Anatoly ALIFEROV (Russia)
The death toll in Iraq is surging after more than 7 years of international occupation. The ballots cast during the March 7 parliamentary elections still have not been completely counted, and the tide of terror of some obscure origin in the country is raising as we watch. Blasts took over 70 lives in Baghdad on April 23, and, as predicted by the US military, under the circumstances the withdrawal of the US forces from Iraq is likely to be suspended if not altogether abolished.
On the day of the Muslim traditional Friday prayer, when imams praise the Almighty and ask prophet Muhammad for blessing, the deadliest three bombings exploded in rapid succession near the headquarters of the political movement led by the Shiite cleric (Moktada al-Sadr) in Sadr City, the impoverished Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad that bears his family’s name. Each Friday hundreds of his followers gather in an open square there for noon prayers, and they accounted for many of the victims. (Sadr is one of the most influential religious and political figures in the country. He organized thousands of his supporters into a political movement, which includes a military wing known as the Jaysh al-Mahdi or Mahdi Armi).
Immediately upon the seizure of Baghdad in 2003, al-Sadr, whose family was persecuted under S. Hussein, stated that he and his followers would not directly or indirectly submit to the occupation. In April 2004 he initiated a revolt against the coalition forces occupying Iraq.
On April 23, Baghdad was shattered by at least 7 blasts targeting the Rahmaniya marketplace, mosques, and residential housing.
What is the connection between the blasts and the timetable of the phased US withdrawal from Iraq? The plan is to downsize the current US force in the country numbering 96,000 servicemen to 50,000 by August, 2010, and then to pull them out by the end of 2011. As commander of the US forces in Iraq Gen. Ray Odierno said two weeks prior to the elections, “if something happens” the US has a “plan B” which involves seriously slowing or even entirely stopping the pullout.
The “something” seems to be the increase in violence in Iraq. The escalation did “happen” – it accompanied the run-up to the elections, continued while they were in process, and still lingers. The Associated Presssurvey of the worst terrorist attacks for the two months since Gen. Odierno made his statement is: 32 dead on March 3, 37 dead on March 7 (the elections day), 57 dead on March 26, 24 dead on April 2, 42 dead on April 4, 50 dead on April 6, and 72 dead on April 23 (and the list keeps swelling).
What is the notorious Plan “B” for Iraq? The information is unreliable and contradictory. Various scenarios bracketed as the plan have been discussed by the US establishment for several years. One of the versions is that a scheme of “winning dirty” by fueling the sectarian strife in the country has been masterminded given the impossibility of the US “clean” victory. A provoked crisis and a general escalation should help eliminate the key opponents of the US policy in Iraq. For example, already in 2004 the famed Seymour M. Hersh wrote that G. Bush’s Administration had a detailed plan, called Operation Stuart, for the arrest and, if necessary, assassination of Sadr (but the operation was cancelled).
The democracy show – elections paralleled by blasts in city streets – can continue in Iraq for some time, but the essence of what is going on in Iraq is already clear. The best description of the situation has been suggested by US expert on information security William R. Clark who coined the term “petrodollar warfare”.
The author wrote in his Petrodollar Warfare: Oil, Iraq and the Future of the Dollar (New Society Publishers, 2005) that the 2003 war in Iraq was the first war for maintaining the US dollar’s exclusive role of the currency of oil contracts. In September, 2000 Hussein demanded a conversion of $10 bn from the accounts of the UN Food for Oil program into Euro. Clark holds that the decision to sell Iraq’s oil for Euro, not for US dollars, is the explanation behind everything that the country was to endure.
The First Petrodollar War which swept across Iraq is not only a war for control over the Iraqi oil fields (containing the world’s second largest oil reserves). It is a war for the control over the financial instruments which are used in the global oil trade.
The main developments in Iraq over the past several months have been actually related to oil. In the interval of time between the summer of 2009 and January, 2010 the Iraqi government urgently signed 10 conracts with global oil grands to develop all of the country’s oil deposits. The best parts of the pie were fed to BP, Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Conoco Philips, Occidental Petroleum, and to China’s CNPC (BP-CNPC nabbed the Rumaila oil field second in size only to Saudi Arabia’s Gawar). Having handed out the pieces, Baghdad unveiled a plan to boost Iraq’s oil output by a factor of 5 in the coming 7 years – from the current 2.4 to 12 million bpd. Fighting terrorism, “winning dirty” and other forms of the US presence in Iraq will clearly be employed by Washington to retain control over the supply of the Iraqi oil which is expected to start growing at an unprecedented pace already this year. The control will open to the US further opportunities to manipulate global oil prices. The world has already been taught a lesson on what the result can be: as the prominent Russian historian and blogger Nikolay Starikov wrote in his ‘Cherchez la Oil‘: “Sixfold oil price drop in 1986 was the main factor that catalyzed the collapse of the Soviet Union’s economy and eventually led to destruction of the USSR”.
…Tensions in Baghdad persist. Muqtada al-Sadr issued a statement late Friday calling on believers to join the Iraqi army and police “to defend their shrines, mosques, prayers, markets, houses and their towns.” Al-Sadr urged Iraqi leaders “not to be pulled toward the malicious American plans that intend to pull Iraq into wars and fighting in order to find the pretext for staying on our holy lands”.
Source: Strategic Culture Foundation