE FOUNDATION (see more below--modified after Kosovo), ETHICS AND PUBLIC POLICY CENTER, and BROOKINGS INSTITUTION.  Of the large think tanks only the CATO INSTITUTE and LUDWIG VON MISES INSTITUTE actively oppose their positions.  The Kosovo disaster caused HERITAGE to pull back from its former strongly interventionist positions, e.g. favoring NATO expansion.   "Neo-con" power comes from their knowledge and political credentials in matters of foreign affairs (European, not 3rd World or Asian) and because of their influence over the giant Foundations (Bradley, Olin, Scaife) which provide major funding for pro-interventionist think tanks.  Also some gain major financial support from many weapons manufacturers.  The NEW YORK TIMES reported recently how such industries were a major factor promoting NATO expansion to East Europe and then paying for the recent NATO anniversary celebrations in Washington.  There are billions to be made in outfitting weapons for new NATO members, and they'll want Washington to lend/pay for it.

    The old military industrial complex is now called the MICE, military/industrial/congressional establishment.  This was particularly evident during the bombing of Serbia when freshmen and sophmore Republican congressmen were mainly in oppostion, while all the old Senate Republican Commmittee Chairmen supported it.

    "Neocons" are the brains of the "War Party."  They are well-organized, very well-financed, and very focused. Their members know what they want---American Empire, Cold War level military spending, lots of new weapons,  and a globalist policing mission that would project American military power deep into Asia and all points in between. 


 II.  The Project for a New American Century

      The PNAC document represents an overall position statement for the neocons: (rae)




MoveOn Bulletin
Friday, May 9, 2003
Noah T. Winer, Editor

Subscribe online at:

1. Introduction: American Leadership, American Empire
2. One Link
3. Forming the Bush Doctrine
4. Pax Americana
5. September 11, 2001
6. Who's Steering This Ship?
7. Who Pays the Bills?
8. Pax Israelica?
9. Post-War Iraq
10. Neo-conservatism
11. What Next -- Syria? Iran?
12. Challenging the Project
13. Conclusion
14. About the Bulletin


Many of us first heard about the Bush administration's plan to invade
Iraq last August. However, a small group of political elites planned the takeover of Iraq years ago. With that goal achieved, now is the time to look at who these people are, how they created a war on Iraq, and most importantly their plans for the future.

The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) is a Washington-based neo-conservative think-tank founded in 1997 to "rally support for American global leadership." PNAC's agenda runs far deeper than regime change in Iraq. Its statement of principles begins with the assertion that "American foreign and defense policy is adrift" and calls for "a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity."

While their tone is high-minded, their proposal is unilateral military intervention to protect against threats to America's status as the lone global superpower. The statement is signed by such influential figures as Dick Cheney, Jeb Bush, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Dan Quayle, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz.

PNAC is not alone, nor did it arise from new wells of power. Most of the founding members of PNAC held posts in the Reagan or elder Bush administration and other neo-conservative think-tanks, publications, and advocacy groups.

The effect of PNAC's ideology is great on Bush -- the presidential candidate who promised a "humble," isolationist foreign policy. The events of September 11, 2001 provided a window of opportunity for furthering PNAC's agenda of American empire. Understanding that agenda can help us anticipate the Bush administration's next steps and organize accordingly.


If you only read one article in this bulletin, it should be this one. This article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel superbly covers the influence of PNAC in Bush's decision to go to war with
Iraq. As the author writes, the goal is to transform the Middle East through a show of U.S. military might and "the obvious place to start is with Iraq, which was already in trouble with the United Nations, had little international standing and was reviled even by some Arab nations."


The motivating event for the neo-conservatives who founded PNAC was the end of the 1991 Gulf War in
Iraq. With Saddam's power weakened, the neo-conservatives believed he should be eliminated permanently. Instead, the elder President Bush encouraged the Iraqi opposition to rise up against the Ba'ath government. As their rebellion was put down by Iraqi troops, Bush ordered the U.S. military not to intervene, choosing instead a strategy of containment for Saddam.

