This article is Part 2 of the author’s essay: Imperial Playground: The Story of Iran in Recent History by Andrew G. Marshall
Imperial Playground in The Post Cold War Era
After Iran-Contra, and the Iran-Iraq War, which lasted until 1988, new developments began to occur in the region of and around Iran, which have a great deal to do with the current situation we are facing today. In 1989, George H.W. Bush became President, and, after pardoning all the former Contra criminals who kept his part in the Affair secret, had his eyes set on the Middle East as well. This was also an extremely pivotal point in history, as in 1989 the Berlin Wall fell, which was the great symbol of the division between the West and the Soviet Union. Before the world, the Soviet Union began to collapse, just as Brzezinski had hoped, as the war between the Soviet Union and Afghanistan ended in 1989, with the Soviets defeated.
The Soviet Union began to dismantle, freeing countries from its grip, such as East Germany and the other Eastern European Soviet satellite countries. But this presented a new conflict for the Anglo-Americans, as the concept of a new, unified Germany, and expanded Europe, threatened Anglo-American hegemony. Of course, as always, the Anglo-American alliance would not sit still as their complete hegemony over the world was at risk. So, again, they turn to their secret weapon, connivance and manipulation of events at the world’s main source of oil, the Middle East, through their favourite tool of ‘Petrodollar Warfare’; “Senior circles in the Thatcher and Bush governments had determined to create a manufactured pretext which would allow the United States and Britain to establish a direct military presence at the choke point of the world’s, and especially Continental Europe’s, petroleum supplies.”1 William Engdahl pointed out that Iraq “had just emerged from eight years of a fruitless war against Iran, which had accomplished little other than to provide Western arms manufacturers with a vast market for arms sales to the Middle East,” as well as the fact that “By 1989, the economy of Iraq was in shambles and investment in industry and agriculture had been largely halted during the war, which had cost an estimated total of one million or more lives.” Engdahl further pointed out that, “Iraq, unlike Khomeni’s Iran, emerged from the costly war with an enormous foreign debt burden,” which was owed to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the Soviet Union, and eastern European countries “which had expected to be repaid in Iraqi oil. The remainder was owed largely to French, British and American banks.”2 As Greg Palast, a BBC journalist said, in his book, Armed Madhouse, there was an “Iraqi debt totaling $120 billion to $150 billion, depending on who’s counting. And who’s counting is very important. Some of the so-called ‘debt’ owed to Saudi Arabia was given to Saddam to fight a proxy war for the Saudis against their hated foe, the Shia of Iran.”3
It is important to note that behind petrodollar strategy (oil politics), is the fact that it is never about getting the oil out of the ground, but rather that it is about getting control over the oil, and, in the Middle East, where any events have significant repercussions across the world, economically, politically and socially, the concept is to stop, or slow the flow of oil, because that way, the price goes up. The more oil on the market (the more being pumped), the cheaper it will be. So, the less oil being pumped, the higher the price of oil goes, and thusly, the more profits made by oil companies, especially when it comes to the extremely oil-rich nations of the Middle East. As Engdahl pointed out, “The Anglo-American game plan was to lure Saddam Hussein into a trap he could not resist, in order to provide a pretext for military intervention from the United States and Britain.” So, a high-powered delegation of large banking and oil multinationals from the US went to Baghdad to meet with Saddam to discuss “an Iraqi postwar plan to develop his country’s agricultural and industrial potential.”4 As Palast points out, “The Iranian bombing of the Basra fields [in Iraq] (1980-88) put a new kink in Iraq’s oil production,” and Palast explains that Iraq’s oil flow has had a consistent and long-lasting limit to their production, which was imposed on it by OPEC, which is predominantly controlled by the American puppet-regime in Saudi Arabia. As Palast notes, “It was during the Arab oil embargo [in 1973] that Senator Edmund Muskie revealed a secret intelligence report of ‘fantastic’ reserves of oil in Iraq undeveloped because US oil companies refused to add pipeline capacity.”5
With the visiting high-level American oil delegation to Iraq in 1989, Saddam unveiled a 5 year-plan “to complete the large Badush Dam irrigation project, which would have enabled [Iraq] to become self-sufficient in food production,” as opposed to relying on US imports of grain worth over a billion dollars at that time, not to mention that the plan also entailed “building up its petrochemicals industry, agriculture fertilizer plants, an iron and steel plant, and an auto assembly plant, as part of an effort to develop the country.”6 The recommendations from the Big Oil delegation was that Saddam first had to take care of his debts, and to do this, they suggested that he privatize his oil so that foreign corporations could buy it all up. However, Saddam refused, and so the Anglo-American strategy continued to its next phase. The Anglo-Americans used their ally, the Emir [King] of Kuwait, “to flood OPEC markets with [Kuwait’s] oil, in violation of OPEC production ceilings which had been agreed in order to stabilize world oil prices,” and “Kuwait had succeeded in drawing oil prices from their precarious level of some $19 per barrel down to little more than $13 per barrel,” which resulted in the fact that “Iraq was not even able to service its old debt or finance much-needed food imports.”7
On top of this, “The Kuwaitis had been sucking up that which wasn’t theirs in the shared oil field on the Kuwait-Iraq border.”8 As Palast further explains, “On July 25, 1990, Saddam asked US Ambassador April Glaspie if the US would object to an attack on Kuwait over the small emirate’s theft of Iraqi oil,” to which the Ambassador responded, saying, “We have no opinion on . . . your border disagreement with Kuwait . . . The issue is not associated with America. [Secretary of State] James Baker has directed our official spokesman to emphasize this instruction.” Further, as Palast stated, “Glaspie, in Congressional testimony in 1991, did not deny the authenticity of the recording of her meeting with Saddam – which world diplomats took for what it was: Jim Baker’s green light for Iraq to attack Kuwait.”9 So then, “In August 1990, Kuwait’s craven siphoning of border-land oil fields jointly owned with Iraq gave Saddam the excuse to take Kuwait’s share. Here was Saddam’s opportunity to increase Iraq’s OPEC quota by taking Kuwait’s.”10
Days after the US Ambassador to Iraq delivered the message from the State Department that the US would take no position on the Iraqi conflict with Kuwait, Saddam invaded. Before the invasion took place, the Emir of Kuwait had fled the country, as “the CIA informed the royal family in good time to get out, but the Al-Sabahs [Kuwaiti royals] ‘conveniently’ forgot to inform the country’s military of their information that Kuwait was about to be invaded.”11 As a result of Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, the United States declared war on Iraq, in an attempt to “defend” the small country of Kuwait from an “unprovoked” invasion. The US military began bombing Baghdad and the rest of Iraq, destroying its infrastructure. The Middle East envoy of the Soviet Union, Yevgeni Primakov, discussed his visit to the British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, in an article in Time Magazine, “The Prime Minister received us at her country residence, Chequers. She listened attentively to the information I presented her, without interrupting. But then, for a good hour, she allowed no one to interrupt her monologue, in which she outlined in a most condensed way a position that was gaining greater momentum: not to limit things to a withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait but to inflict a devastating blow at Iraq, ‘to break the back’ of Saddam and destroy the entire military, and perhaps industrial, potential of that country.”12
George Bush, in a speech delivered on September 11, 1991, said, “Out of these troubled times a New World Order can emerge, under a United Nations that performs as envisioned by its founders. We stand at a unique and extraordinary moment. This crisis in the Persian Gulf, as grave as it is, also offers us a rare opportunity to move toward an historic period of cooperation. Today, that New World Order is struggling to be born. A world quite different from the one we’ve known.”13 Another major aspect of this crisis that emerged was that “the United States, immediately backed by Thatcher’s British government, would send military forces only to defend Saudi Arabia against an allegedly threatened Iraqi invasion (the threats were later revealed to have been fabricated in Washington).”14 So, on top of bombing Baghdad and, in effect, Iraq, to a position of destroying its infrastructure beyond all hope of industrializing the country, George Bush’s ‘New World Order’ also entailed developing a strong, permanent military presence in the Middle East, coincidentally enough, in the most oil rich nation in the world, Saudi Arabia, which is also the most powerful member of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries). Through this, the United States, and in effect, Britain, would secure a position of great power of the world’s petroleum reserves, and thusly, have great power over the world itself; cementing the hegemony of the Anglo-American alliance. Saddam’s mistake was the same mistake that the Shah of Iran made in the late 70s, attempting to industrialize his country and use the oil wealth for the benefit of the country, and the people within it. This is the ultimate crime to be committed against this ‘New World Order’. So, Saddam became the new enemy number one. As Bush also mentioned in his State of the Union address on January 29, 1991, “The world can therefore seize the opportunity of the present Persian Gulf crisis to fulfill the long-held promise of a New World Order.”15 This initial campaign to create a ‘New World Order’ was quite successful for the Anglo-Americans, as Greg Palast pointed out in relation to Iraq, “The Basra oil fields not crippled by Iran [in the Iran-Iraq War] were demolished by American B-52s.”16
Palast further discusses the sanctions that were placed upon Iraq as a result of the Kuwaiti invasion, “Saddam’s petro-military overreach into Kuwait gave the West the authority for a more direct oil suppression method called the ‘Sanctions’ program, later changed to ‘Oil for Food.’ Now we get to the real reason for the UN embargo on Iraqi oil exports. According to the official US position: ‘Sanctions were critical to preventing Iraq from acquiring equipment that could be used to reconstitute banned weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs’,” and he continued, “In sum, Big Oil, whether in European or Arab-OPEC dress, has done its damned best to keep Iraq’s oil buried deep in the ground to keep prices high in the air.”17 Again, the less oil being pumped, the more expensive it is. But it is especially important to keep in mind that whoever has control over oil determines whether or not it will be pumped, or kept in the ground. When you hear the phrase, ‘No blood for oil’, in a sense, it is misguided, as people often have the perception that it’s about a war to take the oil, but in fact, it is about war to control the oil. When it comes to the Anglo-American alliance, as they are largely dominated and influenced by the large oil multinationals [Royal Dutch Shell, British Petroleum, Exxon Mobil], controlling oil means controlling the flow, so that the Big Oil cartel has immense profits and power. In fact, it is not even a matter of Big Oil having influence over the Anglo-Americans, as it is more so the fact that there is no division between the Anglo-American leadership in government and the Big Oil corporations; they are, in fact, one and the same; with shared leadership and interests.
