02 Jul 2014 The State Department has told lawmakers informally that the Obama administration wants to sell Iraq more than 4,000 additional Hellfire missiles for the government’s fight against Islamic insurgents, according to people familiar with the plan. Sale of the laser-guided missiles made by Lockheed Martin Corp. would be in addition to 500 previously purchased, of which about 400 have been delivered.
Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’
‘As the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and other affiliated militant groups make remarkably rapid military advances across Iraq, and as more and more Iraqi cities appear to be falling under ISIS control, two countries – who are both foes – have shown great concern regarding their national interest in Iraq: the United States and Iran.
The Obama administration withdrew its forces at the end of 2011, and will be reluctant to send troops on the ground. Even if the United States did decide to send military assistance, the aid will take months and will not arrive anytime soon. This is a precarious situation for the U.S., as ISIS is making stunningly rapid advances.’
By Pepe Escobar
Let’s cut to the chase. As in chasing that Zara outdoor summer collection, complete with state of the art assault rifles, brand new white Nike sneakers and brand new, unlimited mileage white Toyotas crossing the Syrian-Iraqi desert; the Badass Jihadis in Black.
Once upon a (very recent) time, the US government used to help only “good terrorists” (in Syria), instead of “bad terrorists”. That was an echo of a (less recent) time when it was supporting only “good Taliban” and not “bad Taliban”.
So what happens when Brookings Institution so-called “experts” start blabbering that the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) is
really the baddest jihadi outfit on the planet (after all they were cast out of al-Qaeda)? Are they so badass that by warped newspeak logic they’re now the new normal?
Since late last year, according to US government newspeak, the “good terrorists” in Syria are the al-Qaeda spinoff gang of Jabhat al-Nusra and (disgraced) Prince Bandar bin Sultan, aka Bandar Bush, the Islamic Front (essentially a Jabhat al-Nusra multiple outlet). And yet both Jabhat and ISIS had pledged allegiance to Ayman “the doctor” al-Zawahiri, the perennial gift that keeps on giving al-Qaeda capo.
That still leaves the question of what Men in Black ISIS, the catwalk-conscious beheading stormtroopers for a basket of hardcore tribal Sunnis and Ba’ath party “remnants” (remember Rummy in 2003?) are really up to.
18 Jun 2014 Around 150 Australians have fought with radical militants in Syria and Iraq, raising government fears of a terrorist threat to Australia if the fighters return home, the foreign minister said on Thursday. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she had cancelled a number of passports on the advice of security agencies in a bid to reduce the security threat to Australia. She did not say whether the passports were canceled to prevent Australians leaving or returning. “Our best estimate is that there about 150 Australians…who have been or are still fighting with opposition [terrorist] groups in Syria and beyond,” Bishop told Australian Broadcasting Corp.
President Obama has announced that 300 American “advisors” would be deployed to Iraq to answer the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group, the American trained and supplied Al Qaeda/Takfiri militant group unleashed on the people of Syria some years ago.
Obama announced that the US would begin Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) activities in the Middle East in order to learn more about the threats the US trained ISIL forces pose.
Obama, however, may well have been unaware that every 60 minutes an American spy satellite passes over Syria and Iraq with high resolution optical and synthetic aperture radar capable of identifying a single individual.
He also seems unaware that the US maintains a massive signals intelligence base in Al Quds (Jerusalem) that monitors all traffic in the Middle East, a sea of not only antennas but a giant aerostat larger than a football field, thousands of feet in the air that sees and hears everything well into Iran and beyond.
There is much Obama doesn’t seem to know.
While militants fight Iraqi forces over that nation’s largest oil refinery, a column of American armor heads toward Damascus, captured from the Iraqi military.
While the media tries to present this as the work of a backward “Al Qaeda” franchise operation, quite something else is afoot.
We haven’t seen a complex military operation of this scope since 9/11. The planning and logistics required are not just nearly inconceivable, they betray the full complicity of more than one operational command with access to satellite intelligence, shipping and rail capabilities and full air supremacy.