In 1992, Paul Wolfowitz, then-Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, authored an internal policy brief on America's military posture in the post-Cold War era: to prevent the emergence of a new rival power through preemption rather than containment and acting unilaterally if necessary to protect U.S. interests. When a draft was leaked to the press, controversy erupted and the report had to be softened.

The web accompaniment to the PBS Frontline special "The War Behind Closed Doors" features an excellent chronology showing how Wolfowitz's draft would become the basis of the Bush Doctrine.


An important step in PNAC's chronology is its major publication, "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century" (RAD), released in September, 2000. The report takes Wolfowitz's draft as a starting point, hailing it as "a blueprint for maintaining
U.S. preeminence, precluding the rise of a great power rival, and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests."

RAD rejects cuts in defense spending, insisting that "Preserving the desirable strategic situation in which the United States now finds itself requires a globally preeminent military capability both today and in the future." Core missions for the U.S. military include the ability to "fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars" and to reposition permanent forces in Southeast Europe and Southeast Asia.

Other samples from RAD:

"The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."

"At present the United States faces no global rival. America's grand strategy should aim to preserve and extend this advantageous position as far into the future as possible."

"[N]ew methods of attack -- electronic, 'non-lethal,' biological -- will be more widely available ... 'combat' likely will take place in new dimensions: in space, 'cyber-space,' and perhaps the world of microbes ... advanced forms of biological warfare that can 'target' specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool."

In this Atlanta Journal-Constitution opinion piece, Jay Bookman compares "Rebuilding America's Defenses" with the current Bush defense policy.

You can read the entire document on PNAC's website.


SEPTEMBER 11, 2001
In discussing changes to
America's military strategy, the RAD report regretfully admits, "the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor."

Shortly after September 11, PNAC sent a letter to President Bush welcoming his call for "a broad and sustained campaign" and encouraging the removal of Saddam even if Iraq could not be directly linked to the attacks.


"Most neo-conservative defense intellectuals have their roots on the left, not the right." Michael Lind argues in the New Statesman and Salon magazines that many were anti-Stalinist Trotskyists who became anti-communist liberals, then shifted to a "militaristic and imperial right with no precedents in American culture or political history."

PAUL WOLFOWITZ is Deputy Defense Secretary, second-in-command at the Pentagon. Wolfowitz was promoting regime change in Iraq and a strategy of preemptive attack in 1992, but the elder Bush rejected his views as too radical. This is an excellent brief from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

RICHARD PERLE was Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Reagan administration and a foreign policy adviser in George W. Bush's presidential campaign. He accepted Rumsfeld's offer to chair the Defense Policy Board, transforming it from obscurity to influence. In March, Perle resigned as chairman after a controversial lobbying scandal, but remains on the Board as a member.

WILLIAM KRISTOL is editor of The Weekly Standard, a conservative political magazine with a small but elite readership, funded by Rupert Murdoch. The son of neo-conservative founding father Irving Kristol, he is the president of PNAC.

Other important participants are Vice-President Dick Cheney; Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; Iran-contra scandal convict Elliott Abrams, now Director of Middle East Affairs for the National Security Council; Washington Post columnist Robert Kagan; and special presidential envoy to Afghanistan and Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad.

A fairly complete list of PNAC participants can be found here:


The Bradley Foundation, in
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is the primary funder of PNAC through PNAC's parent New Citizenship Project, Inc. With the largest assets of any right-wing foundation, Bradley has focused its efforts on ending affirmative action, reforming welfare, and privatizing schools. This article describes Bradley's funding of neo-conservative think-tanks, magazines, and books like "The Bell Curve."


Nearly all PNAC participants, whether Jewish or Christian, are right-wing Zionists who support Ariel Sharon's Likud Party. In 1996, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, and others drafted a paper for incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging him to make "a clean break" from the Oslo peace process preferring "peace through strength," including the ouster of Saddam Hussein.

This essay describes many of the familiar neo-conservatives as having "dual loyalties," making policy decisions in the interests of the State of Israel as much as the United States.


