Friday, June 18, 2004

The Austin Chronicle: News: Wolfowitz A Fool or a Liar about Iraqi Oil

The Austin Chronicle: News: The Military-Petroleum Complex: On March 27, two days after Bush Senior spoke to the refiners, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz testified before Congress about the rapidly progressing war. Wolfowitz, one of the leaders of the neoconservative movement, which believes America has a duty to dominate the world, told Congress that the Second Iraq War wouldn't be overly expensive for American taxpayers. "We're dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon," he told Congress. Asked how much the Second Iraq War would cost, Wolfowitz stuttered out: "And my – a rough recollection – well I'm – the oil revenues of that country could bring between 50- and 100-billion dollars over the course of the next two or three years."

Alas, Wolfowitz hadn't done his homework. Or – and let's hope this wasn't the case – he was telling a stretcher. Even the most optimistic oil experts were projecting that Iraq's oilfields would be hampered for some time to come as a result of a lack of investment in infrastructure. At best, they estimated that Iraq's oilfields were capable of producing revenues of only about $10 billion per year.

But Wolfowitz couldn't trouble himself with learning the facts. Instead, he and his fellow neoconservatives were figuring out how they could divvy up the spoils of war. Within a few days of his outlandish estimates of Iraq's oil wealth, other pro-Israel hawks inside the Pentagon began talking to the Israelis about building a pipeline from the Iraqi oilfields near Kirkuk to the Israeli port of Haifa. A small pipeline had operated along that route in the 1940s, and the neocons apparently believed that it was time to build a pipeline from the heart of Arabia to the heart of the Zionist homeland.

Ensuring a reliable supply of oil to its ally Israel had been one of America's main obligations in the region for nearly three decades. In 1975, Henry Kissinger signed an agreement that requires the U.S. to guarantee the flow of oil to Israel during times of crisis. Kissinger was also a key architect of the plan, pushed by Donald Rumsfeld when he met with Saddam Hussein in 1983, to build a pipeline from Iraq to the Jordanian port of Aqaba."