It's about oil. Period.

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sun Nov 3 11:54:34 MST 2002

The American Prospect, Nov. 18, 2002

Tinker, Banker, NeoCon, Spy
Ahmed Chalabi's long and winding road from (and to?) Baghdad

By Robert Dreyfuss

If T.E. Lawrence ("of Arabia") had been a 21st-century neoconservative
operative instead of a British imperial spy, he'd be Ahmed Chalabi's
best friend. Chalabi, the London-based leader of the Iraqi National
Congress (INC), is front man for the latest incarnation of a long-time
neoconservative strategy to redraw the map of the oil-rich Middle East,
put American troops -- and American oil companies -- in full control of
the Persian Gulf's reserves and use the Gulf as a fulcrum for enhancing
America's global strategic hegemony. Just as Lawrence's escapades in
World War I-era Arabia helped Britain remake the disintegrating Ottoman
Empire, the U.S. sponsors of Chalabi's INC hope to do their own nation

"The removal of [Saddam Hussein] presents the United States in
particular with a historic opportunity that I believe is going to prove
to be as large as anything that has happened in the Middle East since
the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the entry of British troops into Iraq
in 1917," says Kanan Makiya, an INC strategist and author of Republic of

Chalabi would hand over Iraq's oil to U.S. multinationals, and his
allies in conservative think tanks are already drawing up the
blueprints. "What they have in mind is denationalization, and then
parceling Iraqi oil out to American oil companies," says James E. Akins,
former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Even more broadly, once an
occupying U.S. army seizes Baghdad, Chalabi's INC and its American
backers are spinning scenarios about dismantling Saudi Arabia, seizing
its oil and collapsing the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting
Countries (OPEC). It's a breathtaking agenda, one that goes far beyond
"regime change" and on to the start of a New New World Order.

What's also startling about these plans is that Chalabi is scorned by
most of America's national-security establishment, including much of the
Department of State, the CIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He is
shunned by all Western powers save the United Kingdom, ostracized in the
Arab world and disdained even by many of his erstwhile comrades in the
Iraqi opposition. Among his few friends, however, are the men running
the Bush administration's willy-nilly war on Iraq. And with their
backing, it's not inconceivable that this hapless, exiled Iraqi
aristocrat and London-Washington playboy might end up atop the smoking
heap of what's left of Iraq next year.



Louis Proyect

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