The Politics of Big Oil – A. Pogue, D. Hamilton, P. Spencer

As far as I know, the ethnic part of the conflict in Sudan is kind of like the Hutus and the Tutsis in Rwanda in that there isn’t much difference. I think the ethnic division is stressed by those who don’t want anyone to pay attention to the oil.

Just like “we” went into Iraq to bring democracy to the benighted savages and our honest leaders really did believe there were WMDs, really they did.

The USAID map of Sudan has the present oil concessions blocked out from central to south but nothing yet designated for the west. No one has paid off the central government for the rights. The Chinese are big and then there is Sweden, Malaysia,

Canada, France (which has Chad wrapped up). I am suspicious about the U.S. interest, could they be through other firms? USAID isn’t letting on. I haven’t dug that far. The Sudanese I spoke with tell me there is every bit as much oil in the west, Darfur. This is the reason to get all the people off of the soon-to-be oil fields. There are differences to be exploited in the conflicts, but I have yet to see any physiological differences. I think it is mainly that the central government doesn’t want to share. They need to go back to kindergarten.

Alan Pogue

Out of Iraq, Into Darfur: Just Saying No to Imperial Intervention in Sudan By GARY LEUPP

I may be mistaken, but I think I have read that far more people have died in the conflict in the eastern Congo in a ongoing struggle that has ethnic — and therefore genocidal — qualities. Up to a couple of million dead and counting by some estimates. How come we hear so much more about Darfur? And there was a similar war in southern Sudan for many years between Arabs and Blacks that aroused almost no attention. What’s different about Darfur?

David F. Hamilton

It’s “all oil, all the time”. The U.S. has been blocking the peace efforts, while at the same time calling for intervention.

This makes perfect sense, because if the southern factions could make peace with the government in Khartoum then the U.S. (U.N., NATO, whoever) would have no reason to intervene, and get the oil under Darfur in the process. People here are being used again. We should remember the bombing of Serbian schools, homes, markets, hospitals, TV stations and railroad passenger cars during that last “humanitarian” intervention.

Just to spell it out one more time: the difference is that now the U.S. wants to get the oil under Darfur before the Chinese get it. John Garang, the leader of the larger rebel faction, had a business degree from a U.S. college and he had gone to the School of the Americas for advanced military training. When he became the vice president of Sudan and peace was within reach he was killed by a U.S. Special Operations team.

The U.S. government has no humanitarian interests. We might as well ask the Mafia to intervene. We should drop the “Arabs and Blacks” thing. I think it is just more psy-ops propaganda aimed at anti-Arab sentiment.

Google Gruang’s name and a bunch of stuff will come up. A lot of what I saw was from the Sudan Tribune. The New York Times simply mentioned the crash. No one in the mainstream press is saying he was assassinated. If there was an investigation, nothing has been said officially other than it was an accident; nothing real is revealed.

After Garang’s helicopter was missing for awhile there was one story that said he had been found alive, but then that was contradicted. Go figure.

I have a friend who is also a Vietnam vet. He remains close to the cloak and dagger guys. He called me and asked who a hit team would hit in Sudan. I mentioned John Garang and why it would be helpful if he did not succeed in joining the government in Khartoum. I also mentioned the Chinese getting big oil concessions there and that Al Qaeda was recruiting there. Two weeks later Garang conveniently fell out of the sky. So I am making a judgment leap based on a tip something was coming down, high probability and the past actions the U.S. has taken with politicians the U.S. couldn’t buy. So no smoking gun.

The person who took Garang’s place either cannot or will not press for the implementation of the agreement Garang was able to forge. Garang was head of the Sudanese Liberation Army for 21 years, so he was a heavy hitter. That he became vice president in the ruling government was really something. It would not have brought peace to Darfur, but it would have brought peace to South Sudan and that would have made the Khartoum government stronger in relation to many other government’s desires for Sudan. But strife in Sudan helps others take advantage of Sudan, divide and conquer, have them fight among themselves, and then there are many factions that will make small deals rather than one big government that can drive a harder bargain.

Now the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, Robert B. Zoellick, is calling the shots in the Darfur negotiations. I don’t think the Sudanese elected him. There is an article in the, May New York Times about much of this. But the Times doesn’t talk about the oil negotiations going on behind closed doors in Khartoum, where the real action is. No word on the Chinese. What are their desires in relation to Darfur oil since they are big stake holders in southern Sudan?

The NY Times talks like the U.S. is the only player. The USAID site has a map of the current oil concessions.

Alan Pogue

1) Oil has been the reason that imperialistic countries have been messing around inthe Middle East for the last 80 or so years; minus that, nobody cares about the former Fertile Crescent.

