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Saudi rescue plan
A tripple-hitter, if U.S. policy towards Iraq succeeds

By Hassan Farzin
October 24, 2002
The Iranian

Here is the basis for the real U.S. policy toward Iraq that no one will talk about openly. The description and analysis of this policy, which has been termed as "Rescue Plan for Saudi Arabia," is based on a review of the logical outcome of economic and political factors.

In order for the U.S. policy to be understood, we need a few pieces of background information. The first piece is governing system of the United States of America. Many people do not appreciate how the U.S. was formed and how the government was organized to operate.

The U.S. was formed over two hundred years ago by a group of merchants and businessmen. Hence, the government in the U.S. was set up to be attentive to the needs of business and merchants and help facilitate their primary activity, trading. In other words, the government had to be responsive to the needs of commerce. To this day, the government in the U.S. remains mostly true to that principal.

This is why trade, which is the life blood of business and commerce, is extremely important to the U.S. Accepting to this principal, it follows that prerequisites to trade and commerce are also very important to the U.S. These include domestic and global stability; lack of war; free, liberal, or easily understood rules for trade; unrestricted flow of goods and services; open seas; and above all, the availability of energy to power everything.

Therefore it is natural for the U.S. to focus on a policy that assures compliance with these basic conditions for world wide trade and commerce. These conditions for trade and commerce are so important that most countries of the world have accepted them primarily because they can see the economic and political benefits of open trade. (Consider the long list of countries trying to be admitted into the World Trade Organization, WTO.)

Second, no trading system can function without the availability of energy. Energy is necessary for almost everything: the generation of ideas, designs, exploration activities, production, manufacturing, construction, packaging, transportation, distribution, marketing, and sales. In addition, a massive amount of energy is needed just to maintain the modern lifestyle that has evolved over the past couple of centuries, including the production and distribution of food and other basic necessities of life for over six billion inhabitants on this earth.

These two points clearly demonstrate the U.S. dependence (and for that matter, the global dependence) on availability of energy. It is important to note that, although theoretical and practical price levels have an impact on availability of energy, this discussion will not consider the price of energy. If petroleum were to sell for $100 per barrel, it would not enter (or impact) our discussion presented herein as long as petroleum is available in the market to ANY buyer.

Other aspects of the energy economy and its impact on war and peace, including price, production levels, ownership at the source, transportation, distribution, and marketing in its various forms will be left for another occasion. Suffice to say that implementation of U.S. policy on Iraq discussed herein should not have any appreciable impact on the price of energy in the long term. In other words, the price of petroleum should not be impacted over the long term, regardless of the success or failure of U.S. policy on Iraq.

It should be understood that the U.S. government, in principal, is indifferent toward the price of petroleum. To demonstrate the reason for this indifference, one could note historic events. Unlike, for example, the U.K., who has in the past tried to get petroleum either for free or under the market prices by the use or threat of force, the U.S. government has never attempted such robbery. This is because of the system and nature of the U.S. government institutions, which, by and large, act as a service provider to businesses, rather than an operator of a business.

What U.S. businesses must negotiate to pay for purchasing petroleum is up to those businesses, and totally outside the involvement of the U.S. Government. Now that dependence of the U.S. on energy sources is established, availability of energy sources to the U.S. and the world should be examined next.

The most important, concentrated, available and environmentally accepted source of energy today is petroleum. The exact statistics are available elsewhere, but it is estimated that petroleum accounts fora very large portion of the world energy needs.

Furthermore, petroleum and its products are the most easily transportable sources of energy, and provide for the energy needs of much of the transportation industry (try flying today using coal, electricity, solar, or nuclear fuel!) Hence, the dependence of the U.S. on energy sources may be viewed as dependence of the U.S. on petroleum sources. Because of this dependance, the U.S. (and the industrialized world, mostly allies of the U.S.) cannot afford to be disconnected from sources of petroleum, regardless of the price.

According to recent statistics, the U.S. produces roughly half of its domestic petroleum needs; the other half must be imported from other countries of the world. A look at the other end of the petroleum equation, the supply side, indicates that roughly 40% to 50% (and perhaps more) of the petroleum as well as natural gas of the OPEC countries is located in the Persian Gulf basin. Most of that is either concentrated between the three countries of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran, or, under certain circumstances, could be controlled by them.

