The Next War for Oil

by Paul Donahue

13 March 2005

Oil is the life blood of modern empire - author Larry Everest in his book Oil, Power & Empire: Iraq and the U.S. Global Agenda

As the Bush Oilygarchy's rhetoric against Iran grows more bellicose almost by the day, recycling the very same lies used in the buildup to the illegal war against Iraq, has anyone heard a peep from the mainstream media about the presence of oil in Iran? I know I haven't.

When the Bush Oilygarchy violated half a dozen international treaties and invaded Iraq in March 2003, Iraq had the second largest proven reserves of oil in the world, trailing only Saudi Arabia. However, in the intervening months, as US troops slaughtered a hundred thousand Iraqis, mostly innocent women and children, and tortured prisoners in places like Abu Ghraib, major new oil discoveries were made in Iran, in the Kushk and Hosseineih oilfields in the southwestern province of Khuzestan.

Shouldering aside Iraq, this new oil find has elevated Iran from third place to second place in proven oil reserves...132 billion barrels versus Iraq's 112 billion barrels. WE INVADED THE WRONG COUNTRY! But not to worry, the Bush Oilygarchy is busy at work to rectify that mistake

A map of the Middle Eastern-Central Asian oil corridor. Copyright©1995 by Henry Madison Research, Inc.

Plotting and wrangling for control of Iran's oil riches is nothing new. However, given the historical amnesia of the US corporate media, and their disinclination to place events in context, one could be forgiven for thinking that a US invasion would be the first battle over Iran's oil.

Oil is quite possibly the greatest blessing and the greatest curse that human civilization has known. Iran began to suffer the curse almost as soon as the usefulness of oil was discovered. The following is a brief summary of the struggle over the last century to control Iran's oil riches…

British Beginnings

Oil Nationalization and the CIA Coup

The Iranian Revolution

The US and the Iran-Iraq War

As much as I am opposed to the policies of the Bush Oilygarchy, it must be made clear that every US administration back to at least the early 1950's, Republican and Democratic alike, has played a significant role in the struggle to control Iran's oil. However, as the world approaches peak oil (the rapidly approaching point at which world oil production will reach a peak and then begin to decline), and with 132 billion barrels of oil at stake, Iran is clearly set to play an even bigger role in US oil politics.

With the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the threatened invasions of Iran and Syria, the Bush Oilygarchy's response to peak oil is clear. What is not clear is how the American public will respond. Will Americans once again believe the lies about weapons of mass destruction? Will we go along for the ride, dragged into one oil war after another by successive US administrations? Or will we see through the lies and steer a course away from dependence on the hydrocarbon molecule and towards a sustainable energy future? Most importantly, are we willing to accept the ruination of other cultures, and the environment, to maintain our profligate lifestyle? The maxim when the people lead, the leaders will follow is clearly at play here. It is up to us to show the way out of the billowing clouds of oil smoke obscuring the vision of our so-called leaders.

Much of the above historical information comes from: