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thepeoplesvoice.org: Imperial Playground: Marching East of Iraq Part III (a)

By Andrew G. Marshall

Cheney, who has more often represented his neo-conservative lunatic peers, as opposed to Ms. Rice, who, before coming into government in the George W. Bush administration, was on the board of Chevron, and thus, owes her loyalty not to any half-baked, mentally defunct ideology, but to an industry; the oil industry.

In the same month, March, it was reported that, “For all its efforts to apply economic and political pressure on Iran over its nuclear program, the United States has never used a potentially potent tool in its arsenal — penalties on foreign companies that assist Iran in producing oil and natural gas. That may be about to change.

The Bush administration has quietly been warning energy companies, including Shell, Repsol and SKS, the Malaysian oil company, as well as the governments of China, India, Pakistan and Malaysia, that penalties are possible if they pursue energy deals with Iran. As a result, several huge projects planned for Iran could be vulnerable. These include one possible $10 billion project by Royal Dutch Shell and the Spanish oil company, Repsol YPF, to develop a natural gas field offshore in Iran, and a $20 billion venture by SKS Ventures of Malaysia to produce natural gas in Iran’s Golshan and Ferdows fields.”26 As we have seen from the history of the last hundred years in the region, related especially to Iran, a company like Royal Dutch Shell is not merely a ‘private interest’, but rather an imperial power house. So, as the oil companies seek diplomacy to see if they can secure good oil control inside Iran, the political diplomacy will follow. After all, historically, in the United States, it has been the oil companies that dominate the State Department, which handles foreign affairs, as with the current Condi Rice, James Baker in the George HW Bush administration who is an oil lobbyist, Henry Kissinger, who always acted in the interest of oil corporations, [i.e. Yom Kippur War], John Foster Dulles, whose brother, Allen Dulles, was CIA director at the same time, at which they both pressured then-President Eisenhower to authorize CIA covert action to overthrow Iran in 1953, which they did [for British Petroleum].

So, as the State Department is controlled by Big Oil, and with that, the National Security Council, of which Condoleezza Rice was the head of until she got a promotion to Secretary of State, and Zbigniew Brzezinski was National Security Adviser, then worked with BP, and Henry Kissinger was National Security Adviser and Secretary of State at the same time, they will act more strategically than say, neo-con lunatics. Remember, when the neo-con plan for Iraqi oil was designed to destroy OPEC, Shell sent in their man to tell the Ambassador to Iraq the real plan. So, as in the past few years the neo-cons have continuously stepped up pressure for an attack and conflict with Iran; other elitist factions have been hesitant, as they see the broader implications for such an attack. So, as oil companies seek development and oil control opportunities inside Iran, diplomacy will seek opportunities to delay any reactionary approach to Iranian relations (such as nuking their nuclear facilities), to try a different path of hushed diplomacy, as in, signing oil contracts. So, the oil companies seek to wait out the situation, see which way things turn, and depending on future circumstances, will make a decision when the time comes. However, there are even divisions within the oil industry on the present issue of Iran. American companies are barred from doing business, but European ones are attempting a go at it. The biggest of which is Royal Dutch Shell, which represents the British and Dutch elite, however, it was reported that, “the UK’s BP is thought to have decided against operating in the country.”27

On August 21, 2007, the Financial Times reported that, “Iran appointed a new deputy oil minister for international affairs yesterday as part of a government reshuffle. Hossein Noghrehkar-Shirazi, who will take over responsibility for liaison with foreign companies, was appointed by the acting oil minister,” and that, “Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh, who “resigned” last week as oil minister, subsequently criticised the government for its decision to keep petrol prices at one of the world’s lowest levels,” and further, “Mr Nozari, the acting minister whose appointment requires parliamentary approval, has identified the boosting of Iran’s crude production as an immediate priority. Iran has apparently been struggling to meet its Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries [OPEC] quota.” It would seem that the Anglo-Americans are again using their OPEC tool to commit economic and petrodollar warfare on Iran. A sign we saw in 1990 in the lead-up to Saddam going from trusted proxy ally, to enemy number one, during the Gulf War. Are they trying to break Iran? Simultaneously, are the invested European oil companies in the region trying to grab what they can, while they can? Could this also be a conflict between the Anglo-American and the European oil industries over Iran, reflective of the division between the Anglo-Americans and European governments over the same issue? Europe has been attempting and stressing a more diplomatic approach to getting Iran to halt its uranium enrichment, while the Anglo-Americans call for immediate action, and military if necessary. However, what is key to note here, is that both the Anglo-Americans and the Europeans see nuclear energy in Iran as a threat, and thus both groups have an interest in seeing that the country never industrializes, but they differ on approaches to doing this. Since the Europeans do not control OPEC, as its principal leader is Saudi Arabia, a US-British protectorate. After all, the previous article pointed out how British Petroleum [BP] is staying out of Iran, as BP is an Anglo-American interest, after the merger of Amoco, formerly a Rockefeller Standard Oil enterprise, into British Petroleum, owned predominantly by the British monarch and ruling class members. The companies seeking work in Iran are European, and the interesting one to note is Royal Dutch Shell, which is still almost half British controlled. The majority shares are split between the Dutch monarch, with the largest share, and the British monarch.28 So, the British, in their typical stealth maneuvering throughout their diplomatic imperial history, are ensuring their interests with both factions, the Americans and the Europeans, to ensure that no matter which end succeeds in their approach to Iran, the British will maintain their hegemony. The Financial Times article concluded, “Given the strong possibility of tougher United Nations sanctions over Iran’s nuclear programme, European companies – including OMV, of Austria, Spain’s Repsol and Royal Dutch Shell – are hesitating over whether to go ahead with plans for involvement in its energy sector. Nonetheless, high oil prices increased Iran’s revenue by 13.6 per cent to $54bn in the Iranian year ending March 20, and income is set to be even higher this year. The International Monetary Fund has forecast 5 per cent growth, largely driven by oil revenue, for Iran this year.”29 As I will examine later on, in the next Part of this essay, these various divisions between the Europeans and the Anglo-Americans in relations to Iran are slowly aligning in a political consensus.

For the complete article go to…

http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/cgi-bin/blogs/voices.php/2007/10/24/imperial_playground_marching_east_of_ira

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