EU Imperialists Oppose War on Iraq

D OC donaloc at
Thu Jan 23 03:06:23 MST 2003

I've read the following a few times. No need to be getting all bleary eyed
about EU leaders' decency:

>Fw: Chicago Tribune: European Leaders Hear Anti-War Cry -- And Listen

>LONDON -- After a weekend of anti-war demonstrations across the continent,
>political leaders in European capitals appear resolved to slow the Bush
>administration's drive toward a military confrontation with Iraq.
>The reason for the growing qualms of European political leaders is simple:
>It mirrors the mood of voters. Opinion polls across Europe show little
>enthusiasm for military intervention and deepening skepticism about the
>Bush administration's motives for going to war.

Here's a nice article on the
subject (inter-imperialist rivalries live on despite talk of 'empire'):

A little quote from it:

US and UK companies long held a three-quarter share in Iraq’s oil
production, but they lost their position with the 1972 nationalization of
the Iraq Petroleum Company.(6) The nationalization, following ten years of
increasingly rancorous relations between the companies and the government,
rocked the international oil industry, as Iraq sought to gain greater
control of its oil resources. After the nationalization, Iraq turned to
French companies and the Russian (Soviet) government for funds and
partnerships.(7) Today, the US and UK companies are very keen to regain
their former position, which they see as critical to their future leading
role in the world oil industry. The US and the UK governments also see
control over Iraqi and Gulf oil as essential to their broader military,
geo-strategic and economic interests. At the same time, though, other states
and oil companies hope to gain a large or even dominant position in Iraq. As
de-nationalization sweeps through the oil sector, international companies
see Iraq as an extremely attractive potential field of expansion. France and
Russia, the longstanding insiders, pose the biggest challenge to future
Anglo-American domination, but serious competitors from China, Germany and
Japan also play in the Iraq sweepstakes.(8)

During the 1990s, Russia’s Lukoil, China National Petroleum Corporation and
France’s TotalFinaElf held contract talks with the government of Iraq over
plans to develop Iraqi fields as soon as sanctions are lifted. Lukoil
reached an agreement in 1997 to develop Iraq’s West Qurna field, while China
National signed an agreement for the North Rumailah field in the same year
(China’s oil import needs from the Persian Gulf will grow from 0.5 million
barrels per day in 1997 to 5.5 million barrels per day in 2020, making China
one of the region’s most important customers).(9) France’s Total at the same
time held talks for future development of the fabulous Majnun field.

US and UK companies have been very concerned that their rivals might gain a
major long-term advantage in the global oil business. “Iraq possesses huge
reserves of oil and gas – reserves I’d love Chevron to have access to,”
enthused Chevron CEO Kenneth T. Derr in a 1998 speech at the Commonwealth
Club of San Francisco, in which he pronounced his strong support for
sanctions.(9) Sanctions have kept the rivals at bay, a clear advantage.
US-UK companies hope that the regime will eventually collapse, giving them a
strong edge over their competitors with a post-Saddam government. As the
embargo weakened and Saddam held onto power, however, stakes in the rivalry
rose, for US-UK companies worried that they might eventually be shouldered
aside. Direct military intervention by the US-UK, then, offers a tempting
but dangerous gamble that might put Exxon, Shell, BP and Chevron in
immediate control of the Iraqi oil boom, but at the risk of backlash from a
regional political explosion.

In testimony to Congress in 1999, General Anthony C.Zinni, commander in
chief of the US Central Command, testified that the Gulf Region, with its
huge oil reserves, is a “vital interest” of “long standing” for the United
States and that the US “must have free access to the region’s
resources.”(10) “Free access,” it seems, means both military and economic
control of these resources. This has been a major goal of US strategic
doctrine ever since the end of World War II. Prior to 1971, Britain (the
former colonial power) policed the region and its oil riches. Since then,
the United States has deployed ever-larger military forces to assure “free
access” through overwhelming armed might.(11)

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