Posts Tagged ‘Oil’

As U.S. military troops swarmed in large numbers into Haiti after the January 12, 2010 earthquake one had to wonder if more was going on..

Supplies and medicines sat on runways and were slow to get to the needy Haitian people and several countries accused the U.S. military of holding up the planes.

Good ole’ George W. Bush and his pal Bill Clinton joined together, staring at us from U.S. television screens asking for all Americans to please send monies to help the Haitian people.

How fascinating that there seemed to be more interest in the Haitian crisis than the Katrina catastrophe that occurred on “Homeland” soil. Does the American political elite really care that much about the Haitian people??

I doubt it. Human compassion isn’t their style – just the pretense of it.

Looks to me like Haiti is about to become a part of the American Empire.

Well, read and find out what F. William Engdahl says in his article The Fateful Geological Prize Called Haiti. Engdahl (among others) offers his opinion as to why the U.S. is so interested in Haiti:

The Fateful Geological Prize Called Haiti

by F. William Engdahl
Global Research, January 30, 2010

President becomes UN Special Envoy to earthquake-stricken Haiti.

A born-again neo-conservative US business wheeler-dealer preacher claims Haitians are condemned for making a literal ‘pact with the Devil.’

Venezuelan, Nicaraguan, Bolivian, French and Swiss rescue organizations accuse the US military of refusing landing rights to planes bearing necessary medicines and urgently needed potable water to the millions of Haitians stricken, injured and homeless.

Behind the smoke, rubble and unending drama of human tragedy in the hapless Caribbean country, a drama is in full play for control of what geophysicists believe may be one of the world’s richest zones for hydrocarbons-oil and gas outside the Middle East, possibly orders of magnitude greater than that of nearby Venezuela.

Haiti, and the larger island of Hispaniola of which it is a part, has the geological fate that it straddles one of the world’s most active geological zones, where the deepwater plates of three huge structures relentlessly rub against one another—the intersection of the North American, South American and Caribbean tectonic plates. Below the ocean and the waters of the Caribbean, these plates consist of an oceanic crust some 3 to 6 miles thick, floating atop an adjacent mantle. Haiti also lies at the edge of the region known as the Bermuda Triangle, a vast area in the Caribbean subject to bizarre and unexplained disturbances.

This vast mass of underwater plates are in constant motion, rubbing against each other along lines analogous to cracks in a broken porcelain vase that has been reglued. The earth’s tectonic plates typically move at a rate 50 to 100 mm annually in relation to one another, and are the origin of earthquakes and of volcanoes. The regions of convergence of such plates are also areas where vast volumes of oil and gas can be pushed upwards from the Earth’s mantle. The geophysics surrounding the convergence of the three plates that run more or less directly beneath Port-au-Prince make the region prone to earthquakes such as the one that struck Haiti with devastating ferocity on January 12.

A relevant Texas geological project

Leaving aside the relevant question of how well in advance the Pentagon and US scientists knew the quake was about to occur, and what Pentagon plans were being laid before January 12, another issue emerges around the events in Haiti that might help explain the bizarre behavior to date of the major ‘rescue’ players—the United States, France and Canada. Aside from being prone to violent earthquakes, Haiti also happens to lie in a zone that, due to the unusual geographical intersection of its three tectonic plates, might well be straddling one of the world’s largest unexplored zones of oil and gas, as well as of valuable rare strategic minerals.

The vast oil reserves of the Persian Gulf and of the region from the Red Sea into the Gulf of Aden are at a similar convergence zone of large tectonic plates, as are such oil-rich zones as Indonesia and the waters off the coast of California. In short, in terms of the physics of the earth, precisely such intersections of tectonic masses as run directly beneath Haiti have a remarkable tendency to be the sites of vast treasures of minerals, as well as oil and gas, throughout the world.

