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The Wisdom Fund: Why Iraq May be Next (fwd)

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

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

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