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Sun 20 April 2014
20 Jumaada al-Thaanee 1435 AH  

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Oil and Politics OIL & POLITICS

Oil has always played a very significant role in international politics. It seems today that rather than basing policy on what seems right, policy is made with regard to which country has more oil.

With the tension growing between USA and Iraq, one can only ask the question as to why there is such an urgency to attack. Is it, as we are naively led to believe that the Bush administration are genuinely worried about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction and Saddam's noncompliance with the military goals of the sanctions? Is it that they are so desperate for something in their rampage against terror to go right for once? Or is it the reason which is seldom ever reported? The reason which seems to make the most sense-the state of the world's number one source of oil, Iraq's neighbor-Saudi Arabia. The very same country which many reports have suggested were the base ground for the indoctrination of the September 11 hijackers. The very same country that USA believes helped the Al Qaeda network, and the birth place of the FBI's most wanted man. Why such an interest in a country that they believe is so detrimental to them and their national security?

The US need to be in total control of oil. It seems it is their defining reasoning behind policy decisions. Their continual pressure on OPEC countries to keep oil prices low can only be due to the fact that they are the biggest oil consumer in the world. Thinking back to when Saddam, with US and British assistance, invaded Kuwait, an oil rich state and a great ally to the western world begs the question-would the west have been so willing had Saddam invaded a "banana republic"?

The early 1950's saw USA having a hand in the overthrowing of the Iranian nationalist leader, Mussadegh. The growing worry that the oil in that region would become nationalized, thus resulting in USA not having total control of it must have again been the main reason for their actions. Replacing him with Mohamed Reza Pahlevi, the dictator and US stooge meant that again, USA could secure their control once more.

Venezuela is another oil rich country of the world. Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, was continually criticized by the US for his policies which were designed to strengthen OPEC. If Chavez succeeded, USA would inevitably have less control. Chavez was also keen to strengthen relations with Iran, Iraq, Libya and other such oil rich countries and refused to partake in the regional war games led by the US. With Chavez leading the way to USA losing control of oil in this region, it is not surprising that soon after, in April 2002 the attempted coup of the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, took place. It was widely applauded amongst US corporate media editorials the following day, however, a people's movement in Venezuela were successful in reversing the coup. In the months since, evidence is mounting that US had a direct hand in the unsuccessful coup.

Nigeria is again another oil rich country, however, oil, which could have potentially made Nigeria one of the wealthiest countries in the world, has led it to become one of the poorest. Continually supported by Western governments who were so keen to benefit from the fossil fuels that can be exploited, corrupt and repressive governments in Nigeria have allowed this to happen. As civil unrest grows over this "dark-nectar", immense poverty and destruction have resulted. It is no surprise that USA has now suggested that Nigeria leave OPEC and strike a deal with the US, which will no doubt benefit them financially. With its thirty one years of oil reserves left, Nigeria is the best choice to serve as a strategic partner to them.

Before 1991, the Soviet Union was the world's largest oil exporting country, but the aftermath of the breakup of the Soviet Union saw Russia's net oil exports plummet. After Russia restructured its oil industry, it has grown to become the third largest oil producing country. Its relationship with USA has always been volatile, but recently, relations have improved drastically. Yukos Oil Company Chief Executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky is keen to improve relations with USA further in an attempt to secure economic growth, however, the recent ties Russia has made with Iraq has worried Washington a great deal. The latest deal is unsurprisingly beneficial to Russia, in which they get a stake in developing Iraqi oil fields.

Oil is, and will be for a time to come the most useful commodity to all countries. It is therefore not surprising that it plays a very influential role in politics.


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