Saturday, June 9, 2007
The US plans permanent military bases in Iraq, confirming to many that it really was all about oil
Saturday June 9, 2007
"Almost unnoticed, the war in Iraq entered a new phase last week. Laconic statements from the White House and the Pentagon confirmed what had long been suspected - the US is planning a long-term military presence in Iraq. This is a geopolitical development of the first importance. In spite of current difficulties - May was the most lethal month for American soldiers since 2004, with 119 killed - the United States firmly intends to maintain control of Iraq and its vast oil reserves. Iraq's neighbours, and energy-hungry states and oil companies, will take note......
Such statements, and the planning that goes with them, make nonsense of the current debate - in Congress, the press and the public - about a date for withdrawal from Iraq, and whether the surge is producing results. The administration is looking way beyond that.
What are the motives driving such long-term ambitions? The wish to retain control of energy resources, bearing in mind potential rivals such as China, is clearly one. If there were no oil in Iraq, the US would not be there. Another is the ability to project US power over the whole of the oil-rich Gulf and beyond, a vast area from central Asia to east Africa. Other motives include confronting hostile Iran and Syria; making up in Iraq for the loss of bases in Saudi Arabia; and, not least, being on hand to protect Israel. Indeed, these were the main reasons for the invasion four years ago......
Seen in this light, the US enterprise - for all the talk of democracy - is an unmistakable neo-colonial or imperial project such as the region suffered at the hands of Britain and France in an earlier age. Jimmy Carter was prescient when he declared last year: "There are people in Washington ... who never intend to withdraw military forces from Iraq ... the reason that we went into Iraq was to establish a permanent military base in the Gulf region."....."