PNAC participants are backing Ahmed Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress in his bid to run the interim government in
Iraq. From The American Prospect, who is Chalabi and why is he so popular with the neo-conservatives?


PNAC is in the same
Washington, D.C. office building as the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), another major neo-conservative think-tank. They share far more than an address: PNAC participants like Richard Perle, Thomas Donnelly, Jeane Kirkpatrick, William Schneider, Lynne Cheney (Dick Cheney's wife), and Irving Kristol (William Kristol's father) are all AEI scholars and fellows.

Similar overlap is found among all the neo-conservative think-tanks -- Hudson Institute, Center for Security Policy, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Middle East Forum, and Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs -- giving the agenda of a few political elites the appearance of widespread agreement.


This piece from Foreign Policy in Focus discusses a 2000 Middle East Forum study calling for military force against
Syria. The report, "Ending Syria's Occupation of Lebanon: The U.S. Role," was signed by numerous PNAC participants.

From the Washington Monthly, a smart article that compares the neo-conservative plan for the
Middle East to "giving a few good whacks to a hornets' nest because you want to get them out in the open and have it out with them once and for all."


The Peace Education Fund and California Peace Action have launched a national advertising campaign that features the infamous photo of Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein. The ads ask the question: "Who Are We Arming Now?" The ad is part of Peace Action's Campaign for a New American Foreign Policy which is building political pressure for an alternative to the bleak vision of the Project for the New American Century.




OPTIONAL: For a much more detailed discussion of neocons and military tactics, see the Internet link just below.  However, the article is long, detailed, and complex – enough so that the link is provided for your interest if you desire further reading.  But it is not required for the course: (rae)

From the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists:


III. The “Religious Factor:” Conservative Christians and the War in Iraq




Published on Thursday, October 10, 2002 by the Inter Press Service

Conservative Christians Biggest Backers of Iraq War

by Jim Lobe


WASHINGTON - Of the major religious groups in the United States, evangelical Christians are the biggest backers of Israel and Washington's planned war against Iraq, says a new survey released here Wednesday by a politically potent group of fundamentalist Christians and Jews.

Some 69 percent of conservative Christians favor military action against Baghdad; 10 percentage points more than the U.S. adult population as a whole.

And almost two-thirds of evangelical Christians say they support Israeli actions towards ''Palestinian terrorism'', compared with 54 percent of the general population, according to the survey, which was released by Stand For Israel, a six-month-old spin-off of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ).

''The single strongest group for Israel in the United States, apart from Jews, is conservative Christians,'' declared Ralph Reed, co-chairman of Stand for Israel and former executive director of the Christian Coalition. He also noted that 80 percent of self-identified Republicans also favor military action against Baghdad.

Reed, who was widely regarded as the wunderkind of the Christian Right during the 1990s, said the poll results might have important political implications in upcoming U.S. elections, particularly for the Jewish vote, which has traditionally gone overwhelmingly to Democrats. In 2000, for example, only 18 percent of Jewish voters cast ballots for President George W. Bush.

''There is a new openness among Jewish voters to support this president and other Republicans who strongly support Israel,'' Reed said, adding that he believes Bush in 2004 may reap close to the 38 percent of the Jewish vote harvested by Ronald Reagan in 1984, the highest percentage ever received by a Republican presidential candidate.

Some 81 percent of Jewish respondents said they see Bush as a strong supporter of Israel, and 46 percent said they were more likely to vote for him based on his handling of the ''war on terrorism''. The poll also found that two-thirds of Republicans said they supported Israel in the current conflict, compared to 46 percent of Democrats.

''The bottom line is that Bush appears to be making some significant inroads with this heavily Democratic group, something that could have an impact on the next two election cycles,'' said Ed Goeas, head of the Tarrance Group, which carried out the poll.

The survey, which included 1,200 respondents contacted last week, tends to confirm the findings of similar polls over the last several years that have shown strong support for Israel on the part of evangelical Christians, who together make up about one third of the U.S. adult population.

