|Saudi rescue plan
A tripple-hitter, if U.S. policy towards Iraq succeeds
By Hassan Farzin
October 24, 2002
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,
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
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
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
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!