In the same year as Bush declared his ‘New World Order’, the world order did, indeed change. In 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed, taking the path toward ‘American-style capitalism’ and ‘Western democracy’, neither of which has worked out very well for the ‘new’ Russian Federation. Nonetheless, the Soviet Union disappeared, opening up the former European satellite countries and Russia itself, for new investment opportunities. A world, which before 1991 was divided into two spheres, a bi-polar world in which it was the West versus the USSR, when two great empires, the Soviet Union and the United States, dominated world politics, was now in a position where America stood as the only world superpower. In the wake of the collapse of the USSR, President George Bush needed to come up with a new plan, much in line with his vision of a ‘New World Order’, in which Bush set out to devise a new strategy for the United States to take as a result of the collapse of the USSR. As the previous US geopolitical strategy had been along the lines of the theory of ‘containment’ of the Soviet Union, directing foreign policy with an aim to deter and prevent the USSR from expanding its influence around the globe, as well as the continuous, age-old strategy of oil geopolitics.
In 1992, the New York Times ran a story about a document that was leaked to them, which revealed the new strategy that the Bush administration had come up with, “In a broad new policy statement that is in its final drafting phase, the Defense Department asserts that America’s political and military mission in the post-cold-war era will be to ensure that no rival superpower is allowed to emerge in Western Europe, Asia or the territories of the former Soviet Union,” and that, “The classified document makes the case for a world dominated by one superpower whose position can be perpetuated by constructive behavior and sufficient military might to deter any nation or group of nations from challenging American primacy.”18 Further, “Though the document is internal to the Pentagon and is not provided to Congress, its policy statements are developed in conjunction with the National Security Council and in consultation with the President or his senior national security advisers. Its drafting has been supervised by Paul D. Wolfowitz, the Pentagon’s Under Secretary for Policy.” Interestingly enough, the Paul Wolfowtiz described above later went on to be the Deputy Secretary of Defense (2nd in command) at the Pentagon in the first term of the George W. Bush administration, and was the architect of the Iraq War in 2003. Not surprisingly then, this 1992 document also continues in stating a strong emphasis “on using military force, if necessary, to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in such countries as North Korea, Iraq, some of the successor republics to the Soviet Union and in Europe,” and that, “What is most important, it says, is ‘the sense that the world order is ultimately backed by the U.S.’ and ‘the United States should be postured to act independently when collective action cannot be orchestrated’ or in a crisis that demands quick response.” The article continues in stating that “the new draft sketches a world in which there is one dominant military power whose leaders ‘must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role’.” The document was known as the Defense Policy Guidance 1992-1994, but has since been termed the ‘Wolfowitz Doctrine’, and further, “Senior Defense Department officials have said the document will be issued by Defense Secretary [Dick] Cheney this month. According to a Feb. 18 memorandum from Mr. Wolfowitz’s deputy, Dale A. Vesser, the policy guidance will be issued with a set of ‘illustrative’ scenarios for possible future foreign conflicts that might draw United States military forces into combat.”
The Times article goes on to explain that in the Wolfowitz Doctrine, “They postulated regional wars against Iraq and North Korea,” and further quoted the document in saying, “The U.S. may be faced with the question of whether to take military steps to prevent the development or use of weapons of mass destruction,” and further, “noting that those steps could include pre-empting an impending attack with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons or ‘punishing the attackers or threatening punishment of aggressors through a variety of means,’ including attacks on the plants that manufacture such weapons.” The Guidance document goes on to outline China as a potential threat, as well as stating, “American strategic nuclear weapons will continue to target vital aspects of the former Soviet military establishment. The rationale for the continuation of this targeting policy is that the United States ‘must continue to hold at risk those assets and capabilities that current – and future – Russian leaders or other nuclear adversaries value most’ because Russia will remain ‘the only power in the world with the capability of destroying the United States’.” On top of all this, “It suggests that the United States could also consider extending to Eastern and Central European nations security commitments similar to those extended to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Arab states along the Persian Gulf.” So, the new strategy for the United States, written up by Paul Wolfowitz, and accepted by then-Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney, was to ensure that the United States should maintain its position as the only world superpower; to preserve the American Empire’s hegemony over the world.
Think Tank Takes Power
After George Bush Sr. left the Presidency in 1993, and Bill Clinton became President, most of the people within the previous Bush administration then went into positions in prominent American think tanks and corporations. Think tanks are organized groups of individuals with common beliefs, whose purpose is to devise political strategy plans, both foreign and domestic, and lobby politicians and governments to adopt their plans for the government’s strategy. In today’s society, it is the think tanks that come up with the policies, and the governments that enact them. The most notable think tank to come out of the 1990s was a neo-conservative think tank by the name of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). Neo-conservatives are like-minded individuals who hold as a common belief that the United States should adopt an overtly imperialistic foreign policy in an effort to create a truly global American empire, as well as being very adamant about the strength of the State. The PNAC think tank, in 1997, wrote up a ‘Statement of Principles’, which is available on their website, which states that, “We aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership,” and they outline their aims as “we need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future; we need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values; we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad; [and] we need to accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles”19 [Emphasis added].
The individuals who signed this document include Elliot Abrams, who was involved with the Iran-Contra Affair, Jeb Bush, George W. Bush’s brother, Eliot A. Cohen, who now sits as Counselor of the State Department, working for Condoleezza Rice, Zalmay Khalilzad, who then went on to become the US Envoy to Afghanistan after the occupation of that country in 2001, as well as later being the US Envoy to Iraq after the 2003 occupation, and now is the Ambassador to the UN, I. Lewis Libby, who went on to be Vice President Cheney’s Chief of Staff, and was more recently indicted as a criminal, Dan Quayle, who was George Bush Sr.’s VP, Paul Wolfowitz, the author of the previous Defense Policy Guidance document, more recently was second in command at the Pentagon, architect of the Iraq war, and went on to be President of the World Bank, which he was recently fired from for corruption charges, Donald Rumsfeld, who was more recently the Secretary of Defense in the George W. Bush administration and finally, Dick Cheney, the current Vice President.
In September of 2000, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), released a document titled, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century.”20 In the opening of this document, they state, “In broad terms, we saw the project as building upon the defense strategy outlined by the Cheney Defense Department in the waning days of the Bush Administration. The Defense Policy Guidance (DPG) drafted in the early months of 1992 provided a blueprint for maintaining US preeminence, precluding the rise of a great power rival, and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests.”21 They later state, under the headline of ‘Large Wars’ that “the United States must retain sufficient forces able to rapidly deploy and win multiple simultaneous large-scale wars,”22 [Emphasis added]. Again, later they state that there is “need to retain sufficient combat forces to fight and win, multiple, nearly simultaneous major theatre wars,”23 and that “the Pentagon needs to begin to calculate the force necessary to protect, independently, US interests in Europe, East Asia and the Gulf at all times.”24 Further, the document states, “Indeed, the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein,”25 [Emphasis added].
