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[casi] oil

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I'm not saying oil is not a factor at all in the Iraq issue, obviously it is. But what I'm also 
saying is that its not the real motivation behind what Bush is doing. Of course there is general US 
policy of maintaining oil rich regimes in the Middle East that co-operate with US strategic 
interests, which they see as important because it hosts two-thirds of the world's oil reserves. 
They also want to maintain the existence of governments in the region that are friendly to the West 
because a hostile regime could choke off supplies and create a global economic chaos. In this 
general sense oil is important, but this is quite different from saying that the US wants to invade 
Iraq just to grab its oilfields, even though thats what some of the neocons are advocating. Saudi 
Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Oman, Qatar, have completely nationalized oil industries, and while they 
generally co-operate with US strategic interests, they haven't let in US or any other oil companies 
to pillage their oilfields. The Saudis are agonizing about just letting their natural gas sector to 
foreign investors, but there's actually little pressure from the US government to do it, let alone 
open up their oil sector. Its about strategic policy, and Hussein has been deemed a strategic 
threat since he invaded Kuwait. Of course the sense of threat is heightened because of its 
geostrategic location in the oil rich Persain Gulf, but this precisely my point, as much as US oil 
companies would probably like to be offerred concessions by Baghdad in the event of sanctions 
finishing, theyre prevented from doing so because Hussein is persona non grata as far as the 
perception of US national security is concerned.

As for Afghanistan and Venezuela, there has been no commercial interest expressed in the so called 
gas pipeline between central asia and pakistan, largely because outside Kabul the country is still 
a security nightmare, thanks to western indifference. Surely US marines would be swarming over the 
country making it peaceful for a pipeline consortium? But they're not, they don't care. I agree 
Afghanistan has been, once again, abandoned, but this is not the reason.

In Venezuela, until the strike, Chavez was selling as much oil to the US that it needs, Bush 
doesn't like Chavez because he is a leftist, is pro-Castro, and visited Saddam Hussein. But if this 
too, was about oil, then Bush would be telling Chavez' opponents to give up the strike because oil 
prices are getting too high on the eve of an invasion of Iraq, which will drive the price even 
higher and cause a world recession. Bush is anti Chavez in spite of Venezuela's oil, not because of 
it, and anyway Chevez is thinking about making concessions to foreign oil companies, including 
American, to break down the dominance of the state owned oil company which is leading the strike 
against him.

This just confirms my point that the perception about national security often causes governments to 
make decisions that conflict with corporate interests. But what's happening in Washington at the 
moment is a conflict between right wing "realists" who are prepared to get rid of Saddam Hussein, 
provided that the impact on the region is minimized to preserve the status quo, and the right wing 
"idealists" who want to invade Iraq (and who are actually driving the push to do it),as a precursor 
to target other regimes in the region, including current US allies, because they believe they no 
longer suit US interests in their "glorious" new American imperium.
Peter Kiernan

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