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Nothing to Do with Weapons, Everything to do With Oil Prices

By Charley Reese
of The Sentinel Staff

Published in The Orlando Sentinel, November 9, 1997

 

It's about the price of oil. It's not about terrorism or weapons of mass destruction.

The Iraqis are right. The United States and Great Britain have unjustly prolonged the embargo against Iraq, which has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children and the elderly. United Nations officials and humanitarian organizations say that, not just the Iraqis.

The power structures in both countries have large economic interests in Kuwait and in other places where there is oil. Iraq has more known oil reserves than any other country in the world except Saudi Arabia. Some oilmen even think that Iraq's reserves are bigger than those of the Saudis. If Iraq's oil is allowed to come back on the world's markets, the price of oil will go down.

That's what it's all about.

Hans Blix, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which for six years has been overseeing and inspecting the destruction of Iraq's nuclear capability, has stated publicly that the IAEA is ``sure Iraq has no remaining infrastructure for nuclear weapons production.''

But, Blix said, he can't certify that, because the United States and Great Britain disagree with other U.N. Security Council members on the definition of ``capability.'' Presumably, the U.S. position is that Iraq should execute all its engineers and scientists and destroy all its computers. That's all that's left of Iraq's nuclear program, according to Blix.

Use common sense. Iraq is a small country. Do you think that on-the-ground inspectors working for six years could not find a large store of weapons if such existed? Do you really think that the Iraqi government doesn't want the embargo lifted? The U.N. resolution doesn't authorize prying into every aspect of Iraq's military -- only into its weapons of mass destruction.

The United States and Great Britain have just employed the Orwellian technique of double-speak to keep the sanctions on Iraq. They keep demanding that the inspectors prove a negative, which is impossible. Can I swear to you that Martians don't exist? No. I can only tell you that I can't find any evidence that they do.

The legitimate question is: Is Iraq a threat? If the United States did not consider it a threat before the Gulf War, with its war machine intact, why does it now consider it a threat with its infrastructure destroyed, its people ill and hungry, its middle class destroyed, its weapons capability destroyed and continuously monitored?

No, it's oil. That's probably what's behind President Clinton's latest foreign-policy fiasco, slapping sanctions on Sudan. There is oil in Sudan, but apparently the current government will not honor the deal made with an American oil company by the previous government.

This is really interesting. The previous government was run by adictator. It was engaged in the same civil war the current government is engaged in. The previous dictator was said by human-rights organizations to be about as bad a chap can be. But there was one difference.

The U.S. government loved the previous dictator. They didn't think that his conduct of the civil war warranted sanctions. In fact, the United States would rush warplanes to the area any time someone looked cross-eyed at its favorite dictator. When its favorite dictator was in power, a friend of mine lived in the country and reported that Standard Oil of California had found what appeared to be large oil deposits. This was later acknowledged by the company.

But after he was deposed, the United States began to say Sudan was a terrorist state and that its conduct of the civil war was terrible. Funny, the United States had never previously shown much interest in the human rights of Sudanese (as it now shows no interest in the human rights of Chinese and Tibetans, not to mention Palestinians).

 

[Posted 11/08/97 5:51 PM EST]

(c) 1997 Orlando Sentinel Online


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