Historically apolitical, the group first came to the attention of the political elite in 1976 when large numbers of them helped elect Jimmy Carter, a ''born-again'' Christian. Disillusioned by Carter's liberal politics and social attitudes, they became a major recruiting ground for the ''New Right'' that in turn paved the way for the election in 1980 of former president Ronald Reagan.

At the same time, Christian fundamentalists were also avidly courted by the right-wing Likud government in Israel, which saw in them a promising new constituency that, for theological reasons, could be persuaded to oppose the return of Jerusalem and the West Bank to Arab rule.

In 1979, the government of Israel reportedly gave Jerry Falwell, head of the ''Moral Majority'' and the leading Christian Right figure of the time, his first private jet.

The Israeli government has also arranged special tours for evangelical Christian groups that have contributed tens of millions of dollars to Jewish and Israeli agencies involved in resettling Jews to Israel and in building Israeli settlements on the occupied territories.

With offices in Chicago and Jerusalem, the IFCJ has acted as a key forum for promoting the relationship between conservative U.S. Jews and evangelical Christians since 1983. As violence between Israelis and Palestinians intensified last spring, the group created ''Stand for Israel'', which it called ''an effort to strategically mobilize leadership and grassroots support in the Christian community for the State of Israel''.

''Jews are only now beginning to understand the depth of support they have among conservative Christians,'' said IFCJ's founder-director and Stand for Israel co-chairman, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, at the time.

''Once the potential of this immense reservoir of good will is fully comprehended by the Jewish people and strategically tapped by the Stand for Israel campaign, you will see support for Israel in the United States swell dramatically.''

The new survey's results appear to bear out that prediction, at least in part. Two thirds of conservative Christians queried in the poll said that they believed they shared the same or similar perspective as Jews when it comes to the issue of ''Israel and its current struggle against Palestine''.

Reed and Eckstein also claimed that the survey effectively debunked the notion that evangelical Christian support for Israel was based on New Testament prophecy that the reconstruction of the ancient Jewish kingdom of David would usher in the ''end times'' and the second coming of Christ.

Asked which was the most important of four possible reasons why they supported Israel, 56 percent of fundamentalist Christian respondents chose political reasons, particularly Israel's democratic values, its alliance with the United States in the war against terrorism, and its role as a safe haven for persecuted Jews elsewhere. Thirty-five percent opted for the ''end-times'' option.

But when given a choice of four religious alternatives, only 28 percent cited the end-times alternative. Almost two thirds said that God had given the Jews the land of Israel as the main theological reason for backing the Jewish state.

''This survey bears out my view that Christians are trustworthy and vital allies,'' said Eckstein. ''I've seen more positive changes (in Jewish and conservative Christian relations) in the past six months than I have for the past 25 years,'' he added.

Along with announcing the survey results, Eckstein, who co-chairs Stand for Israel with Reed, unveiled a one-minute video which will be run in ''tens of thousands'' of churches with combined memberships of 3.2 million people on Sunday, Oct. 20, exhorting Christians to pray for Israel whose enemies, it says, ''are on the attack again''.

''God has promised that those who bless Israel will themselves be blessed,'' says the video, which is filled with recent images of violence in Israel and the West Bank.

Reed conceded that not all conservative Christians were as supportive of Israel as those involved in the ''Stand for Israel'' campaign.

Indeed, some 50 evangelical ministers recently issued a statement opposing unilateral military action against Iraq, and at least one national evangelical group has urged a more-balanced policy toward Israel and the Palestinians. But Reed insisted that his views represented those of a ''very, very large majority'' of evangelical Christians.



IV. Oil and Russia


Is it about oil, is it about containing Russia?  Here’s one controversial viewpoint, but it’s content should at the least lead to awareness of some critical issues most U. S. citizens are completely unaware of: (rae)



September 30, 2002


Source: China Dayli

The US sable rattling against Iraq continues and its preparations for military action are in full swing. An article in Shanghai-based Jiefang Daily explained why the Bush administration is so determined to launch a war against Iraq despite fierce oppositions from home and abroad.

