CPGB-ML » Posts for tag 'oil'

Why the axis of evil wants rid of President Assad

The Syrian army retakes Qusayr

The Syrian army retakes Qusayr

A reminder of why the axis of evil are so keen to topple President Assad:

The Free Syrian Army is funded by the West and reactionary Gulf monarchies, takes aid and direction from US intelligence services, and advances genocidal slogans like ‘Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the wall’. At this time, the only hope for the majority and minority ethnic and religious groups in Syria is President Assad and his inclusive government.

The Syrian government plays a heavy role in the country’s economy and redistributes the wealth from the nation’s resources through popular social programmes.

Oil production, for instance, made up 23 percent of government revenues in 2009, before the unrest. Syrian Petroleum Company dominates at least 50 percent of the country’s oil production and places heavy restrictions on foreign energy contractors.

The profits are re-invested into developing the country’s infrastructure and financing public services like education. Additionally, the General Federation of Trade Unions in Syria plays a major role in drafting labour laws. These laws also restrict the superexploitative business practices of foreign corporations.

The US, France and other western powers oppose all of Syria’s nationalist and protectionist policies, even though these policies are good for the Syrian people.

In recent times, Assad’s government undertook economic liberalisation, particularly in Syria’s banking sector, but the economy remains dominated by the public sector. The Assad government opposes mass privatisation and opposes foreign energy corporation control of Syrian oil.

President Assad’s nationalist economic policies and his support for national-liberation struggles in Palestine and Lebanon make him a target for regime change by the US and western Europe.

An excerpt from Syria: Threat of regional war grows by Tom Burke on FightBack! News, 23 May 2013.

Iraq government in dispute with oil companies

From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 3 December

The Iraqi government, which depends on Iraq’s plentiful oil reserves for much of its income, is putting its foot down over the question of oil companies signing deals with the ‘Kurdistan Regional Government’. This applies in particular to Exxon, which has interests in oil fields in southern Iraq as well as seeking to expand into Kurdistan (where 40 percent of Iraq’s proven reserves are situated).

The Iraqi government takes the views that such deals are illegal until rules can be worked out as to how oil revenues should be divided among Iraq’s various regions. It would be possible for Exxon’s interests in the south of the country to be repudiated in retaliation for moves to sign unauthorised deals in the north, although it is thought the Iraqi government is too dependent on Exxon’s knowhow in its aim of increasing production for it to be able to risk alienating it.

Be that as it may, only a few days later Shell found it politic to pull out of oil development talks with the Kurdistan regional government so as not to risk its lucrative investments in southern Iraq, including a potential $17bn natural gas deal.

US military presence ramping up across Africa

From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 5 November

The autocratic government of Museveni is a vassal of US imperialism, serving the latter’s economic, political and military interests.

For instance, it supplies thousands of ‘peacekeepers’ to Somalia to prop up the unpopular US-backed regime in that country, and has opened up Uganda to foreign investment.

Interestingly the New York Times recently claimed that Museveni had stamped out the Lord’s Resistance Army, even as his government was coming under severe pressure from widespread Arab spring-style protests caused by the escalating cost of living. (‘Discontent simmers in a market as Uganda’s economy staggers’ by Josh Kron, 13 October 2011)

Yet the very next day the same newspaper reported that armed US advisers were being sent by Obama to Uganda … to help fight the Lord’s Resistance Army, which it described as “a notorious renegade group that has terrorised villagers in at least four countries with marauding bands that kill, rape, maim and kidnap with impunity … led by Joseph Kony, a self-proclaimed prophet known for ordering village massacres, recruiting prepubescent soldiers, keeping harems of child brides and mutilating opponents”! (‘Armed US advisers help fight African renegade group’ by Thom Shanker and Rick Gladstone)

This is how the imperialist media cover up the fact that the US military is being sent to protect imperialist interests in Africa – and specifically in the case of Uganda, to influence the award of oil exploration and extraction contracts and try to ensure that they do not go to China.

With this in mind, it is also important for them to prevent one of US imperialism’s most loyal puppet governments being dispatched by the mass uprisings that are taking place in Uganda – a subject on which the imperialist media are almost totally silent.

Moreover, the Lord’s Resistance Army is asserted to have been spreading mayhem in neighbouring countries too, so that although the initial deployment of US military ‘advisers’ will be in Uganda, they will also operate in South Sudan, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo – centres extremely rich in oil or other precious minerals – “subject to the approval of each respective host nation”.

