November 19, 2001
The Wisdom Fund

Why Iraq May Be Next

by Enver Masud

WASHINGTON, DC--Iraq may be next in line for a U.S. attack. Business Week writers reveal the role that oil may play in a U.S.-Russia deal for a U.S. attack on Iraq.

Paul Strobin based in Moscow, and Stan Crock based in Washington, write: "Putin could try to exact a steep price for allowing a decisive U.S. strike against the oil-rich Iraqi state. Russian oil majors have curried favor with Saddam's regime with an eye on future contracts. But if Bush quietly guarantees that Russian oil companies will get a prime slice of the Iraqi oil, Putin might go along. 'There is a good case for a behind-the-scenes bargain,' says Dmitri Trenin, analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center. For now, Putin has called for the renewal of international inspections in Iraq. If Saddam refuses, Putin can save face if the U.S. goes after Iraq by citing Saddam's intransigence to his own proposal." ["U.S.-Russia: Just How Far Will the Love-in Go?," Business Week, November 26, 2001]

In an October 1999 interview, former United Nations Special Commission chief inspector Scott Ritter said, "Iraq has been disarmed. Iraq today possesses no meaningful weapons of mass destruction." Ritter also said that Iraq does not currently possess the capability to produce or deploy chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons. Iraq's neighbor, Israel, is known to possess such weapons.

Despite this, the U.S. has used the bogey of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction to embargo Iraq. "The most difficult issue is UN control of Iraqi oil revenues. President Bush will certainly be lobbied by American oil companies,which want their share of the business of refitting the Iraqi oil industry." [Barnaby Mason, "Bush Faces Iraq Dilemma," BBC News Online, January 1, 2001]

The embargo "has been compared with a medieval siege. The word 'genocide' has been used by experts on international law and other cautious voices, such as Denis Halliday, the former assistant secretary general of the United Nations, who resigned as the UN's senior humanitarian official in Iraq, and Hans von Sponeck, his successor, who also resigned in protest. Each had 34 years at the UN and were acclaimed in their field; their resignations, along with the head of the World Food Programme in Baghdad, were unprecedented." [John Pilger, "Iraq: The Great Cover-Up," New Statesman, January 22, 2001]

"Ten years of sanctions have left an estimated 300,000 to 1.5 million Iraqis dead. CBS' Lesley Stahl used the figure of 500,000 dead when she interviewed Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in 1996. Was such collateral damage worth it? Albright replied, 'I think this is a very hard choice, but the price - we think the price is worth it.'"--[Editorial, "End the Iraq War," Seattle Times, May 14, 2001]

Under false claims of a UN mandate--"no-fly zones" were imposed unilaterally by the U.S. and Britain--U.S. bombing of Iraq has become routine.

Denver Post Columnist, Reggie Rivers, writes: "The stories hit the paper and we flip through them as if nothing is happening. The headlines read: 'Coalition planes fire at Iraqi air defense sites.' 'Air Force drone missing over Iraq.' 'U.S. launches major air attack on Iraq.' 'Allied jets hit Iraqi targets.'"

And this would not be the first time that the U.S. has provoked a confrontation with Iraq.

"The United States urged United Nations weapons inspectors in 1998 to deliberately provoke a confrontation with Baghdad to provide political cover for a U.S. bombing campaign, a former inspector claims in a new film documentary." [Ronni Berke, "Ex-U.N. Inspector in Iraq: U.S. Set Up Air raids," CNN New York Bureau, July 19, 2001]

The president's advisors have been pushing for an attack on Iraq, and Mr. Bush is no stranger to the politics of oil.

Mr. Charles Lewis, founder of the Center for Public Integrity, writes in "The Buying of the President": George W. Bush was a director and shareholder of Harken Energy when in January 1990 it was granted "exclusive rights to carry out exploration, development, production, transportation, and marketing of petroleum throughout most of Bahrain's Gulf offshore areas." The company drilled two dry holes, but "Bush had sold off two-thirds of his holdings in Harken for nearly a million dollars, and bought a small share of the Texas Rangers, a deal that ultimately netted him--with a helping hand from Texas taxpayers--some $15 million."

"Israeli intelligence agencies have not detected any link between Iraq and the September 11 terrorist attacks." [Anton La Guardia, "Iraq 'not linked to September 11'," Telegraph, November 21, 2001]

[Enver Masud is founder of The Wisdom Fund, and author of The War on Islam]

["The United States supported Iraq in the 1980s and continued to aid it during the Iran-Iraq war, when Saddam Hussein was gassing Iranians on the battlefield and Kurds in Iraq, and when Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction and the missile systems to deliver them."--Tod Fineberg, "Mr. Rumsfeld's Role in Supporting Iraq?," Washington Post, January 19, 2003]

["There is no evidence Saddam used anthrax or any other chemical weapons against the Iraqi Kurds. There have been allegations, but Iraq has always insisted it did not use such weapons in the two 1989 incidents alleged. There were estimates that 1,400 to 4,000 Kurds died of chemical weapons in an Iraqi offensive. The Iraq Defense Minister insisted it did not use gas and that it was neither logical or feasible to use gas against small groups of Kurds in areas through which government forces had to pass. The sole "evidence" seems to be the finding of a British laboratory that soil samples in the Kurdish region contained mustard gas (not anthrax)."--Jude Wanniski, "Did Saddam Hussein Gas His Own People?," Supply Side Investor, October 17, 2001]

["No sooner had I filed a series of reports to London on this new and terrible war crime of Saddam Hussein than a British diplomat, lunching with one of my editors in London, remarked that "Bob doesn't seem to understand the situation." True, he said, gas was a terrible weapon. But Saddam was fighting the West's war against Iranian fundamentalism . . .

The French had sold Saddam Mirage jets. The Germans had provided him with the gas that had me almost wretching on the train from Ahwaz. The Americans had sold him helicopters for spraying crops with pesticide (the "crops", of course, being human beings). The British gave Saddam bailey bridges. And I later met the Cologne arms dealer who flew from the Pentagon to Baghdad with US satellite photos of the Iranian front lines - to help Saddam kill more Iranians."--Robert Fisk, "What Madness is Seizing Messrs Clinton and Blair Today?," The Independent, February 13, 1998]

["The oft repeated accusation that Saddam gassed his own people neglects an important fact. Halabaja, the town where it took place, was at the time occupied by invading Iranian forces."--Ali Abunimah, IraqWar.Org]

White House confirms: Bush ordered up Iraq plan in November 2001, Associated Press, April 16, 2004

[The U.S. government may be considering military action in response to chemical strikes near Damascus. But a generation ago, America's military and intelligence communities knew about and did nothing to stop a series of nerve gas attacks far more devastating than anything Syria has seen, . . .

"The Iraqis never told us that they intended to use nerve gas. They didn't have to. We already knew," he told Foreign Policy.--Shane Harris and Matthew M Aid, CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran,, August 26, 2013] back button