Remember when Donald Rumsfeld told us in November of 2002 that the invasion of Iraq had “nothing to do with oil”? Well recently on June 24, 2008, there was a very interesting debate on the KCRW radio program “To The Point” hosted by Warren Olney. The discussion centered on Iraq and the decision to give no-bid contracts to some of the biggest western oil companies once expelled by Saddam Hussein in 1972. Among the guests on the program were Naomi Klein (author of “The Shock Doctrine” ) and Fadhil Chalabi (Former Iraqi Undersecretary).
The discussion quickly began center around whether these no-bid contracts are evidence that the invasion of Iraq was in fact, about oil. Naomi Klein fielded this question directly and thinks that these actions certainly bolster that argument. She points to the recent quote from former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan’s memoir where he stated that “the Iraq War is largely about oil.” I should also point out that in addition to this quote from his memoir, Greenspan has also been quoted in interviews that the removal of Saddam Hussein was essential to securing world oil supplies.
Fadhil Chalabi then joined the discussion. Chalabi is the Executive Director of the Center for Global Energy Studies in London and was the former Iraqi Undersecretary. Chalabi also worked as the Deputy Secretary General of OPEC and arranged meetings with oil companies to discuss the plans for Iraq’s oil fields after the invasion. Chalabi was asked about those who argue that the Iraq war was for oil and he, like Greenspan, said that the objectives were much larger than just oil. Chalabi stated that the war is a strategic move by U.S. to have a military presence in the region to secure supplies for the future and stand against the growing influence of Iran. In addition to this bold declaration of motives, Chalabi was then asked what his response was to those who say that the US is primarily in Iraq to help these major oil companies regain a foothold in Iraq. Chalabi responded, “That’s right. That is right, a foothold in Iraq for the future.”
When asked for her reaction to these statements by Chalabi, Naomi Klein said that she appreciated the frankness of the comments regarding motive, but also pointed out a circular argument that we are seeing develop in regard to Iraq. There is the claim, by Chalabi, that the United States is present to guard the oil against the growing Iranian threat, however it was the U.S. invasion that has been a primary cause for much of the destabilization in the region. The United States is now in a situation where they are protecting the oil from Iran due to the instability in the region, yet the instability was (and is) caused by the invasion and ensuing occupation. This leads to the circumstance where the U.S. is present to protect from the instability which they continue to cause by their very presence in the region. Klein states that “the continued chaos that is being caused becomes the rationale for these policies that are being put into effect.”
We have gone from a time where there was flat-out denial that the war was about oil, to figures such as Greenspan and Chalabi very openly admitting that the war was certainly about oil. It is time that we put away any doubt about the true motives of the Bush Administration in regard to the invasion and continue to follow the money to further expose where their priorities lie.
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