All about oil

paul illich paul_illich at
Tue Feb 11 06:34:36 MST 2003

It am informed that the article below:
All about oil
Will be run, in its entirety, on
as a web page [not pdf] this Sunday [16th].


“It’s All About Oil”

Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan
(February 2003)

The Conventional Wisdom

If there is any agreement among the pundits, this surely
must be it: the coming war on Iraq will be fought largely over
oil. The gist of the argument is simple enough, and can be
summarized as follows:

In order to continue growing, the world economy
needs plenty of cheap oil;

The OPEC cartel stands in the way of that goal. For
years, its members have manipulated output to keep
prices high;

Now, there is finally an opportunity to change the
rules of the game, perhaps even to make the oil cartel

The entry point is Iraq. The country, says George
Bush Jr., has become a ‘global threat.’ It supports terrorism,
it has weapons of mass destruction, and it has
a ruler unscrupulous enough to use them. In the age
of ‘preventive strikes,’ these are sufficient reasons to
invade thy neighbour;

Once victorious, the invading armies will install a
new, more friendly leader. This ruler will adopt a
new energy policy, hostile to OPEC and friendly to
the United States and the West. And since Iraq has
11 per cent of the world’s crude oil reserves and the
ability to pump out plenty of it, the days of high oil
prices will soon be over.

The Economist of London expresses this logic as follows:
‘America’s chief interest in going after Iraq’s president,
Saddam Hussein, is doubtless to save the world from
his actual or potential weapons of mass destruction. Another
large consideration, secondary as it may be, has attracted
less attention than it should have: the effects that
would follow from the opening up of the country's enormous
reserves of oil. . . . It might seem, then, that knocking
out Mr Hussein would kill two birds with one stone: a
dangerous dictator would be gone, and with him would go
the cartel that for years has manipulated prices, engineered
embargoes and otherwise harmed consumers.’


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