2) The various Arabian “countries” are mostly a result of western, imperialist machinations, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. Iran is not Arab per se, but it is also a result of western, imperialist intervention.

3) Western — primarily U.S. — oil corporations have a stake in Arab oil from the ground through the refineries, into the tanker ships, etc. The “nationalization” of these oil fields is actually a partnership with western oil companies.

4) Iraq has the second-largest proven reserves after Saudi Arabia. Saudi oil is slowly being infiltrated with seawater, which increases cost of equipment (high-nickel alloys) and of the refinement process. Iraq oil is clean. (By the way, Iraq oil is not currently “nationalized.” Iraq oil is up for grabs.)

5) An imperialist power, such as the U.S., has to show that it is up to the task of remote rule ever so often. It’s a reminder to the emirs and the whatevers that they, too, can be replaced or permanently removed.

Paul Spencer

Successive U.S. governments always pretend they are bringing democracy and all good things to the blighted heathens. But those voodoo-worshiping heathens keep electing people who won’t play ball, so we must chose for them. I’m sorry to see people who are not Republicans falling for the argument that since we broke Iraq, we must fix Iraq. Those people who broke it are going to keep on breaking it as long as they remain in the store.

I shouldn’t overlook what I find irrational — the will to power — as a driving force, along with greed. I hardly ever think much about the wacky worldviews of the end-of-timers and the “we are the chosen ones” crowd. I think of these ideas as enabling but not driving forces. I shouldn’t discount them so much, because we do constantly find ourselves in these irrational situations where the action isn’t getting us what we (or they) say we want.

Did they really believe the Iraqis would welcome a foreign army? Did they really believe that Iraqi oil would offset the cost of the war on Iraq? Do they really believe they are smarter than the Iraqis? What is propaganda and what is insane egoism? I give you Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. They don’t care how many U.S. working-class soldiers get blown up, but the oil not making it to the market is a bummer. That no matter how many people die, we must control the oil or the Chinese will.

Dick Cheney wins no matter if the whole USA goes bankrupt over the war. That is their whole position. Nationalism and patriotism are for little people who think of the USA as a sort of football team that they are all somehow a part of. Global corporations think otherwise. In their minds only personal/corporate short term interests that keep them on top are worth pursuing. They think everyone has their price or simply can be threatened into submission. They can’t entertain the notion that some people really do want independence and possibly democracy. They think their spies and assassins can handle those pests. “Ah, the Phoenix Program, what fun itwas,” says Bobby Inman.

Never forget there are 100 billion barrels of oil under what is now Iraq. Most of the oil is under Kurdish feet in the north and under Shia feet south of Basra. The Sunnis will be the big losers under any partition. No Iraqi wants to join any other governmental entity. The ethnic/religious differences have been exploited/promoted by the U.S.. The U.S. should leave immediately but it won’t because Big Oil has invested a trillion dollars of our money (and placed it in their pockets) in controlling the oil. The complete destruction of Iraq is the other goal and that is coming along nicely. From Washington’s point of view, Kurdistan owing it’s allegiance to the U.S is good and that is the case already. Washington has been working toward that end for years. Turkey has been persecuting the Kurds and blocked a Kurdish state in 1923. Turkey is poised to attack if the Kurds break free. Thus, another “need” for a permanent U.S. base there. The Shia can kill the Sunnis, but a merging with Iran should be the most unwanted outcome.

Jordan has a million exiled Iraqis now. Jordan is a debtor nation and owes its survival to the U.S. and to Israel. Israel has many factories in Jordan using cheap Palestinian labor. Palestinians never gain citizenship in Jordan even if they are born there. I suppose the Iraqis could gain citizenship. In that case the Jordanian aristocracy would be in big trouble — ended. The “original” Jordanians , like the “original” Kuwaitis, jealously guard who gets to be a citizen, since they are outnumbered already. The Israelis would have to worry if there were millions more Iraqis in Jordan. But on the other hand “civil instability creates market stability,” so having millions of Iraqis in Jordan would further that end. Israel would need more arms and bigger walls. Israel would have to deploy the neutron bomb landmines they have on their drawing boards. But then the whole chain reaction could be beyond any Washington chess player’s ability to direct.

In Jordan, a couple of European -ooking business types asked me where I was from . When I said the U.S., they smiled and said, “So are we. We are Kurds. The 51st state.” They seemed really happy about it ,unlike some Puerto Ricans.