MEET THE PLAYERS
For eight years, Dick Cheney and his Israeli/Saudi friends wielded the world’s largest military force, America’s two million men, $1.5 trillion dollar per year juggernaut.
Intelligence sources now tell us that this same trio, hiding behind the ISIL, is waging a corporate war across the Middle East, a surrogate war backed by corporate billions.
Military and intelligence analysts conclude that ISIL operations continue to enjoy full intelligence and logistical support, port and rail facilities through Aqaba, Jordan, safe transit for militants through Israel. All other claimed sources of supply, particularly those through Turkey are a fabrication, deception and cover.
Moving military hardware through Turkey, multiple layers of military and police oversight, harbors under full naval control, is an absolute impossibility. Nothing moves in Turkey without full complicity of both civil and military authority, something that, at this time, simply doesn’t exist.
All of this is meant to hide the complicity, not only of Saudi Arabia and Israel in support of Al Qaeda but that the entire “Arab winter” operation we are seeing, the unraveling of any movement remotely resembling “popular government,” is simply a rerun of the post 9/11 Bush/Blair “heist” sold to the public as the “war on terror.”
The US-built armor and transportation handed over to the ISIL in Mosul is far from the first help they have received “Made in USA.”
From Veterans Today correspondent, Jeffrey Silverman reporting from the Republic of Georgia:
“The supposedly captured US Humvees his troops have taken to Syria are purported to be the inanimate equivalents of the US hostages held for so long in Iran in the late seventies. However, the track record of al-Shishani himself, and the various players in the region, indicates that something else is going on.
The US-backed rebels are losing ground in Syria. ISIL, though presented as the enemy in northern Iraq, has been installed there to finish the job the original rebels have proved unable to.
The capture of the equipment is in fact a strategic handover. It serves two purposes: to equip the anti-Assad forces and to provide cover for equipment being brought out of Afghanistan and handed over to ISIL. It will be said, if anyone notices, that this equipment must have been stolen from northern Iraq, because we have seen this happen on TV, and CNN says so!”
PAVING THE WAY
Unseen by constellations of surveillance satellites and dozens of American drones, the ISIL, the Chechen led “militant” army simply walked into and across Iraq. Though Israel, the US and Saudi Arabia monitor all communications in the region, though armies of “assets” line every road and infest every village, it was all unseen, unheard, and to anyone who understand military operations, unbelievable.
The operational scope seen in the current two front war waged by what we are told is a Takfiri-led movement steeped in religious and tribal extremism. Though this is true to an extent and certainly a factor in recruiting fighters, the “taskings” the ISIL has followed are global, clearly economically driven and tied to an agenda more closely aligned with Wall Street than their secret Saudi paymasters.
With a majority Shiite population and a newly established tradition of voting along religious lines, the idea of a Sunni minority taking control of Iraq is a pipe dream.
This is what makes the current attacks something very different than they seem. With Kurdistan aligned, for the time at least, with Baghdad, the real target, Kirkuk and its vast oil fields, should well be outside the ability of the ISIL, no matter how much help they receive from disaffected Sunnis in Iraq, to move against.
Yet the Kirkuk fields and the end hub of the Kirkuk, Baku, Ceyhan Pipeline is the obvious target. As long as these assets along with the oil fields to the South, Basra, are producing, Iraq can and will weather this current storm, providing realistic political reforms are put on the table.
What is yet to be seen is how far those who seek to destroy Iraq are willing to go, what they have promised and to whom.
Iraq has known war, a decade of war with Iran and another against the United States. No nation in recent history has known comparable suffering, not even Vietnam. There will be no winners if Iraq comes apart.
