Wednesday, April 16, 2003

The New Great Game

This article, from The Ecologist, has been tossed around for awhile now, but I figured it still has timely value. Chalabi was already assuring oil deals at press time?

It is not difficult to imagine that a regime installed in Baghdad by US forces would favour US firms in the allotment of drilling concessions. Ahmed Chalabi, the leader of the dubious CIA-backed opposition movement the Iraqi National Congress, has already met with managers of ExxonMobil and ChevronTexaco. Talking to The Washington Post, Chalabi said: ‘US companies will get a big shot at Iraqi oil.’ This blatant favouritism worries BP, which pioneered the discovery of petrol in Iraq in the early 20th century. BP head Lord Browne speculated that if the Blair government did not actively support regime change in Iraq, British oil companies would lose out to their US competitors.

And in an accompanying passage at the conclusion of the article...

1. James Woolsey, CIA Director from 1993 to 1995, and US Senator Richard G Lugar:

‘ Oil is a magnet for conflict. The problem is simple: everyone needs energy, but the sources of the world’s transportation fuel are concentrated in relatively few countries. Well over two thirds of the world’s remaining oil reserves lie in the Middle East (including the Caspian basin), leaving the rest of the world dependent on the region’s collection of predators and vulnerable autocrats. This unwelcome dependence keeps US military forces tied to the Persian Gulf, forces foreign policy compromises, and sinks many developing nations into staggering debt as they struggle to pay for expensive dollar-denominated oil with lower-priced commodities and agricultural products. In addition, oil causes environmental conflict. The possibility that greenhouse gases will lead to catastrophic climate change is substantially increased by the 40 million barrels of oil burned every day by vehicles. ’
Source: Foreign Affairs Jan/Feb 1999

When are we ever going to start taking these admonitions and warnings to start thinking sustainably seriously? We probably could have engineered an energy R&D revolution with the dollars we'll end up spending in Iraq. Knocking out Saddam by irrelevance would have been so much sweeter.


The bill is now up to $20 billion and counting...