The real goal is the seizure of Saudi oil

Mark Jones markjones011 at
Thu Sep 5 03:12:12 MDT 2002

The real goal is the seizure of Saudi oil

Iraq is no threat. Bush wants war to keep US control of the region

Mo Mowlam
Thursday September 5, 2002
The Guardian

I keep listening to the words coming from the Bush administration about 
Iraq and I become increasingly alarmed. There seems to be such confusion, 
but through it all a grim determination that they are, at some point, going 
to launch a military attack. The response of the British government seems 
equally confused, but I just hope that the determination to ultimately 
attack Iraq does not form the bedrock of their policy. It is hard now to 
see how George Bush can withdraw his bellicose words and also save face, 
but I hope that that is possible. Otherwise I fear greatly for the Middle 
East, but also for the rest of the world.
What is most chilling is that the hawks in the Bush administration must 
know the risks involved. They must be aware of the anti-American feeling 
throughout the Middle East. They must be aware of the fear in Egypt and 
Saudi Arabia that a war against Iraq could unleash revolutions, disposing 
of pro-western governments, and replacing them with populist anti-American 
Islamist fundamentalist regimes. We should all remember the Islamist 
revolution in Iran. The Shah was backed by the Americans, but he couldn't 
stand against the will of the people. And it is because I am sure that they 
fully understand the consequences of their actions, that I am most afraid. 
I am drawn to the conclusion that they must want to create such mayhem.
The many words that are uttered about Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass 
destruction, which are never substantiated with any hard evidence, seem to 
mean very little. Even if Saddam had such weapons, why would he wish to use 
them? He knows that if he moves to seize the oilfields in neighbouring 
countries the full might of the western world will be ranged against him. 
He knows that if he attacks Israel the same fate awaits him. Comparisons 
with Hitler are silly - Hitler thought he could win; Saddam knows he 
cannot. Even if he has nuclear weapons he cannot win a war against America. 
The United States can easily contain him. They do not need to try and force 
him to irrationality.
But that is what Bush seems to want to do. Why is he so determined to take 
the risk? The key country in the Middle East, as far as the Americans are 
concerned, is Saudi Arabia: the country with the largest oil reserves in 
the world, the country that has been prepared to calm the oil markets, 
producing more when prices are too high and less when there is a glut. The 
Saudi royal family has been rewarded with best friend status by the west 
for its cooperation. There has been little concern that the government is 
undemocratic and breaches human rights, nor that it is in the grip of an 
extreme form of Islam. With American support it has been believed that the 
regime can be protected and will do what is necessary to secure a supply of 
oil to the west at reasonably stable prices.
Since September 11, however, it has become increasingly apparent to the US 
administration that the Saudi regime is vulnerable. Both on the streets and 
in the leading families, including the royal family, there are increasingly 
anti-western voices. Osama bin Laden is just one prominent example. The 
love affair with America is ending. Reports of the removal of billions of 
dollars of Saudi investment from the United States may be difficult to 
quantify, but they are true. The possibility of the world's largest oil 
reserves falling into the hands of an anti-American, militant Islamist 
government is becoming ever more likely - and this is unacceptable.
The Americans know they cannot stop such a revolution. They must therefore 
hope that they can control the Saudi oil fields, if not the government. And 
what better way to do that than to have a large military force in the field 
at the time of such disruption. In the name of saving the west, these vital 
assets could be seized and controlled. No longer would the US have to 
depend on a corrupt and unpopular royal family to keep it supplied with 
cheap oil. If there is chaos in the region, the US armed forces could be 
seen as a global saviour. Under cover of the war on terrorism, the war to 
secure oil supplies could be waged.
This whole affair has nothing to do with a threat from Iraq - there isn't 
one. It has nothing to do with the war against terrorism or with morality. 
Saddam Hussein is obviously an evil man, but when we were selling arms to 
him to keep the Iranians in check he was the same evil man he is today. He 
was a pawn then and is a pawn now. In the same way he served western 
interests then, he is now the distraction for the sleight of hand to 
protect the west's supply of oil. And where does this leave the British 
government? Are they in on the plan or just part of the smokescreen? The 
government speaks of morality and the threat posed by weapons of mass 
destruction, but can they really believe it?
· Mo Mowlam was a member of Tony Blair's cabinet from 1997-2001
momwlm at

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