Iraq:
Why Did The USA Want
"Regime Change"?

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Introduction

In 1998, a USA think tank, Project for the New American Century (PNAC), wrote a letter to USA president Bill Clinton advising him to remove Saddam Husein from Iraq without mentioning moral reasons, human rights, or terrorism.

The PNAC describes itself as a "non-profit educational organization dedicated to a few fundamental propositions: that American leadership is good both for America and for the world; that such leadership requires military strength, diplomatic energy and commitment to moral principle; and that too few political leaders today are making the case for global leadership."

These authors became advisers to USA president George W Bush in 2000 and include Bush's current Pentagon adviser, Richard Perle; Richard Armitage, the number two at the USA State Department; John Bolton and Paula Dobriansky, under-secretaries of state; Elliott Abrams, the presidential adviser for the Middle East and a member of the USA National Security Council; and Peter W Rodman, assistant secretary of defence for international security affairs, Zalmay Khalilzad, Bush's special envoy to the Iraqi opposition; ex-director James Woolsey and Robert B Zoelick, the USA trade representative.

Part of the letter states: "We urge you to seize [the] opportunity and to enunciate a new strategy that would secure the interests of the USA and our friends and allies around the world. That strategy should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime from power."

In September 2000, The PNAC published a document called Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century. It clearly reveals that the USA has been planning to take more control of the region in around the Middle East (including the Gulf) even before the attacks on the USA on 11 September 2001. On page 26, the following paragraph appears:

"In the Persian Gulf region, the presence of American forces, along with British and French units, has become a semi-permanent fact of life. Though the immediate mission of those forces is to enforce the no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq, they represent the long-term commitment of the United States and its major allies to a region of vital importance. Indeed, the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."

On Page 29 we read:

"After eight years of no-fly-zone operations, there is little reason to anticipate that the U.S. air presence in the region should diminish significantly as long as Saddam Hussein remains in power. Although Saudi domestic sensibilities demand that the forces based in the Kingdom nominally remain rotational forces, it has become apparent that this is now a semi-permanent mission. From an American perspective, the value of such bases would endure even should Saddam pass from the scene. Over the long term, Iran may well prove as large a threat to U.S.interests in the Gulf as Iraq has. And even should U.S.-Iranian relations improve, retaining forward-based forces in the region would still be an essential element in U.S. security strategy given the longstanding American interests in the region."

There are many more revealing quotes from this document.

In the middle of 2002 the USA announced that it wanted to attack Iraq and change its government by removing its leader, Saddam Husein. The UK immediately fell into line closely following the arguments put forward by the USA.

In May 2003, USA Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, admitted in an interview with USA television station WABC that the USA had wanted to remove Saddam Hussein for several years: "If you go back and look at the debate in the Congress and the debate in the United Nations, what we said was the President said that this is a dangerous regime, the policy of the United States government has been regime change since the mid to late 1990s � and that regime has now been changed. That is a very good thing."

The USA Assistant Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, admitted that the decision to invade Iraq was made in September 2001: "To the extent it was a debate about tactics and timing, the President clearly came down on the side of Afghanistan first. To the extent it was a debate about strategy and what the larger goal was, it is at least clear with 20/20 hindsight that the President came down on the side of the larger goal."

In April 2004, the former UK ambassador to the USA, Sir Christopher Meyer, admited that USA President, George W Bush and UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair agreed to remove Saddam Hussein on 20 September 2001 at a dinner party in Washington, USA.

Ray McGovern, one of the CIA's most senior analysts admitted to journalist, John Pilger: "It was 95 per cent charade. And they all knew it: Bush, Blair, Howard."

UK government documents leaked in September 2004 show that, in the words of UK MP Robin Cook: "there was no legal justification for the war, and therefore they should use the UN to 'wrongfoot' Saddam". He adds that "the only reason for the war in Iraq was the Bush administration's obsession with regime change".

The documents show that the UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, told USA National Security Adviser, Condoleeza Rice in March 2003 that he was fully signed up to toppling Saddam but would need a cover for any military action.


The Reasons Given

During 2002 and early 2003, a number of reasons for wanting this "regime change" were advanced. This essay attempts to show that the reasons given are spurious and that the real reason is oil and the economic, military and political benefits of controlling this region.

If it is established that it is a valid policy to attack a country because you think they may be a threat, what is to stop countries attacking the West because they feel threatened? This will lead to international anarchy.

This was a smokescreen to deceive public opinion and provide a reason for regime change....