–US is describing the sorties as surveillance flights –The aircraft are heavily armed fighter jets, however
18 Jun 2014 The United States began flying surveillance missions over Iraq in F-18 Super Hornet fighter jets on Wednesday, it emerged late in the afternoon. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has asked President Obama for air strikes against the Islamist offshoots of al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] who have been carving a wide swath through his country. So far the White House has been unwilling to agree, but the surveillance missions mark the first declared U.S. flyovers since American troops left Iraq at the end of 2011.
Two days before Mosul fell to the Islamic insurgent group Isis (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant), Iraqi commanders stood eyeballing its most trusted messenger. The man, known within the extremist group as Abu Hajjar, had finally cracked after a fortnight of interrogation and given up the head of Isis’s military council.
“He said to us, ‘you don’t realise what you have done’,” an intelligence official recalled. “Then he said: ‘Mosul will be an inferno this week’.’
Several hours later, the man he had served as a courier and been attempting to protect, Abdulrahman al-Bilawi, lay dead in his hideout near Mosul. From the home of the dead man and the captive, Iraqi forces hoovered up more than 160 computer flash sticks which contained the most detailed information yet known about the terror group.
The treasure trove included names and noms de guerre of all foreign fighters, senior leaders and their code words, initials of sources inside ministries and full accounts of the group’s finances.
“We were all amazed and so were the Americans,” a senior intelligence official told the Guardian. “None of us had known most of this information.”
Officials, including CIA officers, were still decrypting and analysing the flash sticks when Abu Hajjar’s prophecy was realised. Isis swept through much of northern and central Iraq over three stunning days, seizing control of Mosul and Tikrit and threatening Kirkuk as three divisions of the Iraqi army shed their uniforms and fled.
The capitulation of the military and the rapid advances of the insurgents have dramatically changed the balance of power in Iraq, crippled prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, allowed Kurdish forces to seize control of the disputed city of Kirkuk and galvanised a Shia fightback along sectarian lines, posing a serious threat to the region’s fragile geopolitics. On Sunday Isis published photographs that appeared to show it capturing and killing dozens of Iraqi soldiers.
“By the end of the week, we soon realised that we had to do some accounting for them,” said the official flippantly. “Before Mosul, their total cash and assets were $875m [£515m]. Afterwards, with the money they robbed from banks and the value of the military supplies they looted, they could add another $1.5bn to that.”
There will be no boots on the ground
–President notifying Congress under War Powers Resolution
16 Jun 2014 President Barack Obama told Congress on Monday the United States was deploying up to 275 military personnel to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the country’s embassy in Baghdad after militants seized control of the north of the country. “This force is deploying for the purpose of protecting U.S. citizens and property, if necessary, and is equipped for combat,” Obama said in a letter to lawmakers. “This force will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed.”
Boots on the ground
15 Jun 2014 “Mosul didn’t fall,” a defiant Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told military leaders in Baghdad on Sunday, state TV reported. “The ones who have fallen are the politicians who have bet against Iraq.” The Prime Minister said, “We will not allow anyone to divide the Iraqi people.” Breaking news alert at 5:58 p.m. Between 50 and 100 U.S. Marines and U.S. Army personnel have arrived at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, a U.S. official told CNN on Sunday.
In 2010 Vice President Biden was gloating “Iraq will be one of our greatest achievements of This Administration”.
Well… if you believed that Fairy Tale go wash out your eyes and ears and take those damned Rose Colored glasses off. There has been a development in the Middle East from multiple fronts and if the USA does not address it immediately the failures of US foreign policy are going to be glaringly visible for the entire world to see.
Since Americans respond better to images than words, first STOP doing this:
Then focus on how lousy foreign policies of the US government have now resulted in what you will read below the next mental image.
Make a decision whether you want America to be the one that gets to lick that spoon, or if you think Israel and Saudi Arabia get the honors of licking the shit pot spoon.
It might help you to better understand what is transpiring if you read this article to help clarify your thinking and understanding of the situation.
Read on and maybe you will understand. We are about to find out if there are any leadership skills in Washington DC at all.
