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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Thursday, May 12, 2005

When you dance with the devil...

This story is prefaced with a warning. Its accuracy is unknown, Daniel Pipes has talked up its merits and the "facts" seem extraordinary. However, they are certainly worth reporting:

"According to a new book, Saudi Arabia has crafted a plan to protect itself from a possible invasion or internal attack. It includes the use of a series of explosives, including radioactive “dirty bombs,” that would cripple Saudi Arabian oil production and distribution systems for decades."

The doomsday scenario, if true, paints a sadly predictable picture of US/Saudi relations. Neither really trusts each other and yet just last month Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah visited Bush's ranch in Texas, had his hand held by the US President and was asked to boost oil production. Nearly four years after 9/11, and much evidence to suggest that elements of the Saudi establishment are still funding Islamic extremism, we know that the world's only superpower is still heavily reliant on Saudi oil.

One of the main reasons for invading and occupying Iraq was the country's massive oil reserves, the American realisation that added energy supplies will be desperately needed in the coming years and the understanding that the Saudi monarchy may collapse in the coming years, possibly handing power to the Islamists. This eventuality would require alternative sources of oil in the region, such as Iraq.

We now learn that that one of the shady figures behind the Iraq invasion, Ahmed Chalabi, currently holding a prominent position in the Iraqi government, is to be pardoned by the Jordanian government. Chalabi "was sentenced to 22 years in prison for fraud after his bank collapsed with $300m (£160m) in missing deposits in 1989." Chalabi is still suspected of passing intelligence to the Iranians. One can only presume that the Iraqi government, under the thumb of the Americans, have pressured the Jordanians to pardon Chalabi.

How do these issues connect? Chalabi, recently appointed Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister and temporary control of the country's oil reserves, sadly proves that oil is being increasingly politicised. With Saudi oil safe for the time being, the Americans need an alternative source if things go horribly wrong. Enter Iraq. A BBC report from March revealed a secret plan, authorised by Chalabi and others before the 2003 invasion, to sell-off Iraqi oil. The plan was eventually scrapped but gives a revealing insight into the true intentions of Chalabi.


Anonymous Phil said...

Hiya Antony, just to correct the fast moving record a Shiite Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulum in now the new Oil Minister, Chalabi held the post for a couple of weeks until the Cabinet was finalised - not that it matters much.

Thursday, May 12, 2005 12:11:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, all of the Saudi infrastructure was engineered by contracted Westerners and other foreigners; I'm skeptical as Saudis themselves couldn't organise a cup of coffee, much less some sort of super-secret-Semtex James Bond-villain's-lair self-destruct device. It's a great story, and not one that should be dismissed out of hand, but the logistics of such a thing are huge, and way beyond the capabilities of a bunch of playboy princelings.

Thursday, May 12, 2005 1:08:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

So Chalabi is now longer Oil Minister? Ok, more research needed, but I have no doubt he's still highly involved in that area. The pardon in Jordan smells so fishy... The key new leaders of Iraq are beholden to the Americans, the people know it, survey and survey says that the US should leave and yet we're still told that liberation is happening daily...

Thursday, May 12, 2005 2:51:00 pm  
Anonymous Phil said...

And up to 14 permanent bases are being dug in. It's just like the video game of Age of Empires.

Thursday, May 12, 2005 3:25:00 pm  

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