The USA has often used the United Nations to legitimise its actions around the world, ignoring its wishes when the international community disagreed with USA policy....

"Democracy" is one of those words used to rally support....

"Oppression" is another key word used to rally support. The Kurds are one of the most betrayed people in the world. After the end of World War 1, the UK and France split up the Turkish ruled Ottoman Empire among themselves. The Kurdish people ended up being split between four countries: Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq....

No doubt about it - but Iraq is not alone in this....

This is also true, but there are some qualifications to be made....

This one can best be described as "scraping the barel". Remember, the USA was considering removing the current Iraqi regime long before Al-Qaida became an obsession. The USA has long supported terrorism. Saddam Husein and Al-Qaida have both been armed and financed by the USA....

This is no doubt correct but the following are just a small selection of the falsehoods and lies perpetrated by the USA. Other countries (including the UK, France and Israel) have also misled the world community....


The Real Reasons?

Oil and Economic Control

The USA relies on oil to supply about 40% of its energy requirements, more than any other source. Of this, 55% is imported oil. This percentage is expected to rise to 65% in 2020 and to keep increasing. Much of the USA's oil comes from the Gulf region. This region also supplies oil to most of the world.

According to Michael T. Klare writing for the Interhemispheric Resource Center: "This dependency is [a weakness] for American power: unless Persian Gulf oil can be kept under American control, our ability to remain the dominant world power would be put into question." Additionally, "Whoever controls the Gulf automatically maintains a stranglehold on the global economy."

Iraq has the second largest oil reserves in the Middle East. It has been estimated that the Iraqi oil reserves amount to $ 1,100,000 million's worth and can last for 130 years.

The table below from British Petroleum (BP) shows the estimated time that various countries' oil fields are expected to last (as of 2002).

Country
Years
  Country
Years
Iraq128.98  Romania16.01
Kuwait127.70  Trinidad and Tobago15.34
United Arab Emirates114.81  Other Asia Pacific15.13
Saudi Arabia85.13  Oman14.77
Iran67.25  Republic of Congo
(Brazaville)
14.34
Azerbaijan67.02  Ecuador14.18
Venezuela63.58  Thailand14.17
Qatar55.57  Uzbekistan13.77
Other South and
Central America
41.21  Australia12.56
Nigeria30.41  Turkmenistan12.47
Kazakhstan27.71  Denmark11.81
Cameroon24.69  Malaysia11.40
Italy24.42  Syria10.99
Yemen23.08  Egypt10.72
Mexico21.52  USA10.52
Brunei21.05  Indonesia10.21
Gabon19.97  Argentina9.85
Angola19.44  Norway8.02
Russian Federation19.25  Colombia6.44
Algeria18.25  Canada6.20
Brazil18.09  United Kingdom5.94
Other Former
Soviet Union
16.05  Vietnam5.85

The table below shows the major fields in Iraq.

Oil Field
Contract Value
($ millions)
Daily production
(Barrels)
Al-Ahdab 700 90,000
Amara 300 80,000
West Qurna Phase I 380 200,000
West Qurna DS 190 65,000
North Rumaila Mishrif 160 250,000
Khurmala 1,300 200,000,000
Suba-Luhais 200 100,000
Hemrin 1,300 200,000,000
Zubair Mishrif 150 60,000

The reason France and Russia were wary of military action is that they fear losing out on the post-Saddam oil bonanza.

A new regime would allow USA and UK oil companies concessions. James Woolsey, a former CIA director told the USA newspaper, the Washington Post: "It's pretty straight forward. France and Russia have oil companies and interests in Iraq. They should be told that if they are of assistance in moving Iraq toward decent government we'll do the best we can to ensure the new government and American companies work closely with them".

Note the assumptions that American influence will be strong enough to decide these matters, not the Iraqi government or people. The phrase "decent" government means "compliant" government.

Grant Aldonas told a business forum that a war in Iraq "would open up this spigot on Iraqi oil, which certainly would have a profound effect in terms of the performance of the world economy for those countries that are manufacturers and oil consumers".

Dr F J Chalabi, a former Iraqi deputy oil minister (now living in the UK) states that "the scenario exists whereby [the UK] and [the USA], by handling Iraq's oil resources a certain way, could carve out the ultimate 'strategic petroleum reserve'." He continues: " Iraq is the only country in the world that could, conceivably, replace Saudi Arabia as the guarantor of world oil price stability. Given [the USA's] feelings about Saudi Arabia right now, it is not hard to imagine how a [USA] backed government will deal with oil policy". He confirms the notion that Russia and France "may think that with a new government in Baghdad, they may lose the opportunity to have access to this really abundant and cheap oil".

