Mowlam: Iraq no threat. Bush wants war to keep US control of region

  • From: "Muslim News" <editor_@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 8 Sep 2002 23:36:58 +0100

The Real Goal is the Seizure of Saudi Oil 

Mo Mowlam, The Guardian 

I keep listening to the words coming from the Bush administration about
Iraq and I become increasingly alarmed. There seems to be such
confusion, but through it all a grim determination that they are, at
some point, going to launch a military attack. The response of the
British government seems equally confused, but I just hope that the
determination to ultimately attack Iraq does not form the bedrock of
their policy. It is hard now to see how George Bush can withdraw his
bellicose words and also save face, but I hope that that is possible.
Otherwise I fear greatly for the Middle East, but also for the rest of
the world. 

What is most chilling is that the hawks in the Bush administration must
know the risks involved. They must be aware of the anti-American feeling
throughout the Middle East. They must be aware of the fear in Egypt and
Saudi Arabia that a war against Iraq could unleash revolutions,
disposing of pro-western governments, and replacing them with populist
anti-American Islamist fundamentalist regimes. We should all remember
the Islamist revolution in Iran. The Shah was backed by the Americans,
but he couldn't stand against the will of the people. And it is because
I am sure that they fully understand the consequences of their actions,
that I am most afraid. I am drawn to the conclusion that they must want
to create such mayhem. 

The many words that are uttered about Saddam Hussein having weapons of
mass destruction, which are never substantiated with any hard evidence,
seem to mean very little. Even if Saddam had such weapons, why would he
wish to use them? He knows that if he moves to seize the oilfields in
neighbouring countries the full might of the western world will be
ranged against him. He knows that if he attacks Israel the same fate
awaits him. Comparisons with Hitler are silly - Hitler thought he could
win; Saddam knows he cannot. Even if he has nuclear weapons he cannot
win a war against America. The United States can easily contain him.
They do not need to try and force him to irrationality. 

But that is what Bush seems to want to do. Why is he so determined to
take the risk? The key country in the Middle East, as far as the
Americans are concerned, is Saudi Arabia: the country with the largest
oil reserves in the world, the country that has been prepared to calm
the oil markets, producing more when prices are too high and less when
there is a glut. The Saudi royal family has been rewarded with best
friend status by the west for its cooperation. There has been little
concern that the government is undemocratic and breaches human rights,
nor that it is in the grip of an extreme form of Islam. With American
support it has been believed that the regime can be protected and will
do what is necessary to secure a supply of oil to the west at reasonably
stable prices. 

Since September 11, however, it has become increasingly apparent to the
US administration that the Saudi regime is vulnerable. Both on the
streets and in the leading families, including the royal family, there
are increasingly anti-western voices. Osama bin Laden is just one
prominent example. The love affair with America is ending. Reports of
the removal of billions of dollars of Saudi investment from the United
States may be difficult to quantify, but they are true. The possibility
of the world's largest oil reserves falling into the hands of an
anti-American, militant Islamist government is becoming ever more likely
- and this is unacceptable. 

The Americans know they cannot stop such a revolution. They must
therefore hope that they can control the Saudi oil fields, if not the
government. And what better way to do that than to have a large military
force in the field at the time of such disruption. In the name of saving
the west, these vital assets could be seized and controlled. No longer
would the US have to depend on a corrupt and unpopular royal family to
keep it supplied with cheap oil. If there is chaos in the region, the US
armed forces could be seen as a global saviour. Under cover of the war
on terrorism, the war to secure oil supplies could be waged. 

This whole affair has nothing to do with a threat from Iraq - there
isn't one. It has nothing to do with the war against terrorism or with
morality. Saddam Hussein is obviously an evil man, but when we were
selling arms to him to keep the Iranians in check he was the same evil
man he is today. He was a pawn then and is a pawn now. In the same way
he served western interests then, he is now the distraction for the
sleight of hand to protect the west's supply of oil. And where does this
leave the British government? Are they in on the plan or just part of
the smokescreen? The government speaks of morality and the threat posed
by weapons of mass destruction, but can they really believe it? 

Mo Mowlam was a member of Tony Blair's cabinet from 1997-2001 

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