Venezuela under pressure over nationalisation compensation

From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 1 October

Imperialism will be working hard to see Chavez ousted in the presidential elections due to be held in Venezuela next year.

One issue that greatly concerns it is compensation for Venezuela’s oil nationalisations. Whereas Venezuela has been willing to pay a very reasonable $1bn, the imperialists are insisting on at least $6bn.

Venezuela is facing about 20 international arbitration cases after a wave of nationalisations of strategic sections of the economy, including energy, metals, cement, food and utilities, which could give rise to a total bill in the region of $40bn that the Chavez government will certainly not be willing to pay.

In fact, Venezuela’s recent moves to repatriate all its gold holdings and to move its international reserves out of the US and Europe are widely seen as signalling that Venezuela will not pay anything more than it considers fair.

Were Gaddafi’s gold-for-oil, dollar-doom plans behind the attack on Libya?

Libya : oil, banks, the United Nations and America’s holy crusade

By Felicity Arbuthnot, via Global Research

5 April 2011

“America is not - and never will be - at war with Islam.” (President Barack Hussein Obama, Al-Azar University, Cairo, 4 June 2009)

George W Bush embarked on the casual snuffing out of uncounted, unique, human lives in majority muslim populations, chillingly called it a “crusade”. President Barack Hussein Nobel Obama did not go that far, he left that to the French Minister of the Interior, Claude Gueant who, on 21 March, praised President Nicholas Sarkozy for having: “headed the crusade”.

For the “change we can believe in” president, reducing another ancient land of eye-watering archeological gems, massive oil and water resources and a population of six million - little more than Scotland - it is, reportedly, a “turd sandwich”.

Humanity is not “at the crossroads”. It is on the Cross, scourged, nailed (in all senses) and utterly inconsequential, in face of murdering, marauding, looting Empire.

When President Obama “updated the American people on the international effort we have led in Libya” on 29 March, he stated that: “we are naturally reluctant to use force to solve the world’s many challenges” and referred to “our interests” being “at stake”. Reluctance would be a first. America’s bombing for “interests” would be an encylopaedia.

Colonel Gaddafi, had, of course, stated the president: “denied his people freedom, exploited their wealth, murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorised innocent people around the world”. Busy man. Heaven forbid ‘Nato’s’ blitzkrieg should send the occasional shiver down a spine.

However, interestingly, at the end of March, a report was due to be presented by the UN Human Rights Council leading to a resolution commending Libya’s progress in a wide aspect of human rights. Numerous quotes from UN diplomatic delegations of many countries commented. Citations included: “achieving a high school enrolment rate and improvements in the education of women“, Libya’s: “serious commitment to, and interaction with, the Human Rights Council … enhanced development of human rights … while respecting cultural and religious traditions“.

Also mentioned was: “ … establishment of the national independent institution entrusted with promoting human rights, which had many of the competencies set out in the Paris Principles“. The country had: “become party to many human rights conventions and had equipped itself with a number of institutions, national, governmental and non governmental tasked with promoting human rights …

The country was commended: “for the progress made in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, namely universal primary education [and] firm commitment [to] health care“. There was praise for “cooperation with international organisations in combating human trafficking and corruption” and for cooperation with the International Organization for Migration.

Progress in enjoyment of economic and social rights, including in the areas of education, health care, poverty reduction and social welfare” with “measures taken to promote transparency“, were also cited. Malaysia “Commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for being party to a significant number of international and regional human rights instruments.” Promotion “of the rights of persons with disabilities” and praise for “measures taken with regard to low income families” were cited.

In May 2010, Libya had also been voted on to the UN Human Rights Council by a veritable landslide, 155 of 192 UN General Assembly votes. As noted previously (i), Libya comes top in Africa on the Human Development Index, which measures longevity (the longest) infant mortality (the lowest) education, health services, well being. (ii)

All that said, before this publication is flooded with complaints about the writer’s naivety, ‘propagandist flights of fancy’ (an orchestrated old favourite) or whatever, some of the countries making positive recommendations regarding Libya did not have the most shining human rights records. But then the US, UK and Nato member countries pontificate from the high moral molehills of the mass graves of the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq, overtly, and Yemen, Somalia and other countries, covertly. And of course there are Guantanamo, Bagram, Abu Ghraib, rendition flights and secret torture programmes and prisons across the globe for US/UK convenience. (iii)

Further, in a train wreck of factual inaccuracies in President Obama’s speech, a (possibly) Freudian slip crept in. “Benghazi”, he said, was “a city nearly the size of Charlotte” in danger of suffering “a massacre (staining) the conscience of the world”.