There is a new problem in Iraq named Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and it is funded by the democracy hating Saudis but being armed indirectly with US weapons.
ISIL is largely to blame for the insurgency in Iraq and in Syria, too.
Russia is not the problem, Israel, EU and US policies towards Russia are the problem.
China is not the problem; they have choked down all of the US debt that is advisable to choke down without causing serious damage to their own economy. (I do not know if you have heard but US is running out of places to park their declining value US dollars and US Treasury bonds. My sources say that the amount of US debt parked in Brussels has quietly increased from about $40 billion to over $400 billion.)
The US fiscal policy is why many nations are moving away from the US dollar as the world reserve currency. As a favor to many of the Gazprom customers they are denominating natural gas sales in Euros rather than those same customers taking a beating to convert to dollars to pay for energy purchases.
I have warned many times that it was Israel that wanted Saddam Hussein and Iraq crushed after the US sponsored Iraq Iran War from 1980-1988. Then in 1991 we get Desert Shield, then Desert Storm, both fabricated by George H W Bush. Bush had US Special Forces posing as Kuwait Navy and firing on both Iraq and Iran a full 8 weeks before Iraq was goaded into invading Kuwait.
Just before Desert Storm in 1991 this is what Zionist Jew Edward Luttwak said about Iraq and their fate:
“”The Zionist Jew Neocon Edward Luttwak was asked in 1991 what the US was going to do to Iraq.
“Saddam is not like the Saudi Princes who spend the bulk of their lives outside of their country, and who fritter away the Kingdom’s oil profits on prostitutes and bottles of champagne in Paris. No, Saddam is building railways! Creating electrical networks! Highways and other important elements of a serious State infrastructure! After eight years of war against the Iranian regime of Khomeini, he desperately needs to demobilize his Republican Guard, which incorporates so many of this technical elite, in order to rebuild his war-devastated country. These people are his technicians, his engineers. If they are put to work in the way Saddam wishes, they will rapidly make Iraq the most advanced power in the region, and we cannot allow this to happen.” “”
Still to this day Israel does not want such to happen because it would cast a harsh spotlight on what a fascist apartheid state Israel is. The Saudis do not want pro-West democracies because that shortens the time they will be in power and squandering the wealth of Saudi Arabia for themselves and to Hell with their people.
Turn back the clock only a few years. What was really wrong with Qaddafi? He was implementing a gold backed dinar and that was a shot across the bow on the supremacy of the US petrodollar. Of course, the Saudis and Israelis were behind the US / NATO actions to take out Qaddafi and regime change in Libya.
Fix the calendar, the eyes and the brain on right now.
What is wrong with Syria? Several things, first being they are a democratically elected government and just re-elected President Bashar Al-Assad in a landslide victory. Who is against that? Israel and the Saudis want regime change because they do not want true democracy in the Middle East. The US does not want it because their policies of pro-Israel and to Hell with the other Islamic people in the Middle East and beyond have crystallized Islamic opinion into being anti-American.
That President Al-Assad is more pro-Russia than US is a matter that only Washington DC has themselves to blame.
What is wrong with Iraq and the grand US vision of installing a pro-West democratic government? The Saudis are royalty and last thing they want are democratically elected nations making them look bad to their own people. The Saudis are tyrants, and just like the USA did with the brutal dictator Shah Pahlavi in Iran, the USA has idiots that will get in bed with the devil if oil and natural gas is involved.
This map shows that from Pakistan across to Turkey and Syria the area is predominately Shia Islamic nations. They are the majority in Iraq and by far the majority in Iran. The Saudis did not like the results of the last Iraq elections, or the most recent election in Syria.
Even though President Bashar Al-Assad is part of the Shia minority in Syria, he was overwhelmingly re-elected because the Syrian people know who is behind the terrorism in their nation. It is US, Israel and the Saudis financial backing of ISIL.
Iran has a democratically elected leadership, and Iraq, and resoundingly recently with the re-election of President Al-Assad to a third term in Syria. The Saudis fear having a Shia majority unite to their North under democratic elected nations. Such is a clear and present danger to their tyrannical monarchy.
