Chalabi involvement?

It seems a comment on a post from reader Metal-or-die about Ahmed Chalabi’s involvement in fueling the protests against Jordan might have a kernel of truth to it.

This from the Jordan Times [full article here]:

A top Iraqi Shiite leader Imam Mohammad Mahdi Khalisi joined the lawmakers in rejecting the allegations. Petra quoted a statement by Khalisi’s office in Baghdad as accusing Iraqi politician “Ahmed Chalabi and an intelligence agency in an Iraq neighboring country of attempting to harm Jordan-Iraq ties.”

A Jordanian court sentenced Chalabi to 22 years in prison for fraud and embezzling $288 million from Petra Bank, which he founded and ran until its collapse in 1989, and moving the funds into Swiss accounts.”

Interesting revelation, no?

24 thoughts on “Chalabi involvement?”

  1. This from Nur al-Cubicle following newspaper L’Orient-Le Jour (Beirut):

    Hilla. Demonstrations continue in protest against Jordan. Demonstrators marched through the main streets of Hilla to protest the involvement of a Jordanian man in the February 28 bombing which killed 118. The crowd condemned Jordan and King Abdullah II. The organizers made the same demands as similar demonstrations in Baghdad, Najaf and Karbala: the expulsion of the Jordanian Ambassador and economic sanctions against the country. In addition, the protesters in Hilla demanded the explusion of all Jordanian nationals in Iraq and the resignation of the Allawi government. Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari summoned Jordanian chargé d’affaires Dimaï Haddad to protest the martyrdom ceremony organized by the family of alleged terrorist Raëd al-Banna, said to be responsible for the bombing. Mansour al-Banna says an anonymous source told him his son had died in Mossul and is buried there. Meanwhile, Jordanian authorities released journalist Hadi Abdellatif al-Nsour of the Amman newspaper al-Ghad who was taken into custody on charges of fabricating the story.

  2. Quoth my sources. Chalabi and Iran.
    Iran has never forgiven Jordan for siding with Iraq during the 1980-1988 war. Grudges last long in the land of the Farsis.

  3. Hubby,
    First off, can you call something else just for the sake of this blog? It feels rrrrrrealllllyyy weird calling you hubby? Mayb hubz or no thats still ewww.
    Anyways, the website is clearly the work of Iranian intelligence and/or its agents. Why no anti-Syrian, Iranian, Saudi or even American website.
    Why Jordan? And why now? Zarqawi is allegedly Jordanian so how come nothing on him before.
    Hmmm…

  4. Just for you metal (see above). I agree with what you are saying and would point readers to the interview with the king and it’s provocative headline: King Abdullah: ‘Iraq is the Battleground — the West against Iran’. In it, king Abdullah says:

    My concern is political, not religious, revolving around Iran, Iran’s political involvement inside Iraq, its relation with Syria and Hezbollah, and the strengthening of this political-strategic alliance. This would create a scenario where you have these four [Iran, Iran-influenced Iraq, Syria, and Hezbollah] who have a strategic objective that could create a major conflict. I don’t have any problem with Shi‘ites. I have a real problem with certain Iranian factions’ political influence inside Iraq. Our argument to the United States is that a capable, independent, secure Iraq is the best way of containing Iran. There’s one reason why 1980 happened—the war between Iraq and Iran. The Iranians realize that the way to have success against the West is by them succeeding in Iraq. So Iraq is the battleground, the West against Iran.

    Perhaps that’s the sort of motivating factor that not only gets websites built but also gets money, motivation and perhaps Chalabi into al-Ghad. The al-Ghad story came out right after this interview.