A quick check shows that Charlotte, North Carolina “has a major base of energy orientated organisations and has become known as ‘Charlotte, USA - The New Energy Capital’. In the region there are 240+ companies directly tied to the energy sector … Major players are AREVA, Babcock and Wilcox, Duke Energy, Electric Power Research Institute, Fluor, Metso Power, Piedemont Natural Gas, Siemens Energy, Shaw Group, Toshiba, URS Corp and Westinghouse.The University of North Carolina at Charlotte has a reputation in energy education and research and its ‘Energy Production and Infrastructure Center’ trains energy engineers and conducts research.” (Wikipedia)

Whilst many respected oil experts have argued that since so many western energy companies operate in Libya, this is not about oil, there are some points worth pondering. All companies operating in Libya must have Libyan partners, entitled to 35 percent of profits. (iv) Trading is via the Libyan Central Bank, in the Libyan Dinar, not US$. The Libyan Central Bank is also independently outside the IMF and the World Bank.

There are only five nations without a Rothschild model central bank: North Korea, Iran, Sudan, Cuba and Libya.

There were two others: Afghanistan and Iraq, but they were gobbled up by the international banking system within a heartbeat of the invasions.

It has always been about gaining control of the central banking system in Libya. Oil is just a profitable side issue like every other state asset that is waiting in Libya to be privatised and sold off to multinational corporations like Bechtel, GE, and Goldman Sachs. Oil is important and it is certainly a target but it isn’t the driving force behind these global wars for profit. Banking is.” (v)

That said, as President Obama was busy being inaugurated, Colonel Gaddafi (January 2009) was mooting nationalising “US oil companies, as well of those of UK, Germany, Spain, Norway Canada and Italy”. “Oil should be owned by the state at this time, so we could better control prices by the increase or decrease in production”, stated the Colonel. (vi)

So how does the all tie together? Libya, in March, being praised by the majority of the UN for human rights progress across the board, to today being the latest, bombarded international pariah? A nation’s destruction enshrined in a UN resolution?

The answer lies in part with the Geneva based UN Watch. (vii) UN Watch is “a non-governmental organisation whose mandate is to monitor the performance of the United Nations“. With consultative status to the UN Economic and Social Council, with ties to the UN Department of Public Information, “UN Watch is affiliated with the American Jewish Committee” (AJC).

Among those involved in UN Watch are Co-Chair, AJC’s David A Harris. Core values: “AJC has long believed that the development of a comprehensive US energy programme is essential to the economic and social well-being of our country.” AJC’s website is an exceptionally instructive listen and read. (viii)

Ambassador Alfred Moses, former US Ambassador to Romania, heads UN Watch. His company, Secure Energy’s mission: “Improving US energy security“, “Securing America’s energy future“. (ix)

Board Member Ruth Wedgwood is “an international law expert … at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) a former member of Donald Rumsfeld’s Defence Policy Board (formerly headed by Richard Perle.)“, closely associated with “a number of neo-conservative and rightist pro-Israeli groups - including Freedom House, UN Watch and Benador Associates - a neo-con dominated public relations firm“. She “has been a vocal advocate of the war on terror … strong defender of the Patriot Act and decision to invade Iraq“. (x)

Executive Director Hillel Neuer has served as law clerk to the Supreme Court of Israel, is a Graduate Fellow at the Shalem Center think tank and holds a host of law degrees. In addition to extensive human rights legal advocacies and testimonies, as associate in the international law firm of Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison llp (New York), “He was associate in the legal team that successfully represented Raytheon Company in various claims against Hughes Electronics Corporation.” Neuer was also instrumental in achieving victory for the California Public Utilitites Commission in: “various disputes with Pacific Gas and Electric Company“. (xi)

Speakers at events hosted by the company have included Hillary “I met the rebel leader in Paris” Clinton (xii) and Vernon Jordan, former political advisor to Bill “I would be inclined to arm the rebels” Clinton. (xiii)

