دور لوبي شركات النفط الامريكية في رسم السياسة الخارجية للولايات المتحدة الامريكية تجاه العراق ودول الخليج 1900-2005
رغدة عصام ابو شهلا
Raghda Isam Abu Shahla
This research studies in depth the American foreign policy decision-taking process including all the factors and conditions contributing in making this decision. It studies in particular, the role of the American oil companies in determining the American foreign policy towards Iraq and the Arab Gulf countries during the years 1990 – 2005. Three Gulf wars took place during the research period, and in all of these wars the Iraqi and Arab Gulf oil was a fundamental cause if not the sole cause of them. Several elements contribute to make the case for an oil war in USA: the long-term political influence of the oil companies, the close personal ties between the companies and the government, the long history of prior conflicts and wars over the Arab Gulf and Iraqi oil, and the enormous potential profitability of the Iraqi fields. Those who deny oil companies’ complicity in the US foreign policy towards Iraq and the Arab Gulf countries always insist that the companies have little political influence in Washington, and that they are just one industry group among many others. These arguments are utterly false. The oil companies have always enjoyed “insider” privileges with the US government in the name of “national security”. Moreover, US military/security policy, has served the oil companies. Virtually every US presidential security doctrine, from Truman to Bush Junior, has aimed at protecting company interests in the oil-rich Arab Gulf. Recently-released secret papers show that during the oil crisis and Arab oil “embargo” of 1973, Washington seriously considered sending a military strike force to seize some of the region’s richest fields – in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi. In addition, in 1979, President Jimmy Carter set up the US Central Command, a permanent military force designed to intervene in the Middle East on short notice. Presidents have expanded and strengthened this force several times since. In addition, given the close political relations between the oil companies and the successive US administrations, it should be no surprise to find close ties at the personal level binding both sides together. The administration of President George W. Bush “who was chief executive of his own oil company” represents an especially close set of personal ties between the oil companies and the government – at the very highest level. In the earliest days of the administration, they promoted a number of industry-favourable policy decisions, such as the rejection of the Kyoto Treaty on global warming, the ouster of the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the elaboration of a strongly pro-oil national energy plan. This research will argue that the Gulf wars were primarily “wars for oil” in which large, multinational oil companies and USA government acted in secret concert to gain control of Iraq's huge oil reserves and to gain leverage over other national oil producers. However, in arguing for the primacy of oil, the research does not imply that other factors were not involved. The imperial dreams of the neo-cons advisors in Washington contributed to the final outcome; i.e. the Iraq war did not emerge solely from the Bush administration; it emerged from a decades-long effort by the world's largest companies to appropriate the planet's most lucrative natural resource deposits. This research proves that the interests of the world’s largest US oil corporations mesh closely with those of their national government. Thus while the US successive administrations seek secure and adequate supplies of oil to feed the US economy, the corporations need control over reserves to ensure their future profitability, to deliver returns to their shareholders. To understand the special “national security” status enjoyed by the American oil companies in the US, the research first considered the oil’s economic importance and then its central role in American foreign policy towards Iraq and the Arab Gulf countries; bearing in mind the tendency of Americans toward owning private vehicles and that oil provides nearly all the energy for transportation. Moreover, oil has an important share of other energy inputs: it is an essential feedstock for industries, such as plastics, paint, fertilizers and pharmaceuticals. Sometime in the future, the world may switch to renewable energy and other non-oil inputs, but oil now reigns as the indispensable ingredient of the modern economy. For this reason, USA governments are nervous about their national oil supply. The USA seeks to ensure a steady supply of oil and it views the companies’ global interests as synonymous with the national interests and readily supports the companies’ efforts to control new production sources, to overwhelm foreign rivals, and to gain the most favourable pipeline routes and other transportation and distribution channels. Just as the US government wants oil companies to secure a global dominance capacity, so the US oil companies do need their government’s military power to secure control over global oilfields and transportation routes. It is no accident, then, that the world’s largest oil companies are located in the world’s most powerful countries.