I’d say there are multiple objectives, but one large objective was to keep Iraq from becoming a Middle East power. Iraq served its purpose in going to war with Iran in the 1980s. A Pan-Arabic movement could have centered around Iraq. Creating maximum instability in Iraq was one conscious reason for invading. Sectarian rivalry has been promoted by the U.S. on every level of Iraqi society. Our leaders are also nutcases, so knowing how much they saw into the future is difficult to determine. The Kurdish protectorate has to be allied with the U.S. to forestall/survive an attack from Turkey. This much has been planned. I don’t know if Washington saw that a marginalized and persecuted Sunni population would seek refuge in Jordan, just as over a million plus Palestinians have, but it wouldn’t take much thinking to see that this would have to happen. Many Iraqis have also gone to Syria. The consequences for Jordan are more serious.

Controlling the oil is the big deal, but regional political chaos is part of the deal. The trick, is to be able to control/produce the oil while creating the maximum political chaos at the same time. If the U.S. could have a compliant Iraqi government, like the old Shah Palavi dictatorship in Iran, then all would be well. The largest nightmare would be a secular democracy in Iraqi which pursued Pan Arabism. Even if they sold us all the oil we wanted, which they would, Pan Arabism is the threat. I see Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan as a natural political block. I don’t know much about Syria, but I’d put them in the block too. So antagonism must be produced within and among these nations in as many ways as possible.

Alan Pogue

Even if the oil in a particular country has been nationalized, that does not keep the U.S., or others, from functional ownership. In Iraq, U.S. oil companies have been taking out long-term liens on Iraqi oil profits in return for improving the oil infrastructure. The problem for Iraq is that the terms of the deals are extremely bad for Iraq. Iraq could make better deals with Germany, France, Russia or China if it were able to do so.

The U.S. has set up a pseudo government and has spent billions in bribes to implement these deals. The U.S. has carefully produced civil strife so that real accord among Iraqis cannot take place. This is Negroponte’s role there. He is reprising his stage-managing of the Contras. Some call it the “El Salvador Option”.

The invasion cut off the implementation of a 40 billion dollar trade pact Hussein had made with Russia. When I was in Basra, I had a long pleasant, conversation with an Iraqi who had just become the manager of a Russian-built four star hotel there. China had laid a fiber-optic communications system in Baghdad.

When I was in Baghdad in December of 2002, it was easy to see that Iraq was recovering, in spite of the sanctions/blockade/embargo. The Chinese had given Iraq many red double-decker buses. Asian consumer goods were everywhere. In Basra, I bought knockoff Levis from Cyprus. Internet cafes had opened in Iraq. Restaurants and art galleries had reopened that had been closed for years. There were many new cars on the streets for the first time in 12 years. There were goods in the markets and people had money to buy them.

All of this was a threat to the U.S. policy of containment of Iraq and the forced mpoverishment of Iraqis. The invasion stopped all that. When the invasion took place, the U.S. military was instructed to make sure the Iraqis were not allowed to hold elections of any kind. There was no use having an invasion if the U.S. could not control the government that emerged. Initially unions were not allowed to re-form, but with time they have re-formed. The Iraqi oil workers union has opposed the corrupt money-for-oil infrastructure deals with the U.S.

Alan Pogue

The U.S. State Department, globalization’s Chamber of Commerce, managed to make the largest independent political group in the Darfur region ( otherwise called “rebels”) sign a peace agreement. The other two independent groups did not sign. Until these two groups are enticed or forced to sign there will be no effective peace keeping force sent in because the violence is “necessary” to “pacify” those who refuse to join the State Department’s program. Once there are no more independent political groups then real peace keepers will be sent in and then ExxonMobil will follow.

Meanwhile in Somalia a civil war is being fueled by the U.S.. In 1993 the Marines landed in Somalia and promptly took up residence in the Chevron headquarters in Mogadishu. There is an oil field which runs from south Yemen, under the Gulf of Aden, and under northern Somalia. Chevron and other U.S. oil companies want to drill for that oil. They already have refineries in Yemen. The last time General Adid was too much for the U.S. military. The oil companies have been biding their time. Now the mainstream story is that there are Al Qaeda terrorists in Somalia. Last time the official story was the U.S. was on a humanitarian mission to help the starving Somalians. No more humanitarian missions in Somalia. The U.S. is simply going to kill a lot of people there in the name of anti-terrorism.

200,000 AK47s were picked up by the U.S. in Bosnia at garage sale prices. They were to be shipped to Iraq but nobody knows where they went because the U.S. did not simply put them on U.S. transport planes but instead hired many middlemen to ship the weapons so that they could not be traced. I expect many of them are now in the hands of Somali warlords in the service of Chevron.

As always, the cardinal rule is : “Civil instability creates market stability”.

Alan Pogue

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1 Response to The Politics of Big Oil – A. Pogue, D. Hamilton, P. Spencer

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wonderful, Richard. Thanks.
    Will try to help this grow.
    david macbryde

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