uncertainties are increasing. The war against Iraq is not abating, and the
intensification of this bloodfest is destabilizing the region and the global
economy. For those who started this war, the cost is not counted in the
numbers of the dead but rather in dollars. We are swamped with mixed
economic reports, uncertain growth prognostications, ebbing consumer
spending and oil prices that keep floating at a narrow price level marked
“high,” despite pledges from OPEC and its Saudi Arabian fixer that it can
light a thousand Aladdin’s lamps for 1001 nights.
The major oil and gas reserves in the Middle
East, Central Asia and Afghanistan can certainly do that, and with ease.
It’s just a coincidence that the US army has cornered this huge, priceless
swath for the “enduring freedom” of its people. The Thieves of Baghdad are
on a roll.
No other region in the world can even attempt
to offer a supply alternative of such scales. All the pipelines leading out
of this region, in every direction, are now under the US sphere of control.
Many pipelines on the drawing board will be redrawn.
It’s also a coincidence that right from the onset, even before 9/11, President George W. Bush’s team had placed oil and energy at the forefront of US foreign and domestic policies.
It is yet another coincidence that some
imbecile miscalculated along the way, in the manner affecting the actors
below in the following ways:
In a position to pump more oil at high prices, enriching the Kingdom in the process. With American soldiers next door, the monarchy’s hand is strengthened against a restive population, provided they acquiesce to American demands. They have long played this game well, and the new terror alerts are not a coincidence as there are lots of petrodollars flowing into the kingdom right now. As soon as those global terror alerts sounded, “suspected Al Qaeda” militants killed 17 foreigners in the oil city of Khobar. You would expect Khobar to be better guarded, with a history going back to the killing of 19 US soldiers in 1996. The latest attack didn’t have an effect on Saudi pumps as oil installations are better protected there than western oil professionals.
As promised by US authorities, there will be an escalation in terror attacks against America and its allies within and without. Just after the recent strike, a statement purportedly from Al Qaeda was yet again posted on “Islamist sites” over the Internet. The tools of the Patriot Act somehow can’t penetrate the borderless world of cyberspace to track down the source of these statements while cheap software can show you the IP address of an email source. This is made easier in Saudi Arabia, which has a major nodal point to monitor Internet traffic in and out of the country, a result of its fixation with porn.
leaders pillory the Saudi regime as a “breeder of terrorism,” they have a
point but no American president has yet been elected to put an end to this.
Or for that matter any British or Israeli leader, though, ironically, there
are plenty of Arabs and Persians itching to deal with this “breeder of
Oh yeah, and Bush can’t control the anger of indignant Republicans, just as he didn’t know the US army would be making a surplus of crazy snafus in Iraq, when everyone was “sure” of Saddam Hussein’s WMD.
Saudi Arabia is the country that produced 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers, something the Axis of Warmongers, and their pliant media, are eager to overlook, except when its time to pressure the Saudi monarchy.
Tel Aviv is longing to reopen a colonial era
pipeline from Iraq's Kirkuk oil fields to the Israeli port of Haifa. The old
pipeline was built by the British in the '40s and is now in a decrepit
state. It was shut down by neighboring Arab nations after Israel’s war of
independence in 1948. New investments, worth billions, with a brand new
pipeline will solve Israel’s energy needs and meet oil demands from the
Mediterranean region and beyond. Overtures were made to Jordanian officials
a while back to allow a profitable right of passage.
When clinically viewed, a new pipeline would
benefit the Arab countries involved, their oil firms, US oil corporations
and Israel. Ahmad Chalabi had a marked pro-Israel stance and his political
stars should be watched in days to come.
The project is currently unviable as the Arabs would be implacably hostile to it, unless President George W. Bush’s crusade turns out to be the mother of all wars, which developing events and his pseudo-religious mania might make a reality.
Back in 1975, Henry Kissinger had signed a
deal to guarantee Israel much-needed oil in a crisis, and there is a crisis
in Israel every day. Renewed
every five years, the deal is backed by special legislation that requires
the US to stock up oil for Israel even if it “entails domestic shortages.”
