One U.S. Option for Iraq
presents a bewildering array of options to the world. And the world is
responding with bewilderment.
are making money selling goods and things for making goods to
. Obviously, any major change in the status quo would wreck havoc with these
“Oil-for-Food” program is in full operation, supported by the
. According to the United Nations Office of the Iraq
Programme Oil-for-Food (OIP), to date, some $36.6 billion worth of contracts for
humanitarian supplies and equipment have been approved. Supplies and
equipment worth almost $24.1 billion have been delivered to
, while another $9.8 billion worth of humanitarian supplies and equipment are in
the production and delivery pipeline.
1998, the U.N. Security Council approved a recommendation from the
Secretary-General that the ceiling of $2 billion in food-for-oil sales be
increased to $5.265 billion, providing $3.4 billion for a broader humanitarian
program. In the same month, oil industry experts reported on the “lamentable
state” of the oil industry and indicated the oil production level authorized
by the Security Council was well beyond
’s capacity at current prices. Resolution 1175 in June 1998 authorized the
import of $300 million worth of oil spares and equipment for phase IV. From
phase VI onwards this limit has been raised to $600 million per phase.
Security Council resolution 1284 (1999) lifted completely the ceiling on
the amount of oil
can export under the program.
Security Council resolution 1409 (2002), adopted on
May 14, 2002
, introduced the Goods Review List (GRL) and a new set of procedures for the
processing and approval of contracts for civilian supplies and equipment. While
previously the majority of contracts for humanitarian supplies were circulated
to the Security Council's 661 Sanctions Committee for approval, under the new
procedures only contracts that contain GRL items would be sent to the 661
Committee for consideration.
June 30, 2002, OIP had received over $43.7 billion worth of contracts, of
which $35.6 billion had been approved and $5.3 billion put on hold by the 661
Sanctions Committee. Humanitarian supplies and oil industry equipment worth more
than $23.1 billion dollars had been delivered to
bottom line appears to be that since its inception in 1996, the oil-for-food
program has metamorphosed from a humanitarian program designed to feed hungry
people and meet their basic medical needs into a convoluted, many-faceted
program whose main purpose seems to be reconstructing and modernizing
's oil industry.
currently has a contract with
worth over $8 billion to overhaul much of its Russian-built infrastructure, and
can rid itself of U.S.-supported U.N. sanctions, it might be able to begin
repaying some of its $40 billion debt to
, on the other hand, has assured
that any new Iraqi regime will honor both the contract and the debt. This
promise seems to have moved Russian President Vladimir Putin away from his
recent public stance in support of removing sanctions against
with nearly $40 billion at stake in the business-with-Iraq arena, there is
little support from European business for an American strike against
Hamza, who played a leading role in
's nuclear weapon program before
defecting in 1994, says that
now has sufficient nuclear material
and the necessary know-how to construct several nuclear bombs.
reported here last December, in 1989 Iraq may already have exploded its first
nuclear weapon in a natural cavern below Lake
Rezzaza, a popular 1960s tourist area about 90 miles southwest of Baghdad (“A
Nuclear Armed Iraq Must be the Next Target”, DefenseWatch
fallout from these developments is twofold. First, of course, is the fear that
has or soon will have the ability to unleash weapons of mass destruction against
opposing armies or even against nearby nations. The second is the high-stakes
market created by these undertakings.
bombs need high-grade steel casings, nuclear raw material, refining equipment
and a complex infrastructure that
ill-equipped to establish and maintain on its own. With the complete lifting of
U.N. restrictions on oil production, however,
plenty of cash to purchase what it needs. European businesses are standing in
line to supply the tools for their eventual destruction.
oil-for-food program cannot officially be turned towards weapons production, of
and one tanker looks much like any other. In the past few weeks, several tankers
have been seized independently by
Iranian forces as they attempted to smuggle millions of dollars worth of illicit
oil out of
. One can
only guess at the number of tankers that were not discovered.
incentive for successfully smuggling such oil is great. Currently, the penalty
for discovery is confiscation of the oil and tanker, but nothing else. If one
assumes that smuggling operations are run on a cost-benefit basis, then the loss
of confiscated tankers and their cargo must be counted as part of the cost of
doing business – part of the overhead, so to speak.
a tanker and its load are worth about $20 million, one must assume that this is
a small percentage of the projected return, say between one and five percent,
which means that the level of illicit oil smuggling out of Iraq is enormous, in
the billions of dollars.
we continue the status quo, one thing is certain:
amass an increasing cash fund with which it can move forward on its path to
perfect its nuclear capability and delivery systems, and to produce biological
and chemical weapons of mass destruction.
can unilaterally establish a total boycott of any goods and services entering
, but this
would only open the market to our competition, and the net result would be the
status quo inside
, and a
can interdict the transport of all incoming and outgoing material, but in
order to do this, we either need to change the current U.N. resolutions, or we
need to go it alone. Changing the Security Council's point of view is nearly
leaves us with the option of doing it ourselves. How? The only effective way
would be to issue a decree that
are closed, and that the
will shoot down any aircraft attempting to cross the border, no matter what kind
of aircraft it is. And that the
destroy any ship moving into or out of Iraqi waters – any ship. And
military will destroy any vehicle attempting to cross the border anywhere.
is a big order, and would certainly anger our allies, especially when we shoot
down one of their civilian planes violating the quarantine. We are capable of
pulling it off, and might even be able to withstand the resulting heat, but the
likelihood of our taking this step is very remote.
only other viable option is to go to war against
, to rid
ourselves of the source of the problem: Hussein and his henchmen. In the
process, the total quarantine will happen as a side effect.
day that passes,
its capability to wage war against us.
incapable of winning such a war, but each day brings with it the certainty that
this war will result in more
afford to wait much longer – this is why the Bush administration is on the
road every day preaching the message of regime change. And this is why it is so
get behind the war effort and make it happen.