  5. aka Jeff, Yes, it stretches back to when the Arabs invaded the declining empire of Persia. Until then it had been the longest-reigning empire in history. The Arabs ended that.
    I was engaged to an Iranian girl once – a history PhD candidate – and she told me that the two lowest ebbs in Iranian/Persian history were 1) the invasion of Alexander the Great (he burned their capital Persepolis) and 2) the invasion of the Arabs who are referred to in Persian lore as “lizards”.
    Now, I cannot attest that this is necessarily a prologue to current events or even if that is generally true across the board for all Iranians or even the Mullahs running the country.
    Currently, it is in Iran’s best interests that Iraq remain unstable. 1) Because it keeps the Americans occupied in the quagmire and 2) a stable Iraq will always be seen as a threat to Iran and 3) as long as Iraq is in turmoil the centre of Shia theology will remain Qum and not Najaf.
    Najaf is the centre of the Shia universe but when the Baathists came to power and persecuted and/or downtrod the Shia clergy, the balance of power shifted to Qum. This translates into influence and massive amounts of finances all channeled to Qum.
    This has changed somewhat in recent months as the Shia in Iraq gain a hand. Some of those finances and donations from Shia around the world are now making their way to Najaf instead of Qum.
    This now adds to the historical rivalry between Iraq and Iran, Arabs and Persians. Saddam played on that historical rivalry in many of his speeches in the 70s and 80s and would address the Arabs and say “we are all that stands before you and the Persian horde”.
    Use of the word horde was not coincidental; it was to play on Arab fears of 1258 when the Mongols sacked Baghdad and effectively ended the golden age of the Muslim empire.
    Of course, when the Gulf War started, Saddam turned to his former enemy and starting making nice. The Iranians, rightly so, never trusted him although relations between Iraq and Iran improved. This is also much in thanks to the US policy of dual containment, Iraq and Iran.
    Iran wants to be a regional power, believes it is a regional power, and wants to dictate terms as a regional power. This was Saddam’s falling in the late 80s when his quasi-victory over Iran in 1988 made him feel invincible.
    Iran knows fully well that they alone can determine the outcome in Iraq. There are thousands of Iranian agents in Iraq. The Badr Brigades are full of non-Arabic speaking cadres. Care to guess where they came from?
    So when King Abdallah says that Iranian success against the west is Iranian success in Iraq he is not totally off the mark. But Iraq is more than a battleground of Iran versus the west. It is also a battleground of US whims of Empire and a growing Russo-Chinese alliance. If the US fails in Iraq on an economic, military, social and war-against-terrorism level, then it days as the only superpower are numbered.
    Power is all about perception. Who has it and who is perceived to wield it. The impetus to turn on Syria and Israel at a time when the US is bogged down in Iraq is not merely to satisfy Israeli security needs as some would argue, but also in desperation at finding a success story to the Bushist idea of unilateral pre-emption.
    Amr Musa said that invading Iraq would open the gates of hell. He was right. There are many turbulent events awaiting the Middle East. The invasion of Iraq will in years to come prove to be the single most disastrous event in modern history.
    Now, let’s play devil’s advocate and pretend we are the Iranian clergy. Sine 1979, the Islamic Republic has been scrutinised, attacked, harassed, intimidated and cornered by US foreign policy and proxy Arab governments. Of course it is going to try and branch out its influence. It realises that a showdown with the US is inevitable. The US has not forgotten it lost its agent the Shah to Shia Islamic ideology.
    Lebanon is another part of the chess game as is Syria. Iraq was the little threat to the US. Iran is the greater one. Just measure the heat in the war of words between the US, Iran and Israel.
    Not to be taken lightly.