The deal cost $3 billion (£1.9bn) in 2002 to US taxpayers. (Guardian, April
20, 2003). You might guess where some of that reserve oil is going now this
Senator Charles E. Schumer (D- NY) was livid that for “every penny increase at the pump, $1.36 billion comes out of consumers' pockets”…while “the administration continues to fill the (US strategic) reserve with hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil daily despite the fact that it's almost 95% full.”
Even Democrats place more premiums on Israeli reserves than domestic ones.
Why is the United States subsuming its interests to Israel and risking the wrath of its citizens unless there is a very, very good reason?
Tel Aviv meantime is itching for a fight against the two adversaries below and not the “breeder of terrorism.”
Bush or his successor will be “sure” of this
nation’s support of terrorism and their WMD. Watch for more “propatainment,”
delivered blockbuster-style from the US media. Iran has a large reserve of
fossil fuel and is the second largest oil producer in OPEC. It is the only
regional power that can resist American hegemony with some effect.
Militarily, it is completely encircled by the US army, Pakistan, and a
traditionally hostile Saudi Arabia. Iran is effectively neutralized and new
Central Asian pipelines have been designed to bypass Iran, Syria and Russia.
It can no longer use oil as a weapon although Persians don’t go down that
easily without a bloody fight. Expect another mission creep to follow.
Teheran’s position is severely weakened.
Bush or his successor will be “sure” of this
country’s terror and WMD infrastructure as well. Doesn’t have the resources
of Iran and will be lucky if it’s only bypassed in any future development.
Future military confrontation likely, with further provocations from Israel,
as Damascus is an unflinching bulwark against long-held US-Israeli plans for
the Middle East.
Syria might likely be included in a new Axis of Evil alongside Iran. The US is withdrawing 37,000 troops from the Demilitarized Zone in South Korea, away from a nation that could supposedly nuke the Californian coast through its Taepodong-2 missiles.
Invasion planned long before Sept 11 with an audacity that still hasn’t sunk into the American public. Till today, many of them think Saddam plotted 9/11. Oil flowing out but regular supply never guaranteed. A “coalition of the willing” is battling there, ready to destroy other vestiges of Arab resistance.
The oil from Kirkuk is now transported through
the Turkish port of Ceyhan. Around 14,500 local Iraqis are paid
£70 a week by private security firms to
guard this economic lifeline (Daily Telegraph, May 17). Without
this Kurdish oil, Ankara’s geo-political strength will weaken considerably,
at a time when the Turkish economy is recovering from its doldrums. Here is
the perfect opportunity to wrench concessions out of Turkey.
Sits on huge natural gas
reserves. It was once estimated by the Soviets ('70s) to be around 5
trillion cubic feet. Status quo can remain as long as nobody else starts
drilling there. The “coalition” army hardly ventures out of Kabul and other
major bases. Hamid Karzai may be the benevolent face of the “new”
Afghanistan but he is after all, more than a friend to the American
government and US oil corporations.
Karzai once worked closely with
Afghan-American Zalmay Khalilzad on a plan to tap Central Asian gas through
Afghanistan. Even the Taliban warmed up to the idea. The CentGas project
later died down due to 9/11, and the subsequent instability in Afghanistan.
It would have been the cheapest route for Central Asian gas.
Khalilzad was later named Bush’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan.
on terror here has given the US a pretext to erect military bases in Central
Asia and no one asks why the greatest power on earth doesn’t find it safe to
concentrate its bases on Afghan territory. An Afghan stalemate would make
this Central Asian presence indefinite.
Pumping more oil than ever, and is reaping good profits. It’s losing its monopoly on Central Asian oil, with the aforementioned pipelines planned to divert oil into the Caucasus. The Russians are hopping mad at this but are not really in a position to militarily challenge US encroachment in the region. It can barely hold on to Grozny alone; forget other places in the Caucasus, where its army is conveniently pinned down by terrorist activities, backed by, who else, the Afghan Mujaheedin-CIA creation Osama bin Laden!
at solving the conflicts in
Nagorno-Karabakh, Dagestan and Abkhazia has proved unsuccessful so far.