Of course, all of this insurgency and terrorism in Iraq is making it dim that Qatar can run a pipeline north into Turkey and join up with the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline I recently reported on.
That some of those same nations continuously elect and re-elect leaders that are not pro-Washington DC is due to failed US policies of supporting the Israelis and Saudis to the detriment of far more people in Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria.
Why would the Saudis be financing the terrorists to attack Iraq and Syria? Because the Saudis are Wahhibi Sunni, a royalty, hate democracy. You can note on the map that UAE is more Shia than Wahhibi Sunni and that is why they chose long ago to not be part of Saudi Arabia. Their brand of Saudi Wahhibi Islam even teaches and promotes hatred towards the West, even on EU and North America soil.
Of course we still have Israel trying to stir the shit pot with Iran, even though the CIA has repeatedly said there is no evidence whatsoever that Iran has any nuclear weapons program. IAEA has been inspecting and found the same, no weapons program.
Israel also does not want Iran-Iraq-and Syria to unite and be powerful economic and political influences in the region. The Saudis fear the same outcome, and if there is ever to be peace in the Middle East that outcome has to happen regardless of what Israel or the Saudis want.
It is no secret that the US and EU wanted a pipeline from Iraq through Syria and into EU for energy supplies. As soon as Iraq agreed to include Iran into that pipeline venture suddenly the Saudis (with Israel insistence and US backing) are waging terrorism against both Iraq and Syria. That is fact, in the news, read up on it.
Here is the predicament that Washington DC is facing, and this will define the moment or the moment will define how backwards and utterly stupid US foreign policy is.
The Iraq government was left with too little to defend itself. For all of the photo op talk and self-aggrandizement about what a wonderful job the USA did in creating a democracy and being great at nation building (NOT), this well-funded assault on Iraq has caused major problems.
The Iranian Guard, with the permission and blessings of Iraq has pushed into Iraq and is taking the ISIL on effectively. Consider that… even after the US sponsored war from 1980-1988 against Iran, the Iranian government has stepped in to help the Iraq government from the ISIL terrorists.
The USA is in a quandary as to whether or not to provide air strikes to put down ISIL, because both Iraq and Iran know exactly who the enemy is they are facing and they are being armed indirectly by USA and well financed by the Saudis. Of course, the Israelis are loving it because continuous chaos in the Middle East suits their objectives.
In Washington DC the Israel lobby is moving for a law where they can attack Iran without US blessings and the US has to support them. They are that underhanded and devious.
So, here is the political test for Obama. Is he going to put the Israelis and Saudis in their place and put down ISIL? Or… is Obama going to make sure the USA gets to lick the shit pot spoon?
Right now two purported allies (Israel and Saudi Arabia) are not the friend of the USA and deserve to get the honors of who gets to lick that spoon.
I for one think he is focused on the wrong game and is another one he will lose. He will not win against Russia.
The events in Iraq are a result of the actions carried out by the US and the UK, and the situation has spiraled out of control, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told journalists.
“It has been reported that the UK foreign minister declared that the events in Iraq are, according to him, an illustration that terrorism is rampant in the region due to the absence of reconciliation in Syria,” Lavrov said.
“We’ve known that our English colleagues have a unique ability to twist everything. But I didn’t expect such cynicism, because the events that are taking place in Iraq are an illustration of a complete failure of the venture started by the US and the UK that allowed it to spiral out of control completely.”
“We express our solidarity with the Iraqi authorities, the Iraqi people who should restore peace and security in their country, but the actions of our Western partners raise a lot of questions,” Lavrov marked.