  6. It is also a battleground of US whims of Empire and a growing Russo-Chinese alliance. If the US fails in Iraq on an economic, military, social and war-against-terrorism level, then it days as the only superpower are numbered.
    Oh, please, Metalordie. Firstly, the U.S. hasn’t failed in Iraq – the war is over, the occupation is over, and the provisional government phase ended today, with the convening of the parliament. The insurgency is weakening dramatically, and within 18 months most US troops will have been pulled out, back to bases in the U.S., the Pacific and Europe. It’s not a quagmire; it is a success.
    And even if we were to fail – the U.S. has 4000 or 5000 meticulously maintained nuclear warheads and at last count 12 aircraft carriers, 27 cruisers, 55 destroyers, 35 frigates and 72 submarines – 18 of which carry medium range nuclear missiles. We haven’t used the nukes in 60 years, but if China were to invade Taiwan, there might very well be a limited – or possibly extensive – exchange between the U.S. and China. So long as the U.S. maintains its lead in munitions delivery technology, it will remain a superpower.
    Secondly, the U.S. has no “whims of empire”. The U.S. hasn’t forcibly acquired new territory in over 100 years, and most of that (Cuba, the Phillipines) was made autonomous and then sovereign within 25 years of the Spanish-American War. Only Guam and Puerto Rico were retained, and Puerto Rico is free to leave any time it chooses – independence usually polls around 30 or 35%. In Guam independence isn’t even an issue – the island is not self-sufficient without U.S. capital. We’re a commercial republic – all we want to do is make money. And one of the hallmarks of our commercial culture is what some South Americans refer to as “gringo logic” – Americans (and Brits and Aussies) expect all parties to a deal to profit by it. This is part of the reason why Ibn Saud affiliated himself with Americans in the first place. We want Iraq’s oil – but we intend to pay market value for it, not steal it.
    The US has not forgotten it lost its agent the Shah to Shia Islamic ideology.
    Screw the Shah. No one gives a damn about that. And we don’t hold against the Shia in general – we hold it against the Iranian Shia theocracy. The invasion and seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran is what angers us. And Jimmy Carter will forever be a figure of scorn in the U.S. for allowing it to go unchallenged – a declaration of war should have been submitted to Congress the day after it was taken. The Iranian people, however, have suffered amply for their short-sightedness in inviting Khomeini and his cronies to rule, and are ripe to revolt. The only reason the U.S. hasn’t already struck at Iran’s nuclear facilities is that we’re hoping the regime will topple from public opposition, as in Beirut. Bush doesn’t want to whip up nationalist fervor that will benefit the regime.

  7. Insurgency is weakening?
    Dude, do you get your info from primetime news? In that case, yeah Al-Qaida and Saddam are one and the same.
    Read this:

    Iraqi insurgents will not be defeated for many months, Britain admitted today. Senior Foreign Office officials said attacks were widespread and becoming increasingly sophisticated.
    It had been hoped January’s elections would deal a major blow to the insurgents, but officials said troops and citizens still faced months of bloodshed.
    “The insurgency is still very strong,” said one official. “It is not going to be dealt with in a matter of months.” The official was speaking after three car bomb blasts in Baghdad killed at least five people.

    AND here … You think Iraq is a success story?

    The reconstruction of Iraq risks turning into the world’s biggest corruption scandal, Transparency International said on Wednesday in a report focused on a worldwide problem of bribery in the building industry.

    And here
    No electricity in Baghdad, the US stronghold. No water either. But hey, that’s success. Let’s see New Yorkers living without those for two consecutive years. Can you hear the whining yet?
    US out of Iraq? Hahahaha…read this:

    If the U.S. government doesn’t plan to occupy Iraq for any longer than necessary, why is it spending billions of dollars to build “enduring” bases?

    And if you are going to use the line that the US is building a stable security apparatus in Iraq: http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/11127663.htm
    Am not interested in screwing the Shah but it is interesting how you speak for everyone when you say no one was interested in that.
    I guess no one was interested in Mosadegh when he was elected to lead Iran and a joint US-UK operation overthrew him the moment he said “nationalise oil”. To ensure a puppet regime was not overthrown in Iran, the US-UK created the Savak, one of the most brutal secret intelligence service in the 20th century. Bravo.
    But hey you know better than me, cos you be a gringo and Iraqis are all liars. After all, what could Iraqis know about their own country, their own kin, yada, yada, yada.
    Yes, it’s a success.
    By the way, I just saw Elvis on Oprah.

