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WHY IRAQ MAY BE NEXT by Enver Masud WASHINGTON, DC--Iraq may be next in line for a U.S. attack. Iraqi oil is the coveted prize. Business Week writers Paul Strobin based in Moscow and Stan Crock based in Washington, reveal the role that oil may play in a U.S.-Russia deal to attack Iraq. Strobin and Crock write: "Putin could try to exact a steep price for allowing a decisive U.S. strike against the oil-rich Iraqi state. Russian oil majors have curried favor with Saddam's regime with an eye on future contracts. But if Bush quietly guarantees that Russian oil companies will get a prime slice of the Iraqi oil, Putin might go along. 'There is a good case for a behind-the-scenes bargain,' says Dmitri Trenin, analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center. For now, Putin has called for the renewal of international inspections in Iraq. If Saddam refuses, Putin can save face if the U.S. goes after Iraq by citing Saddam's intransigence to his own proposal." ["U.S.-Russia: Just How Far Will the Love-in Go?", Business Week, November 26, 2001] In an October 1999 interview, former United Nations Special Commission chief inspector Scott Ritter said, "Iraq has been disarmed. Iraq today possesses no meaningful weapons of mass destruction." Ritter also said that Iraq does not currently possess the capability to produce or deploy chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons. Iraq's neighbor, Israel, is known to possess such weapons. Despite this, the U.S. has used the bogey of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction to embargo Iraq. "Ten years of sanctions have left an estimated 300,000 to 1.5 million Iraqis dead. CBS' Lesley Stahl used the figure of 500,000 dead when she interviewed Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in 1996. Was such collateral damage worth it? Albright replied, 'I think this is a very hard choice, but the price - we think the price is worth it.'"--[Editorial, "End the Iraq War," Seattle Times, May 14, 2001] The embargo "has been compared with a medieval siege. The word 'genocide' has been used by experts on international law and other cautious voices, such as Denis Halliday, the former assistant secretary general of the United Nations, who resigned as the UN's senior humanitarian official in Iraq, and Hans von Sponeck, his successor, who also resigned in protest. Each had 34 years at the UN and were acclaimed in their field; their resignations, along with the head of the World Food Programme in Baghdad, were unprecedented." [John Pilger, "Iraq: The Great Cover-Up," New Statesman, January 22, 2001] Bombing Iraq has become routine. Denver Post Columnist,Reggie Rivers, writes: "The stories hit the paper and we flip through them as if nothing is happening. The headlines read: 'Coalition planes fire at Iraqi air defense sites.' 'Air Force drone missing over Iraq.' 'U.S. launches major air attack on Iraq.' 'Allied jets hit Iraqi targets.'" And this would not be the first time that the U.S. has provoked a confrontation with Iraq. "The United States urged United Nations weapons inspectors in 1998 to deliberately provoke a confrontation with Baghdad to provide political cover for a U.S. bombing campaign, a former inspector claims in a new film documentary." [Ronni Berke, "Ex-U.N. Inspector in Iraq: U.S. Set Up Air raids," CNN New York Bureau, July 19, 2001] President Bush is no stranger to the politics of oil. Mr. Charles Lewis, founder of the Center for Public Integrity, writes in "The Buying of the President": George W. Bush was a director and shareholder of Harken Energy when in January 1990 it was granted "exclusive rights to carry out exploration, development, production, transportation, and marketing of petroleum throughout most of Bahrain's Gulf offshore areas." The company drilled two dry holes, but "Bush had sold off two-thirds of his holdings in Harken for nearly a million dollars, and bought a small share of the Texas Rangers, a deal that ultimately netted him--with a helping hand from Texas taxpayers--some $15 million." Mr. Bush inherited his dad's foreign policy advisors: Richard B. Cheney, Colin L. Powell, and Condoleeza Rice, and former Reaganite, Paul D. Wolfowitz-- who believes in "exporting American values". They are pushing for an attack on Iraq. [Enver Masud is founder of The Wisdom Fund, and author of The War on Islam] -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com CASI's website - www.casi.org.uk - includes an archive of all postings.