Notably, in 2005, a year after the Bush-Cheney Administration de facto deposed the democratically elected President of Haiti, Jean-Baptiste Aristide, a team of geologists from the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas began an ambitious and thorough two-phase mapping of all geological data of the Caribbean Basins. The project is due to be completed in 2011. Directed by Dr. Paul Mann, it is called “Caribbean Basins, Tectonics and Hydrocarbons.” It is all about determining as precisely as possible the relation between tectonic plates in the Caribbean and the potential for hydrocarbons—oil and gas.

Notably, the sponsors of the multi-million dollar research project under Mann are the world’s largest oil companies, including Chevron, ExxonMobil, the Anglo-Dutch Shell and BHP Billiton.[1] Curiously enough, the project is the first comprehensive geological mapping of a region that, one would have thought, would have been a priority decades ago for the US oil majors. Given the immense, existing oil production off Mexico, Louisiana, and the entire Caribbean, as well as its proximity to the United States – not to mention the US focus on its own energy security – it is surprising that the region had not been mapped earlier. Now it emerges that major oil companies were at least generally aware of the huge oil potential of the region long ago, but apparently decided to keep it quiet.

Rest of article, Cuba’s Super-giant find, here. (Map of mineral and oil reserves on Haiti with article)

Read more at Marguerite Laurent’s website, particularly article Oil in Haiti – Economic Reasons for the UN/US occupation.

Haiti Has Larger Oil Reserves than Venezuela

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You should be reading a lot about biofuels and famine issues these days… If not, please do. These are subjects that you should become familiar with.

From Online Journal

Global famine? Blame the Fed
By Mike Whitney
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Apr 29, 2008, 00:19

The stakes couldn’t be higher for Ben Bernanke. If the Fed chief decides to lower rates at the end of April, he could be condemning millions of people to a death by starvation.

The situation is that serious. Food riots have broken out across the globe destabilizing large parts of the developing world. China is experiencing double-digit inflation. Indonesia, Vietnam and India have imposed controls over rice exports. Wheat, corn and soya are at record highs and threatening to go higher still. Commodities are up across the board. The World Food Program is warning of widespread famine if the West doesn’t provide emergency humanitarian relief.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said it best: “It is a massacre of the world’s poor. The problem is not the production of food. It is the economic, social and political model of the world. The capitalist model is in crisis.”

Right on, Hugo. There is no shortage of food; it’s just the prices that are making food unaffordable. Bernanke’s “weak dollar” policy has ignited a wave of speculation in commodities which is pushing prices into the stratosphere. The UN is calling the global food crisis a “silent tsunami,” but its more like a flood; the world is awash in increasingly worthless dollars that are making food and raw materials more expensive. Foreign central banks and investors presently hold $6 trillion in dollars and dollar-backed assets, so when the dollar starts to slide, the pain radiates through entire economies. This is especially true in countries where the currency is pegged to the dollar. That’s why most of the Gulf States are experiencing runaway inflation. This doesn’t mean that oil depletion, biofuel production, over-population, and giant agribusinesses don’t add to the problem. They do. But the catalyst is the Fed’s monetary policies; that’s the domino that puts the others in motion.

Here’s Otto Spengler’s summary in his recent article in Asia Times, Rice, Death and the Dollar: “The global food crisis is a monetary phenomenon, an unintended consequence of America’s attempt to inflate its way out of a market failure. There are long-term reasons for food prices to rise, but the unprecedented spike in grain prices during the past year stems from the weakness of the American dollar. Washington’s economic misery now threatens to become a geopolitical catastrophe. . . . The link between the declining parity of the US unit and the rising price of commodities, including oil as well as rice and other wares, is indisputable.