  8. The insurgency is winding down. It’s not luring new manpower to Iraq, and it’s hated by the Iraqi people who have to deal with the carbombs and other nonsense. I’d be surprised to see bombings as normal events in Baghdad in six months. And in 18 months there won’t be any insurgency at all. Iraqis aren’t a bunch of narrow-minded Bedouins like the Saudis who treat their wives like cattle and make them wear black bags over their bodies – Iraqis know how to run a civil society and the U.S. is giving them a chance to start over. That’s all. It’s in the interests of the U.S. to encourage and incubate popularly responsive states in the Middle East. That’s what Bush is trying to do.
    Of course the U.S. is building permanent bases in Iraq. We’re not completely leaving – we’re going to lease those bases in Iraq the same way we do in the U.K., Germany, Japan and other countries. But those troops will probably number less than 50,000 and have little or no official interaction with the Iraqi people, and will generally leave the base only when off-duty. And if the Iraqis want us to leave, we’ll leave. The only place in the world where we keep a base contrary to the wishes of the local government is Cuba, and that’s because Castro is our enemy and we like to screw with him. We had a base outside Tripoli in Libya for years and years – my father was stationed there in the Air Force, for about six months around 1960. He never left the base – the opinion of the command was that the local population and U.S. troops didn’t mix well, and so going off base was frowned upon. The United States Air Force is going to be keeping the peace in the Middle East for some years to come – perhaps 25 or more. The free flow of oil into the world market must be guaranteed.
    Regarding Iran, I’m telling you no one cares about the Shah today – he was just another strongman we propped up to keep the Soviets from taking over the world. We didn’t like him, though he was among the best of the bunch, just as we didn’t like Marcos in the Phillipines. We didn’t like any of them. But we held our collective nose and lived with it, because the alternative – Soviet client state – was worse. What still pisses off Americans is the embassy takeover.

  9. Sterling,
    Good Lord! Iraq is probably the most unique among Arab countries because despite its past secularism, Baathism, nationalism, militarism and modernity it still retains strong Bedouin influences. Despite the fact that women in Iraq once enjoyed the best status compared to their Arab sisters and despite a civil society that was advanced and comparable to the middle class in Europe, Bedouin traditions still linger.
    Leave Baghdad and drive in all directions, you will come across entire villages living along Bedouin principles – tribal principles, except not in tents but in houses and with cars and satellite dishes.
    I once remember being stopped at a military checkpoint outside Dhouk in the north of Iraq. The officer did not think my papers were in order and thought I should go back to Turkey to Gazi Entep and get new authorisation.
    We argued and then he asked who my grandfather was. So I told him. Then he asked what tribe I belonged to. So I told him – the Obaid. He immediately hugged me and said we were kin because he came from an offshoot of the Obaid. He gave me tea and a cold drink – it was July – and allowed me entry.
    You talked about the so-called parliament earlier…check how many tribesman are in it. Ask yourself why Chalabi, Talabani and Allawi have been trying to court the tribes. Saddam even feared the bedouin tribes. He kept them in check with loads of cash and prominent positions in the security forces.
    You don’t know Iraq, so please stop talking like you do. If Iraq becomes a stable state, the US will be able to fully dedicate itself to Iran, as mentioned in my previous post. Iran will not allow that to happen.
    If Iraq becomes a stable state, the first event will be the secession of the Kurdish north – effectively 1/3rd of the country. The Shia and Sunnis will not allow that to happen. The Turks will not allow that to happen. So Turkish intelligence is playing quite the dirty role in northern Iraq.
    Furthemore, I noticed you used phrases like “giving them a chance to start over”, “incubate popularly responsive states”.
    Could you be more imperialist?

