Friday, 19 January 2007

USA to keep attacking countries for more oil & gas

During recent Geopolitics of Oil Congressional hearings (euphemism for "It's Peak Oil time and we need to grab more barrels!") USA senators have stated re-stated Cheney's stance "The American Way of life is non-negotiable". Several senators agree that energy independence for USA is impossible and that USA will ensure it's access to energy, especially in countries which have nationalized their oil fields.

What does this mean in practice? USA needs more evil enemies, which they can liberate from their tyrant leaders and clean up their oil reserves in the process. First of all, the axis of evil is now shifting slowly to Russia, which is a big oil exporter and to China, which is competing with USA for the same oil production supplies (namely in Africa, but also in Venezuela, Cuba and Caspian Sea region).

Still, before that demonisation is likely to get into full force, there are the smaller and more lucrative players to get target: namely Iran (huge natural gas & oil reserves), Venezuela (massive tar sand deposits) and various African countries that can still provide enough oil (likely Angola).

As you may have noticed, the demonisation of both Iran ("they have nuclear bombs!" even though IAEA says the opposite) and Venezuela ("Chavez is a lunatic!") are already well underway. Remember, the first casualty of war is truth. By that measure, the war against both Iran and Venezuela is well under way.

Now, many people are already thinking, "that's crazy, no way USA will attack Iran with the Iraq fiasco on their hands, especially with democrats now holding the majority vote". To this, I offer the following arguments to consider:

  1. Cheney has set forth 1% doctrine: "'If there was even a 1 percent chance of terrorists getting a weapon of mass destruction -- and there has been a small probability of such an occurrence for some time -- the United States must now act as if it were a certainty." Very useful policy, once accepted (it has).
  2. Project for the new American century's white paper shows that Iran must be controlled as a strategic vantage point for USA. US not only needs to take control of those points, but also stay there for our life time.
  3. Iran has huge natural gas reserves. US is building new capacity for liquefied natural gas tanker ports (like they are building capacity for new liquefied natural gas they know they are going to get some time in the future). According to Oil & Gas journal it also has the world's second largest untapped known oil reservoirs. Furthermore, it controls the Hormuz water area, through which c. 40% of world's oil exports pass. Crucial strategic point. Even more important, Iran has a shoreline on Caspian sea and Persian Gulf. This is the major route for any oil from Caspian for USA.
  4. US is preparing to move two air carriers to the Persian Gulf towards Iran. This is called escalation.
  5. IAEA has said Iran does NOT have an atomic bomb or capability in the next ten years. USA dismisses this completely (without any proof), trying to build "evidence" and "reason" to attack Iran. Combine this "WMD scare" with reason 1). USA is trying to build a reason, just like with the WMDs and Iraq (compare the 1% doctrine).
  6. Demonising of the Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has already started over a year ago in various USA mainstream media outfits. Also, Iran is being claimed as funding Iraq rebels and indirectly Al Qaeda. These are extra reasons to attack.
  7. In January 2007 "Geopolitics of Oil" congressional hearings majority of senators agreed on the politics that USA will "secure the oil it needs, by any force necessary. NATO has also said, that they will respond to any use of "energy as a weapon" [against USA] via conventional military means, including full scale land attack. This NATO link could bring UK again behind US for the attack of Iran, considering UK's natural gas resources are dwindling and they need to start looking for alternatives (other than only Russia).
  8. It's likely that USA has been planning to attack Iran using Israel as a proxy. This has been leaked to the press since last summer already. USA has done this before in collusion with UK, during the Egypt/Suez crisis in 1956. There has even been talks of Israel using nukes. This is another classic "frighten them with genocide and they'll be happy with a mere massacre" tactic often used in international politics.
  9. USA has been flying unmanned missions over Iran air space for months. This has also been reported. When asked about "when will we go to war with Iran", retired USA military specialist said during last summer in an interview in USA mainstream TV that "We are already in Iran, we are running several special operations reconnaissance missions inside Iran", in his opinion USA has already attacked Iran.
  10. Iran has on several occasions offered to have talks with USA on what USA wants (through UN, through Iraqi officials, etc). USA has refused to talk to Iran at all. Only attacking it through the press.
  11. Iran (and Venezuela) have been converting more of their oil trading current basket to Euro from USD. While some temporary controlled devaluation of USD might be beneficial to the current US administration, loss of faith in the USD as the major global trading currency is not. This situation will be monitored closely in the US.

Now, some analysts have already offered their thinking on the issue:

  • Iran is very weak in military terms. It really can't resist any attack. It's putting it's bets on ties with Venezuela and perhaps to some extent Russia & China. If USA can cut deals with Russia and China, Iran has no major supporters.
  • If they can "win" in Iran showman style, Bush/Cheney/et al. will win back some support in polls, even though the situation of Iraq may be deteriorating or even reverse the situation in Iraq (Iran may in fact be funding Iraqis factions indirectly).
  • Bush will use Iraq as a bargaining chip with democrats: yes, we will pull out of Iraq (we support your democrat issue), but in return you support us in the attack against Iran (which dems have to do).

It is of course true, that there are several opinions why USA will not attack Iran:

  • Price of oil will likely rise. Bush ratings will plummet even more. Then again, crude at c. $50, there's now again room for price increase (which was not possible at near $80).
  • Democrats could try to derail the move anyway, at least postpone it towards future, so that they can not take the damage from the attack, if there's a bad fallout.
  • They are afraid how China might react (unless they cut a better "after the bombing deal") with the Chinese
  • Most ex-Iraq war generals (esp. in land & navy) are against any attack on Iran, but apparently no air force admiral is against it (thus you could get support for bombing Iran, but not easily invade it with huge land forces). Of course, in the end army does what the commander says.
  • Sometimes it's easier to make things difficult for a country, then support the opposition, make a coup and you don't have to attack directly. After the new leaders (who you have helped) are in place, you can cut better deals with them. BUT the thinking on this is problematic:
  • in Iran you could probably only support other Islamists, who don't look nicely to USA then coming in, putting up military bases and grabbing all the oil. Sure, they'd like to get the help for a revolutionary fight, BUT would they really support USA after they get into power?

If something "critical" happens, it is very easy to pinpoint it to Iran and get US support back on attacking Iran. This could be: energy shortages, terrorist attack, finding of WMD (planted evidence, risk to Israel), or Iran conducting missile tests, etc.

Personally I believe direct attack from USA has grown less likely in the past couple of months, wheres as an attack using Israel as a proxy has grown more likely.

Of course, only time will tell, but I would not like to be planning any long term trips to Iran myself in the near future.