A Russian analyst believes that the Americans are seeking to conduct a "surgery" of the Baghdad regime and buttress a new pro-US government. This will enable it to build a defence line running from Israel, Iraq to Turkey that will cut off from the so-called "green Islam terror zone" - since Islam is symbolized by the colour green.

An article in the Japanese Mainichi Shimbun said US troops positioned in the area have cut across Europe and Asia to build a defence belt with a stationed military force.

After September 11, the US military has expanded its presence into Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. As well as this, military consulting groups were sent to Georgia. There is almost no vacuum left without US military involvement from Asia to the Mediterranean coast.

The Japanese article said these factors are behind US obstinacy in toppling Saddam Hussein and replacing Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. If the United States succeeds in shifting these governments then a US-dominated order will be established in the broad area spanning from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean coast.

Such perceptions are logical. The US "belt strategy" actually kills three birds with one stone.

First, it helps to eliminate all threats perceived by the United States. The region is the epicentre of many ethnic, religious and territorial conflicts and confrontations - and the hotbed for terrorism, separatism and extremism.

In an address at West Point on June 1, George W. Bush said that "for much of the last century America's defence relied on Cold War doctrines of deterrence and containment."

He explicitly declared that "new threats require new thinking," and Americans should take pre-emptive action against terrorists and regimes which the US claim to possess chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

Many people in the United States are prepared to support their government in the belief that it will prevent future terrorist attacks. Hence, the Republican administration of Bush is eager to score on the Iraq issue because it will boost their chances of success in the mid-term elections this year and the later presidential election.

Another objective is to control the oil reserves in the Middle East and Caspian Sea region, and also the transit routes.

The US always views oil resources as the lifeline for Western countries. Iraq is an oil-rich country in the Middle East with verified oil deposits accounting for 10.7 per cent of the global total. It can churn out 300 to 500 million metric tons of oil per year without constraints and this can be maintained for about 25-30 years. To some extent, this means Iraq's oil supply will have a direct impact on the stability of the global economy in this same period. Even under current embargo conditions, 10 per cent of US oil imports come from Iraq. Consequently, oil from Iraq is instrumental in US efforts to maintain its economic lifeline, the article said.

The Caspian Sea region is also abundant in oil reserves and many US and European oil conglomerates have joined the "oil rush" in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. However, transporting the oil out of the landlocked Caspian Sea remains difficult.

Countries currently use the existing pipelines in Russia to carry the oil to terminals on the Black Sea. To control the transit route and avoid Russia, the US once designed a western route via Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyan but experts pointed out that the cost was prohibitive.

The war in Afghanistan extended the US "belt defence" and this has made another route - southern route - possible. It starts in Uzbekistan and ends in Pakistan via Afghanistan. Regional instability in the Gulf area will make the Caspian Sea region - a substitute source for oil supply - even more attractive to Western investment.

Thus, the oil issue is a big motivation for the United States to expand its political and military involvement in Central Asia.

The third reason tied up with the strategy is the penetration of Russia's backyard by the United States.

As Central Asia is in the hinterland of Eurasia, the region is of strategic significance. Following September 11, the United States has been able to sign military co-operation agreements with Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Georgia under the banner of anti-terrorism.

The United States has either gained the green light to dispatch military forces and build bases in these countries or secured access to use their air space and military bases.

In this way, the US influence in Central Asia skyrocketed, limiting the traditional influence of Russia in this area.

Coupled with its influence in Europe through NATO and clout in the Asia-Pacific region through its alliance with Japan, the United States is completing its global monopoly ambitions.


Another piece about the “oil factor:”

Adapted from:

Enron played key role in events presaging war (in Afghanistan)
by Martin Yant
April 10, 2002

If you want power – be it political or electrical — you need connec tions. No one knew that better than the super-slick executives of Enron, who in the past year desperately tried to stave off the largest bankruptcy in history.

