Saturday, February 24, 2007

Chomsky - Iran, Iraq Surge, and Oil



I wanted to share with you something that I found to be quite interesting. It's an excerpt from a Counterpunch interview that Michael Shank conducted with Noam Chomsky. They're talking about the White House's Iraq escalation plans in relation to unspoken US foreign policy intentions regarding Iran.



Noam Chomsky: By accident of geography, the world's major oil resources are in Shi'ite-dominated areas. Iran's oil is concentrated right near the gulf, which happens to be an Arab area, not Persian. Khuzestan is Arab, has been loyal to Iran, fought with Iran not Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. This is a potential source of dissension. I would be amazed if there isn't an attempt going on to stir up secessionist elements in Khuzestan. U.S. forces right across the border in Iraq, including the surge, are available potentially to "defend" an independent Khuzestan against Iran, which is the way it would be put, if they can carry it off.

Shank: Do you think that's what the surge was for?

Chomsky: That's one possibility. There was a release of a Pentagon war-gaming report, in December 2004, with Gardiner leading it. It was released and published in the Atlantic Monthly. They couldn't come up with a proposal that didn't lead to disaster, but one of the things they considered was maintaining troop presence in Iraq beyond what's to be used in Iraq for troop replacement and so on, and use them for a potential land move in Iran -- presumably Khuzestan where the oil is. If you could carry that off, you could just bomb the rest of the country to dust.

Again, I would be amazed if there aren't efforts to sponsor secessionist movements elsewhere, among the Azeri population for example. It's a very complex ethnic mix in Iran; much of the population isn't Persian. There are secessionist tendencies anyway and almost certainly, without knowing any of the facts, the United States is trying to stir them up, to break the country internally if possible. The strategy appears to be: try to break the country up internally, try to impel the leadership to be as harsh and brutal as possible.

That's the immediate consequence of constant threats. Everyone knows that. That's one of the reasons the reformists, Shirin Ebadi and Akbar Ganji and others, are bitterly complaining about the U.S. threats, that it's undermining their efforts to reform and democratize Iran. But that's presumably its purpose. Since it's an obvious consequence you have to assume it's the purpose. Just like in law, anticipated consequences are taken as the evidence for intention. And here's it so obvious you can't seriously doubt it.

So it could be that one strain of the policy is to stir up secessionist movements, particularly in the oil rich regions, the Arab regions near the Gulf, also the Azeri regions and others. Second is to try to get the leadership to be as brutal and harsh and repressive as possible, to stir up internal disorder and maybe resistance. And a third is to try to pressure other countries, and Europe is the most amenable, to join efforts to strangle Iran economically. Europe is kind of dragging its feet but they usually go along with the United States.




3 comments:

Chancelucky said...

Jude,
about a year ago, I did a quick look at Pentagon contracts in Iraq (amazing what you can find online) and the most interesting thing was how many of those contracts were for periods of several years. That may be standard operating procedure, but I suspect they want to keep a military presence in that region for some time.

Kevin Hayden said...

That corresponds with Sy Hersh's latest: partition every Middle East country into smaller ones so none can match the power of the Saudis or Israel.

Of course, assuming that the Keystone Kops in the White House could actually do so without blowing up Monaco and accidentally killing Queen Elizabeth.

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