by Anna Pha and Peter Symon
newspaper of the Communist Party of Australia
Wednesday, February 5th, 2003
In a draft plan prepared by the Pentagon and quoted in the New York Times (9-3-92) it was stated quite bluntly: «In the Middle East and South West Asia our overall objective is to remain the predominant outside power in the region and preserve US and western access to the regions oil.» Ten years on that objective has not changed.
Vice President Dick Cheney received an energy policy report five months before September 11, 2001, advocating the use of military force against any enemy such as Iraq to secure US access to and control of Middle Eastern oil fields. «Iraq remains a destabilising influence to ... the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East. Saddam Hussein has also demonstrated a willingness to threaten to use the oil weapon and to use his own export program to manipulate oil markets», said the report to the Pentagon.
The report titled Strategic Energy Policy Challenges for the 21st Century describes the energy sector as being in a critical condition. It says, «A crisis could erupt at any time [which] could have a potentially enormous impact on the US ... and would affect US national security and foreign policy in dramatic ways.»
The report raises concerns about the US becoming too reliant on foreign powers supplying it with oil and gas and the growing anti-American feeling in the oil rich states. «Gulf allies are finding their domestic and foreign policy interests increasingly at odds with US strategic considerations, especially as Arab-Israeli tensions flare», said the report. «They have become less inclined to lower oil prices ... A trend towards anti-Americanism could affect regional leaders' ability to co-operate with the US in the energy area.»
This fear of oil states in the Middle East being beyond the control of the US and its energy corporations is behind the wider objective of the US which is expressed when George Bush says in his State of the Union speech, «Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen».
George Bush makes it very clear when he says, «Every nation in every region now has a decision to make. Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbour or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.»
Hence the agenda, of which war on Iraq is only the beginning, is not only the establishment of a US base in Iraq and a compliant Government, but it involves a far broader objective -- that of controlling all Middle Eastern oil. Any threat to this objective will be dealt with.
For many decades British and French imperialist interests dominated the Middle East. With the break-up of the Ottoman Empire and following WW I, the spoils were divided up and new states carved out by these two powers.
French power predominated in Syria and Lebanon. British power held absolute sway in Jordan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
The US objective is not simply to seize control of Iraqi oil but all the oil resources of the Middle East and if this involves the redrawing of the political map in the face of rising anti-American sentiments, this will also be done.
Today the four biggest and most powerful petroleum corporations in the world are based in Britain and the US: Exxon-Mobil, Shevron-Texaco, British Petroleum-Amoco and Royal Dutch-Shell.
This explains why the Blair Government has so enthusiastically lined up with the US objectives of war and redivision. It also explains the resistance of France and Germany. They are being excluded and as a by-product, the Euro as a currency will be weakened against the dollar.
Sasha Lilley who is an independent producer and correspondent for Free Speech Radio News, reports on an interview with British Labour Party Member of Parliament George Galloway. He confirmed that the aims of the US and Britain go well beyond replacing the Iraqi leader.
Lilley quotes Mr Galloway as saying: «They include a recasting of the entire Middle East, the better to ensure the hegemony of the big powers over the natural resources of the Middle East and the safety and security of the vanguard of imperialist interests in the area - the State of Israel. And part of that is actually redrawing boundaries.»
Mr Galloway is vice-chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party Foreign Affairs Committee and, says Lilley, has close relations to Britain's Ministry of Defence. «Galloway says that British Ministers and former Ministers are primarily focused on the break-up of Saudi Arabia and Iraq in the wake of an attack against Saddam Hussein, but are also discussing the possible partition of Egypt, Sudan, Syria and Lebanon», reports Lilley. «These officials have become taken with the realisation that the borders of the Middle East are recent creations dating back only to WWI when Britain and France divided the region between themselves.»
Lilley continues, «This divvying up of the region by imperial powers led to the creation of the states of Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq among others.»
Under the aegis of Britain, the modern state of Saudi Arabia emerged in the late 1920s, absorbing the hitherto separate eastern, central and western regions - including the holy sites of Mecca and Medina - of what constitutes the country today. «The partition of the Middle East was partially driven by the oil conglomerates of the time.»
Lilley makes the point that, «While massive upheaval in the Middle East would hurt oil revenues initially, a new constellation of power there could in the long run safeguard the interests of the petroleum conglomerates from the present instability of the region.»
Saudi Arabia, with a quarter of the world's petroleum reserves is one of the main areas of concerns to the US. There are fears that the present regime will be overthrown and replaced by more progressive and anti-US Government.
