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Friday, December 22, 2006

Oil, The Trump Card of Morality

I am reluctant to pass on anything that has no corroboration, so I share this column with some trepidation, having as yet found no other corroboration in print or on the 'net.

However, since James Baker is the new oracle of Washington D.C., presenting himself as the new Dealmaker of the Middle East, today's investigative piece by Aaron Klein deserves a good look (hit the link in the title above). Looks like Kofi Annan et fils aren't the only crooks in politics to make money violating the Iraq oil embargo. The story goes on to outline Baker's connection with regional Arab dictatorships and oil money:

In 2003, President Bush appointed Baker as special envoy to aid in the recovery of debt from Iraq. He was specifically tasked with trying to persuade the international community to forgive large sums of debt.

A number of media reports pointed out Baker simultaneously was working with commercial companies trying to recover money from Iraq and that the former secretary of state might have conflicts of interest with his role as envoy.

Baker's firm represents the government of Saudi Arabia, the country claiming the largest amount of debt from Iraq. Also according to London's Guardian newspaper and the Nation magazine in New York, the Carlyle Group is involved in efforts to recover nearly $27 billion on behalf of the Kuwaiti government. Baker was a partner at Carlyle until last year.


If this is, in fact, true, then the man who appears slated to be Washington's new head of middle eastern policy in Iraq and neighboring areas (including Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel) is wholly corrupt, violating international sanctions in order to enrich himself and ignoring blatant conflicts of interest in violation of professional ethics and personal morality. Although....he probably doesn't have a personal morality, judging from what's on the record so far....

The new US Mideast Policy Czar is bought and paid for by the Arabs who control the oil industry. In fairness, there appears to be some mutual financial advantage at work in this regard. Although I have never in my life agreed with Tom Hayden about anything, his depressing interpretation of events gives one pause in light of Baker's connections. It seems that the ideal of replacing a murderous, despotic dictatorship with a vibrant democracy is dead: the end-game now is securing western oil while enriching the elite few who control that oil, and to hell with Iraqi people.

I'd like to hope this is just some serendipitous conjunction of oil interests and Realpolitik which will shortly be discarded. After all, if the US can so cavaliery cast off its Iraqi ideals, and cast Iraq's fate to the winds, then what makes any of us think that the US will back Israel when US oil supplies are threatened? Given a choice between cheap and steady oil with Iranian nukes aimed at Tel Aviv, or standing staunchly against nuclear Islamofascism, I'm afraid that with the likes of Baker running the show, Israel's nuclear annihilation is entirely too possible.

photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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