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Re: questions for discussion
by Elson Boles
26 September 2002 16:57 UTC
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> I'm not sure why you find this so unlikely.   According to 
> your analysis, anti-war sentiment was sufficient to sway an 
> election in Germany

My argument was that without Bush, Schroeder wouldn't have been elected,
not because of the popular sentiment that he played upon, but because if
the election hadn't been so close, he would have taken an ambivalent, or
pro-US, position.  In short, it was an instrumental realpolitik stance.
The anti-war German sentiment is just that.  It isn't an anti-war

> I can think of a fifth--'inter-imperialist rivalry'.  France 
> and Russia (in other words, the Paris-Berlin-Moscow axis 
> Wallerstein used to talk about) are relatively friendly to 
> the current regime.  The war provides an excuse to put in a 
> friendly US regime in an area of resource and geostrategic 
> significance.
> Steven Sherman

Indeed, this is quite true, and was also implied in the article that I
posted.  It notes, for example, the many pending oil production
contracts that Iraq made during the past ten years are with dozens of
states, except the US .  The US hawks intend to undermine all those bids
and to renew the old Mafioso protection racket with Iraq.  Saudi Arabia
has "dried up" and is thus up to it's neck with political and economic
problems, extremism with tracks to 9-11 not being the least of them.
The "racket" entails massive arms sales and cheap oil exports.   Iraq,
in contrast, is ideal: a new regime would open the spigots to repay the
loans that surely would flow in for arms and infrastructure rebuilding,
including oil; and all that would prove that the US is willing to "go
the distance" in supporting post-regime change.

Here's the relevant quote from the article on US exclusion during the
past ten years, noting that it excludes the weapons sales that would be
renewed to Iraq, of which the US would have a near monopoly:

But he added: "If they throw in their lot with Saddam, it will be
difficult to the point of impossible to persuade the new Iraqi
government to work with them."

"Indeed, the mere prospect of a new Iraqi government has fanned concerns
by non-American oil companies that they will be excluded by the United
States, which almost certainly would be the dominant foreign power in
Iraq in the aftermath of Hussein's fall. Representatives of many foreign
oil concerns have been meeting with leaders of the Iraqi opposition to
make their case for a future stake and to sound them out about their

Since the Persian Gulf War in 1991, companies from more than a dozen
nations, including France, Russia, China, India, Italy, Vietnam and
Algeria, have either reached or sought to reach agreements in principle
to develop Iraqi oil fields, refurbish existing facilities or explore
undeveloped tracts. Most of the deals are on hold until the lifting of
U.N. sanctions.

But Iraqi opposition officials made clear in interviews last week that
they will not be bound by any of the deals.

"We will review all these agreements, definitely," said Faisal
Qaragholi, a petroleum engineer who directs the London office of the
Iraqi National Congress (INC), an umbrella organization of opposition
groups that is backed by the United States. "Our oil policies should be
decided by a government in Iraq elected by the people."

Ahmed Chalabi, the INC leader, went even further, saying he favored the
creation of a U.S.-led consortium to develop Iraq's oil fields, which
have deteriorated under more than a decade of sanctions. "American
companies will have a big shot at Iraqi oil," Chalabi said.

Elson Boles
Assistant Professor
Dept. of Sociology
Saginaw Valley State University
University Center
Saginaw MI, 48710

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