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Middle East - Aug 6

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One Ring to Rule Them

Juan Cole, President of the Global Americana Institute
The wholesale destruction of all of Lebanon by Israel and the US Pentagon does not make any sense. Why bomb roads, roads, bridges, ports, fuel depots in Sunni and Christian areas that have nothing to do with Shiite Hizbullah in the deep south? And, why was Hizbullah's rocket capability so crucial that it provoked Israel to this orgy of destruction? Most of the rockets were small katyushas with limited range and were highly inaccurate. They were an annoyance in the Occupied Golan Heights, especially the Lebanese-owned Shebaa Farms area. Hizbullah had killed 6 Israeli civilians since 2000. For this you would destroy a whole country?

It doesn't make any sense.

Moreover, the Lebanese government elected last year was pro-American! Why risk causing it to fall by hitting the whole country so hard?

And, why was Condi Rice's reaction to the capture of two Israeli soldiers and Israel's wholesale destruction of little Lebanon that these were the "birth pangs" of the "New Middle East"? How did she know so early on that this war would be so wideranging? And, how could a little border dispute in the Levant signal such an elephantine baby's advent? Isn't it because she had, like Tony Blair, been briefed about the likelihood of a war by the Israelis, or maybe collaborated with them in the plans, and also conceived of it in much larger strategic terms?

I've had a message from a European reader that leads me to consider a Peak Oil Theory of the US-Israeli war on Lebanon (and by proxy on Iran). I say, "consider" the "theory" because this is a thought experiment. I put it on the table to see if it can be knocked down, the way you would preliminary hypotheses in a science experiment.
(6 Aug 2006)


War could trigger oil crisis, warns EIU

Andrew White, ITP Business
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has warned that if Iran were to become involved in the current Israeli-Lebanese conflict, the results could be “catastrophic” for the world’s oil market.

In the group’s latest Global Economic Outlook update, the report highlights a series of geopolitical factors that make the oil price a “risk premium”. The latest risk, according to the report, is that Iran, which backs Hizbullah and has threatened Israel with serious consequences if Israeli forces attack Syria, could become involved in the current war.

“Even before the crisis, Iran was a source of concern for the oil market, because of the stand-off with the US over Tehran’s nuclear programme,” states the report. “This could conceivably lead either to international sanctions or US military strikes against Iran, in which case Tehran would probably respond by halting oil exports.”

“The onset of Israel/Hizbullah fighting, and the potential for it to escalate to the point that Iran became involved, brought these concerns to the fore,” the report continues.
(6 Aug 2006)


Iran warns of $200 oil if US pursues sanctions

Reuters, Yahoo!
Global oil prices could hit $200 per barrel if the United States pursues sanctions against Iran for its nuclear development program, an Iranian official told Venezuelan state TV on Thursday.

Iran's Foreign Relations Vice Minister Manuchehr Mohammadi said, "The first consequence of these sanctions would be an increase in the price of oil to around $200 per barrel."

The statement comes after the
United Nations on Monday demanded that Iran suspend all nuclear development within a month or face the threat of sanctions.
(3 Aug 2006)


Analysis: Iran's nuclear fuel debate

Roxana Saberi, BBC
As the dispute over Iran's nuclear programme intensifies, so does the debate over whether or not Iran really needs its own nuclear fuel cycle.

Critics question why a country that ranks fifth in the world in proven crude oil reserves and second in natural gas reserves needs nuclear power.

But Iran says these resources are limited.

It says nuclear energy is an economical, alternative source of electricity for its growing population.

"It's true that Iran has oil and gas, but so do other countries that also want to acquire other kinds of energy," Iran's Energy Minister Parviz Fattah said in an interview.

"Each day that we use our oil and gas, we're taking one step toward their depletion."
(1 Aug 2006)

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