Occupying Ghawar

(Excerpted from Chapter 13: USS Persian Gulf: Big Oil & Their Bankers…)

Aside from the economic benefits which US multinationals derived from the brief US war against Iraq and the curtailment of Saudi and Kuwaiti economic power which the Gulf War wrought, there were other important repercussions from the destabilization of the Persian Gulf region.

Saudi opposition leaders including Sheik Safar al-Halawi saw the initial US deployment of troops to Saudi Arabia as a bald-faced attempt by the US to control Persian Gulf oil. [522]  For some time there has been a proposal circulating throughout the US foreign policy establishment which argues for a direct seizure of Saudi Arabian oilfields.  One secret State Department document titled Dhahran Option Four calls for a US attack on the huge oilfield at Ghawar, which alone contains 40% of the world’s proven oil reserves. [523]  The late Sen. Henry Jackson (D-WA) wrote a prescription in 1975 that involved invading Saudi Arabia to take over the Kingdom’s oil reserves.  That same year the right-wing journal Commentary proposed seizing oilfields in Kuwait and UAE, pumping them dry and generously returning them. [524]

Henry Kissinger, founder of the machine de guerre International Energy Agency often alluded to a seizure of Saudi oilfields.  Following the Gulf War, former US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia James Akin penned a nationally syndicated column in which he suggested that the hard-line proponents of what he called the Kissinger Doctrine had won out over the containment crowd led by Zbig Brzezinski’s Trilateral Commission.  Akin said this was manifest in the current US occupation of Saudi, then gleefully pointed out that if the Saudis refused to pump cheap oil for the West, US troops stationed in the Kingdom could seize control of Ghawar and the Ras Tanura refinery.

In 1992 the US Persian Gulf Command was upgraded to a 3-Star Admiral’s post.  In 1995 the US 5th Fleet was stationed in Bahrain.  Every day thirty-five US warships carrying 12,000 US sailors ply the waters of the Persian Gulf.  In addition, the US has a 2,500 man armored brigade in Kuwait, a 1,000 man armored brigade in Qatar, 1,000 Naval troops in Bahrain and 5,800 troops in Saudi Arabia.  Equipment is positioned throughout the region to accommodate US Rapid Deployment Forces.  The Saudis spent $62 billion on US military hardware between 1990 and 1995. [525]

The US announced Operation Bright Star, through which GCC countries signed new security deals with the US and Europe, and further opened their oil industries to Big Oil.  Kuwait, Oman and Qatar denationalized their oil sectors completely.  The Kuwait Oil Company announced a partnership with former owners BP Amoco and Chevron Texaco.  Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch/Shell also pursued deals with Kuwait. [526]  The UAE port of Abu Dhabi was upgraded and in 1992 the Bahrain Economic Plan was announced, allowing 100% foreign ownership of companies while enhancing that sheikdom’s role as offshore banking center for the Persian Gulf region.

In return the emirates received $40 billion in US weaponry between in 1991-92. The Saudis received $15 billion worth of weapons that year and the US stockpiled even more of its own hardware in the Kingdom.  The Saudis got seventy-two F-15 fighters in a $122 million windfall for McDonnell Douglas, along with forty-eight British Tornadoes. The UAE got F-16 Lockheed fighters and French Le Clerc tanks, while Kuwait got six McDonnell Douglas F/A-18s and General Dynamics M1-A2 Abrams tanks.

In 1989 the US sold $11.7 billion in weaponry to Middle East nations.  In 1992 that figure rocketed to $35 billion. In 1993 the US sold the region $50 billion in arms by mid-August. US Embassies in the region were turned into arms brokerages.  On at least one occasion five US defense contractors were paid for Saudi weapons purchases in loans provided by the Saudi government. [527]  Radio Baghdad warned the GCC nations that, “they’ll abandon you as soon as the last barrel of oil is shipped out”. [528]

The increased US presence hiked anti-American sentiment in the region and threw fuel on the Islamist fire. The Saudi government couldn’t even allow US Navy ships to call at its ports because its increasingly outraged people saw the Americans for what they were- an occupying force.  In 1996 the Saudis refused to allow the US to base there for a new round of Iraqi bombings or to pay for US troop exercises in Kuwait.  As President Bush Jr. sought a pretext to bomb Iraq in 2002, the Saudis again refused to cooperate.  Saudi non-compliance was a big reason the US wanted to occupy Iraq and use it as its new Middle East base. A Saudi dissident living in London echoed the sentiment on the streets of Riyadh when he stated, “The Americans are there for their own interests.  They’ve stopped speaking about protecting Arabs from Iran and Iraq.  They’re there for oil.”[529]