UN Watch’s relentless campaign “to remove Libya from the Human Rights Council” began in May 2010, “working closely with Libyan dissident Mohamed Eljahmi“. (vii) Mr Eljahmi is “a Libyan/American human rights activist. He is a co-founder and former Communication Officer of American Libyan Freedom Alliance. ALFA was founded 2003 to help educate and inform US government and media about Libya. Mr Eljahmi actively educates and informs US government, national and international media and NGOs about Libyan affairs.” (xiv)

An aspect of especial ire for UN Watch has been Libya’s place on the five-member investigation by the Human Rights Council into the use of mercenaries. Given their woeful excesses from Blackwater’s (now Xe) shoot-ups to CACI’s man-management at Abu Ghraib (then there’s Paravant, an Xe subsiduary at Bagram; Guantanamo and KBR), it is a supreme irony that UN Watch’s cry of “foul” over Libya has won out, while the US’s place on the council is unsullied. (Libya was suspended from the Human Rights Council on 25 February this year.) And did Libya employ ‘black African mercenaries’, to fight the rebels? In the fog of disinformation, certainties are scarce, but it is a story which would seem to be unravelling.

Then there is the water. Gaddafi’s project to make Libya’s vast desert bloom has been dubbed by some “The eighth wonder of the world.” A succinct overview cites: “the large quantities of water in Libya deep beneath the desert … Libya’s Great Man-Made River Project. A project worth 33 billion dollars. The value of the small reservoirs is about 70,000,000,000,000 dollars.” (xv) When the project was announced in September 1991, London and Washington were reported to be “ballistic“. At a ceremony attended by Arab and African heads of state, foreign diplomats and delegations, including President Mubarak of Egypt, King Hassan of Morocco, Gaddafi called it a gift to the Third World. He also said: “American threats against Libya will double.” (xvi)

Looking at the all, it is impossible not to think the truth of an attack of over thirty nations on a country of six million is buried deeper than Libya’s aquifers. ‘Operation Odyssey Dawn’ was well named. An odyssey indeed. Odysseus’s tortured journey lasted ten years.

End Note:

Libyan rebels in Benghazi said they have created a new national oil company to replace the corporation controlled by leader Muammar Gaddafi, whose assets were frozen by the United Nations Security Council.

The Transitional National Council released a statement announcing the decision made at a 19 March meeting to establish the “Libyan Oil Company as supervisory authority on oil production and policies in the country, based temporarily in Benghazi, and the appointment of an interim director general” of the company.

The council also said it “designated the Central Bank of Benghazi as a monetary authority competent in monetary policies in Libya and the appointment of a governor to the Central Bank of Libya, with a temporary headquarters in Benghazi“.

And of course, given Israel’s chronic water shortage, Libya’s abundant underground blessings, and the close geographical proximity of the two countries, there might be other regional advantages mooted in regime change.

Notes

i. http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=23660

ii. http://hdr.undp.org/en/

iii. http://www.statewatch.org/rendition/rendition.html

iv. http://www.benlawyers.com/law-of-libya/the-obligation-for-foreign-companies-which-execute-a-contract-in-libya-to-create-a-235.html

v. http://willyloman.wordpress.com/2011/03/29/un-resolution-in-libya-is-about-oil-and-their-central-banking-system-updated/#more-15364

vi. http://english.pravda.ru//hotspots/crimes/25-03-2011/117336-reason_for_war_oil-0/

vii. Full chronology of the Campaign against Libya: http://www.unwatch.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=bdKKISNqEmG&b=1316871&ct=9142899

See also: http://blog.unwatch.org/index.php/category/libya/

viii. http://www.ajc.org/

ix. http://www.secureenergy.org/diplomatic-council-energy-security/ambassador-alfred-moses

x. http://www.rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/Wedgwood_Ruth

xi. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillel_Neuer

xii. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12741414

x111. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0411/52466.html

See also: http://www.paulweiss.com/

xiv. http://www.genevasummit.org/speaker/71

ALFA, about which not a lot can be found: http://www.alfa-online.net/

xv. http://www.wearechange.org/?p=7359

xvi. http://american_almanac.tripod.com/libya.htm

See also: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24096

Workers World editorial: Libya and imperialism

It is outside intervention that poses the greatest threat to Libyas people.