“Never before in history has hunger become a global threat in a period of plentiful harvests. Global rice production will hit a record of 423 million tons in the 2007-2008 crop year, enough to satisfy global demand. The trouble is that only 7% of the world’s rice supply is exported, because local demand is met by local production. Any significant increase in rice stockpiles cuts deeply into available supply for export, leading to a spike in prices. Because such a small proportion of the global rice supply trades, the monetary shock from the weak dollar was sufficient to more than double its price.” [“Rice, death and the dollar”, By Otto Spengler, Asia Times]

The US is exporting its inflation by cheapening its currency. Now a field worker in Haiti who earns $2 a day, and spends all of that to feed his family, has to earn twice that amount or eat half as much. No wonder that six people were killed in Port au Prince in the recent food riots. People go crazy when they can’t feed their kids.

Food and energy prices are sucking the life out of the global economy. Foreign banks and pension funds are trying to protect their investments by diverting dollars into things that will retain their value. That’s why oil is nudging $120 per barrel when it should be in the $70 to $80 range.

According to Tim Evans, energy analyst at Citigroup in New York, “There’s no supply-demand deficit.” None. In fact suppliers are expecting an oil surplus by the end of this year.

“The case for lower oil prices is straightforward: The prospect of a deep U.S. recession or even a marked period of slower economic growth in the world’s top energy consumer making a dent in energy consumption. Year to date, oil demand in the U.S. is down 1.9% compared with the same period in 2007, and high prices and a weak economy should knock down U.S. oil consumption by 90,000 barrels a day this year, according to the federal Energy Information Administration.” [“Bears Baffled by Oil Highs,” Gregory Meyer, Wall Street Journal]

There’s no oil shortage; that’s another ruse. Speculators are simply driving up the price of oil to hedge their bets on the falling dollar. What else can they do, put them in the frozen bond market, or the sinking stock market, or the collapsing housing market? The Fed has gummed up the entire financial system with its low-interest credit scam, now it’s on to commodities where the real pain is just beginning to be felt.

This is what happens when there’s too many dollars sloshing around the system; they all need a place to rest, and when they do, they create equity bubbles. Sound familiar? Indeed. This is Greenspan’s legacy in a nutshell; the dark specter of Maestro will continue to haunt the world until all the hyper-inflated asset-classes (real estate, bonds, stocks, commodities) return to earth and all the red ink is mopped up. That’ll take time, but Bernanke could make things a lot easier if he accepted some responsibility for the current turmoil and raised rates by 25 basis points. That would show speculators that the Fed was serious about defending the currency, which would send the commodities bubble crashing to earth. Prices would go down overnight.

But Bernanke won’t raise rates because he doesn’t really give a hoot about the people in Cameroon who have to scavenge through garbage dumps for a few morsels to keep their families alive. Nor does he care about the average American working-stiff who goes into cardiac arrest every time he pulls up to the gas pump. What matters to Bernanke is making sure that his fat cat buddies in the banking establishment get a steady stream of low interest loot, so they can paper over their bad investments and ward off bankruptcy for another day or two. It’s a joke; it was the investment banks that created this mess with their putrid mortgage-backed securities and other debt exotica. Still, in Bernanke’s mind, they are the only ones who really count.

And don’t expect Bush to step in and save the day either. The “Decider” still believes in the unrestricted activity of the free market, especially when his crooked friends can make a buck on the deal.

From the Washington Times: “Farmers and food executives appealed fruitlessly to federal officials yesterday for regulatory steps to limit speculative buying that is helping to drive food prices higher. Meanwhile, some Americans are stocking up on staples such as rice, flour and oil in anticipation of high prices and shortages spreading from overseas. Costco and other grocery stores in California reported a run on rice, which has forced them to set limits on how many sacks of rice each customer can buy. Filipinos in Canada are scooping up all the rice they can find and shipping it to relatives in the Philippines, which is suffering a severe shortage that is leaving many people hungry.” [Patrice Hill, Washington Times]

The Bush administration knows there’s hanky-panky going on, but they just look the other way. It’s Enron all over again — where Ken Lay & Co. scalped the public with utter impunity while regulators sat on the sidelines applauding. Great. Now it’s the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) turn; they’re taking a hands-off approach so Wall Street sharpies make a fortune jacking up the price of everything from soda crackers to toilet bowls.

