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Iran torpedoes US plans for Iraqi oil

M K Bhadrakumar, Asia Times
… By all accounts, Iran played a decisive role in hammering out the peace deal among the Shi’ite factions in Iraq. A bloody week of human killing on the Tigris River ended on Sunday. Details are sketchy, however, since they must come from non-Iranian sources. Tehran keeps silent about its role. … why isn’t Tehran in any hurry to claim victory?

… What has happened is essentially that Iran has frustrated the joint US-British objective of gaining control of Basra, without which the strategy of establishing control over the fabulous oil fields of southern Iraq will not work. Control of Basra is a pre-requisite before American oil majors make their multi-billion investments to kick start large-scale oil production in Iraq. Iraq’s Southern Oil Company is headquartered in Basra. Highly strategic installations are concentrated in the region, such as pipeline networks, pumping stations, refineries and loading terminals. The American oil majors will insist on fastening these installations.

The game plan for control of Basra now needs to be reworked. The idea was to take Basra in hand now so that the Sadrists would be thwarted from taking over the local administration in elections in October – in other words, to ensure the political underpinning for Basra. All indications are that the Sadrists are riding a huge wave of popular support. They have caught the imagination of the poor, downtrodden, dispossessed masses in the majority Shi’ite community. They are hard to replace in democratic elections. The sense of frustration in Washington and London must be very deep that Basra is not yet fastened. Time is running out for Bush to make sure that his successor in the White House inherits an irreversible process in the US’s Iraq policy.

… Thus, the most critical few weeks in the decades-long US-Iran standoff may have just begun. Last week, five former US secretaries of state who served in Democratic and Republican administrations – Henry Kissinger, James Baker, Warren Christopher, Madeline Albright and Colin Powell – sat at a round-table discussion in Athens and reached a consensus to urge the next US administration to open a line of dialogue with Iran.

M K Bhadrakumar served as a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service for over 29 years, with postings including India’s ambassador to Uzbekistan (1995-1998) and to Turkey (1998-2001).
(3 April 2008)

Military feels the gouge of fuel costs as Iraq, allies watch oil profits soar

Anne Flaherty, Associated Press
Think you’re being gouged by Big Oil? U.S. troops in Iraq are paying almost as much as Americans back home, despite burning fuel at staggering rates in a war to stabilize a country known for its oil reserves.

Military units pay an average of $3.23 a gallon for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, some $88 a day per service member in Iraq, according to an Associated Press review and interviews with defense officials. A penny or two increase in the price of fuel can add millions of dollars to U.S. costs.

Critics in Congress are fuming.

… …Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., also a member of the Armed Services Committee and a vocal advocate pushing the military to pursue alternative energy solutions, said he doubts such talks [for reduced costs to the U.S. military from regional oil exporting countries] would be fruitful anyway because of the impression by many in the Middle East that the U.S. invaded Iraq for its oil to begin with.

“I’m not sure they’re as convinced we’re fighting for them, as they were in the first Gulf war,” Bartlett said.

He said he hopes instead that the war will spur military development of hybrid technologies and alternative fuels at a time when private companies are lacking the financial incentive. So far, the price of oil hasn’t restricted combat operations, but it has inspired the military to hunt for new ways to conserve energy.
(2 April 2008)

Is Oil The Motive For War

Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, Final Call News
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.

America has come to a crossroads. You must understand that power is linked, in world politics, to oil. And as the greatest industrial nation on the Earth, America has an insatiable appetite for oil. When coal was the number one energy in the world, Great Britain ruled the world. She had the greatest deposits of coal. But when the power to move engines moved from coal to oil, England and America began vying for control of the places on this Earth that produce oil.

Who are the rogue states that America says she does not like, and let’s see how oil is connected here. I want you to consider Libya in North Africa. This little desert country where most of the people live along the coast has the sweetest crude oil. There’s a song we sing: “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli.” Where’s Tripoli? “We will fight our country’s battles on the land and on the sea.” What are you doing over here? Did these people bother you? No. They have oil. America had military bases here. For what? Oil!

… Every one of us has somebody in our family that is a victim of drugs. There’s something about a drug addict-if it’s your son, if it’s your daughter-they become artful liars. They can make up the fanciest stories just to get money to get to the drug. If you don’t give them the money, when you turn your back, your fur coat is gone. When you turn your back this is gone, that is gone. They become thieves and soon, if they get real bad, they become murderers.

America is an oil junkie. She doesn’t care how she gets it, she must have it.
(1 April 2008)
According to Wikipedia, Louis Farrakhan is “acting head of the Nation of Islam (NOI) as the National Representative of Elijah Muhammad. He is also well-known as an advocate for African American interests and a critic of American society.”

Although often the center of controversy in the U.S. press, Louis Farrakhan is a complex individual, influential in the Afro-American community. -BA