  10. Yes, I could be more imperialist. I could actually be for impressing Iraq into an empire. Do you even know what “imperialism” or “empire” means? Think Ottoman, think British, think Roman. Iraq will pay no fealty to Washington, nor would we want it to. I think the word you’re looking for is “condescending” – and yes, I can be.
    Look – this was your problem and the U.S. had to come in and fix it for you. Iraq is getting another chance, and it will have the United States standing by to help it erect lasting democratic institutions. Japan was a semi-feudal mess when the U.S. occupied it in 1945 – there’s no reason Iraq can’t make a similar jump, and pull much of the rest of the Middle East along with it.
    The whole world has been moving forward for decades – except Africa and the Middle East. But instead of putting your own house in order, the primary activity for which Arabs have become known worldwide is terrorism. I was in the World Trade Center on 9/11 – I left the complex a few minutes before the first plane hit. I watched it all happen. Understand this: the craziness and violence of the Middle East will not be allowed to infect North America. There were several ways to play this, and you should be glad – very, very glad – that Bush has chosen to be constructive and liberal with both Iraq and Afghanistan. As I mentioned above – we have thousands of meticulously cared-for nuclear weapons and a dozen carrier groups. If Bush’s goal was to destroy Arab civilization or even Islam itself, he could accomplish it in an afternoon. Some people seem to think that’s on the agenda – it’s not.
    I certainly don’t know anywhere near as much about Iraq as you, but I was speaking of the political culture of Iraq, the urban culture. Perhaps “bedouin” was a bad choice of words. I know tribes remain important, and that people tend to place clan values above universal values. But Iraq has been the site of major cities for thousands of years. It’s the cradle of civilization. It has a civic culture. Contrast that with Arabia. Iraqis know how to govern themselves and how to live together with a degree of tolerance – they just need a little push. Everybody needs a little push now and then – that’s not an inherently condescending point of view.
    We don’t expect you to like us. It’s not particularly important to Americans what the rest of the world thinks of us. We just want to be able to conduct our trade and maintain some stability in the world. When this is all over, Iraqis will be far better off than before, and the spirit of the elections might very well spread and become persistent in other Arab (and Persian?) lands. You should make the best of this and stop floating your conspiracy theories.

  11. Good you and a parrot do a great job repeating the Neo-con agenda.
    Thanks, I already heard it. Got anything a little more intelligent?
    And nah, I did mean imperialist, which you have proven yet again.
    Keep talking.

  12. Imperialism is the conquest and annexation of territory and nations into a single geopolitical entity. That’s not what the U.S. is doing. You can shout “imperialism” all you want, but you’re using the wrong word and anybody with a brain is going to write you off as an ignoramus. “Hegemony” isn’t entirely off-track, but there’s nothing to be done about that.
    As for calling me a neo-con, I don’t even know what that term means. Nobody seems to be able to define it to any degree of clarity any more. It formerly was used to define formerly socialist Jews who’d become conservatives and also devotees of Leo Stern, but I’m neither. I’m actually more of a paleo-com in the Albert Jay Nock tradition – reasonably isolationist, not a big fan of NATO or the UN, “speak softly and carry a big stick”. Truth is, I was pretty wary of our involvement in the Middle East before 9/11 – didn’t really see it as our concern. But it’s our concern now. I wish the situation was otherwise. Blame Osama bin Ladin and his merry band of psychos – I do.

  13. Dude, if you’re going to define something, define it right.
    Imperialism is not merely conquest and annexation…you’re thinking in military terms. You forget the economic context of it all.
    Here is a better definition, since you clearly fail to go the whole nine yards.
    According to the American Heritage Dictionary:

    The policy of extending a nation’s authority by territorial acquisition or by the establishment of economic and political hegemony over other nations.
    The system, policies, or practices of such a government.

    The US is clearly establishing economic and political hegemony over other nations. You have clearly stated, restated, and reiterated that with such phrases as coming in to fix things, giving you a second chance, the free flow of oil must go on, etc.

    And I called you an imperialist. Guess what, am calling you an imperialst again. What is an imperialist? Well, besides choking on your own confessions (learn when to shut up next time) an imperialist is one who supports the aforemention, i.e. imperialism.
    Toodles and pssst, nice try.

