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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

March 20, 2003

What's Iraq got to do with it

Surprisingly, it is about oil

Recently there has been a concerted effort to discredit American foreign policy by suggesting the J.E.W.S were responsible for it and that, as a result, it served the interests of Israel and not those of the US. Many writers have attacked this effort by arguing that America's foreign policy must be debated on the merits and not by impugning the motives of some Jews close to the White House.

According to Pepe Escobar writing in the Asian Times under the title “This war is brought to you by… attributes American foreign policy to the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) founded in Washington in 1997 and argues it is driven by a stark analysis of American oil interests. America needs oil and must control the sources of its supply. He further argues,
They've won. They got their war against Afghanistan (planned before September 11). They're getting their war against Iraq (planned slightly after September 11). After Iraq, they plan to get their wars against Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Last Sunday, one of them, Vice President Dick Cheney, said that President George W Bush would have to make "a very difficult decision" on Iraq. Not really. The decision had already been taken for him in the autumn of 2001.

As far as their "showdown Iraq" is concerned, it's not about weapons of mass destruction, nor United Nations inspections, nor non-compliance, nor a virtual connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, nor the liberation of the Iraqi people, nor a Middle East living in "democracy and liberty".

The American corporate media are not inclined to spell it out, and the absolute majority of American public opinion is anesthetized non-stop by a barrage of technical, bureaucratic and totally peripheral aspects of the war against Iraq. For all the president's (sales)men, the whole game is about global preeminence, if not unilateral world domination - military, economic, political and cultural. This may be an early 21st century replay of the "white man's burden". Or this may be just megalomania. Either way, enshrined in a goal of the Bush administration, it cannot but frighten practically the whole world, from Asia to Africa, from "old Europe" to the conservative establishment within the US itself.
He goes on to identify, as his title suggests, that "they" are members of PNAC and include Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Jeb Bush and Elliot Abrams. Other signatories of this document include Eliot Cohen, Steve Forbes, Francis Fukuyama, Frank Gaffney, Wm Bennett, Norman Podhoretz and Dan Quayle. They mean to take up where Reagan left off so they are for increasing the US defense budget, having a strong military and identifying evil as evil.

In 1996, before PNAC was written, Perle, Feith and Meryev and David Wurmser, (Meryev is a co founder of MEMRI) wrote a position paper for Netanyahu entitled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm”. According to Escobar,
they proposed, that Israel must shelve the Oslo Accords, the so-called peace process, the concept of "land for peace", go for it and permanently annex the entire West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The paper also recommends that Israel must insist on the elimination of Saddam, and the restoration of the Hashemite monarchy in Baghdad. This would be the first domino to fall, and then regime change would follow in Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Saudi Arabia. This 1996 blueprint is nothing else than Ariel Sharon's current agenda in action.
Many of these ideas were articulated in a draft Defence Policy Guidance (DPG) in 1992, written under the supervision of Paul Wolfowitz for then Secretary of Defence, Cheney.

This position paper next found its way into the PNAC, which subsequently found it’s way into the September 2002 National Security Strategy (NSS) under the aegis of Condoleeza Rice. The key objectives were to prevent any
hostile power' from dominating regions whose resources would allow it to become a great power; to dissuade any industrialized country from any attempt to defy US leadership; and to prevent the future emergence of any global competitor.”
Other principles include fighting Islamization and eschewing multilateralism and appeasement. They also consider that Israel and the US are fighting the same war on terror.

Escobar is at great pains to unmask America, so to speak, and to show what its real goals are and that he finds them repugnant. He also attempts wherever possible to discredit America and its conduct in the past and in the present. He also ridicules the "coalition of the willing". Finally, he believes that there is no daylight between the policies of Israel and the US and that there should be. He blames the AEI and the PNAC for this.

This intellectual elite, many of whom are Jewish, have worked together for decades and share the same views. These are the neo-cons that found their first expression in Commentary Magazine. While he characterizes Perle, whom he clearly doesn't like, as indentical with Likud, he is much kinder to Wolfowitz. It appears that Wolfowitz favours an independent Palestine whereas, to Perle, it is an anathema.

According to him, the origins of this neo-con movement started with Alan Bloom and Leo Strauss at the University of Chicago. Perle and Wolfowitz both attended at the same time and were greatly influenced as did many of the others who formulated PNAC. Although Perle can speak for himself, they both use Wm Kristol to disseminate and propagate their ideas. Rupert Murdock the financier of the Weekly Standard, the owner of Fox Cable and the owner of N.Y. Post provides the vehicles.

Nevertheless, I believe that his description of American strategic policy is essentially correct. He just doesn't like it.

It is not that the Likudniks have bamboozled Washington but that Washington has adopted a strategic policy for the Twenty First Century that is intended to protect its ever-vital oil supplies. Israel is also the beneficiary of these policies. The ideas put forward by this group found their first political expression in the Reagan administration and have now been adopted by the Bush administration. It is the same ideas that drives Israel's strategy.

Israel wants to make the Middle East safe for Israel and America wants to make the world safe for America. (Read all 10 pages of this very interesting paper)