The forthcoming war and the smell of oil

Jan 10, 2003 01:00 AM

One wonders why war should flare up now and why was not the war finally decided 12 years ago when the allies' forces led by the US were only 50 km from Baghdad? These are crucial questions that need to be answered especially in the Arab world.
What are the regional, global and even national changes and transformations that push things to the point of final resolution and rearrangement of conditions once again? First of all, I would like to point out that the "hero" of 2nd August 1990 has exhausted all his powers and potentials that he is no longer suitable for the current phase. Two years ago, the Republicans brought to the White House a new President with new thought and extremist Christian ideology.

The arrival of the new administration coincided with the events of 11th September 2001 that provided a strong motive for the all sides. This political transformation has coincided with a more significant and serious economic change. The world's sole super power has become during the last 12 years more dependent upon Gulf oil owing to the decline in US oil production on the one hand and increased oil consumption in the US on the other hand.
The US imports at present some 10 mm bpd of oil or the equivalent of some 40 % of the total OPEC output. More specifically, oil imported from the Gulf, Saudi Arabia and Iraq represents one third of this quantity.

It is obvious that the American strategic thinking is fully convinced that the current map of the Middle East and Asia Minor represent a threat to the US future oil supplies. Also the existence of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq and some extremist regimes constitute an obstacle in the face of drawing the region's political and energy map.
When we add to the above the logistical links between the Gulf region and the oil-rich Caspian Sea, we will find that a reconsideration of the regional conditions and rearranging them have become a strategic requirement from the American perspective.
Having a strong grip on the Gulf and Caspian Sea oil, it is possible to control 60 % of the world's future oil supplies. In addition, it will be possible to control many effective cards in the forthcoming global conflicts.

China, Western Europe, India and Japan have a growing need for Gulf oil. With the increased consumption of energy sources in such countries and economic blocks makes them lack the necessary flexibility to control their energy need.
Russia that has recently entered into $ 40 bn oil and economic agreements with Iraq is threatened with losing this generous and unique concession. However, Russia has its own substantial oil and natural gas resources that meet its growing needs.

Since Iraq has the second biggest crude reserves after Saudi Arabia, its future role has a special significance for the oil policy of the United States and its influential companies that are heavily represented in the current US administration. The experience of the last few decades, especially the September 11 events, has proved that a historical friendship between the oil producers and US do not provide a sufficient guarantee for meeting its energy requirements.
In fact, that must simultaneously take place with political stability and change of the system of administration in some regional countries, from changes in the curricula, creating an open climate and maintaining social balance.

This controversial mutual relationship between politics, economics and oil is the key motive of the next war, if it happens, and the subsequent new arrangements that will reflect upon the new balances of power on the regional and global levels.

Source: Gulf News Online
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