It is outside intervention that poses the greatest threat to Libya's people.

The excellent statement below was issued by Workers World newspaper on 23 February 2011.

********************

Of all the struggles going on in North Africa and the Middle East right now, the most difficult to unravel is the one in Libya.

What is the character of the opposition to the Gaddafi regime, which reportedly now controls the eastern city of Benghazi?

Is it just coincidence that the rebellion started in Benghazi, which is north of Libya’s richest oil fields as well as close to most of its oil and gas pipelines, refineries and its LNG port? Is there a plan to partition the country?

What is the risk of imperialist military intervention, which poses the gravest danger for the people of the entire region?

Libya is not like Egypt. Its leader, Moammar al-Gaddafi, has not been an imperialist puppet like Hosni Mubarak. For many years, Gaddafi was allied to countries and movements fighting imperialism. On taking power in 1969 through a military coup, he nationalised Libya’s oil and used much of that money to develop the Libyan economy. Conditions of life improved dramatically for the people.

For that, the imperialists were determined to grind Libya down. The US actually launched air strikes on Tripoli and Benghazi in 1986 that killed 60 people, including Gaddafi’s infant daughter – which is rarely mentioned by the corporate media. Devastating sanctions were imposed by
both the US and the UN to wreck the Libyan economy.

After the US invaded Iraq in 2003 and levelled much of Baghdad with a bombing campaign that the Pentagon exultantly called “shock and awe”, Gaddafi tried to ward off further threatened aggression on Libya by making big political and economic concessions to the imperialists. He
opened the economy to foreign banks and corporations; he agreed to IMF demands for “structural adjustment”, privatising many state-owned enterprises and cutting state
subsidies on necessities like food and fuel.

The Libyan people are suffering from the same high prices and unemployment that underlie the rebellions elsewhere and that flow from the worldwide capitalist economic crisis.

There can be no doubt that the struggle sweeping the Arab world for political freedom and economic justice has also struck a chord in Libya. There can be no doubt that discontent with the Gaddafi regime is motivating a significant section of the population.

However, it is important for progressives to know that many of the people being promoted in the West as leaders of the opposition are long-time agents of imperialism. The BBC on 22 February showed footage of crowds in Benghazi pulling down the green flag of the republic and replacing
it with the flag of the overthrown monarch King Idris – who had been a puppet of US and British imperialism.

The western media are basing a great deal of their reporting on supposed facts provided by the exile group National Front for the Salvation of Libya, which was trained and financed by the US CIA. Google the front’s name plus CIA and you will find hundreds of references.

The Wall Street Journal in a 23 February editorial wrote that “The US and Europe should help Libyans overthrow the Gaddafi regime.” There is no talk in the board rooms or the corridors of Washington about intervening to help the people of Kuwait or Saudi Arabia or Bahrain overthrow their dictatorial rulers. Even with all the lip service being paid to the mass struggles rocking the region right now, that would be unthinkable. As for Egypt and Tunisia,
the imperialists are pulling every string they can to get the masses off the streets.

There was no talk of US intervention to help the Palestinian people of Gaza when thousands died from being blockaded, bombed and invaded by Israel. Just the opposite. The US intervened to prevent condemnation of the zionist settler state.

Imperialism’s interest in Libya is not hard to find. Bloomberg.com wrote on 22 February that while Libya is Africa’s third-largest producer of oil, it has the continent’s largest proven reserves – 44.3bn barrels. It is a country with a relatively small population but the potential to produce huge profits for the giant oil companies. That’s how the super-rich look at
it, and that’s what underlies their professed concern for the people’s democratic rights in Libya.

Getting concessions out of Gaddafi is not enough for the imperialist oil barons. They want a government that they can own outright, lock, stock and barrel. They have never forgiven Gaddafi for overthrowing the monarchy and nationalising the oil. Fidel Castro of Cuba in his column
Reflections‘ takes note of imperialism’s hunger for oil and warns that the US is laying the basis for military
intervention in Libya.

In the US, some forces are trying to mobilise a street-level campaign promoting such US intervention. We should oppose this outright and remind any well-intentioned people of the millions killed and displaced by US intervention in Iraq.

Progressive people are in sympathy with what they see as a popular movement in Libya. We can help such a movement most by supporting its just demands while rejecting imperialist intervention, in whatever form it may take. It is the people of Libya who must decide their future.