“A hearing Tuesday in Washington before the Commodity Futures Trading Commission starts a new round of scrutiny into the popularity of agricultural futures, once a quieter arena that for years was dominated largely by big producers and consumers of crops and their banks trying to manage price risks. The commission’s official stance and that of many of the exchanges, however, is likely to disappoint many consumer groups. The CFTC’s economist plans to state at the hearing that the agency doesn’t believe financial investors are driving up grain prices. Some grain buyers say speculators’ big bets on relatively small grain exchanges, especially recently, are pushing up prices for ordinary consumers. [“Call Goes Out to Rein In Grain Speculators”, Ann Davis]

“The agency doesn’t believe financial investors are driving up grain prices”?

Prices have doubled, people are starving, and the Bush troop is still parroting the same worn party-mantra. It’s maddening.

The US has been gaming the system for decades; sucking up two-thirds of the world’s capital to expand its cache of Cadillac Escalades and flat-screen TVs; giving nothing back in return except mortgage-backed junk, cluster bombs, and crummy green paper. Nothing changes; it only gets worse. But this time its different. The world is now facing the very real prospect of famine on a massive scale because 12 doddering old banksters at the Federal Reserve would rather bail out their sketchy friends than save the lives of starving women and children. Bernanke, with one swipe of the pen, now has an opportunity to send more people to their eternal reward than Bush. If he cut rates, the dollar will fall, commodities will spike, and people will starve. It’s as simple as that.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

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This may not be the best news for Americans needing gasoline and oil but Venezuelan oil supplier, Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), is slapping back at the overly aggressive Exxon Mobil corporation.

As you’ll recall a couple of days ago, Exxon Mobil stomped on PDVSA by getting a British court to freeze $12 billion of PDVSA’s own assets in a move to take over the company. Boy, that takes gall but it’s becoming a norm with the imperialist attitude we are seeing these days under the Bush regime and the New World Order.

And boy oh boy is Exxon Mobil one greedy mo-fo… Just look at their last year’s profits:

On February 1, 2008, for the year 2007, The New York Times reported that Exxon Mobil “beat its own record for the highest profits ever recorded by any company, with net income rising 3 percent to $40.6 billion, thanks to surging oil prices. The company’s sales, more than $404 billion, exceeded the gross domestic product of 120 countries. “

I say you go PDVSA! Don’t take any shit from Exxon Mobil – fight, fight, fight! Don’t let those overbearing fat, rich, piggy, snobby, imperialist, greedy, self-centered s.o.b.’s. push you around! Besides it looks like they have enough money to keep 120 countries from suffering from poverty, starvation, famine, epidemics and a host of other things, as well as maintaining the living of all the residents within those countries, and they can certainly keep them in OIL – so they don’t need your’s too!

Furthermore, don’t buy Exxon Mobil gasoline or products; don’t support companies like this.


Venezuela Halts Oil Sales to Exxon Mobil

Tuesday February 12, 9:27 pm ET
By Fabiola Sanchez, Associated Press Writer

Venezuela’s State Oil Company Halts Oil Sales to Exxon Mobil

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela’s state oil company said Tuesday that it has stopped selling crude to Exxon Mobil Corp. in response to the U.S. oil company’s drive to use the courts to seize billions of dollars in Venezuelan assets.

Exxon Mobil is locked in a dispute over the nationalization of its oil ventures in Venezuela that has led President Hugo Chavez to threaten to cut off all Venezuelan oil supplies to the United States. Venezuela is the United States’ fourth largest oil supplier.

Tuesday’s announcement by state-run Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA, was limited to Exxon Mobil, which PDVSA accused of “judicial-economic harassment” for its efforts in U.S. and European courts.

PDVSA said it “has paralyzed sales of crude to Exxon Mobil” and suspended commercial relations with the Irving, Texas-based company.