The USA government was full of people with oil interests.

Between 2000 and 2002, the oil and gas industry has given $ 50 million to USA political candidates.

On 12 September 2001, a day after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, the USA Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, advised the USA president, George W Bush to invade Iraq immediately even though there was no evidence that Iraq was involved.

The USA Center for Public Integrity, reported that the top 100 officials in the USA administration (as of late 2002) have the majority of their personal investments in traditional energy and natural resources. The amount involved is almost $ 150 million.

On 11 October 2002, the USA newspaper New York Times published a story describing how the USA administration was planning to put a senior USA general in charge of Iraq during a planned lengthy occupation of the country. The USA could then gain control over Iraqi oil fields, representing 11% of the world output of crude oil.

In January 2003, the USA admitted it wanted to "take charge" of the Iraqi oil fields "in trust for the Iraqi people".

Richard Hardman, vice president from the oil consultancy, Exploration Amerada Hess, admitted on UK television (The Money Programme, BBC2 26 March 2003): "It is a war about oil because production is falling all over the world. Iraq has become crucial to the continuation of supply to the West and hence, the West's living standards".

After the invasion of Iraq, the oils wells in the north and south of Iraq, as well as the oil ministry in Baghdad were quickly secured by USA forces. At the same time, looters pillaged and burned other government buildings that contained documents that could have provided evidence of the crimes of the previous regime. The Baghdad Museum and some of the worlds most important archiological sites were looted as they stood unguarded. The theft and destruction of the treasures of Mesopotamia has been described as one of the greatest archiological disasters for 1000 years.

During May 2003, the USA began talks with the USA-backed Iraq National Congress to build an oil pipeline between Iraq and Israel. James Atkins (a former USA ambassador to Saudi Arabia) declared "There would be a fee for transit rights through Jordan, just as there would be fees for those using what would be the Haifa terminal. After all this is the new world order now. This is what things look like particularly if we wipe out Syria. It just goes to show that this is all about oil, for the United States and its allies."

The plan was originally put forward by Henry Kissinger in 1975 and was revived by Donald Rumsfeld. The favoured company to build the pipeline is Bechtel, a heavy contributer to the Republican Party of USA President George W Bush.

On 19th September 2003, the USA governor of Iraq, Paul Bremer, enacted a new law called Order 39. This allows the privatisation of 200 state industries including electricity, telecommunications, engineering and pharmaceuticals. The law allows foreign companies 100% ownership of banks, mines and factories. All the profits could be taken out of Iraq. Trade tariffs were removed; the tax rate was reduced from 45% to 15%. Companies or individuals will be allowed to lease land for 40 years.

All these changes were in violation of Iraq's constitution. Under the 1907 Hague Convention (signed by the USA), an occupying country must respect "the laws in force in the country" It also states that the occupying power "shall be regarded only as an administrator".

The changes mean that profits from Iraq's resources will go to foreign (mainly USA) companies. Many of these companies are the same ones that cajoled the USA administration to invade Iraq in the first place.

In October 2007, the former USA Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan, admitted in his memoirs: "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil."

General John Abizaid, a commander for over three years in Iraq, agreed in a discussion at Stanford University (USA): "Of course it's about oil, we can't really deny that."

The net effect is that the cost of the war is bourne by USA, UK (and other Western) tax payers, USA, UK (and other Western) troops and personel, and the thousands of Iraqi people killed and injured. The profits are taken by (mainly USA) multinational companies, most with close links to the USA administration.

Military Bases

The USA has military bases in 120 of the world's 189 countries. This table lists the details of military bases and aid to countries in the Middle East.

Country
Military Bases
Aid Details
Bahrain USA Navy (5th Fleet): 1,200 sailors. Shares $300 million with 14 other countries.
Djibouti Camp Lemonier: 1,300 troops. Shares $300 million with 14 other countries.
Egypt 900 troops (peace keeping). $1,300 million in 2004 plus $300 million supplement.
Israel 600 manning Patriot missile batteries. $3,000 million per year.
$1,000 million extra (2003 war aid).
$9,000 million in loan guarantees.
Jordan 3,000 special forces. $460 million in 2004 plus $700 million economic aid.
$406 million (2003 war aid).
Kuwait More than 100,000 None.
Oman Base for 10 B-1 bombers;
10 support aircraft and their crews
Shares $300 million with 14 other countries.
Qatar USA Central Command at Doha: 1,000.
al-Udeid airbase.
None.
Saudi Arabia 10,000 troops; 42 fighter planes;
2 Patriot missile batteries.
None.
Turkey Incirlik: 4,000 airmen and 2,000 troops. $255 million in 2004 plus $1,000 (2003 war aid).
United Arab Emirates al-Dahtra: 500 airmen. None.
Yemen Hundreds of special forces soldiers. $30 million in 2002.