According to George Galloway one of the scenarios being discussed in British government circles is to divide Saudi Arabia into two or possibly three countries.
This «would have the helpful bonus of avoiding foreign forces having to occupy the holiest places in Islam, when they're only interested really in oil wells in the eastern part of the country».
According to Galloway, the US troops based throughout Saudi Arabia could be withdrawn from the areas containing Mecca and Medina, «the most hallowed sites of the Islamic world, where the US military presence is a source of great anti-American sentiment amongst many Saudis.» Soldiers would then occupy the eastern province of the country which contain s the major oil fields, including the largest oil field in the world, Ghawar, and the industrial centres of the kingdom.
Lilley raises the question of the destabilisation of the region with war on Iraq in which «radical anti-American protesters move to overthrow their governments and the US intervenes to prevent the emergence of such hostile regimes. The US long ago granted itself permission to intervene in Saudi Arabia if the House of Saud were threatened by internal revolt, and this could be extended elsewhere under the licence of the `war on terrorism'.»
What is being talked about here is a reorganisation, or redistribution of boundaries in the Middle East and a re-colonisation by the US and Britain.
Such thinking is not only prevalent in British Government circles but also in the US.
The Under-Secretary of Policy at the US Department of Defense, Douglas Feith, who is now in the number three position at the Pentagon, prior to his Pentagon appointment wrote with others a document headed «A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm».
He advised the Israeli Government to «work closely with Turkey and Jordan to contain, destablise, and roll back some of its most dangerous threats», including attacking Lebanon and Syria. «Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing and even rolling back Syria», wrote Feith and others.
Apart from using the war on Iraq as an opportunity to attack Syria, «Israel could once and for all settle the `Palestinian question' by expelling the Palestinian population to Jordan as many in Israel have been advocating», says Lilley.
Henry Kissinger summed up the sentiment held by the US administration's thinking in the opening to his Does America Need a Foreign Policy, with the words, «the US is enjoying a pre-eminence unrivalled by even the greatest empires in the past».
Thinking in British circles is very similar. In an article entitled «A Civilisational Challenge», Kanan Makiya says, «the problem is much deeper than bin Laden and his associates, and will not end with their demise. Nor is it about Islam and its relation with the West; it is above all about the mess that the Arab part of the Muslim world is in, and that part is some seventeen per cent of the whole.»
Kanan Makiya teaches at Brandeis University, a Jewish college near Boston. He refers to the ultimate target being the whole post Ottoman Arab order. «This is a revolt of the sons against the fathers who had to make all the compromises and broker all the dirty little deals that created the constellation of ultimately failed states that we see today in the Middle East.»
These «dirty little deals» were the cut up and reworking of boundaries made by the French and the British imperialists, but there is no mention of the French and British creating «failed states», it's all the fault of the Arabs.
This article appeared in a publication called Re-Ordering the World: The long term implications of the 11 September. It was published by the Foreign Policy Centre in Britain, whose patron is British Prime Minister Tony Blair and whose President is former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook.
In that publication Robert Cooper, an adviser to Tony Blair, says, «The challenge to the postmodern world [the successful states] is to get used to the idea of double-standards. Among ourselves, we operate on the basis of laws and open cooperative security. But when dealing with more old fashioned kind of states outside the post-modern continent of Europe, we need to revert to the rougher methods of an earlier era -- force, pre-emptive attack, deception, whatever is necessary to deal with those who still live in the 19th century world of `every state for itself'.»
Robert Cooper goes on to propose a return to colonialism and imperialism. «Empire and imperialism are words that have become terms of abuse in the postmodern world. Today there are no colonial powers willing to take on the job, though the opportunities, perhaps even the need, for colonisation is as great as it ever was in the 19th century.»
He said that if states wished to benefit «they must open themselves up to the interference of international organisations and foreign states.»
He goes onto cite the example of Kosovo where intervention has resulted in not only the on-going presence of foreign forces but the imposition of police, judges, prison officers, central bankers, 100 NGOs and many others who also remain on an on-going basis.
The UN is involved in the establishment, training and financing of this infrastructure.
Cooper dresses up his vision of re-colonisation with warm-sounding terms such as «cooperative empire», «dedicated to liberty and democracy».
The post-modern states, and he means Britain and the US in the first place, will colonise the «failed states» in a new world «which is open for investment and growth». This is Cooper and Blair's «new kind of imperialism».