[dehai-news] In a Pure Coincidence, Gaddafi Impeded US Oil Interests Before the War

New Message Reply About this list Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

From: Tsegai Emmanuel (emmanuelt40@gmail.com)
Date: Sun Jun 12 2011 - 00:04:51 EDT

 In a Pure Coincidence, Gaddafi Impeded US Oil Interests Before the War
by Glenn Greenwald

When the war in Libya began, the U.S. government convinced a large number of
war supporters that we were there to achieve the very limited goal of
creating a no-fly zone in Benghazi to protect civilians from air attacks,
while President Obama specifically
"broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a
mistake." This no-fly zone was created in the first week, yet now, almost
three months later, the war drags on without any end in sight, and NATO is
no longer even hiding<http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/06/10/libya.gadhafi/>what
has long
been obvious<http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Video-Libya-Suspected-Bunker-Hit-By-Nato-In-Gaddafi-Tripoli-Compound-Amid-Claims-Of-Rising-Tension/Article/201105215991047?f=rss>:
that its real goal is exactly the one Obama vowed would not be pursued --
regime change through the use of military force. We're in Libya to forcibly
remove Gaddafi from power and replace him with a regime that we like better,
i.e., one that is more accommodating to the interests of the West. That's
not even a debatable proposition at this point.

"We're in Libya to forcibly remove Gaddafi from power and replace him with a
regime that we like better, i.e., one that is more accommodating to the
interests of the West," writes Greenwald. "That's not even a debatable
proposition at this point." What I suppose is debatable, in the most
generous sense of that term, is our motive in doing this. Why -- at a time
when American political leaders feel compelled to advocate politically
radioactive budget cuts to reduce the deficit and when polls show
Americans solidly
and increasingly
the war -- would the U.S. Government continue to spend huge
sums of money to fight this
Why is President Obama willing to endure self-evidently valid accusations --
even from his own Party -- that he's fighting an illegal war by brazenly
flouting the requirements for Congressional approval? Why would Defense
Secretary Gates risk fissures by so angrily and publicly chiding NATO
failing to build more Freedom Bombs to devote to the war? And why
we, to use the President's phrase, "stand idly by" while numerous other
regimes -- including our close allies in
the one in Syria -- engage in attacks on their own people at least as
heinous as those threatened by Gaddafi, yet be so devoted to targeting the
Libyan leader?

Whatever the answers to those mysteries, no responsible or Serious person,
by definition, would suggest that any of this
from today's
*Washington Post* -- has anything to do with it:

The relationship between Gaddafi and the U.S. oil industry as a whole was
odd. In 2004, President George W. Bush unexpectedly lifted economic
sanctions on Libya in return for its renunciation of nuclear weapons and
terrorism. There was a burst of optimism among American oil executives eager
to return to the Libyan oil fields they had been forced to abandon two
decades earlier. . . .

*Yet even before armed conflict drove the U.S. companies out of Libya this
year, their relations with Gaddafi had soured.* The Libyan leader demanded
tough contract terms. He sought big bonus payments up front. Moreover, upset
that he was not getting more U.S. government respect and recognition for his
earlier concessions, he pressured the oil companies to influence U.S.
policies. . .

When Gaddafi made his deal with Bush in 2004, he had hoped that returning
foreign oil companies would help boost Libya’s output . . . The U.S.
government also encouraged American oil companies to go back to Libya. . . .

The companies needed little encouragement. *Libya has some of the biggest
and most proven oil reserves -- 43.6 billion barrels -- outside Saudi
Arabia, and some of the best drilling prospects*. . . . Throughout this
time, oil prices kept rising, whetting the appetite for greater supplies of
Libya's unusually "sweet" and "light," or high-quality, crude oil.

By the time Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited in 2008, U.S. joint
ventures accounted for 510,000 of Libya's 1.7 million barrels a day of
production, a State Department cable said. . . .

But all was not well. By November 2007, a State Department cable noted
evidence of Libyan resource nationalism*." It noted that in his 2006 speech
marking the founding of his regime, Gaddafi said: "Oil companies are
controlled by foreigners who have made millions from them. *Now, Libyans
must take their place to profit from this money*." His son made similar
remarks in 2007.

Oil companies had been forced to give their local subsidiaries Libyan names,
the cable said. . . .

The entire article<http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/conflict-in-libya-us-oil-companies-sit-on-sidelines-as-gaddafi-maintains-hold/2011/06/03/AGJq2QPH_story.html>is
worth reading, as it details how Gaddafi has progressively impeded the
interests of U.S. and Western oil companies by demanding a greater share of
profits and other concessions, to the point where some of those corporations
were deciding that it may no longer be profitable or worthwhile to drill for
oil there. But now, in a pure coincidence, there is hope on the horizon for
these Western oil companies, thanks to the war profoundly humanitarian
action being waged by the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner and his nation's
closest Western allies:

But Libya's oil production has foundered, sagging to about 1.5 million
barrels a day by early this year before unrest broke out. The big oil
companies, several of which had drilled dry holes, felt that Libya was not
making the best exploration prospects available. One major company privately
said that it was on the verge of a discovery but that unrest cut short the

