OIL IT WAS AND IS April 20, 2011Posted by wmmbb in Middle East, North Africa.
The Guardian reports Nato has sent a British and French advisory team to Benghazi to advise the anti-Gaddafi forces on “intelligence gathering, logistics and communications”. In the meanwhile bombing continues to protect civilians.
So what is the reason for the Libyan War, and the refusal to consider negotiations? Iraq represents a precedent. Despite the lies to the contrary, access to oil was a major concern, with British companies putting pressure on their government.
Paul Bignell at The Independent writes that memos recently acquired through FOI applications reveal that Oil Companies were expressing their concerns to the Government they would be cut out of the lucrative opportunities.A British Government Minister was prepared to lobby on their behalf. He writes:
Over 1,000 documents were obtained under Freedom of Information over five years by the oil campaigner Greg Muttitt. They reveal that at least five meetings were held between civil servants, ministers and BP and Shell in late 2002.
The 20-year contracts signed in the wake of the invasion were the largest in the history of the oil industry. They covered half of Iraq’s reserves – 60 billion barrels of oil, bought up by companies such as BP and CNPC (China National Petroleum Company), whose joint consortium alone stands to make £403m ($658m) profit per year from the Rumaila field in southern Iraq.
Last week, Iraq raised its oil output to the highest level for almost decade, 2.7 million barrels a day – seen as especially important at the moment given the regional volatility and loss of Libyan output. Many opponents of the war suspected that one of Washington’s main ambitions in invading Iraq was to secure a cheap and plentiful source of oil.
Mr Muttitt, whose book Fuel on Fire is published next week, said: “Before the war, the Government went to great lengths to insist it had no interest in Iraq’s oil. These documents provide the evidence that give the lie to those claims.
“We see that oil was in fact one of the Government’s most important strategic considerations, and it secretly colluded with oil companies to give them access to that huge prize.”
Lady Symons, 59, later took up an advisory post with a UK merchant bank that cashed in on post-war Iraq reconstruction contracts. Last month she severed links as an unpaid adviser to Libya’s National Economic Development Board after Colonel Gaddafi started firing on protesters. Last night, BP and Shell declined to comment.
It would be surprising if oil is not a consideration in the current Libyan War. The problem this time is that their is a comparison in Bahrain.
Juan Cole provides a review of the argy-bargy and shenanigans of Big Oil and the Iraq Invasion. Professor Cole is a supporter of the “kinetic humanitarian intervention” in Libya, given that Muarmmar Gaddafi and his off spring are among his most favourite people.
President Obama has consented to the use of drones armed with hellfire missiles to protect civilians in Libya in accordance with the UN Security Council resolution. There is no report that the Secretary-General has given consent – but then perhaps in these decisions he is irrelevant.(via Truthdig) Will the anonymous warriors, in their work stations in the US desert be able to identify civilians from non-civilians? Probably not, but who cares?
UPDATE: 26 April 2011
Juan Cole recounts the reprieve of Misrata from the onslaught of the Gaddafi bombardment. What he does not consider is that a negotiated outcome may have avoided these casualties.