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Geopolitics - Feb 27

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Three US reasons to attack Iran

Michael T Klare, Asia Times
Some time this spring or summer, barring an unexpected turnaround by Tehran, US President George W Bush is likely to go on national television and announce that he has ordered US ships and aircraft to strike at military targets inside Iran.

We must still sit through several months of soap opera at the United Nations in New York and assorted foreign capitals before this comes to pass, and it is always possible that a diplomatic breakthrough will occur - let it be so! - but I am convinced that

Bush has already decided an attack is his only option and the rest is a charade he must go through to satisfy his European allies.

The proof of this, I believe, lies half-hidden in recent public statements of his, which, if pieced together, provide a casus belli, or formal list of justifications, for going to war.

Three of his statements, in particular, contained the essence of this justification: his January 10 televised speech on his plan for a troop "surge" in Iraq, his State of the Union address of January 23, and his first televised press conference of the year on February 14. None of these was primarily focused on Iran, but Bush used each of them to warn of the extraordinary dangers that country poses to the United States and to hint at severe US reprisals if the Iranians did not desist from "harming US troops".

In each, moreover, he laid out various parts of the overall argument he will certainly use to justify an attack on Iran. String these together in one place and you can almost anticipate what Bush's speechwriters will concoct before he addresses the American people from the Oval Office some time this year. Think of them as talking points for the next war.
(27 Feb 2007)


Iraqi Ministry Casts Doubt on Oil Law

Bushra Juhi, AP via Houston Chronicle
The Oil Ministry cast doubt Sunday on statements indicating the Kurds had agreed to support a draft oil law that would divide revenues among all Iraqi factions and meet a key U.S. benchmark in Iraq.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government had promised to enact a new oil law by the end of 2006 but missed the deadline due to objections from the Kurds. Many of Iraq's vast oil reserves can be found in the Kurdish north and the Shiite south, and the Kurds wanted a greater role in awarding contracts and administering the revenues.

...A new law is needed, most outside experts believe, to encourage international companies to pour billions of dollars into Iraq to repair pipelines, upgrade wells, develop new fields and begin to exploit the country's petroleum reserves, estimated at about 115 billion barrels.
(25 Feb 2007)
Contributor DL writes:

The proposed "Oil Law" is the big payoff, giving the "in" oil majors extraordinary access to, and profits from, Iraq's oil. Not surprisingly, a few doubts are beginning to surface from the occupied land's officials.


Who wins in Iraq?

Staff, Foreign Policy in Focus
Ten short essays from US hawks:

Iran by Vali Nasr
Moqtada al-Sadr by Dexter Filkins
Al Qaeda by Daniel Byman
Samuel Huntington by Daniel Frum
China by Steve Tsang
Arab dictators by Marina Ottaway
The price of oil by Bill Emmott
The United Nations by Martin Wolf
Old Europe by Gianna Riotta
Israel by Amatzia Baram

(March/April 2007)
The available portion of Bill Emmott’s article on the price of oil makes no mention of reserve limits, falls in production (eg. Cantarell, Burgan) or delays in new production.
Also no mention of the weapons industry, who have made out like the proverbial bandits from the invasion of Iraq:

Contracts to the Pentagon’s top ten contractors jumped from $46 billion in 2001 to $80 billion in 2003, an increase of nearly 75%. Halliburton’s contracts jumped more than nine times their 2001 levels by 2003, from $400 million to $3.9 billion. Northrop Grumman’s contracts doubled, from $5.2 billion to $11.1 billion, over the same time frame; and the nation’s largest weapons contractor, Lockheed Martin, saw a 50% increase, from $14.7 billion to $21.9 billion. World Policy Institute

Subscription is required to read all of some of the articles but I can’t believe people pay for such twaddle.-LJ

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