“The legal actions carried out by the U.S. transnational are unnecessary … and hostile,” PDVSA said in the statement. It said it will honor any existing contracts it has with Exxon Mobil for joint investments abroad, but reserved the right to terminate them if permitted by the terms of the contracts.

It was unclear how much oil PDVSA supplies to Exxon Mobil, the world’s biggest publicly traded oil company. Both Chavez and Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez previously said the company is no longer welcome to do business in Venezuela.

Venezuela’s decision leaves up in the air the situation of a refinery in Chalmette, La. — a joint venture supplied by Venezuelan oil in which PDVSA and Exxon Mobil are equal partners.

Exxon Mobil spokeswoman Margaret Ross declined to comment on the move by Venezuela but added that “it is our long-standing practice to take appropriate steps to meet our customers’ needs.”

Exxon Mobil is challenging the Chavez government’s nationalization of one of four heavy oil projects in the Orinoco River basin, one of the world’s richest oil deposits.

A British court issued an injunction last month temporarily freezing up to $12 billion of PDVSA’s assets. Exxon Mobil also has secured an “order of attachment” from U.S. District Court in Manhattan on about $300 million in cash held by PDVSA. A hearing to confirm the order is scheduled for Wednesday.

Other oil companies including Chevron Corp., France’s Total, Britain’s BP PLC and Norway’s StatoilHydro ASA have negotiated deals with Venezuela to continue as minority partners in the nationalized projects. ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil balked at the government’s tougher terms and have been in compensation talks with PDVSA.

Earlier Tuesday at an energy conference in Houston, Exxon Mobil senior vice president Mark Albers declined comment on any court proceedings with Venezuela, though he said the company is eager to negotiate fair compensation for its assets.

Exxon Mobil is taking the dispute to international arbitration, to which Venezuela has agreed. Its legal actions essentially seek to corral Venezuelan assets ahead of any decision by the arbitration panel.

Venezuela’s announcement came after Ramirez, the oil minister and PDVSA president, reiterated in a newspaper interview Tuesday that Venezuela is ready to cut off oil supplies to the United States if pressed into an “economic war.”

“If they want this conflict to escalate, it’s going to escalate. We have a way to make this conflict escalate,” Ramirez was quoted as saying.

The White House on Tuesday declined to comment on Venezuela’s threat. “When there’s a litigation that’s ongoing, different parties will say anything to try to win over on an argument,” said White House press secretary Dana Perino.

Meanwhile, Venezuelan state television has begun airing short anti-Exxon segments, with a message appearing on the screen in red text reading: “Exxon Mobil turns oil into blood.”

The U.S. remains the No. 1 buyer of Venezuelan oil, and Chavez relies largely on U.S. oil money to stimulate his economy and bankroll social programs that have traditionally boosted his popularity.

Some analysts say it would make little sense for Chavez to follow through on his broader threats to cut off oil sales to the U.S. because Venezuela owns refineries in the United States that are customized to handle the South American country’s heavy crude.

Ramirez said Venezuela is selling the U.S. a daily average of 1.5 million barrels of crude and other products derived from oil

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In March 2006 Chavez asked Exxon Mobil to give more of their profits back to the country or get out. Today Exxon Mobil has gotten a British court injunction to freeze $12 billion in assets in a move to take over Petroleos de Venezuela SA. President Chavez is rightly incensed:

Chavez Threatens US Oil Cutoff

Feb 10 03:49 PM US/Eastern

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – President Hugo Chavez on Sunday threatened to cut off oil sales to the United States if Exxon Mobil Corp. wins court judgments to seize his government’s assets. “If you end up freezing (Venezuelan assets) and it harms us, we’re going to harm you,” Chavez said. “Do you know how? We aren’t going to send oil to the United States. Take note, Mr. Bush, Mr. Danger.”

