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Tag: Dick Cheney

The Oil War?

Oil WarPicture: The Washington Post

In a mode that could clearly say: “I told you so”, critics of America’s involvement in Iraq are now saying that the U.S. Administration sent the troopers there for one primary reason: to shore up a reliable source of crude oil that would keep flowing into American storage facilities, and hence into American citizens gas tanks for at least another 15 to 20 years. With Iraqi petroleum reserves estimated to be at least 10% to total world supply, and if major American oil companies like Exxon-Mobil and Amoco controlling the pumping of fossilized, primeval Earth in most of Iraq, then it would be a win-win situation; the winners being Uncle Sam and Co. of course.

Unfortunately, for President George Bush (an oilman himself) and his assistant, Vice President Dick Cheney (of Halliburton Corp. fame); things didn’t work out the way they wanted them to. Now that Iraqi and (presumably) US forces are staging an operation against Shiite militiamen in the oil rich Iraqi city of Basra, this oil war doctrine seems to be more relevant than ever. Iraqi oil production has been plagued with a scores of problems in both Iraq’s southern region as well as in the northern, Kurdish controlled sector.

Maybe this explains why so many top American officials have made so many “surprise visits” to Iraq in this 2008 election year.

Ever since the invasion of March, 2003, production and exports of Iraqi crude oil have been beset by a combination of old production equipment in bad repair, as well as countless incidents of sabotage by Iraqi insurgents and foreign elements who simply do not want Iraqi oil to fall into the hands of “The Great Satan”, no matter what the price to Iraq’s own economy. As oil has been this country’s major export (and was used by Saddam Hussein to fleece his pockets during his 30 year reign) not being able to produce and export sufficient quantities has resulted in the country’s economy becoming an international basket case.

Now, more five years later and 4,000 American way dead, this precious resource seems even more distant from American and other Western automobile gas tanks. Countries like Israel, who once feared possible attacks from Iraq with weapons of mass destruction, called WMD’s for short, now fear another oil rich country, Iran, whose leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has often called for Israel to be “wiped off the face of the map”. Despite the fact that the U.N. Headquarters is still located in New York City, American governmental officials, and especially New York City officials should have been more prudent than to let this man come twice to address the opening of the U.N. General Assembly, as well as speak before such a pristine academic institution as Columbia University. For it is Iran’s sponsored militiamen who are now fighting Americans in southern Iraq, as well as providing training and arms to Hamas militiaman in Gaza and to the Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Oil is now fetching more than $100 a barrel, and the U.S. Dollar is even weaker than currencies like the Israeli Shekel. It appears that the time has come for some serious stock-taking in regards to just why American forces went into Iraq in the first place, instead of simply letting Saddam Hussein and his cronies remain there as a possible buffer against the real world enemy – Iran.

Et tu, Cheney?

Cheney in RamallahNo sooner had the fine china been put away for German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. Presidential candidate John McCain at Jerusalem hotels like the Kind David at Jerusalem hotels like the King David, when U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney came to town. Cheney, also back from a quick trip to beleaguered Iraq (where U.S. forces have just suffered their 4,000th war casualty) stopped off in Israel to visit both with Israeli and Palestinian officials.

Not exactly “Mr. Personality”, Cheney reiterated previous remarks by both McCain and Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice (who was also here recently) in respect to American support of a two state solution and a full partnership with Israel. Cheney also pulled no punches when he mentioned that Iran was not only a danger to Israel but to America and the non-Islamic world at large. This also was not anything new as both Senator McCain and Sec. Rice had made similar remarks.

In respect to relations between Israel and the Palestinians, Cheney said that in order for peace to be achieved, “some painful concessions need to be made”. Now, here is the kicker question in this remark: painful for whom? Israel, the Palestinians (the West Bank Palestinians, that is ) or for those nasty people called Hamas who nobody wants to deal with, except people like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hassan Nasrallah, that is. And we might as well throw in people like Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al Qaeda’s No. 2, and even more nasty than Osama bin Laden, so they say. Cheney’s visit with Palestinian President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas was also a bit lackluster, but what could one expect, since any rational person knows who the most powerful Palestinian leader really is.

Cheney has been behind much of America’s five plus year Iraq experience that is being “commemorated” today with the announcement of the 4000th slain U.S. combat soldier. Not as bad as Vietnam, which had at least 40,000 dead GI’s after the same 5 year period. But these new war dead are bad enough for a much scaled down professional military that requires it’s thinly spread-out troop contingents to spend at lest two duty tours in either Iraq or Afghanistan – take their choice.

As for Cheney’s short trip here, it will most likely be his last to the region, although his boss, President George W. Bush plans to be back in Israel to help celebrate the upcoming 60th Independence celebration. Busch better not plan to be here at the same time that former Beatles greats Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr plan to be here too, as they will surely upstage him.

Oh what the heck. The fact that he’s still alive with half a heart left feebly beating is a triumph in itself! Dick Cheney doesn’t need to worry about such things as upstaging the Beatles, since he won’t be attending the party.

Bush’s Visit and Presidential Primaries

Victories in the New Hampshire presidential primary by Republican Senator John McCain, and Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton appear the have little correlation with President George Bush‘s visit to Israel today and several other Middle Eastern countries. McCain, who is usually depicted as a bit of a hawk, won comfortably over his closest rival, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney; while Clinton, barely got by her closest rival, Illinois Senator Barack Obama. While it’s still too early to tell who will wind up as their party’s official nominee, the next few weeks will definitely tell which way the political winds are blowing for hopefuls in both major political parties.

As for Bush, in what will most likely be his last major visit to the this part of the world, he really doesn’t have to worry what happens to anyone representing his political party, the Republicans, as most of the people running are not depending on his support anyway. That means that Mr. Bush can concentrate of trying to realize some of his plans concerning implementing a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as making sure that oil rich countries like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia remain under America’s sphere of influence in order to keep that increasingly expensive commodity, oil, flowing into American refineries, and hence into American SUV’s.

Iran, especially after their aborted attempt to create an international incident with American naval vessels in the Straits of Hormuz, is another factor that Bush will have to deal with until he leaves office on January 20, 2009. Concerning who will be replacing him, all the outgoing president can do is to wish his successor will, whoever that person may be.

Perhaps that’s what is good about being an outgoing two term president. He is not really what is known as a “lame duck” as he is not under any serious political cloud such as an incumbent president is when losing a re-election bid. His vice president, Dick Cheney, is too old and too sick to run for the office, and Bush himself doesn’t appear, at this point in time anyway, to be personally indorsing any of his party’s candidates, including John McCain.

Bush’s main “cloud” if one wants to call it that is the matter of the U.S. led invasion of Iraq and its aftermath; which will be a main concern for his replacement, especially if he (or she) is a Democrat. Other issues, including the ongoing War on Terror and the current goings-on the Middle East (the focus of his current Middle East visit) will also carry over to his successor as no major breakthroughs will probably come to pass this year. And this is despite assurances by Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and P.A. Authority President Abbas that there might be some encouraging steps made towards a final peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Other problems including global warming, a possible U.S. recession, Pakistan’s current sate of flux, and Al Qaeda leaders Osama bin Ladin and Ayman al Zawahiri still presumed to be alive and kicking will be left to whoever is sitting in the Oval Office next January 21.

As for Bush, it will be back to Texas barbeques and Lone Star Beer, or whatever tickles his fancy.

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