After the invasion the USA has talked about setting up military bases in the country that would enable the USA to rely less on Saudi Arabia.

USA military officials admitted to the USA newspaper, New York Times, that they wanted "access" to four military bases in Iraq. These bases would be at Baghdad International Airport, Tallil (near Nasariya), an isolated airstrip called H-1 in the western desert, and Bashur in the Kurdish north.

This essay is dedicated to the people of Iraq.

© 2004 KryssTal


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KryssTal Related Pages

Detailed reports about the USA and UK invasion and occupation of Iraq between 2003 and 2005....

The economic, military and human costs of the 2003 war in Iraq and subsequent occupation.

Quotes from and about the USA involving the 2003 invasion of Iraq and its subsequent occupation.

Quotes from the document Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century in which USA policy around the world is discussed.

Photos from the Iraq-USA Wars of 1991, 2003 and the occupation in 2004.
(Some of these may disturb the viewer)....

A map of historical Kurdistan; photographs of the massacres of the Kurds by the Weste's ally Turkey and the West's enemy Iraq (Halabja, 1988 - using poison gases supplied by Western companies and governments).

Why is the USA so frequently the victim of resentment around the world? Several tables examine USA foreign policy around the world (eg USA Backed Coups, Interventions in other countries affairs, The use of the USA United Nations Veto, Nuclear and Chemical attacks and issues, Civilian victims of USA foreign policy, etc). The tables link to further details.

www.iraqbodycount.org www.iraqbodycount.org

Iraq Body Count (Details)


External Links

These links will open in a separate window

UN Resolution Violations
United Nations resolution violations by countries other thyan Iraq in 2002.

Stop The War Coalition
Information about planned world wide demonstrations occurring against the threatened USA and UK war in Iraq.

The Iraq Crisis
A detailed analysis of the Iraq crisis.

The Debate
Debate about war and the USA role in the world. Includes a petition.

Diary From Baghdad
BLOGSPOT Diary from a resident of Baghdad.

The Enemy
Excellent USA web site with grusome photos of the effects of USA warfare on Iraqi children.

Order 17
How the USA made themselves and their mercenaries immune from Iraqi laws.

Resource Wars
How the USA wants to control the vital resources of the world, by force if necessary.


Reports on the Iraq Invasion

These links will open in a separate window.

Mesopotamia. Babylon. The Tigris and Euphrates
By Arundhati Roy: a look at the hipocracy of the USA invasion of Iraq.

We Bomb, They Suffer
By Robert Fisk from the hospitals of Baghdad on 22 March 2003.

The Calculus of Killing
By Tim Wise, who shows the double standards at work in this conflict.

Might Is Right
Details of the boycott, including McDonald's, Philip Morris, Exxon Mobil, Texaco, the major automakers, Tommy Hilfiger, Gap, Starbucks, Nike, Disneyland, the Hollywood cinemas. Media activists can launch TV turnoff campaigns against Fox, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS and MTV. Multi language site.

Civillian Casualties, Censorship, And Patriotism
By David Edwards, a look at the way the war is being reported.

What War Looks Like
By Tim Wise: the real face of war.

Bomb Before You Buy
Naomi Klein: What is being planned in Iraq is not reconstruction but robbery.

A Civilisation Torn To Pieces
Robert Fisk on the destruction of Iraq's ancient heritage under the noses of USA forces.

Rebuilding Iraq?
Naomi Klein on the privatisation of Iraq's resources in the guise of reconstruction.

Human Rights Watch
Accounts of post-war Civilian Deaths in Baghdad Caused by USA Forces.


Reports on the Iraq Occupation

These links will open in a separate window.

Atrocities in Iraq
An ex-Marine talks to journalist, Paul Rockwell, about what he saw and did in Iraq and why it became too much for him.

Shia Rise Up
Shias join Sunnis in Iraq against the occupation.

Sex And War
The sexual abuse of Iraqi detainees.