Therein lies the problem: after 9/11, the U.S. administration of George W. Bush realized that, due to the short sightedness of their predecessors, the U.S. and the rest of industrialized world's lifeline was being controlled by hostile mullas in Iran, a real murderer and sworn enemy of the U.S. in Iraq, and a seemingly friendly but extremely unstable government in Saudi Arabia.

It was the re-evaluation of this last country's security status that was very much a source of concern to the U.S. Prior to 9/11, the thinking within the U.S. administration must have been that the Saudis, with about 20% of the petroleum production capability, could keep every country in that region (and even within OPEC) in line as far as petroleum availability and production disruptions were concerned.

After 9/11 and the discovery that three quarters of the hijackers of the four airliners on that date, as well as many of the top organizers of the entire scheme and the Al-Ghaedeh, were Saudi citizens, it must have dawned on the U.S. security analysts that the Saudi system of government was not the "rock of stability" it was assumed. The U.S. had to re-evaluate the security situation in the region, and take appropriate steps before it was too late.

Of much concern to the U.S. must have been a not so hypothetical situation whereby another hostile and fundamentalist, albeit misguided and uninformed, group could take over the Saudi government and establish a government much like the mullas in Iran.

Under such circumstances, the U.S. and the industrialized world would face an extremely dire condition in the region. Not only almost all petroleum resources in the region would be in the hands of hostile groups, or could even be blocked, but due to the geography of the region, including the vast land mass involved from eastern Iran to the Red Sea, the successful and sustained military operation and use of force against any one of the three hostile regimes would be extremely difficult, time consuming, and expensive, if not impossible.

The U.S. must have concluded that the least problematic solution for saving Saudi Arabia from a potential take over by an extremist group similar to the Iranian mullas, or another murderer-dictator such as Saddam Hussein, would rest on taking steps to win over, or at least neutralize both of the two currently hostile regimes in that region: Iraq and Iran. The first step to implement such a policy must start with neutralization of Iraq, for several reasons:

1) The regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq is the least desirable of the two regimes, making it easier to remove;

2)The U.S. is already in a state of war with Iraq, which makes it very easy to gain approval from the U.S. population and congress, as well as the United Nations' tacit, if not expressed, approval for military operations;

3) The U.S. may have estimated that they already have forces in the region, and allies left over from the 1991 Gulf War that would fall in-line for this operation; and finally,

4) the size difference between Iraq (only about 20 million in population and a smaller land mass) and Iran (with its nearly 70 million in population, and a huge land mass,) whereby any military operations for neutralization of Iraq would require smaller force than neutralization of the Iranian mullahs.

Furthermore, the geographical location of Iraq (as opposed to Iran) is unique for the specific purpose of saving Saudi Arabia. Iraq has a long border with Saudi Arabia, which, if the policy is successful, would mean that a U.S. allied government would be installed right next door to the Saudi boarder in Iraq to provide additional assurances for the internal stability of Saudi Arabia.

In essence, this means that once the policy of change of government in Iraq is successful, at least 50% of the Saudi rescue plan is automatically implemented. The other 50% will come from drastic changes in Saudi government composition, as well as establishment of a constitution in Saudi Arabia shortly after the new Iraqi government is in place, and deemed stabilized.

The new government in Iraq would also be a perfect starting point for the process of dislodging the mullahs' government in their North-Eastern boarder in Iran. Barring a repetition of the Bay of Pigs type fiasco by the U.S. "intellectuals," this operation should not take very long: perhaps within three years of new government installation in Iraq, the mullahs in Iran should be gone, one way or the other.

In summary, U.S. policy towards Iraq appears to be a clever emergency plan to rescue Saudi Arabia and its vast petroleum resources from the likes of Khomaini or Saddam Hussein. Additionally, the plan would rescue Iraq from a murderer that has been tormenting its population and their neighbors for the past 30 years. The rescue plan would also make a start to dislodge the mullahs' government in Iran. If this analysis is correct, the rescue plan is a triple hitter!

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