And when it came to connections, Enron had the best money could buy in George W. Bush, whose most generous campaign supporter to date has been longtime Enron head Kenneth Lay.

According to a recent report in The Nation, Bush’s connections with Enron go back to 1986, when the future president went from a struggling oilman to a millionaire through a series of deals and partnerships, one of which was with Enron and its new chairman, Lay.

The Nation had previously reported that, in late 1988, the then-president-elect’s son allegedly called Argentine cabinet minister Rodolfo Terragno to urge him to award a contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Enron. Bush angrily denied the accusation when it was published in 1994, but Terragno recently stood by his claim in a commentary published in an Argentine daily newspaper.

“It looked bad and it surprised me,” Terragno said. “There was this political endorsement, apparently from the White House. I don’t know if George Bush the father was aware of it, or if it was only a business contact by his son, who hoped that his family name would have some influence.”

So, it should come as no surprise that Enron’s name has now surfaced as a major potential beneficiary of the proposed
Afghanistan oil-and-gas pipeline the Bush administration purportedly pushed for during secret negotiations with the Taliban that started shortly after Bush took office and continued through August.

French intelligence analysts Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie claim in their book, Bin Laden, La Verite Interdite (Bin Laden, the Forbidden Truth), that the administration’s main objective in the talks was to buy off the Taliban with promises of aid and international recognition in return for a pipeline to transport the oil and gas reserves in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Until now, the book says, “The oil and gas reserves of
Central Asia have been controlled by Russia. The Bush government wanted to change all that.”

A secondary American goal was to get the Taliban to turn over bin Laden, who had moved his terror network to
Afghanistan in 1996. When the talks began last February, the Taliban regime reportedly indicated it might be willing to hand over bin Laden. But by June, Brisard and Dasquié write, the Taliban had changed its mind. “The U.S. thought they could ‘decouple’ Osama bin Laden from the Taliban,” Brisard says. “What they did not understand was that without bin Laden, the Taliban regime wouldn’t have existed.”

When the Taliban negotiators balked at the American proposals, Brisard told a wire service,
U.S. representative Tom Simons bluntly told them that “either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs.” Although he denied making that specific threat, Simons admitted to the British newspaper The Guardian that he told the Taliban negotiators “that military action was one of the options down the road” if they didn’t accede to America’s demands.

The Guardian speculated on September 21 that “the serious nature of what [the Taliban was] told raises the possibility that bin Laden, far from launching the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon out of the blue 10 days ago, was launching a preemptive strike in response to what he saw as U.S. threats.”

Brisard and Dasquie also report in their book that the administration had told
U.S. intelligence agencies to “back off” their investigations of bin Laden during the negotiations, which could explain how numerous warnings of the September 11 suicide hijackings were missed.

Enron’s interest in the pipeline was part of an unsuccessful attempt by the
Texas energy titan to get cheap liquid natural gas for its $3 billion power plant in Dabhol, India. The huge plant had become a white elephant when its electricity turned out to be several times more costly than its competitors’.

To help persuade the Taliban to approve the pipeline, Enron reportedly showered the regime with millions of dollars, some of which may have gone to bin Laden. The Bush administration’s attempt to help Enron is believed to be why it has gone to unprecedented lengths to conceal records on Vice President Cheney’s energy-task-force meetings in 2001.

The General Accounting Office has sued Cheney to get records concerning three secret meetings he reportedly had with Lay and other Enron executives in the first months of the Bush administration. It is the first time the nonpartisan agency has taken the executive branch of government to court to obtain records.

One possible result of Cheney’s meetings with Enron executives was a proposal of aid to
India so it could increase its oil and natural gas production, which would give the Dabhol plant another potential source of cheap fuel.

Cheney is no stranger to
America’s interest in the abundant energy resources of Central Asia and the Mideast. For several years before he was elected vice president, Cheney was CEO of Texas-based Halliburton, the world’s largest oil-services company. In that role Cheney helped broker a deal between Chevron (now ChevronTexaco) and Kazakhstan when he sat on the country’s oil advisory board. National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice was a Chevron director at the time.