Guess who is going to be play the Tooth Fairy?
Global demand for oil is currently insatiable
and China’s expanding economy needs a lot of it. Whoever controls the oil
supply to China, controls its economy, and the extent of its growth rate. If
its economy is pressed, Beijing will focus on what it’s best at -- producing
cheap goods of inferior quality; items termed by Singaporean leaders as
“cheap and of high quality.” The reality is many who say this do not buy
wholly Chinese tech products. Many ethnic Chinese stores in Kuala Lumpur are
already rejecting Made-in-China electronic goods. US shopping malls stock
glossy Chinese products that sell for a song and break at a whim. The only
products of “high quality” are those manufactured with a foreign label,
foreign innovation and strict quality control, a reality that can be lost
inside Motorola, but not among foreign buyers who are switching to Nokia,
Samsung and Siemens cell phones.
If things get worse, it might be interesting to see how the oil-rich Spratly Islands in South East Asia is played up. Many ASEAN nations are laying claim to all or parts of it, with a greater degree of validity than China. The UN’s Law of the Seas conventions only allows a 200-nautical mile limit to maintain Exclusive Economic Zones, and not something approaching 800 miles or beyond.
Osama bin Laden
outside the loop knows where he is or whether he still exists, or what
happened after his last genuinely public “video conference.”
His name is slowly being substituted by the term “Al Qaeda” in major
reports, giving the impression of endless terror from an invisible,
multi-headed Hydra. Not really in media oblivion but could be on his way.
Expendable. What else do you expect? If the British electorate doesn’t kick
him out, “New Labour” -- itself a corporate buyout
-- will replace him with Gordon Brown, the
Chancellor of Exchequer. Brown knows his soldiers are not very expendable.
The Brits enjoy a bloody good fight, but only when they need to.
George W. Bush
likelihood of staying. His trump card is “terror”. It is his only public
card. This is the United States, where people think God talks to this man,
who claims to have substituted “Christ” for whatever he worshipped at his
Skull and Bones shrine at Yale University. His deity certainly wasn’t Jim
Beam or San Miguel; otherwise, the United States would have had an
Oktoberfest all year long, complete with oom-pah-pah dins instead of
distant gunfire and deaths. What do you prefer? Perhaps another fellow cult
brother called John Kerry? Still outraged by Clinton’s consensual
indiscretion, are you, perhaps more than the Abu Ghraib photos?
traditionally expendable to meet corporate targets.
The rest of us
This won’t be the end of what looks like a global domination plan. If the US army stays long enough in the region, expect a series of mission creeps to follow. The only excuse for them being there is terror. Watch out for more, dwarfing yesterday’s attacks in Khobar.
Alerts now stretch from Boston, Islamabad to Panama City, and do not forget Southeast Asia with its Jemaah Islamiya. Only the US government has such a reach though foreign governments have been “recruited” -- an appropriate term -- to avert terror attacks of a 9/11 scale. (AP, May 27). Don’t you think Sept 11 worked wonders for US mega corporations?
It’s summer time, when consumer demands and oil consumption will be at its annual peak. Businesses need that oil and it will be supplied at a cost that can be measured more in the number of deaths than dollars.
The US army has completely triangulated the planet’s oil belly from Incirlik (Turkey) to Manas (Kyrgyzstan) to Masirah (Oman). It will be there for global economic stability and that’s how our perverse systems work.
Oil is an issue that the masses, when desperate, will understand. We can’t have runaway oil prices, can we, even if there are free alternatives from greasy chicken kung pao. You can speed away on highways and rock away across the country like how Healing Waters Band did! It is a little late for that now.
publishes an eclectic online journal called the Panoptic World (www.maavak.net).
He is a journalist based in the Far East.
Mathew Maavak publishes an eclectic online journal called the Panoptic World (www.maavak.net). He is a journalist based in the Far East.Copyright 2004 @ Mathew Maavak.