Under the headline ‘Persian Gulf’ the PNAC document outlines that “Although Saudi domestic sensibilities demand that the [US] forces based in the Kingdom [of Saudi Arabia] nominally remain rotational forces, it has become apparent that this is now a semi-permanent mission. From an American perspective, the value of such bases would endure even should Saddam pass from the scene. Over the long term, Iran may well prove as large a threat to US interests in the Gulf as Iraq has. And even should US-Iranian relations improve, retaining forward-bases in the region would still be an essential element in US security strategy given the longstanding American interests in the region,”26 [Emphasis added]. It continues in saying, “a number of regimes deeply hostile to America – North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria – ‘already have or are developing ballistic missiles’ that could threaten US allies and forces abroad,”27 which turned out to be a total lie concerning Iraq, and it continued, “We cannot allow North Korea, Iran, Iraq or similar states to undermine American leadership, intimidate American allies or threaten the American homeland itself.”28 In describing the need for massive increases in military spending, rapidly expanding the armed forces and “dealing” with threats such as Iraq, North Korea and Iran, they state, “Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.”29
The following September, in 2001, when many of the authors if this document, as well as a significant amount of the people involved in this think tank, were all appointed to high positions of authority in the Bush administration, including the top two positions in the Pentagon as well as the Vice President himself, they got their ‘new Pearl Harbor’, on September 11, 2001. This “catastrophic and catalyzing event” was the pretext first, for the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, and later, in March of 2003, the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq.
Afghanistan: The Just War?
I will briefly cover Afghanistan, as the occupation and war in Afghanistan has significant relevance to current conflicts with Iran, as they are neighbors. There is much more to the war on Afghanistan than is largely known. Most people see Afghanistan as the “Just War”, as Al-Qaeda was the group that caused the 9/11 attacks, and since Afghanistan was harboring Al-Qaeda, the invasion of Afghanistan was “justified”. However, as MSNBC reported on May of 2002, “President Bush was expected to sign detailed plans for a worldwide war against al-Qaida two days before Sept. 11 but did not have the chance before the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington,” and that “The document, a formal National Security Presidential Directive, amounted to a ‘game plan to remove al-Qaida from the face of the earth’.”30 Further, the article continued, “The plan dealt with all aspects of a war against al-Qaida, ranging from diplomatic initiatives to military operations in Afghanistan,” and “In many respects, the directive, as described to NBC News, outlined essentially the same war plan that the White House, the CIA and the Pentagon put into action after the Sept. 11 attacks. The administration most likely was able to respond so quickly to the attacks because it simply had to pull the plans “off the shelf.” BBC even reported on this, stating, “A former Pakistani diplomat has told the BBC that the US was planning military action against Osama Bin Laden and the Taleban even before [the 9/11] attacks,” and that “Niaz Naik, a former Pakistani Foreign Secretary, was told by senior American officials in mid-July  that military action against Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of October.”31 To reiterate, the invasion of Afghanistan occurred on October 7, before the middle of October, and the BBC reported this on September 18, 2001. The BBC article continued, “Mr Naik was told that Washington would launch its operation from bases in Tajikistan, where American advisers were already in place. He was told that Uzbekistan would also participate in the operation and that 17,000 Russian troops were on standby,” as well as the fact that “Mr Naik was told that if the military action went ahead it would take place before the snows started falling in Afghanistan, by the middle of October at the latest.” It concluded, stating, “He [Mr. Naik] said that he was in no doubt that after the World Trade Center bombings this pre-existing US plan had been built upon and would be implemented within two or three weeks. And he said it was doubtful that Washington would drop its plan even if Bin Laden were to be surrendered immediately by the Taleban.”
In January of 2002, The Village Voice reported that “two French authors have released a report outlining U.S. attempts to finesse the issue of Osama bin Laden long before Al Qaeda struck on September 11. Based on extensive firsthand reporting, Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquié write in their book, Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth, that the Bush administration went so far as to consider waging war against Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban last summer . Brisard and Dasquié argue the U.S. cared more about getting access to the region’s oil than about getting the head of Osama bin Laden.”32 The Guardian newspaper in London reported in late September of 2001, that “Osama bin Laden and the Taliban received threats of possible American military strikes against them two months before the terrorist assaults on New York and Washington, which were allegedly masterminded by the Saudi-born fundamentalist,” and that, “The threats of war unless the Taliban surrendered Osama bin Laden were passed to the regime in Afghanistan by the Pakistani government.”33 It continued, “The warning to the Taliban originated at a four-day meeting of senior Americans, Russians, Iranians and Pakistanis at a hotel in Berlin in mid-July.”
So, why would the US have plans for an attack on Afghanistan and the Taliban prior to the 9/11 attacks? Back in 1997, when George Bush was Governor of Texas, BBC News reported that, “A senior delegation from the Taleban movement in Afghanistan is in the United States for talks with an international energy company that wants to construct a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan across Afghanistan to Pakistan,” and that “A spokesman for the company, Unocal, said the Taleban were expected to spend several days at the company’s headquarters in Sugarland, Texas.”34 The article continued, “Unocal says it has agreements both with Turkmenistan to sell its gas and with Pakistan to buy it,” as well as the fact that “despite the civil war in Afghanistan, Unocal has been in competition with an Argentinian firm, Bridas, to actually construct the pipeline.” It concluded, “the Afghan economy has been devastated by 20 years of civil war. A deal to go ahead with the pipeline project could give it a desperately-needed boost. But peace must be established first — and that for the moment still seems a distant prospect.” As the London Telegraph reported in 1996, “Behind the tribal clashes that have scarred Afghanistan lies one of the great prizes of the 21st century, the fabulous energy reserves of Central Asia. Largely unexplored, and almost completely unexploited, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, all formerly components of the Soviet Union, but now independent, are known to possess vast oil and gas reserves. As supplies from the Gulf begin to peter out next century, these will become highly significant,” and that “Pakistan is keen to have a source of oil that bypasses Iran and Russia.”35 The article continued to address several pipeline plans proposed by Georgia and Kazakhstan, and then stated, “But to Western, and especially American interests, none of these options look attractive. Georgia is too unstable, and the idea of allowing a Russian or Iranian hand to rest on the oil jugular is considered too dangerous. Hence the attractions of Afghanistan,” and it continued, “Another pipeline route exists, and is already at a detailed planning stage. This pipeline, initially for gas, would begin in the Dauletabad field in central Turkmenistan, traverse Afghanistan along the Herat-Kandahar corridor, territory controlled by the Taliban, and exit into Pakistan.” Further, “Unocal, the Californian oil company, in alliance with Delta Oil, the Saudi Arabian company, has been in negotiation with the Taliban, as well as rival warlords, for much of this year over terms for the Turkmenistan-Pakistan pipeline.”
Further, “By transiting through Afghanistan, Unocal’s CentGas pipeline project was meant to bypass the more direct southbound route across Iran. Unocal’s design was to develop a dual pipeline system that would also transport Kazakhstan’s huge oil reserves in the Tenghiz Northern Caspian region to the Arabian Sea,” a University of Ottawa economics professor Michel Chossudovsky noted in his book, America’s “War on Terrorism”, and he continued, “the Clinton administration decided to back the installation of a Taliban government in Kabul in 1996, as opposed to the Northern Alliance, which was backed by Moscow.”36 Bridas, a company which also had a significant part in the pipeline project, was facing financial difficulties in 1997, and so 60% of it was bought up by the American Oil Company (Amoco), which later merged with British Petroleum in 1998. And, as Chossudovsky pointed out, “Former National Security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was a consultant to Amoco,” which became BP-Amoco after the merger, and “BP controls the westbound pipeline consortium in which Unocal has a significant stake.”37 On top of this, “Henry Kissinger, a former Secretary of State, was advising Unocal Corporation,” and “At the very outset of the Bush administration, Unocal (which had withdrawn in 1998 from pipeline negotiations under the Clinton administration) reintegrated the CentGas Consortium and resumed its talks with the Taliban (in January 2001), with the firm backing, this time, of senior officials of the Bush administration, including Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage. Dick Armitage had previously been a lobbyist for Unocal.”38 However, the Taliban failed to properly provide security and stability for the pipeline project, but, after the occupation of Afghanistan in 2001, Hamid Karzai was appointed as head of the government in Kabul, and currently still is President of the country, and had, since the 1990s, “acted as a consultant and lobbyist for Unocal in negotiations with the Taliban.”39 As Nafeez Ahmed points out in his book, The War on Truth, “President Bush appointed a former aide to the American oil company UNOCAL, Zalmay Khalilzad, as special envoy to Afghanistan,”40 who also happened to be one of the members of the PNAC [Project for the New American Century] think tank.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported in September of 2001, that “Beyond American determination to hit back against the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks, beyond the likelihood of longer, drawn-out battles producing more civilian casualties in the months and years ahead, the hidden stakes in the war against terrorism can be summed up in a single word: oil,” and that “The map of terrorist sanctuaries and targets in the Middle East and Central Asia is also, to an extraordinary degree, a map of the world’s principal energy sources in the 21st century.”41 It continued, “The terrain of the globe’s energy future ranges along a swath of mountain and desert with resource-poor Afghanistan and Pakistan at its volatile eastern end. Outside of this core, where suspected terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and many of his supporters are located, terrorist groups are active in Saudi Arabia, Libya, Bahrain, the Gulf Emirates, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Sudan and Algeria. Their operations also threaten to destabilize regimes in Turkmenistan, Kazakstan and Azerbaijan. They also are active in areas — such as Chechnya, Georgia and eastern Turkey — where major pipelines carry energy resources to markets worldwide,” and then stated, “It is inevitable that the war against terrorism will be seen by many as a war on behalf of America’s Chevron, ExxonMobil and Arco; France’s TotalFinaElf; British Petroleum; Royal Dutch Shell and other multinational giants, which have hundreds of billions of dollars of investment in the region.”