According to The Financial Times, Cheney also oversaw $23.8 million in sales to
Iraq in 1998 and 1999. That means that Cheney, who was paid $36 million in salary by Halliburton, profited from the destruction of Iraq that he supervised as secretary of defense during the Gulf War. While the sales were legal because of a 1998 U.N. resolution giving Iraq the right to resuscitate its oil industry, Halliburton reportedly made its equipment sales through foreign subsidiaries to avoid upsetting U.S. officials or Iraq’s President Saddam Hussein.

Last May, Cheney’s old company signed a 12-year contract with
Azerbaijan, another energy-rich state in Central Asia. Azerbaijan is bordered on the south by Georgia, to which Bush has extended his ever-expanding war on terrorism.

Cheney’s task force was not the only place Enron was getting special attention in
Washington. E-mails obtained by The Washington Post show that the National Security Council set up a “Dabhol Working Group” to help Enron to make its power plant competitive or to sell it.

The Bush administration justified helping Enron because the plant was partly financed through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, which gave Enron $554 million in loans and $204 million in risk insurance, and the Export-Import Bank, which lent the company $675 million.

Not surprisingly, the federal investigation of possible fraud committed by Enron’s executives also has the company’s fingerprints all over it.

FBI Director Robert Mueller, for example, was hired by Enron in 1993 to investigate a $600,000 payment by a subsidiary for a property assessed at $41,000. When Mueller concluded the deal was not improper, a private investigator working on the case quit in protest. Despite this association, Mueller announced that it was not enough to cause him to step down from the Enron investigation. Mueller said that Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson — who previously worked for a law firm that represented Enron — agreed.

Enron was not the only potential beneficiary of the proposed pipeline in
Afghanistan. Another key player was the Unocal oil conglomerate. In January 1998, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, and the Taliban agreed to arrange funding on a proposed 890-mile, $3 billion pipeline in conjunction with a Unocal-led consortium. The proposed pipeline would transport natural gas from Turkmenistan across Afghanistan to an Indian Ocean port in Pakistan.

Eight months later, however, Unocal announced it was suspending the project because of the
U.S. government’s attack on a bin Laden terrorist training camp in Afghanistan in retaliation for the bombing of two American embassies in Africa. Another factor in its decision, Unocal said, was the fighting between the Taliban and rebel groups. Unocal stressed that the pipeline project would not be built until a coalition Afghan government was formed and internationally recognized. U.S. negotiators also pushed the Taliban toward this goal.

An army of officials in previous Republican administration has also been busy helping Unocal. Among them are former secretaries of state James A. Baker and Henry Kissinger and Robert Oakley, the former
U.S. ambassador to Pakistan who armed the mujahadeen in the 1980s. Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh identified Oakley as a key player in illegal arms shipments to Iran in return for funds sent to the right-wing contras in Nicaragua during that period.

Deputy Defense Secretary Richard Armitage is another Iran-contra conspirator who worked for Unocal. Armitage was also implicated in a lawsuit filed by villagers who suffered human-rights abuses during construction of a controversial Unocal pipeline in
Burma for which Cheney’s Halliburton did contract work.

Unocal has two other important operatives. One is Hamid Karzai, Unocal’s former representative in
Afghanistan who was handpicked by Bush to become head of Afghanistan’s interim government. The other is Afghan-born Zalmay Khalilzad, another former Unocal aide, whom Bush appointed special envoy to Afghanistan. As a Unocal adviser, Khalilzad participated in Unocal’s talks with the Taliban in 1997. In a 1998 column in The Washington Post, Khalilzad argued that the Taliban was not a sponsor of terrorism and that the United States should reengage the regime. This was, of course, just what Unocal wanted.

Once in office, Afghan leader Karzai wasted little time trying to help his former employer. During his first visit to
Pakistan on February 8, Karzai announced that he and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf had agreed to revive the pipeline.

Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov, another American ally in the
U.S. war in Afghanistan, expressed delight with Karzai’s announcement, saying the pipeline would provide a crucial new export outlet for his country’s huge gas reserves. Karzai took the cue and visited the Turkmen despot within a month to get his endorsement of the pipeline plan.

If Bush follows up on his threats to attack
Iraq, U.S. forces could also end up controlling the nation with the world’s second-largest oil reserve. At that point, Saudi Arabia, with its larger oil reserve, homebred terrorists and the terror network’s biggest financial supporters, would no longer be so important.


A final piece about the world’s oil situation:





Over a barrel?


18:50 29 January 03 news service


Iraq has the second largest proven reserves of oil in the world, behind only Saudi Arabia. 112 billion barrels lie below the country's desert sands, together with another probable 220 billion barrels of unproven reserves. What's more, the US Department of Energy says, "Iraq's true resource potential may be far greater, as the country is relatively unexplored due to years of war and sanctions."

This, plus the fact that "Iraq's oil production costs are among the lowest in the world, makes it a highly attractive oil prospect," says the department's latest country analysis. No wonder many critics believe that the campaign to topple Saddam Hussein is really a battle for Iraq's oil.

Iraq is peppered with oil fields. The biggest are in the far south around Basra and in the Kurdish north. Military strategists predict that troops entering Iraq from the Gulf and overland from Turkey would first aim to secure these fields. The goal would be both to cut off supplies to Saddam's military and to keep the oil safe for future use by preventing sabotage by a desperate Saddam or capture by warring factions emerging from Saddam's shadow.

The oil fields and pipelines are in a bad state. Many were bombed during the last Gulf war and have never been repaired. UN sanctions mean many have no markets in any case. According to the Iraqi government a third are not in production.

All that would change if Saddam were overthrown and UN sanctions ended. The world is likely to grow increasingly thirsty for Iraqi oil. "The US in particular is ever more dependent on oil imports, especially from the Middle East, which has 70% of world reserves," says Paul Rogers of the University of Bradford's department of peace studies. "Thirty years ago, the US was virtually self-sufficient in oil, but it now imports over 60 per cent of its needs."

With fears about global warming barely registering inside the Bush administration, the US Department of Energy says it expects US oil consumption to rise by a staggering 48 per cent between now and 2020. "There is a deep and pervading recognition at the heart of the Bush administration that the most significant future vulnerability for the US is its steadily growing dependence on Gulf oil," says Rogers.

Rogers says securing foreign oil supplies has been a central goal of US foreign policy for 30 years. The Iraq war, from this perspective, represents a ratcheting-up of this strategy. Some hawks in Washington, such as the influential Heritage Foundation, also see it as a chance to break the grip of, or even destroy, OPEC and permanently lower oil prices by raising supplies.

This strategic insecurity is fed by growing fears about Saudi oil supplies, should radicals unseat the current regime there, and increasingly pessimistic predictions of future world oil supplies from US oil companies. Last year, Exxon admitted that new oil discoveries were falling badly behind rising demand. Worldwide, existing oilfields can only meet half the demand for oil expected by 2010, said Exxon director Harry Longwell in the journal World Energy.

Certainly, US oil companies look forward to 'privatising' the Iraqi oil industry after Saddam's fall. They have already held talks with leaders of the Iraqi National Congress, the main opposition group. They are not alone in eyeing Iraqi oil.

French, Russian, Chinese and other oil companies have established oil links with Saddam, in the expectation of cashing in once UN sanctions are over. But many are severing those links and cosying up to the Iraqi National Congress. They will have heard CIA director James Woolsey say last autumn, "France and Russia... should be told that if they are of assistance in moving Iraq toward decent government, we'll do the best we can to ensure that the new government and American companies work closely with them."

That could be bad news for British oil chiefs who may expect a payback for the UK's support for the war. Recently Lord Browne, chief executive of British oil giant BP, claimed that his company was being squeezed out in deals between US oil companies and the Iraqi National Congress and called for a "level playing field for the selection of oil companies to go in there if Iraq changes its regime."


Fred Pearce