  14. I find it mighty presumptive to state what Americans want, see, feel or perceive with comments like: “It’s not particularly important to Americans what the rest of the world thinks of us.” I will not endeavor to provide an equivalent retort, as it would be just as flawed. But I will provide the results of a recent poll from the Washington Post and ABC News (full story):

    Two years after President Bush led the country to war in Iraq, Americans appear to be of two minds about the situation in the Middle East: A majority say they believe the Iraqis are better off today than they were before the conflict began — but they also say the war was not worth fighting in the first place.

    I’m pleased to see a great deal of the changes coming in the Middle East and I do understand the ‘economic motive’ and how the fight was brought to the American doorstop, making it impossible to ignore. But how Iraq got bound into an attack by al-Qaeda remains a great stumbling block in the nobility of this action. More disturbing still is the number of people that continue to believe Sadaam had something to do with it.
    I think the real concern here should be the end justifying the means. Things are moving in a good way in some senses but they could just as easily have not and they could still go straight into the crapper. Not one of my favorite columnists but an interesting read none-the-less, Eric Alterman had this to say:

    A lot of places might be better off if we invaded them—though that’s far from clear about Iraq—the question is, was this invasion a net plus for America? The answer: Well, we’re more hated than ever; there are more loose weapons than ever; we’ve created more terrorists than ever; our enemies are rejoicing and Bin Laden remains at large, laughing at us, and we’ve shown the world that our word and our competence cannot be trusted. (And um, oh yeah, 1500 dead, 11,000 wounded and a few hundred billion down the drain, but no mind that.) Nice job.

  15. aka Jeff,
    Gosh that is a much better name.
    Anyways, you are so right. And you know what, I have noticed, as someone who has grown up in the US, on the other side of the border from the US and across the ocean from the US – two things have happened in America.
    1) one group of Americans has become isolationist – as our friend freely admitted to – who really dont care what the rest of the world thinks and
    2) one group of Americans has become more internationalised i.e. – they have started to engage other cultures because of 9/11 and because of Bush’s re-relection
    It is group number 2 that gives me hope that America will one day lead as it once did.
    It is real easy to say them thar folks hate us all cos we gots freedom. That sounds a lot like Ann Coulter.

  16. Anyways, the website is clearly the work of Iranian intelligence and/or its agents. Why no anti-Syrian, Iranian, Saudi or even American website.

    Oh come on! We‘re not that cheap to get a free domian from the Republic of Nauru 😉 Looks like a work of an amateur.

  17. Or meant to seem that way = )
    Who knows these days. I think the Iranians have since 1988 been utter, utter, utter geniuses in the Middle East game.
    Sometimes, you just have to sit back in awe and amazement.
    Seriously.

  18. Webster’s defines “imperialism” thusly:
    1 : imperial government, authority, or system
    2 : the policy, practice, or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas; broadly : the extension or imposition of power, authority, or influence [union imperialism]
    Imperialism is the practice of empire-building and -running. Imperial is the adjective form of “empire”. That is, as I have said, not what the United States is doing. And hegemony is hegemony – they are different things, which is why they are different words, and I don’t deny hegemony. I also don’t think hegemony is necessarily a willful thing – it just happens when one country wields a disproportionate amount of influence. The United States is the hegemon. And if you’re using that skewed definition of “imperialism” – probably written by some 60s radical English professor – then OK, we’re imperialists and I don’t have a problem with it. I’m not going to apologize for what we’ve done in Iraq – I’m proud of it.
    aka Jeff: It is presumptive. It’s also factual. Do you remember that cover of the Economist from a few years back, which depicted America’s view of the world? North America was gigantic and all the rest of the world dwindled almost to nothing. We’re a large country, self-sufficient in all the cultural and entertainment “stuff” that most people ever need. Most Americans, something like 83%, don’t even have a passport. The United States is very nearly its own world and the people in it, by and large, don’t pay very much attention to what goes on beyond the borders. The most popular song about 9/11 had this line in the refrain: “I watch CNN, but I’m not sure I could tell you the difference in Iraq and Iran.”
    When the tsunami hit, American private charity to the affected areas was enormous – everyone I know gave at least a few dollars – but most Americans would be hard pressed to point out on a globe where it happened. Americans don’t want bad things to happen to people in other countries and we want to help when they do, but we’re just not interested in the rest of the world most of the time. Some Americans actually relish the hatred the French feel for us, and use French opposition as a contrarian indicator.
    From our perspective, other countries are forever suffering problems that they can’t handle on their own, and so we have to step in and clean it up. Sometimes it’s an act of God, like the tsunami, other times it’s just a screwed up political system, like the Middle East. Whenever something needs to be fixed, who does everyone look to? The United States.