So, clearly, there is much more to the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan than is commonly understood, and it was necessary to address this, as it has largely transformed the Middle Eastern and Eurasian landscape, which Iran also occupies. Take into account that Afghanistan itself is not an oil-rich country, but its position is very significant for Anglo-American strategy in the region, as it is a vital route to transport such resources, with a much-expressed intent of diverting them away from Russia, as it has clearly been stated in both the 1992 Wolfowtiz Doctrine and the 2000 PNAC document, as being one of the primary elements in US geostrategy; containing Russia and maintaining the US’ position as the sole superpower in the world.
Iraq and Operation Oil Domination
On March 20, 2003, using the now well known lies of “weapons of mass destruction”, “possible nuclear weapons programs” and “links to 9/11”, Iraq was invaded. The first two points were outlined clearly in the 2000 PNAC document, in which they discussed the American strategy of confronting regimes which may possess WMDs or nuclear weapons programs, and in fact, it was those very people that wrote that document which were instrumental in pushing those lies to the public. As for the links to 9/11, which have since been conclusively denounced as outright fiction, it stood as their ‘new Pearl Harbor’, for which was the justification for invading Iraq. I will not spend much space discussing the war in Iraq, but will cover some of the oil geopolitics surrounding the war, as again, it is vital to understanding the current conflicts with Iran, as after all, it is Iran’s neighbor, and was the vital point from which the British launched their joint-Russian invasion of Iran in 1941 out of their Iraqi bases.
As Greg Palast pointed out in his book, Armed Madhouse, the original name for the operation of invading Iraq was known as “Operation Iraqi Liberation”, or, under its acronym, OIL. However, as Palast notes, it was slightly too obvious, even for the Bush administration who are not known to deal in subtleties, and so they changed it to “Operation Iraqi Liberation”.42 The original person chosen to be the United States’ viceroy to Iraq was General Jay Garner. However, as Palast notes, “Garner, fresh off the plane from the USA, promised Iraqis they would have free and fair elections as soon Saddam was toppled, preferably within 90 days. That was a problem,” and further, “Seizing ownership of the oil was not on Garner’s must-do list, nor was Washington’s rewrite of the tax laws and trade rules, and the rest of the elaborate free-market makeover scheme. In his mind, such radical legislation required a legitimate government.”43 So, Garner was replaced within months, and “in Rumsfeld’s replacement for Garner, they had just the man for the fight. Unlike Garner, Paul Bremer III had no experience on the ground in Iraq, no training to fight a guerilla insurgency, and no background in nation-building. But he had one unbeatable credential that Garner lacked: Bremer had served as Managing Director of Kissinger and Associates. Thirty years ago, in greenlighting the assassination of Chile’s elected president [on September 11, 1973], Henry Kissinger said, ‘The issues are too important to be left for the voters’,”44 and Henry Kissinger is CEO of Kissinger and Associates. A bank law that Bremer passed sold off Iraqi banks to three foreign banks, “Hong King Shanghai Banking Corporation [HSBC], National Bank of Kuwait and Standard Chartered Bank of London, the junior partners of JP Morgan Chase of New York.”45
Palast continued, “It has been a very good war for Big Oil – courtesy of OPEC price hikes. The five oil giants saw profits rise from $34 billion in 2002 to $81 billion in 2004, year two of Iraq’s ‘transition to democracy.’ But this tsunami of black ink was nothing compared to the wave of $113 billion in profits to come in 2005: $13.6 billion for Conoco, $14.1 billion for Chevron and the Mother of All Earnings, Exxon’s $36.1 billion. For these record-busting earnings, the industry could thank General Tommy Franks and the troops in Baghdad, the insurgents and their oil-supply-cutting explosives. But, most of all, they had to thank OPEC and the Saudis for keeping the lid on supply even as the planet screamed in pain for crude,” and further, “the [oil] industry has its own reserves whose value is attached, like a suckerfish, to OPEC’s price targets. Here’s a statistic you won’t see on Army recruitment posters: The rise in the price of oil after the first three years of the war boosted the value of the reserves of Exxon Mobil Oil alone by just over $666 billion. The devil is in the details. Smaller Chevron Oil, where Condoleezza Rice had served as a director, gained a quarter trillion dollars in value.”46
As Greg Palast well documents in his book, there were two plans being developed about what to do with Iraq’s oil. One was developed by the neo-conservatives from the Project for the New American Century and other neo-con think tanks, and the other plan was developed by the oil multinationals. The Neo-Con plan was about destroying OPEC, and to do that, they argued, Iraq needed to privatize all its oil. As Iraq, an OPEC member, was occupied in 2003 by the US, it gave Bush & Co. an important seat at the OPEC table, which is the organization that determines world oil prices. Palast points out that, “what George Bush should do with his OPEC perch is what requires the occupation to drag on, not the provincial tussle between Shias and Sunnis, but the gladiatorial fight to the death between neo-cons and the Big Oil establishment.”47 Palast states that for the neo-cons at the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation (neo-con think tanks), the ultimate target was not Iraq, but Saudi Arabia, and “Getting at the Saudis required tearing apart OPEC. And tearing apart OPEC was completely dependent on the privatization of Iraq’s oil reserves, the second-largest in OPEC after the Saudis,” and Palast, through his interview with one of the top neo-cons who came up with the plan, laid it down in plain English, “ OPEC’s power comes from imposing production limits (“quotas”) on its member states, limiting supply and raising prices.  Iraq’s quota is well below what it can produce. Iraq kept a limit on output through its 100% government-owned oil monopoly.  If you sell off Iraq’s oil fields in itty-bitty pieces, dozens of operators will maximize their production from each field, jumping up Iraq’s output to 6 million barrels of oil a day, way above the OPEC quota.  The additional two million barrels of oil a day from Iraq will flood the market, OPEC will dissolve into mass cheating and break apart. With every nation pumping to the max, the price of oil will fall over a cliff, and . . .  . . . Saudi Arabia, financially and politically, will fall to its knees,” and as well as this, the neo-cons emphasized that, “with OPEC smashed, the former Soviet states, including Russia, completely dependent on oil income, will be at America’s mercy.”48
However, this insane neo-con plan was not implemented; why? The Oil-men wouldn’t have it. Palast explains that, “Philip Carroll, former CEO of Shell Oil USA, who was deployed immediately [to Baghdad],” had “met the new occupation chief [Paul] Bremer [of Kissinger and Associates], who was, at that moment, in accordance with the neo-con blueprint,” and further, “it should be noted that besides heading Shell Oil, [Carroll had] also been CEO of Fluor Corporation, the biggest contractor in Iraq after Bechtel and Halliburton.” Palast interviewed Philip Carroll, and explained, “The double-CEO laid down the law to Bremer. Carroll told [Palast]: Neo-con plan be damned, ‘I was very clear that there was to be no privatization of Iraqi oil resources or facilities while I was involved. End of statement’,” and Palast continued, “Bremer understood that in the Great Game, a well-placed pawn, even one who used to play Kissinger’s game, does not overrule a knight of the oil industry. Carroll’s orders stood.”49
The Big Oil plan later entailed a strategy of enhancing OPEC, rather than the neo-con plan of smashing it. In the plan written by Big Oil for the US State Department, it recommended a state-owned oil company, because Iraq would be able to ‘enhance’ its relationship with OPEC. As Palast points out, “Only through the unique power of government monopoly can a nation hold back production to the OPEC quota,” and further, “The latest enhancement doubled OPEC’s benchmark price for crude – which also doubled the price Exxon and its comrades may charge for crude pumped from Texas and Alaska, not just from Saudi Arabia.”50
Brzezinski’s Strategy for a New World Order
I will now briefly jump to discussing Zbigniew Brzezinski, remember him? He was the co-founder of the Trilateral Commission with David Rockefeller, as well as being Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser, and as a result, was a principal figure, to his own admission, to forming and fostering the group that we now today as Al-Qaeda, or what he referred to as a group of “stirred of Moslems”. Brzezinski also was the individual who was pivotal in introducing the “Arc of Crisis” strategy, of creating and fostering Islamic extremism and fundamentalism in an effort to destabilize the Middle East and Baltic regions. Zbigniew Brzezinski is often considered to be the Democratic Party’s answer to Henry Kissinger, and in fact, they both now sit on the board of trustees of a powerful American think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, alongside other such notable figures as the Chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola, the Chairman and CEO of Merrill Lynch & Company, Co-founder and Managing Director of the Carlyle Group, (of which the Bush and Bin laden families were principal investors, not to mention James Baker, Bush Sr.’s Secretary of State during the Gulf War 199151), and the Chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corporation.52 So, Brzezinski has, and still is, a prominent American geostrategist. In 1997, around the same time he worked as an adviser to BP in its Afghanistan pipeline negotiations, he wrote a book titled, The Grand Chessboard, in which he discussed the vital importance of Eurasia, being the largest landmass on earth, made up of Europe and Asia, focusing predominantly on the region in which these two continents meet, which Brzezinski refers to as the ‘global balkans’.
