Chechen crisis and oil

Ghebremichael Woldeselassie ghebremichael at
Wed Dec 22 10:17:19 MST 1999

MAybe Gulf intervention was oil-related, but in the context of price, not
getting oil.  Iraq invaded Kuwait and planned to move into N Arabian oil
fields because both countries were overpumping and allowing oil-price to
fall.  Curiously, taking out Iraqi production served to satisfy the major
oil companies who also demanded a higher oil price, as did the firing of
Kuwaiti oil field by the retreating Iraqi forces.  Should Iraqi oil begin to
flow again, at a time when the OPEC cartel seems to be getting some leverage
on world price again, then down would come the price, because Iraq is about
no 3 or 4 of the largest producers.  Have to look more widely than simple
views about 'plunder of natural resources' as a motive for imperialism.
Start perhaps with capital's self-enlarging tendency.

>From: Russell Grinker <grinker at>
>Reply-To: marxism at
>To: marxism at
>Subject: Re: Chechen crisis (from LM 127)
>Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 19:39:17 +0200
>OK so it's all about oil is it?  On the basis of an understanding of
>"political economy" what was behind the following "humanitarian"
>interventions around the world?
>Iraq 1991; Somalia 1993; Bosnia 1993-5; Rwanda 1994; Iraq 1992-9;
>It seems far from obvious that military intervention in Iraq secured a
>greater slice of the region's oil wealth.  In fact Iraqi oil production has
>been slashed.  Subsequent interventions also don't seem to fit a nineteenth
>century imperialist pattern of plundering natural resources.  In fact the
>war zones in the list above have been some of the poorest in the world, not
>the richest. So what exactly is an explanation of the real motives behind
>the humanitarian rhetoric?  What was the strategic importance of these
>regions for the West?
>Lou Proyect  wrote:
> >Utterly banal observations. Doesn't anybody in Furedi-ville have an
> >interest in political economy anymore? Instead of considering access to
> >petroleum, we get an analysis that revolves around "face-saving" and
> >quasi-psychological explanations. For people too young to remember, this
> >was exactly the kind of empty-headed liberal explanations most of us
> >received about the war in Vietnam until some of us were lucky enough to
> >stumble across somebody like Isaac Deutscher or Ernest Mandel at a

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