Oil still remains the common glue that locks both the U.S. and Iran in a competing foreign policy showdown in Iraq. With 220 billion barrels of undiscovered oil which experts believe to exist in Iraq up for grabs, both the U.S. and Iran need to seek excuses to remain locked in Iraq in a mortal struggle. Even Australian Defence Minister Brendan Nelson echoed this position yesterday.
As Iran attempts tough gas rationing goals to cut consumption as their oil reserves continue to dry up and will become depleted within only a few years, an expansionist goal of seeking some influence over the oil assets of Iraq becomes more and more important. This revolutionary Islamic government in Tehran needs the cash that some control over Iraq's oil assets would bring to spread their radicalism and militarism in the region.
As far back as 1997, when the neoconservative Project For The New American Century organization was forming with what would become the nucleus of the Bush Administration foreign and military policy team, with Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, John Bolton, Paul Wolfowitz and more, it was clear that Iraq would become the next foreign policy battleground due to it's rich oil assets and the huge boom that defense contractors would reap in what was thought to be a very short and easy war to upend Saddam Hussein who was weakened from the 1991 Gulf War and years of painful UN sanctions and arms inspections and weapons destruction.
Not only was the view that any renewed war with Iraq would entail a messy and difficult occupation with a renewed sectarian conflict in Iraq ignored, war advocates were also unconcerned about unleashing years of pent up sectarian anger following from the failed British occupation that went from 1922 to 1958. This British occupation was also mainly spurred by oil discoveries in Iraq as well. The fact that Iran would become involved in an unstable Iraq without Saddam Hussein was also ignored in the new 2003 war planning. Iran sought to overthrow Saddam Hussein back during the 1980's Iran-Iraq War, which brought in the Reagan Administration with billions of dollars of arms aid for Saddam Hussein by misuse of Agriculture Department CCC funds meant for emergency food aid. This financing was used by Saddam Hussein to buildup a huge Iraqi military to counter Iran, but also lead to the 1990-1991 invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. Once again, oil was the issue.
Many nations in Africa or in South America the size of Iraq continue to have serious political or military struggles, where only the UN seems to take a peacekeeping interest in controlling the bloodshed. But Iraq is different. The undiscovered oil assets, thought to be the largest in the world are very important to both the U.S. and Iran, and this nation will remain a critical battleground for both sides, as each seeks ways to remain in this nation until one or the other prevails as a victor to have some control over the oil assets.
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