Brzezinski writes in his book, which is, much like the neo-cons’ PNAC document, ‘Rebuilding America’s Defenses’, in that it is essentially a blueprint for American hegemony, or imperialism on a global scale, that “For America, the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia. For half a millennium, world affairs were dominated by Eurasian powers and peoples who fought with one another for regional domination and reached out for global power,” as well as that, “In that context, how America ‘manages’ Eurasia is critical. Eurasia is the globe’s largest continent and is geopolitically axial. A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail African subordination.”53 Brzezinski continues, “But the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion, except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public’s sense of domestic well-being. The economic self-denial (that is, defense spending) and the human sacrifice (casualties even among professional soldiers) required in the effort are uncongenial to democratic instincts. Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization,”54 [Emphasis added]. To clarify, Brzezinski sums up that exerting American power around the world is only possible through the public feeling unsafe, as a result of an external threat, and that, as Brzezinski clearly states, Democracy is unfavourable to imperialism, yet he is offering a blueprint for imperialism; so what does that say about his thoughts on Democracy?
Brzezinski continues on his imperialistic tirade, “Today, the geopolitical issue is no longer what geographic part of Eurasia is the point of departure for continental domination, nor whether land power is more significant than sea power. Geopolitics has moved from the regional to the global dimension, with preponderance over the entire Eurasian continent serving as the central basis for global primacy,”55 and in discussing Iran, he states, “Turkey and Iran are engaged in establishing some degree of influence in the Caspian Sea-Central Asia region, exploiting the retraction of Russian power. For that reason, they might be considered as geostrategic players.” As well as, “Both Turkey and Iran, however, are primarily important geopolitical pivots. Turkey stabilizes the Black Sea region, controls access from it to the Mediterranean Sea, balances Russia in the Caucasus, still offers an antidote to Muslim fundamentalism, and serves as the southern anchor for NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization].” Continuing, he states, “Iran, despite the ambiguity of its attitude toward Azerbaijan, similarly provides stabilizing support for the new political diversity of Central Asia. It dominates the eastern shoreline of the Persian Gulf, while its independence, irrespective of current Iranian hostility toward the United States, acts as a barrier to any long-term Russian threat to American interests in the Persian Gulf region.”56 In a very important statement, Brzezinski says, “The internal strains within Turkey and Iran are likely not only to get worse but to greatly reduce the stabilizing role these states are capable of playing within this volcanic region. Such developments will in turn make it more difficult to assimilate the new Central Asian states [emerging from the collapse of the Soviet Union] into the international community, while also adversely affecting the American-dominated security of the Persian Gulf region. In any case, both America and the international community may be faced here with a challenge that will dwarf the recent crisis in the former Yugoslavia,”57 [Emphasis added].
Further, in discussing emerging threats to American hegemony, Brzezinski states, “A geostrategic issue of crucial importance is posed by China’s emergence as a major power,” and that, “A ‘Greater China’ may be emerging, whatever the desires and calculations of its neighbors, and any effort to prevent that from happening could entail an intensifying conflict with China,” and he further states, “perhaps even resulting in the termination of the American presence in the Far East.” In discussing this potential problem for American hegemony, Brzezinski states, “Potentially, the most dangerous scenario would be a grand coalition of China, Russia, and perhaps Iran, an ‘antihegemonic’ coalition united not by ideology but by complementary grievances. It would be reminiscent in scale and scope of the challenge once posed by the Sino-Soviet bloc, though this time China would be the likely leader and Russia the follower. Averting this contingency, however remote it may be, will require a display of US geostrategic skill on the western, eastern, and southern perimeters of Eurasia simultaneously,” and that, “one could imagine a European-Russia accommodation to exclude America from the continent.”58 Later on in his book, Brzezinski returns to the concept of a Chinese-Russia coalition, saying, “Chinese aid to Iran and Pakistan is of more immediate regional and geopolitical significance to China, but that also does not provide the point of departure for a serious quest for global power status. An ‘antihegemonic’ coalition could become a last-resort option if China came to feel that its national or regional aspirations were being blocked by the United States.”59
On Iran, Brzezinski further states, “it is not in America’s interest to perpetuate American-Iranian hostility,” and that “A strong, even religiously motivated but not fanatically anti-Western Iran is in the US interest,” and “American long-range interests in Eurasia would be better served by abandoning existing US objections to closer Turkish-Iranian economic cooperation, especially in the construction of new pipelines, and also to the construction of other links between Iran, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan. Long-term American participation in the financing of such projects would in fact also be in the American interest,” [Emphasis added]. This is especially interesting to note such as Brzezinski was involved as an adviser to British Petroleum when they were involved in such a pipeline project. Further, he states, “any would-be Chinese-Russian-Iranian coalition against America is unlikely to jell beyond some occasional tactical posturing, it is important for the United States to deal with China in a fashion that does not drive Beijing in that direction. In any such ‘antihegemonic’ alliance, China would be the linchpin. It would be the strongest, the most dynamic, and thus the leading component.”60
Geo-Strategy and a Nuclear Iran
Brzezinski’s ‘Grand Chessboard’ is an incredibly important glimpse into geostrategic thought. However, it is also important to note that Brzezinski is a very vocal critic of the present George W. Bush administration, as he is of a different breed of imperialist than say, the neo-conservatives. As we have seen from the neo-con PNAC document, ‘Rebuilding America’s Defense’, a blueprint for empire, they identify much of the same region as Brzezinski as being troubled spots for American primacy and hegemony in the world, and both Brzezinski and the neo-cons advocate American empire. However, where they differ is in their methods. Brzezinski, keep in mind, was the geopolitical tactician behind the ‘Arc of Crisis’ strategy in the later 70s, which developed the Mujahideen in Afghanistan, bringing in the Soviets to deliver them ‘their Vietnam’, as well as promoting and spurring the revolution in Iran in 1979, to depose the Shah who was industrializing his country and slowly taking back control of the oil; a strategy of fostering radical Islamic movements to destabilize the region and deter any actual development of societies and nations in an effort to preserve the hegemony of Anglo-American oil geopolitics, either through direct control by oil corporations or through OPEC manipulation. Brzezinski, therefore, can be understood as being a much more strategic thinker than the neo-cons.
The neo-conservatives have no discipline in their strategy; they are rabid imperialists, but prefer a strategy of showing their might through brute military force. The neo-cons, however, cannot be considered to be ‘brilliant’ strategists by any means, but rather just outright, overt colonialists. If you compare tactics briefly, you will understand the difference better. Brzezinski’s tactics of preserving American hegemony in the Middle East and Central Asia, were done so covertly that it had no outright repercussions of the public perception of America. Afghanistan was seen as being at the fault of the Soviets, whereas, the Iranian Revolution, to this day, has been viewed as damaging to American hegemony, and in fact, America was largely seen as the victim in that event. But, it nonetheless managed to achieve the overall aims of the Anglo-American alliance, in preserving their hegemony in the region and preventing the USSR from gaining a foothold in the region, as Islamic, religious governments would not work with the Soviet Union, a secular, anti-religious communist state.
The neo-cons, on the other hand, prefer overt use of American military might to annihilate a country in front of the world, which has resulted in the absolute disintegration of America’s image in the world. So, while the neo-cons today openly advocate outright military force against Iran, even suggesting nuking the country, it is clear that Brzezinski would never take such a move, but would likely prefer internal manipulation of the country, perhaps spurting another revolution, or even covertly meddling in the surrounding countries in an effort to destabilize Iran, itself.
These differences, and divisions within the ruling class of the United States, and in fact, the Anglo-American alliance, now lead us to the present conflict with Iran that we are seeing today. As a background on the current conflict, it is publicly a battle between America’s view of Iran’s nuclear program. The neo-cons espouse the idea that Iran is pursuing nuclear technology in an effort to create a nuclear weapon. However, I stress this as an idea, because to this very day, there has been no actual proof to back these claims, except in the concept that Iran is pursuing nuclear technology. Nonetheless, often we hear in the media, and from the government, that Iran is trying to make a nuclear bomb. These arguments cannot help but remind those whose memory goes beyond last week to think of the lead-up to the war in Iraq, in which very similar claims were made, that Iraq was pursuing a nuclear weapon, which, in the aftermath of the destruction of the country, have been proven to be completely unfounded and false. As the Anglo-Americans and in fact, much of the West at large is applying pressure on Iran to give up their nuclear program, Iran steadfastly and continually refuses. Often we hear the argument that Iran has enormous amounts of oil, so why would they pursue nuclear technology for energy resources? The answer to this question is posed in the history of Iranian, and in fact, Middle Eastern geopolitics.