  19. Man this guy is a work of art.
    I told Rivda to get some but I think Sterling hasn’t had booty in ages. I suggest you leave the US for a while, travel around. Go to France. See what they think of you there. Or to a Pub in Scotland, maybe. Then go to Berlin. Try Moscow.
    Belgrade would be hella place to visit. Libya, Algeria and Nigeria. Then go through Pakistan and Bangladesh. Wherever you go pass out pamphlets of what you’ve been regurgitating here.
    Or, conversely, go to the Sinai. Hang out with the Beduins in Dahab. Smoke some hashish, have some excellent mint tea and some roast lamb for dinner. Watch a bellydancer melt your prejudices away.
    Sit and talk with an Arab family. Break bread with them. Then go to a Cairo cultural festival. And then go back to the US.
    We’ll see if you haven’t changed your mind by then.

  20. Hmmm….next time someone says Saddam and 9/11 in the same breath.

    “Secret U.S. Plans For Iraq’s Oil

    By: Greg Palast Reporting for BBC Newsnight
    Thur Mar 17, 2005 08:25 AM ET
    MACON,GA.- The Bush administration made plans for war and for Iraq’s oil before the 9/11 attacks sparking a policy battle between neo-cons and Big Oil, BBC’s Newsnight has revealed.
    Two years ago today – when President George Bush announced US, British and Allied forces would begin to bomb Baghdad – protestors claimed the US had a secret plan for Iraq’s oil once Saddam had been conquered.
    In fact there were two conflicting plans, setting off a hidden policy war between neo-conservatives at the Pentagon, on one side, versus a combination of “Big Oil” executives and US State Department “pragmatists.”
    “Big Oil” appears to have won. The latest plan, obtained by Newsnight from the US State Department was, we learned, drafted with the help of American oil industry consultants.
    Insiders told Newsnight that planning began “within weeks” of Bush’s first taking office in 2001, long before the September 11th attack on the US.
    An Iraqi-born oil industry consultant Falah Aljibury says he took part in the secret meetings in California, Washington and the Middle East. He described a State Department plan for a forced coup d’etat.
    Mr Aljibury himself told Newsnight that he interviewed potential successors to Saddam Hussein on behalf of the Bush administration.
    Secret sell-off plan
    The industry-favored plan was pushed aside by yet another secret plan, drafted just before the invasion in 2003, which called for the sell-off of all of Iraq’s oil fields. The new plan, crafted by neo-conservatives intent on using Iraq’s oil to destroy the Opec cartel through massive increases in production above Opec quotas.
    The sell-off was given the green light in a secret meeting in London headed by Ahmed Chalabi shortly after the US entered Baghdad, according to Robert Ebel. Mr. Ebel, a former Energy and CIA oil analyst, now a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, flew to the London meeting, he told Newsnight, at the request of the State Department.
    Mr Aljibury, once Ronald Reagan’s “back-channel” to Saddam, claims that plans to sell off Iraq’s oil, pushed by the US-installed Governing Council in 2003, helped instigate the insurgency and attacks on US and British occupying forces.
    “Insurgents used this, saying, ‘Look, you’re losing your country, your losing your resources to a bunch of wealthy billionaires who want to take you over and make your life miserable,” said Mr Aljibury from his home near San Francisco.
    “We saw an increase in the bombing of oil facilities, pipelines, built on the premise that privatization is coming.”
    Privatization blocked by industry
    Philip Carroll, the former CEO of Shell Oil USA who took control of Iraq’s oil production for the US Government a month after the invasion, stalled the sell-off scheme.
    Mr Carroll told us he made it clear to Paul Bremer, the US occupation chief who arrived in Iraq in May 2003, that: “There was to be no privatization of Iraqi oil resources or facilities while I was involved.”
    The chosen successor to Mr Carroll, a Conoco Oil executive, ordered up a new plan for a state oil company preferred by the industry.