When the government in Tehran criticized a 1991 US/Kuwait defense pact, war games at the US Naval War College began to focus on Iran.  In his January 2002 State of the Union address President Bush Jr. referred to Iran, Iraq and North Korea as “an axis of evil”.  The Iranian newspaper Hamshahri voiced a sentiment felt throughout the region when it declared, “Greedy Pentagon authorities are trying to make their presence and vast influence in the region irreversible”.

US soldiers serving in the region could not help feeling the anti-American undercurrent.  Lieutenant Christina Taylor, an F-14 Tomcat fighter pilot, asked, “All this time spent.  The man hours, the maintenance.  Are we enforcing the no-fly zone?  Are we protecting our rights out here as far as oil is concerned?  Why is it so difficult to get into these ports, when we’re here protecting their freedom?  What is the relevancy of our being here?”

In 1996 twenty-three US soldiers were killed and 345 injured when a truck bomb exploded at King Abdul Aziz Air Base near Dhahran.  A year later dozens more Americans died in a bombing at the Khobar Towers on Prince Sultan Air Base.

As anti-American sentiment rose in the region, US/House of Saud relations remained quietly friendly.  In addition to the $80 billion they forked over for the Gulf War, the monarchy provided free oil to restock the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve.  The Saudis supplied 16% of US oil before the war.  They were now supplying 24% or one-third of all OPEC-supplied US-bound crude. [530]  Twenty-four US economists were added to the payroll at the Saudi Finance Ministry. James Baker was hired as financial adviser to King Fahd. The US/Saudi Arabian Business Council was formed.

The Iraq oil embargo was a financial windfall for the Saudis.  According to former Saudi Oil Minister Sheik Yamani, who now heads the London-based Center for Global Energy Studies, the Saudis earned an extra $100 billion due to the embargo, more than offsetting the $80 billion the Kingdom spent on the war. [531] Saudi oil revenues went from $22 billion in 1986 to $50 billion in 1996.

US and Kuwaiti troops occupied 500 of 800 Iraqi oil wells at Rumaila.  Kuwait moved its border steadily north into Rumaila, under the protection of US and British planes patrolling the southern no-fly zone.  The US-inspired UN Border Commission agreed to cede part of Basra Province to Kuwaiti under the auspices of war reparations.  Iraq lost a key naval base at Um Qasr and six police posts, while the Kuwaitis picked up ten new oil wells in Rumaila. [532]  In an unprecedented move, the UN seized $1 billion in Iraqi overseas assets to pay UN weapons inspectors and Kuwaiti victims of Iraqi aggression.  Iraq Information Minister Hamed Yousef Hamadi blasted the seizure, declaring, “The Security Council‘s decision is an illegal act of confiscation, a modified form of bank robbery Texas-style.”[533]

The US announced the formation of a no-fly zone, effectively partitioning Iraq into three separate countries.  The Los Angeles Times reported on July 29, 1992 that senior White House officials were stating that the US plan was to, “strip Saddam of control of two strategic oil centers in the north (Kirkuk) and south (Rumaila) and leave the Sunni heartland impoverished and isolated from the rest of the country”.

After the US bombed the Baghdad Al Rashid Hotel during an Islamic Conference in 1993 killing 19 people, Iraq’s Ambassador to Turkey Raffi Daham al-Tikriti stated angrily, “The United States and its allies artificially sliced Iraq with the 32nd and 36th parallels.  Do you expect us to stay back and watch?”  Defense Minister Ali Hassan al-Majid echoed these sentiments declaring, “We must never be deceived.  We must triumph over the evil colonialist America and its allies and assert our sovereignty over all our territory, skies and waters.”

Dean Henderson is the author of five books: Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families & Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics & Terror Network, The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries, Das Kartell der Federal Reserve, Stickin’ it to the Matrix & The Federal Reserve Cartel.  You can subscribe free to his weekly Left Hook column @www.hendersonlefthook.wordpress.com


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s