As I have covered the politics of OPEC briefly, whose primary and most powerful member is Saudi Arabia, which sets the production limits of oil, the Anglo-Americans, through Saudi Arabia, have the ability to manipulate and control OPEC, and through that, the oil market, which has enormous control over the global market. As Robert Dreyfuss pointed out in his book, Devil’s Game, “the British, masters of manipulating tribal, ethnic, and religious affiliations, expert at setting minorities at one another’s throats for the greater good of Her Majesty’s realm, were intrigued with the idea of fostering a spirit of Islamic revivalism – if it could serve their purposes,”61 and that “England’s ties to the Al Saud [family] began in the mid-nineteenth century, when a British colonel made contact with the House of Saud in Riyadh, the sleepy desert city that would eventually be the capital of Arabia. ‘The first contact was made in 1865, and British subsidies started to flow into the coffers of the Saudi family, in ever growing quantity as World War One grew closer’.”62 Further, after Ibn Saud, with the very close participation and help from the British, took over what we today know as Saudi Arabia, “[he] set out immediately to establish himself as the uncrowned king of Islam,”63 and an agreement was signed by the British and Ibn Saud in 1927, recognizing the Saud family as the Saudi Royalty. So, Saudi Arabia was established with the help of the British, and the Royal Family, the House of Saud; was also established by the British, and who, today, still rule the country. Ties are today now very close with the Americans and the Saudis, so, still, the Anglo-American alliance has great influence over the prime mover and shaker of the OPEC countries.
Iran’s move to nuclear energy, then, can be seen not just as a possible move towards creating a nuclear weapon, but perhaps more plausibly, is a move towards creating an autonomous, independent nation; industrializing itself. Iran, an OPEC member, is subject to the manipulations of Saudi Arabia, and, as we saw with Iraq in the lead up to the Gulf War, OPEC can be used to destroy the efforts of a member country to industrialize itself; in Iraq’s case by having Kuwait over-produce which dropped the price of oil. If Iran were to rely simply upon its oil for its industrialization, then it would be subject to OPEC’s control. For example, OPEC could again overproduce, thereby dropping the price of oil, preventing Iran from making any significant revenue through its oil production, and therefore deterring it from industrializing. Whereas if Iran were to pursue nuclear technology, it would be able to create its own energy: reliant upon its internal structure and not upon OPEC’s price controls. Given historical precedent in the region, this is a much greater threat to hegemonic powers, and especially the Anglo-American alliance than the pursuit of a nuclear bomb. After all, the enemy of the Anglo-Americans for half a century was the USSR, which had, at its disposal, thousands of nuclear weapons. But in the eyes of the public, a country building itself up and industrializing is not a problem; so the idea of changing the government of Iran must be stemmed from the line of ‘weapons of mass destruction’ and ‘nuclear bombs’, which are buzz words to scare the public.
As recently as August 5, “Iran has no intention of suspending its atomic work and has not slowed down its disputed nuclear activities.”64 On top of this, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said, “Tehran would never yield to international pressure to suspend its nuclear program,” and that “Iran will never abandon its peaceful (nuclear) work. Our nuclear work is legal and why should we stop it?”65 The article continued, “The United States and other Western powers suspect Iran has a secret program to build nuclear weapons. The oil-producing Islamic Republic says its nuclear program is only for generation of electricity for the benefit of its economy.” Recently as well, “Former Iranian President Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has said that any US military attack on Iran will be an act of suicide.”66 A warning was recently also issued from Hezbollah, an Islamic militant group which was principal in defeating Israel during the Israeli-Lebanese war last summer , “Executive Deputy Secretary General of Lebanese Hezbollah has warned any military attack against Iran would trigger devastating regional conflicts,”67 and he continued saying, “ ‘However the recent allegations by the US and Zionist [Israeli] officials who claim there is no military option on the table should not be taken seriously,’ he noted, arguing the US and Zionists would seize any opportunity to target Lebanon, Syria and Iran.”
Drawing on the previous imperial relations with Iran on the part of the Anglo-Americans and Russia in past centuries, Iran has developed very close ties with Russia, and “The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman says the Russians have not changed their stance on the country’s peaceful nuclear activities. Russia has stressed diplomatic measures and settling Iran’s nuclear case through negotiations,” and that, “Russia is building Iran’s first nuclear power plant in the south of the country, under a 1995 agreement.”68 On top of this, “Israel is looking into reports that Russia plans to sell 250 advanced long-range Sukhoi-30 fighter jets to Iran in an unprecedented billion-dollar deal. According to reports, in addition to the fighter jets, Teheran also plans to purchase a number of aerial fuel tankers that are compatible with the Sukhoi and capable of extending its range by thousands of kilometers. Defense officials said the Sukhoi sale would grant Iran long-range offensive capabilities. Government officials voiced concern over the reports. They said Russia could be trying to compete with the United States, which announced over the weekend a billion-dollar arms sale to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states,” and that “Despite Israeli and US opposition, Russia recently supplied Iran with advanced antiaircraft systems used to protect Teheran’s nuclear installations. At the time, Moscow said it reserved the right to sell Iran weapons, such as the antiaircraft system, that were of a defensive nature.”69
Further, Russian news reported that “The Bush administration’s plans to sell modern weaponry and increase military assistance to its allies in the Middle East are aimed at exerting pressure on Iran and strengthening the Republicans’ positions on the domestic front, Russian experts said Tuesday,” and that “The U.S. State Department announced Monday a new U.S. plan to sell some $20 billion in advanced weaponry to Saudi Arabia and other moderate Arab states over the next decade and to increase U.S. military aid to Israel by 25 percent, from an annual $2.4 billion at present to $3 billion a year, guaranteed for 10 years. The U.S. officials also said President George W. Bush would seek congressional approval for $13 billion in additional military aid to Egypt, which currently receives $1.3 billion annually.”70 The London Telegraph recently reported that, “The United States will reinforce the military capability of Israel and Saudi Arabia in a strategy intended to deter Iran. Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, confirmed yesterday that US military aid would rise by 25 per cent over the next decade, from £12 billion to £15 billion [$30 billion] a year. Meanwhile, US military sources reported that Saudi Arabia was on the verge of signing a deal to buy approximately £12 billion [$24 billion] of arms and support equipment.”71
A little while ago, Iran and the United States decided to sit down together and discuss the current situation in Iraq. On a daily basis in the Western media, we hear that Iran is arming insurgents and terrorists in Iraq, which is sewing the seeds of Civil War. This makes up one of the pivotal arguments made for military action against Iran, “Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other U.S. officials said Iran had not scaled back what the United States claims is a concerted effort to arm militants and harm U.S. troops.”72 Condoleezza Rice, the former member of the board of Chevron before entering the Bush White House, has also stated, “that Iran poses the biggest threat to US Middle East interests,” while she was on a Middle East tour with Defense Secretary Robert Gates (who helped create Al-Qaeda as well as being involved in the Iran-Contra affair), and “The tour is aimed at uniting US allies against Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.”73 As the US delegation is acquiring closer security ties with certain Arab countries, namely Anglo-American puppet regimes, it appears to be in an effort to counter the influence of Iran in the region.
A pivotal thing to understand in Middle East politics are the divisions of the people there, as it is foreign empires and powers that have historically manipulated ethnic differences in order to achieve their broader aims. For example, the two dominant religious sects in the Middle East are Shias and Sunnis. We often hear these words tossed around but with little understanding of what’s behind them. These are different factions within the Muslim religion. The Sunni groups dominate the Arab countries, primarily Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries in the Western Middle East, whereas Shia sects are dominant in Iran, or Persia, and Iraq is very much divided between these two sects, which is a principal factor in the manipulation of ethnic conflicts which has today led to the Civil War we see in Iraq. Shia sects are also dominant in the ruling class in Syria and with Hezbullah in Lebanon. Historically, these two sects have been mortal enemies, especially after hundreds of years of imperial meddling and manipulation. Iran and Saudi Arabia, as a result, have rarely, if ever, been on good terms. Today, however, Iran is an influential leader in Middle East politics. As the United States and its allies, primarily Israel, which is the strongest supporter and pusher of military action against Iran, claim that the only influence Iran has around the region is one of a destructive nature, from arming Shia insurgents in Iraq to helping reignite the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the facts tell a very different story.