    Ari Cohen, of the neo-conservative Heritage Foundation, told Newsnight that an opportunity had been missed to privatize Iraq’s oil fields. He advocated the plan as a means to help the US defeat Opec, and said America should have gone ahead with what he called a “no-brainer” decision.
    Mr Carroll hit back, telling Newsnight, “I would agree with that statement. To privatize would be a no-brainer. It would only be thought about by someone with no brain.”
    New plans, obtained from the State Department by Newsnight and Harper’s Magazine under the US Freedom of Information Act, called for creation of a state-owned oil company favored by the US oil industry. It was completed in January 2004, Harper’s discovered, under the guidance of Amy Jaffe of the James Baker Institute in Texas. Former US Secretary of State Baker is now an attorney. His law firm, Baker Botts, is representing ExxonMobil and the Saudi Arabian government.
    View segments of Iraq oil plans at http://www.GregPalast.com/opeconthemarch.html.
    Questioned by Newsnight, Ms Jaffe said the oil industry prefers state control of Iraq’s oil over a sell-off because it fears a repeat of Russia’s energy privatization. In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, US oil companies were barred from bidding for the reserves.
    Jaffe said “There is no question that an American oil company … would not be enthusiastic about a plan that would privatize all the assets with Iraq companies and they (US companies) might be left out of the transaction.”
    In addition, Ms. Jaffe says US oil companies are not warm to any plan that would undermine Opec, “They [oil companies] have to worry about the price of oil.”
    “I’m not sure that if I’m the chair of an American company, and you put me on a lie detector test, I would say high oil prices are bad for me or my company.”
    The former Shell oil boss agrees. In Houston, he told Newsnight, “Many neo-conservatives are people who have certain ideological beliefs about markets, about democracy, about this that and the other. International oil companies without exception are very pragmatic commercial organizations. They don’t have a theology.”
    ==============================
    Greg Palast’s film – the result of a joint investigation by BBC Newsnight and Harper’s Magazine – will broadcast on Thursday, 17 March, 2005.
    You can watch the program online – available Thursday, March 17 after 7pm EST for 24hrs – from the Newsnight website:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/default.stm.
    You can also read the story in greater detail in the latest issue of Harper’s magazine – now available at your local newsstand.”

    Now you know why EVERY single day a pipeline is blown up in Iraq. It’s not terrorists. It’s Iraqi resistance who know full well what would happen to their oil and oil fields.

  21. Metalordie –
    Regarding my need to see the world: When I said that 83% of Americans don’t have a passport, it wasn’t my intent to suggest that I was among that number.
    Regarding the phrase “Iraqi tesistance”: HAhahahaha. Zarqawi is Jordanian, OBL is a Yemeni/Saudi, and out-of-uniform Syrian and Iranian military personnel are being arrested every week. The Iraqis have bought into voting. They’re not resisting. Even the Sunnis admit they made a mistake in boycotting the vote. It’s just clueless radicals like yourself who can’t accept the truth: the invasion worked. Iraqis are better off, and will have a responsive government for the first time. Bush was right.
    Regarding the oil question: North America has a lot of oil, too – more than Arabia – the problem is that it is more expensive to extract. But as the price per barrel climbs, suddenly Alaskan and Canadian oil sources look more attractive. I’m sure that’s true in other places, too, like Russia. So the price per barrel can only climb so high before additional oil sources are brought online and increase supply to establish a price plateau. I’m not sure OPEC is particularly relevant any longer, and I doubt the Bush administration worries too much about OPEC these days. It’s firing blanks.

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