While widespread ransacking was happening in Iraq after Baghdad fell, the U.S. moved swiftly to secure the country’s oil facilities. But in the months since the official end of the war, general looting and sabotage have impeded even the oil industry, frustrating efforts to quickly return oil production to prewar levels.
Alienation and Militancy in the Niger Delta: A Response to CSIS on Petroleum, Politics, and Democracy in Nigeria
In the wake of the September 11th attack and the Iraq war, Nigeria’s geopolitical significance to the U.S. has come into sharper relief. In March and April 2003, militancy across the Niger Delta radically disrupted oil production in this major oil supplier nation. News of these actions, following conflict-ridden national elections, has reinforced the notion that Nigeria and the new West African “gulf states” in general are matters of U.S. national security.
U.S. President George W. Bush’s new doctrine of preventive war and pre-emptive strikes is turning the UN’s nuclear watchdog into a lapdog.
It now seems clear, some would say abundantly clear, that the Bush administration is intent on terminating the Saddam Hussein regime, and it is frankly difficult to see how war will be prevented. All of the political signals coming out of Washington indicate a conflict within the next three months, and there are numerous indications that the final phase of the build-up of military forces is imminent.
How much is the Bush administration’s push for war with Iraq motivated by its desire to gain control of Iraq’s oil fields? “Regime change” to a pro-U.S. government would permit the privatization of Iraq’s state-controlled oil resources—and a bonanza for U.S. oil companies. As former South African president Nelson Mandela said in a recent interview in Newsweek, “It is clearly a decision that is motivated by George W. Bush’s desire to please the arms and oil industries in the United States of America.”
This year, in late August 2002, the United Nations will hold the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), an international conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, ostensibly to create a new model of sustainable development that integrates economic development, social justice, and environmental imperatives. WSSD is supposed to be a ten year follow-up and implementation conference to the 1992 Rio de Janeiro UN Conference on Environment and Development–thus, its other name, “Rio plus 10.” In the Preparatory Committee (PrepComm) meetings that have preceded WSSD, (the latest in Bali, Indonesia held in late May through early June) a common theme has emerged–the United States government is bound and determined to undermine, overthrow, and sabotage any international treaties, agreements, and conferences that it believes restrict its sovereignty in any way as the world’s rogue superpower.
Since September 11, the war on terrorism has become the new rationale for doling out military assistance to repressive and politically unstable foreign governments. And just like during the cold war, the millions of dollars slated for our new allies in the war on terrorism have more to do with promoting American geostrategic interests than with protecting U.S. territory from external threats.
The arrival of U.S. troops in Georgia on April 29 raised as many glasses in Ankara and Baku as it did jitters in Moscow. Touted as a new front in the “war on terror,” the Bush administration is in reality scrambling for Caspian oil in a bid to oust Russia from its traditional backyard. Washington insists its “train and equip force'” of 10 combat helicopters and 150 military instructors is solely intended to help Georgia combat Islamic radicals in the lawless Pankisi Gorge, allegedly a safe haven for al Qaeda militants and their Chechen allies. But other motives became apparent, although largely unnoticed by the Western press when Georgian Defense Ministry official Mirian Kiknadze told Radio Free Europe on February 27: “The U.S. military will train our rapid reaction force, which is guarding strategic sites in Georgia–particularly oil pipelines.” He was referring to the embryonic Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) project, set to reduce Georgia’s and Azerbaijan’s energy reliance on Russia and bring the southern Caucasus into the U.S. fold.