With the country torn by fighting, the big international oil companies are
treading carefully, unwilling to throw their lot behind Gaddafi or the rebel

Yet when *representatives of the rebel coalition in Benghazi spoke to the
U.S.-Libya Business Council in Washington four weeks ago, representatives
from ConocoPhillips and other oil firms attended*, according to Richard
Mintz, a public relations expert at the Harbour Group, which represents the
Benghazi coalition. In another meeting in Washington, Ali Tarhouni, the lead
economic policymaker in Benghazi, said oil contracts would be honored, Mintz

"Now you can figure out who’s going to win, and the name is not Gaddafi,"
Saleri said. *"Certain things about the mosaic are taking shape. The Western
companies are positioning themselves*."

"Five years from now," he added, "*Libyan production is going to be higher
than right now and investments are going to come in*."

I have two points to make about all this:

*(1)* The reason -- the only reason -- we know about any of this is because
WikiLeaks (and, allegedly, Bradley Manning) disclosed to the world the
diplomatic cables which detail these conflicts. Virtually the entirety of
the *Post* article -- like *most* significant revelations over the last 12
months, especially in the Middle East and North Africa -- are based
exclusively on WikiLeaks disclosures. That's why we know about Gaddafi's
increasingly strident demands for the "Libyanization" of his country's
resource exploitation. That's how we know about most of the things we've
learned about the world's most powerful political and corporate factions
over the last 12 months. Is there anything easier to understand than why
U.S. Government officials are so eager to punish WikiLeaks and deter future
transparency projects of this sort?

*(2)* Is there anyone -- anywhere -- who actually believes that these aren't
the driving considerations in why we're waging this war in Libya? After
almost three months of fighting and bombing -- when we're so far from the
original justifications and commitments that they're barely a distant memory
-- is there anyone who still believes that humanitarian concerns are what
brought us and other Western powers to the war in Libya? Is there anything
more obvious -- as the world's oil supplies rapidly
than the fact that our prime objective is to remove Gaddafi and
install a
regime that is a far more reliable servant to Western oil interests, and
that *protecting civilians* was the justifying pretext for this war, not the
purpose? If (as is quite
the new regime turns out to be as oppressive as Gaddafi but far more
subservient to Western corporations (like, say, our good Saudi friends),
does anyone think we're going to care in the slightest or (at most) do
anything other than pay occasional lip service to protesting it? Does
anyone think we're going to care about The Libyan People if they're being
oppressed or brutalized by a reliably pro-Western successor to Gaddafi?

In 2006, George Bush instructed
there was a "responsible" and an "irresponsible" way for citizens to
debate the Iraq War: the "responsible" way was to suggest that there may be
better tactics for waging the war more effectively, while the
"irresponsible" way was to outrageously insinuate that perhaps oil or Israel
or deceit played a role in the invasion:

Yet we must remember there is a difference between responsible and
irresponsible debate -- and it's even more important to conduct this debate
responsibly when American troops are risking their lives overseas.

The American people know the difference between responsible and
irresponsible debate when they see it. They know the difference between
honest critics who question the way the war is being prosecuted and partisan
critics who claim that we acted in Iraq because of oil, or because of
Israel, or because we misled the American people. And they know the
difference between a loyal opposition that points out what is wrong, and
defeatists who refuse to see that anything is right.

Earlier this month, Hillary Clinton hosted a meeting of top
a wide array of corporations -- Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Halliburton,
GE, Chevron, Lockheed Martin, Citigroup, Occidental Petroleum, etc. etc. --
to plot how to exploit "economic opportunities in the new Iraq." And one
WikiLeaks "diplomatic"
constant government efforts to promote
the interests of Western
developing world<http://www.indigenousportal.com/Mining-and-Extractive-Industries/Wikileaks-on-the-US-and-Peru-Spying-on-Indigenous-Groups-Defending-Mining-Companies.html>.
Nonetheless, the very notion that the U.S. wages wars not for humanitarian
or freedom-spreading purposes, but rather to exploit the resources of other
nations for its own large corporations, is deeply "irresponsible" and
unSerious. As usual, the ideas stigmatized with the most potent taboos are
the ones that are the most obviously true.

It's certainly possible to contend reasonably that (as was true for
Iraq) removing a heinous dictator and other humanitarian outcomes will be
the incidental by-product of our war in Libya even if not its
purpose (although, as was also true in Iraq, one would need to see the
regime that replaces Gaddafi to know if that's true). And it's fine -- or
at least candid -- to argue, as Ann Coulter often
that "of course we should go to war for oil. . . .We need oil. That's a good
reason to go to war." But to believe that humanitarianism (protection of
Libya civilians) was why we went to war in Libya requires a blindness so
willful and complete that it's genuinely difficult to describe.

         ----[This List to be used for Eritrea Related News Only]----

New Message Reply About this list Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

© Copyright DEHAI-Eritrea OnLine, 1993-2011
All rights reserved