Back in June, while Robert Gates was on a visit to Afghanistan, it was reported by the Associated Press that, “Afghanistan’s defense minister on Thursday dismissed claims by a top U.S. State Department official that there was “irrefutable evidence” that the Iranian government was providing arms to Taliban rebels,” and the official continued, stating, “Actually, throughout, we have had good relations with Iran and we believe that the security and stability of Afghanistan are also in the interests of Iran.”74 The International Herald Tribune reported in early August, while Afghan President Hamid Karzai was on an official visit to the United States to visit with US President Bush, “President George W. Bush and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, close allies in fighting terrorism, found much to agree on as they completed a two-day meeting here on Monday, with one major exception: the role of Iran in Afghanistan,” and that “Karzai characterized Iran as ‘a helper’ in a CNN interview broadcast Sunday. But when the two men greeted reporters here on Monday, Bush pointedly disagreed, saying, ‘I would be very cautious about whether the Iranian influence in Afghanistan is a positive force’,” and the article further stated, “Iran has sent workers to Afghanistan to provide aid to villages, but American officials contend that Tehran is also funneling weapons into the country.”75 Keep in mind, this is the US puppet leader of the Afghani puppet regime disagreeing publicly with his puppet master: why? Because Karzai, as much of a US asset as he is, is also not an idiot; he knows that the idea that Iran would give aid to the Taliban is an absurdly insane concept, as the Taliban are a radical Sunni group, among the primary enemies of the Iranian regime. It is not in the interest of Iran to help prop up a Sunni extremist group into power in one of its key neighbor countries. It would be the equivalent of saying to someone from New Orleans that after Hurricane Katrina struck, the poor black people were the most well attended to and looked after by the US government; everyone, especially in the area, know that it is an absolute fiction. However, Bush knows that most Americans are unaware of the difference between Shia and Sunni groups, and can therefore go on to make such absurd statements.
As for arming Shia insurgents in Iraq, it would be in the interest of Iran to have a Shia government emerge in its neighboring Iraq, however, when it comes to arming actual insurgents, I would suggest that this is not in the interest of Iran, as they would not want to give the West, most especially the United States, an excuse to attack it. So it would seem more likely that Iran would give aid and assistance to Shia factions within Iraq, perhaps more political support than anything, but when it comes to arming, it would be an extremely dangerous move on the part of Iran, that would likely have more detrimental repercussions than beneficial. For example, Iran has “rejected U.S. accusations that the highest levels of Iranian leadership have armed Shiite militants in Iraq with armor-piercing roadside bombs, a day after U.S. military officials in Baghdad said they had traced the weapons to Tehran.”76 However, the Iranian leadership are not the only ones to deny such claims, as would be expected of them regardless of whether or not they were, but in fact, the United States has had a very high military official do such a thing as well. In fact, the day after the previously mentioned article was written, General Peter Pace, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest ranking military official in the United States, “said Tuesday there was no evidence the Iranian government was supplying Iraqi insurgents with highly lethal roadside bombs, apparently contradicting claims by other U.S. military and administration officials.”77 On top of this, it was reported that, “Saudi Arabia is also home to the largest number of so-called “foreign fighters” in Iraq, despite administration efforts — aided by many in the media — to paint Iran and Syria as the main outside culprits there,” and that “according to a senior U.S. military officer and Iraqi lawmakers, about 45% of all foreign militants ‘targeting U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians and security forces are from Saudi Arabia.’ Only 15% are from Syria and Lebanon; and 10% are from North Africa. This is based on official U.S. military figures made available to newspaper by the senior officer.”78 It was even reported that, “Fighters from Saudi Arabia are thought to have carried out more suicide bombings than those of any other nationality.”79
This is especially interesting to note considering the enormous increase in military aid that the US is giving to Saudi Arabia. So, the US increases military aid and funding to the country that is causing the most conflict within Iraq, while publicly blaming Iran for all the ails of the region. Back in May, Dick Cheney made a little visit to Saudi Arabia, “for talks with King Abdullah expected to discuss Iran’s growing power,” and that “Cheney, who arrived in Saudi Arabia from the United Arab Emirates where he visited a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Gulf, has said Iran would top his talks with Arab leaders during his regional visit.”80 However, Saudi Arabia is not the only foreign power arming insurgents in Iraq. In June of this year, it was reported by the New York Times that, “With the four-month-old increase in American troops showing only modest success in curbing insurgent attacks, American commanders are turning to another strategy that they acknowledge is fraught with risk: arming Sunni Arab groups that have promised to fight militants linked with Al Qaeda who have been their allies in the past,” and that “the American commanders say, the Sunni groups are suspected of involvement in past attacks on American troops or of having links to such groups. Some of these groups, they say, have been provided, usually through Iraqi military units allied with the Americans, with arms, ammunition, cash, fuel and supplies.”81 So, not only is the United States arming Saudi Arabia, which is, in turn, arming Iraqi insurgents which are causing the sectarian conflict and Civil War, but now, the US itself is arming the insurgents which are causing the Civil War. However, this, even, is not the most nefarious involvement taking place on the part of the Anglo-Americans in Iraq. As the above-mentioned New York Times article pointed out that they are arming Sunni groups to fight Al-Qaeda, it is important to briefly cover some of the so-called Al-Qaeda-type terrorist incidents and attacks in Iraq.
Controlling the Crisis
As the London Telegraph reported back in May, “Deep inside the heart of the ‘Green Zone’, the heavily fortified administrative compound in Baghdad, lies one of the most carefully guarded secrets of the war in Iraq. It is a cell from a small and anonymous British Army unit that goes by the deliberately meaningless name of the Joint Support Group (JSG), and it has proved to be one of the Coalition’s most effective and deadly weapons in the fight against terror,” and it continues, “Its members – servicemen and women of all ranks recruited from all three of the Armed Forces – are trained to turn hardened terrorists into coalition spies using methods developed on the mean streets of Ulster during the Troubles, when the Army managed to infiltrate the IRA at almost every level. Since war broke out in Iraq in 2003, they have been responsible for running dozens of Iraqi double agents.”82 This is an open admission of a secret British army/intelligence unit recruiting Iraqi terrorists as supposed “spies”. The article continues, “Working alongside the Special Air Service [SAS – Special Forces] and the American Delta Force [US Special Forces] as part of the Baghdad-based counter-terrorist unit known as Task Force Black,” and that “Their job is to recruit and run covert human intelligence sources or agents – we never use the term informer. The Americans are in awe of the unit because they have nothing like them within their military.” So, the publicly stated idea behind this unit is that they recruit terrorists who would act as spies/informants, so that in the lead-up to a terror attack, the spies would pass on information to the unit who would move in to stop it; seemingly, a good purpose, right? Well, the article continues, “During the Troubles, the JSG operated under the cover name of the Force Research Unit (FRU), which between the early 1980s and the late 1990s managed to penetrate the very heart of the IRA. By targeting and then “turning” members of the paramilitary organisation with a variety of “inducements” ranging from blackmail to bribes, the FRU operators developed agents at virtually every command level within the IRA.”
The IRA (Provisional Irish Republican Army) was responsible for terrorist attacks in acts of violent resistance against the British, with the aim of gaining Northern Ireland’s independence from the United Kingdom. The above-mentioned military unit, under the name of the Force Research Unit (FRU), was responsible for infiltrating almost every level of the IRA, with the exact same intention that they have in Iraq; recruit the terrorists as spies to inform about potential attacks and actions so that they could intervene and deter and stop the attacks from happening. However, as the London Guardian reported in 2006, “The controversy over claims that Britain allowed two IRA informers to organise ‘human bomb’ attacks intensified this weekend. A human rights watchdog has handed a report to the Police Service of Northern Ireland, which concludes that two British agents were central to the bombings of three army border installations in 1990,” and further, “Meanwhile the Police Ombudsman’s Office in Belfast confirmed it is investigating allegations by the family of one victim that the bomb in Newry on 24 October 1990 could have been prevented,” and that “The ‘human bomb’ tactic involved forcing civilians to drive vehicles laden with explosives into army checkpoints and included deadly sorties near Newry and Coshquin outside Derry. Six British soldiers and a civilian worker at an army base died in the simultaneous blasts on either side of Northern Ireland.”83 On top of this, the London Sunday Times reported that “A former British Army mole in the IRA has claimed that MI5 [British intelligence] arranged a weapons-buying trip to America in which he obtained detonators, later used by terrorists to murder soldiers and police officers,” and that, “the spy, who uses the pseudonym Kevin Fulton, describes in detail how British intelligence co-operated with the FBI to ensure his trip to New York in the 1990s went ahead without incident,” and that “He claims the technology he obtained has been used in Northern Ireland and copied by terrorists in Iraq in roadside bombs that have killed British troops.”84 So, as opposed to Iran supplying the technology for the roadside bombs in Iraq, it would appear that it is, in actuality, the Anglo-Americans.