Believe it or not, the main driver of risk overnight had nothing to do with Iraq, with the global economy or even with hopes for more liquidity, and everything to do with a largely meaningless component of Japan’s future tax policy, namely whether or not Abe (who at this pace of soaring imported inflation and plunging wages won’t have to worry much about 2015 as he won’t be PM then) should cut the corporate tax rate in 2015. As Bloomberg reported, Abe, speaking to reporters in Tokyo today after a meeting with Finance Minister Taro Aso and Economy Minister Akira Amari, said the plan would bring the rate under 30 percent in a few years. He said alternative revenue will be secured for the move, which requires approval from the Diet.
The following sentence demonstrates vividly the clusterfuck Japan and its contradictory policies have become: “A lower levy is the centerpiece of Abe’s latest initiative to boost growth, now the main focus with the Bank of Japan keeping its policy unchanged. Failure to find extra funds to offset the blow to revenue risks worsening the world’s largest debt burden.” So cut taxes to boost revenues, got it? Even the Japanese are starting to laugh at their Imodium-full Keynesian idol:
“Cutting corporate tax is a move in the right direction but it won’t necessarily trigger economic growth,” said Yasunari Ueno, chief market economist at Mizuho Securities Co. in Tokyo. “It is absolutely necessary to secure alternative tax revenue as the government’s finances are deteriorating.”
We came to the pyramids all embedded in ice
He said “There’s a body I’m trying to find
If I carry it out it’ll bring a good prize”
It was then that I knew what he had on his mind.
Must be a tribal thing.
Well…..of course it is.
Syria wasn’t going down fast enough. Go through Iraq, destroy it even further and then on to Damascus?
What? Iran is not going to allow this in their backyard? Revolutionary Guards to the rescue? US airstrikes to support Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s offensive in Iraq?
“Baghdad is going to be overrun. The Green Zone is going down.”
– U.S. intelligence official
ISIS mercenaries gather for a photo op…..
01 Jun 2014 Almost 800 people were reported to have been killed in Iraqi violence last month, two-thirds of the victims being civilians. Meanwhile, monitoring groups put the figure at over 1,000 deaths among the civil population alone. Of the 799 people killed, 603 were civilians and 196 were members of the Iraqi security forces, according to the United Nations numbers released on Sunday.
Water is to the twenty-first century what oil was to the twentieth century: the commodity that determines the wealth and stability of nations.
People who think that the West’s interventions in Iraq, Libya and Syria are only about oil are mistaken. Broadly speaking, Western interest in the Middle East is becoming increasingly about a commodity more precious than oil, namely water.
According to the US-based Center for Public Integrity, Western nations stand to make up to a US$1 trillion from privatizing, purifying and distributing water in a region where water often sells for far more than oil.
Although over two thirds of our planet is water, we face an acute shortage. This scarcity flies in the face of our natural assumptions. The problem is that 97 percent is salt water. Great for fish, not so good for humans. Of the world’s fresh water, only one percent is available for drinking, with the remaining two percent trapped in glaciers and ice.
Put differently: if all the water on earth was represented by an 11-litre jug, the freshwater would fill a single cup, and we can only access the last drop.
Nature has decreed that the supply of water is fixed; all the while, demand is rising as the world’s population increases and enriches itself. By 2030, climate change, population growth, pollution and urbanization will compound, such that the demand for water globally is estimated to outstrip supply by forty percent.
Increasingly, for water to be useful, it needs to be mined, processed, packaged, and transported, just like gold, coal, gas or oil. Unlike oil, there are no substitutes, alternatives or stopgaps for water.
There have been three waves of resource-driven imperialism in the modern era.
A quest for gold fueled the first wave. Old-fashioned colonialists, regal and unembarrassed, rode in on horseback, brutally took control of American territories, sent in ostrich-plumed governors, minted coins with the Queen’s head on them, and gazed proudly over natives toiling away in perilous mine-shafts. An unprecedented kidnapping of millions of Africans ensued, so as to replace the indigenous Americans that had initially been exterminated by their European conquerors. This coincided with white pioneers brutally conquering Southern Africa, also in search of gold.
The second wave of imperialism has been driven by an unquenchable, post-industrial thirst for oil.