Exxon Mobil has gone after the assets of state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA in U.S., British and Dutch courts as it challenges the nationalization of a multibillion dollar oil project by Chavez’s government.

A British court has issued an injunction “freezing” as much as $12 billion in assets.

“The outlaws of Exxon Mobil will never again rob us,” Chavez said, saying the Irving, Texas-based oil major acts in concert with “the imperialist government of the United States” and is part of corporate “worldwide mafias.”

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Barry Lando


Much of the reporting of President Bush’s trip to the Middle East is shadow play, an incredible con game. The suckers are the American public.

Today’s headline, for instance, has Bush telling Saudi King Abdullah that the high price of oil is hurting the U.S. economy. This, the White House press people, reporters and editors apparently all agree, is front page material. But who are they kidding?

The Saudi leaders and their good, old family friend, George Bush have known for ages about the havoc that rocketing oil prices are wreaking on the U.S. economy.  All along, in fact, the Bush administration has been cautiously attempting to convince the Saudis, OPEC’s largest producer, to keep prices down. To no avail.

Back in April 2005, for instance, in Crawford Texas, when Bush last met King Abdullah face to face before he took over the Saudi throne, the subject of high oil prices came up. Oil then was selling for $54 a barrel. It’s now $94.

What new leverage does George W. Bush suddenly have?

Instead, he comes bearing gifts. To thank the Saudis for supporting the latest, feeble U.S. peace efforts in the Middle East, Bush is promising them 20 billion dollars in sophisticated weapons—including 121 million dollars worth of precision guided bombs.

But to defend the Saudis against whom? Iran? Does anyone really think the mullahs in Tehran are going to dispatch their forces to attack the Saudis? Or are the Saudis supposed to use those arms against Iraq’s shattered forces?  Or is it just a great way for the Saudis to recycle some of their petroleum wealth back to U.S. industry?

Which brings us to another irony of the current Bush trip. A few days ago in Abu Dhabi, trying to whip up support for U.S. policy, he gave a speech condemning Iran and extolling the virtues of democracy from the cavernous marble auditorium of a 3 billion dollar gold plated hotel.

A strange choice of venue: the rulers of Abu Dhabi and Dubai and the rest of the emirates give short shrift to democracy themselves.

They still run their lands as tribal domains, hundreds of billions of dollars pouring into the coffers of a few thousand incredibly wealthy individuals. One after another, their new, high walled, sprawling mansions line the broad residential avenues in Abu Dhabi.

The tribal sheiks maintain their hold over the 4 million residents of the Emirates by distributing enough of their vast wealth to the small proportion—only 17%- of their population, who are actually citizens, to keep them fat and happy, and unconcerned about such issues as freedom of the press. There are estimates, for instance, that the average citizen of Abu Dhabi is a millionaire.

Their rulers, on the other hand, are not dumb. Many have been educated in top U.S. and European universities.

Ironically, while George W. Bush has consistently avoided the tough policy decisions that would be necessary to wean American from its dependence on petroleum, the oil producing states, who face the problem themselves, have been no where as passive.

The rulers of Dubai for instance, realizing that their oil deposits are rapidly running out, have launched a massive investment program to transform the Emirate into one of the worlds major destinations for international business and tourism.

They’ve also spent billions to launch their own airline and what will soon be the largest airport in the world. Their neighbors in Abu Dhabi though they have much greater petroleum deposits, are following suit.

At this moment, more than 2.3 trillion dollars is being spent on the construction of new apartment complexes, skyscrapers, high speed monorails and highways in just Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

To carry out this vast enterprise they’ve enlisted tens of thousands of expats, professionals from around the world who have flocked to the Gulf to manage and profit from the spectacular economic boom.

The expats enjoy salaries, spacious homes with servants and maids and drivers and schools. But no real hope of ever becoming citizens of the countries they are transforming. After a few years, they’re out.

