Iraq, a victim of US preoccupation with oil
Date: Wednesday, January 29 @ 09:25:27 UTC
Topic: Trinidad and Tobago

By George Alleyne, Newsday TT

The United States will invade Iraq, not because it believes that Iraq is concealing weapons of mass destruction which 'constitute' a threat to Israel, Kuwait or the rest of the Middle East, but because the US sees in such action a chance to control the bulk of the world's crude oil reserves.

It is as the Vice Presidential running mate to Adlai Stevenson in the 1956 United States Presidential Election, Senator Estes Kefauver, would charge that the origin of the Suez Canal crisis was rooted in his country's "preoccupation with oil".

Conquest of Iraq, and with American forces virtually occupying Kuwait, all the United States would need would be an e-mail message to the ruler of Saudi Arabia to effectively place it in a position to dictate oil production, and with it the international price of crude. The Middle East, which had been viewed, up to 1956 and the Suez crisis, as within the United Kingdom and France's spheres of influence, until the Administration of then President Dwight Eisenhower added the US to the Arab equation, will now be in America's back pocket.

An interesting development is that Israel will no longer enjoy the importance it has today, and will be as will Saudi Arabia, Kuwait or any other of the Middle Eastern States something of a jest in the Bush Administration's mind. Instead, she will have served her purpose, and join the ranks of history's expendables.

The US military intervention in Kuwait in 1990-1991 had nothing to do with saving it from Saddam Hussein's Iraq, but rather with the cynical embracing of the opportunity presented by Saddam which afforded the Americans a needed commanding presence in Kuwait.

It was a British Prime Minister, Harold MacMillan, who would say in March of 1957 to Eisenhower, shortly after he [MacMillan] had succeeded Anthony Eden, of Suez infamy, that Kuwait could meet, indefinitely, all of Western Europe's oil needs. It was not lost on Eisenhower, nor would it be on successive US Administrations, and Eisenhower would later recall that he "felt that Kuwait was really the key to the overall Middle East oil production problem".

I shift gears a bit. If MacMillan had been able to succeed Anthony Eden as Prime Minister, when he did, it was because of pressure exerted by Eisenhower who had been annoyed that Eden and then French Premier Guy Mollet had sent in British and French troops into Egypt, during the Suez crisis, without first mobilising world opinion before acting.

Today, 46 years later US President George Bush cynically believes that he has mobilised world opinion in favour of the United States for a clearly planned American invasion of Iraq.

But although Bush will order American Air Force and Marines to attack and invade Iraq, "irregardless", he may, nonetheless, adopt the tactic employed first by late US President, Lyndon B Johnson in 1965, and former President Ronald Reagan in 1983, when they decided on the respective invasions of the Dominican Republic and Grenada.

They proceeded by 'invitation'. Johnson told the world that the United States had been invited by a Dominican Republic General to step in to oust a President the US saw as a Communist, while Reagan said he had been invited by Heads of Governments of Caricom States to intervene in Grenada to remove the regime which had overthrown the Maurice Bishop Government.

The truth is that no General has the right to invite a foreign power to remove the constitutionally elected Government of his country. In the case of Grenada, the United States had requested Government Heads of several English speaking countries to invite the US to invade Grenada. A few acquiesced.

Someone, who is today Prime Minister of one of the Caricom States that had taken part in 'inviting' the United States, had told me of the charade, when I was on a business visit to his country in October of 1983, shortly after the invasion had begun.

What puzzles is that those who agreed to go along with the make believe invitation did not appear to understand that, if not the people of their countries, at least the rest of the world would have realised that the invitation was a mere sham. Indeed within hours of its 'being made' United States warships were off the coast of Grenada! What was fact was that the US would have attacked and invaded Grenada, whether Maurice Bishop or General Hutson had been in control.

American warships with US troops had been dispatched to Grenada two weeks earlier, after the US smarting at the loss of more than 200 Marines, who were killed when a truck loaded with explosives had been used by Arab terrorists to blow up sections of a US outpost in Beirut.

The mission of the troops was to depose the Maurice Bishop Government, and it merely happened that Bishop had been ousted before they arrived. So the US Government shifted gears.

The Johnson Administration's and the Reagan Administration's brutally cynical methods still shock to this day. Bush, however, may decide to go this route. But whether he trumps and follows suit with this strategy, his country's preoccupation, indeed the preoccupation of successive US Administrations' with oil is designed to give the Middle East a subserving role in American and world history and play second fiddle to the Region's oil.

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