Modern petro-imperialism, the key aspect of which is the US military’s transformation into a global oil-protection armed force, puts up a democratic facade, emphasizes freedom of the seas (or pipeline routes), and seeks to secure, protect, drill, and ship oil, not to administer everyday affairs. Nevertheless, the means by which the US is centering its foreign policy around oil is hardly new in spirit, albeit unprecedented in scope.
The third wave of imperialist wars is currently being fought over nature’s most valuable commodity: water. Prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, CIA analysts reported on a prediction of a new theater of war: hydrological warfare, “in which rivers, lakes and aquifers become national security assets to be fought over, or controlled”. These predictions became realized in quick succession, beginning with the recent wars in Iraq, Libya and Syria. It is now clear that the age of hydro-imperialism is upon us.
On April 17, 2003, in Iraq, the American company Bechtel received a no-bid reconstruction contract from US Agency for International Development (USAID) for US$100 billion; thus, making it the largest Iraq reconstruction contract. Therefore, the most lucrative Iraq reconstruction contract was not used to repair oil facilities, build schools and hospitals, or to repair bombarded infrastructure: it was used to source, process, and distribute water.
The secretive, opaque and no-bid nature of the water contract award process is made even worse by one incredible fact. Bechtel has botched many of its previous projects.
In California, Bechtel installed one of the nuclear power plant reactors backwards. In Boston, what promised to be a US$2.5 billion job for an infamous “Big Dig” project became the most expensive in US history costing US$14.6 billion. The tunnel project was plagued by charges of poor execution, corruption, criminal arrests, and even four deaths.
In Bolivia, Bechtel`s record is one of privatizing water by inflating prices by 35 percent. The inflation caused public riots, in which several people died. Bechtel was ousted from the country and tried to sue the Bolivian government for canceling their contract.
Since the turn of the century, Iraq was the first casualty of hydro-imperialism, and Colonel Gaddafi’s assassination marked the second. Libya sits atop a natural resource more valuable than oil: the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer, which is a vast underground reserve of fresh water, estimated to be the largest in the world. Mr. Gaddafi had invested $25 billion into the aquifer, which had the potential to turn a country that is 95 percent desert into an arable oasis. As it now stands, France’s global mega-water companies: Suez, Ondeo, and Saur, control almost half of the world’s $400 billion water market. They are poised to rake in billions of dollars from Libya’s eighth wonder of the world.
Mr. Gaddafi had intended the scheme to be designed by Libyans, constructed by Libyans, for the benefit of the Libyan population. Now it is being redesigned by Frenchmen and women at inflated costs, constructed by French contractors, largely for the benefit of French shareholders. Libyan taxpayers will undoubtedly be stuck with the bill and higher water bills.
The most recent case of hydro-imperialism is the war in Syria. Israel has been leading a Western campaign to support Syrian rebels; in part, because its leaders assert that the Syrian President, Bashar Al-Assad, poses an existential threat to Israel on the issue of water. Mr. Assad has vowed to reclaim the Golan Heights – a strip of land that Israel captured from Syria in the Six Day War of 1967. The Golan Heights provides a staggering 40 percent of Israel’s fresh water.
“Syrian control of half of our water poses more of a threat than Iran with one bomb”, once remarked ex-Israeli intelligence head, Meir Dagan.
Mr. Assad has also been reticent to privatize the water industry and expose the population to predatory pricing, thereby preventing the West from tapping into a multi-billion dollar revenue stream.
Mr. Assad`s refusal to play ball on water privatization and his choice to play hardball over the Golan Heights meant that the Syrian President, like Mr. Hussein and Colonel Gaddafi before him, is an obstacle to the West`s hydro-imperialist agenda.
Control of nature`s most precious and increasingly valuable commodity will, for any nation, spell the difference between greatness and decline. Mr. Hussein, Colonel Gaddafi and a defiant Mr. Assad know that all too well.