On top of this, it was reported by the Sunday Herald that, “Security forces didn’t intercept the Real IRA’s Omagh bombing team because one of the terrorists was a British double-agent whose cover would have been blown as an informer if the operation was uncovered. The security forces were forced to hope their agent would provide them with intelligence to ensure the bomb would go off without casualties. In the event, due to blundered telephone warnings, 29 people died on August 15 1998,” and that “The revelations follow claims by another British double-agent in the IRA, Kevin Fulton (not his real name), that he phoned a warning to his RUC [the Northern Ireland police force] handlers 48 hours before the Omagh bombing that the Real IRA was planning an attack and gave details of one of the bombing team and his car registration,” and that “other republican and intelligence sources say the RUC did not act on the information as one of the Omagh bombing team was a British informer. It is not known whether he was operating for the police, the army or MI5. There is speculation he may have also been working for the Garda – the Irish police.”85
The Sunday Herald later reported that, “He was one of the most feared men inside the Provisional IRA. To rank-and-file ‘volunteers’, a knock on the door from John Joe Magee was the equivalent of a visit from the Angel of Death. However, court documents leaked to the Sunday Herald show that Magee, head of the IRA’s infamous ‘internal security unit’, was trained as a member of Britain’s special forces. The IRA’s ‘torturer- in-chief’ was in reality one of the UK’s most elite soldiers,” and that, “the IRA has been embroiled in a catalogue of disclosures that some of its most respected members were working for British military intelligence. Magee led the IRA’s internal security unit for more than a decade up to the mid-90s – most of those he investigated were usually executed.”86
But perhaps the most shocking article in the mainstream media reporting on this subject, was again reported by the Sunday Herald in 2002, stating that the subject was again in the headlines as “a BBC Panorama programme which aired allegations that British Military Intelligence colluded with terrorists in a campaign of assassination. The Panorama programme – which concludes tonight – was largely based on long-running investigations by the Sunday Herald and other newspapers,” and that “The allegations have deepened today with one former British agent claiming he was told by his military handlers that his collusion with paramilitaries was sanctioned by [British Prime Minister] Margaret Thatcher herself,” and that it was again the spy known as Kevin Fulton who reported this, saying that he was told Margaret Thatcher knows what he is personally doing, “This was 1980, and if Margaret Thatcher knew about the activities of military intelligence agents such as Fulton, then she was also aware her own military officers were planning to infiltrate British soldiers as “moles” into the IRA. These moles were ordered by their handlers to carry out terrorist crimes in order to keep their cover within the Provos so they could feed information on other leading republicans back to security forces,” and further, “For almost two years the Sunday Herald has been investigating the activities of the FRU – the Force Research Unit, an ultra-secret wing of British military intelligence. Fulton worked for the FRU for much of his career as an IRA mole. This unit, which has been under investigation by Scotland Yard commissioner Sir John Stevens for more than a decade, was involved in the murder of civilians in Northern Ireland.”
The article continued, “Nicholas Benwell, a detective sergeant formerly attached to the Stevens Inquiry, says the Scotland Yard team came to one conclusion: that military intelligence was colluding with terrorists to help them kill so-called ‘legitimate targets’ such as active republicans. FRU handlers passed documents and photographs to their agents operating within paramilitary groups detailing targets’ movements and the whereabouts of their homes. Pictures were also handed over to help gunmen identify their victims. But there was a problem. The targeting was far from professional and many of the victims of these government- backed hit squads were innocent civilians.”87 Moreover, Fulton has stated, “If you ask me, ‘Did I kill anyone?’ then I will say ‘no’. But if you ask me if the materials I handled killed anyone, then I will have to say that some of the things I helped develop did kill,”88 and that “In 1992, Fulton told his handlers – this time in both the FRU and MI5, that his IRA mentor Blair was planning to use a horizontally- fired mortar for an attack on the police. His handlers did nothing. Within days, Blair fired the device at an armoured RUC Land Rover in Newry, in the process killing policewoman Colleen McMurray. Another RUC officer lost both his legs.”89
So, as we see, the Force Research Unit (FRU) was not very effective in stopping attacks and killings, even though it clearly had the ability to do so. So the question arises, why wouldn’t it stop the attacks? Well, the answer to that is qui bono? (Who benefits?). When attacks were carried out and killings occurred, the IRA grew further from achieving its stated goals of gaining independence from the United Kingdom for Northern Ireland, as with every attack, the British military presence in Northern Ireland increased, essentially instilling a total police state of control over the Northern Irish. So, out of the attacks, the British ensured maintaining military control and oppression in Northern Ireland, whereas the Irish themselves suffered under oppressive rule. So, I leave the question to you, who benefits?
Today, we see that this Force Research Unit has now changed its name to the Joint Support Group (JSG), and has been operating in Iraq since the invasion in 2003, recruiting terrorists as spies, once again. Well, a simple question, since the invasion, has there been a decrease or an increase in terrorist attacks? Further, again, who benefits? When terrorist attacks occur in Iraq, the Iraqi people suffer, and it spurs other groups to respond with other attacks, fomenting the Civil War, and dividing the Iraqi people. For example, whenever a Shiite (Shia) Mosque is bombed, shortly thereafter, a Sunni Mosque is bombed. When 60 Shia’s are found murdered by death squads, masses of Sunnis then turn up dead. One attack precipitates another; the people separate and divide against one another, which allows for the occupation forces to submit them to harsh methods of control and oppression. It’s the age old imperial motto of “Divide and Conquer”, the theory that an imperial force will divide the people against one another, so that they won’t team up against the occupier, and also so that they have an excuse to oppress and control. So, is there reason to believe that this FRU/JSG unit in Iraq is doing much the same, if not worse, than what it did in Northern Ireland? I think it would take a great mass of ignorance to think it unlikely.
In fact, I will briefly cover one well-publicized incident, which took place in the British controlled city of Basra, in Southern Iraq, in 2005, of which the BBC reported, “The Iraqi government has launched an inquiry into the events that led the British Army to stage a dramatic rescue of two UK soldiers detained by police,” and it continued, “Both men were members of the SAS elite special forces,” and that “Basra governor Mohammed al-Waili said the men – possibly working undercover – were arrested for allegedly shooting dead a policeman and wounding another.” The article continued, “footage, purportedly of the equipment carried in the men’s car, showed assault rifles, a light machine gun, an anti-tank weapon, radio gear and medical kit.”90 On top of this, the Scotsman reported that the two British SAS (Special Forces) soldiers were “dressed in Arab robes,” and that after their arrest, being held in an Iraqi jail, “British soldiers freed two comrades in a dramatic operation last night just hours after the men, believed to be with an undercover special forces unit, were arrested on charges of shooting two Iraqi policemen. Witnesses and Iraqi officials claimed British troops backed by up to ten tanks smashed down the walls of the central jail in the southern city of Basra and freed the two men,” and it continued, “Mohammed al-Waili, the governor of the province, described the British raid as ‘barbaric, savage and irresponsible’. ‘A British force of more than ten tanks backed by helicopters attacked the central jail and destroyed it. This is an irresponsible act,’ Mr al-Waili said, adding that the British force had spirited the prisoners away to an unknown location. The Ministry of Defence was last night insisting that the release of the two soldiers had been secured through negotiation and not by force, although reports suggested damage had been caused to the jail. An MoD [Ministry of Defence] official said a wall had been demolished ‘by accident’.”91
So, in a situation in which two British Special Forces soldiers were arrested, dressed as Arabs, with a large amount of weaponry in their car, not to mention that they were firing and killing Iraqi police, what is one to think? Is it possible that they were working as part of an undercover effort to incite sectarian conflict, resulting in Civil War; as the agents of the ‘Divide and Conquer’ mantra-in-action? Well, as the Asia Times reported, “Repeated cries in the mainstream media of an unfolding civil war fall on the deaf ears of many Iraqis who see the violence as a direct result of the US-led occupation,” and that, “In the days after the bombing of the Shi’ite shrine at Samarra on February 22,  the Association of Muslim Scholars and representatives of Shi’ite [Shia] groups led by Muqtada al-Sadr and Sheikh al-Khalisi met at the Abu Hanifa Mosque in Adhamiya to negotiate a response,” and the article continued, “During their meeting, they made simple and well-publicized decisions to condemn the Samarra bombing, and all subsequent attacks against Sunni mosques, as well as condemning all terrorist operations.” Further, it stated, “The leaders agreed to find compensation for all people harmed by the sectarian violence in the aftermath of the Samarra bombing. The representatives who met at the Abu Hanifa mosque claimed that their people and organizations were not involved directly in the violence. ‘We charge the occupation forces and the Iraq sectarian government,’ said Sheikh Majid al-Sa’adi, a Shi’ite representing Khalisi. Many of Iraq’s parties, particularly the Sunni groups, and the nationalist Sadr hold this view.”92 This is very significant, because one of the top Shi’ite leaders in Iraq has publicly denounced the bombing of a Sunni mosque, (which the US blamed on Al-Qaeda) which offset an enormous amount of sectarian conflict, exacerbating the conflict. As the Jerusalem Post reported, “[Iranian] President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blamed the United States and Israel on Thursday for the blowing up of a Shi’ite shrine’s golden dome in Iraq.”93