They in turn oversee an underclass of millions of temporary migrants primarily from India, Pakistan Sri Lanka and the Philippines, the ones actually building the startling new skyline that so awed George W. Bush. These foreign workers, admitted without their wives, make two or three hundred dollars a month, and send much of it back home.

You don’t see them in the sprawling new shopping malls, the surrealistic hotel lobbies, indoor ski domes, or wide boulevards. They live apart in distant military-style barracks, transported back and forth to work in large busses.  Their visas are tied directly to their employers, which means, if the construction workers or maids or drivers become too uppity, complain about salaries or living conditions, unpaid wages, or being raped or brutalized by their employers, they’re expelled. In any case, they’re out after a couple of years.

As even the U.S. State Department pointed out, abuses are legion:
“trafficking in women and children; legal and societal discrimination against women and non citizens; corruption and lack of government transparency; common abuse of foreign domestic servants; and severe restrictions on and abuses of workers’ rights.”

One would think that the ability of the Emirate’s rulers (and the Saudi princes) to continue milking the region, as their fortunes swell from the hundreds of billions to the trillions, would have to be limited. After all, they are just a few thousand immensely rich living in a vast swathe across the Middle East and Central Asia now ravaged by poverty and political turbulence.

Indeed, that same political chaos has proved a gold mine for the Emirates. Wealthy Lebanese, for instance, have fled their own once prosperous now shattered land to invest in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The same is true for Iraqis, Egyptians, Pakistanis and Afghans—and even Saudis, leery of future stability in their own country.

The U.S. threat to freeze suspicious accounts from Middle East states has also convinced many wealthy Arabs they are safer investing at least a part of their fortunes much closer to home in the Emirates.

But still the question remains: how much longer before the whole surreal economic edifice in the Gulf comes tumbling down?

That’s, of course, the fear that George W. Bush aims to exploit to fortify an alliance against Iran, just as Saddam Hussein did with the same sheiks when he sought their support against Iran in the 1980’s. (Remember, from the very beginning, Khomeini railed against the corrupt, feudal rulers of the Gulf, threatening to expand the Shiite revolution across the Gulf. At that time, of course, the U.S. enlisted Saddam to head the anti-Khomeini coalition.)

But though, on one level, the sheiks may fear their Iranian neighbor, they know that Iranian leaders also have a major financial stake in the Emirates’ well-being. Iranian government leaders and businessmen —-often one and the same—are investing huge sums of money in the Emirates.

While U.S. authorities do their best to banish Iranians from the international banking system, in fact Iranians don’t have to put their money into accounts in the Emirates. They put their billions to work buying and selling the huge apartments , condominiums and office buildings sprouting like mushrooms all along the Gulf coast and making enormous profits in the process.

Al Qaeda, it is whispered, also speculates in the booming real estate market.

But rather than being upset about such involvement, the Emirate sheiks are supposedly delighted.  As an American ex pat banker told me, “It’s the best insurance the sheiks have got,”

At the same time, it’s also said that Islamic militants receive huge “protection” payments from the Emirate Sheiks.

Otherwise, how explain the fact that though the sumptuous modern hotels and malls, nightclubs and bikini-clad beach resorts would, in theory, be ideal targets for Islamic terrorists, there’s been not a single attack.

The West should be as lucky.

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By Dr. Ellen Hodgson Brown

Global Research, January 12, 2008
In the latest escalation of tensions with Iran, on January 5, 2008 five Iranian patrol boats surrounded three U.S. ships in the Strait of Hormuz, coming within a “threatening” 200 meters. A voice with a thick accent then said in English, “I am coming at you – you will explode in a couple of minutes.” The U.S. ships prepared to strike, when the patrol boats backed off. That is how the Pentagon told it, but Iranians have questioned where the threatening voice came from, and Pentagon officials have admitted that they could not confirm that it came directly from the Iranian crews involved. They have also admitted that the voice and the video film were recorded separately, adding to the mysterious circumstances. 1

Skeptical observers might think that the two countries were being goaded into World War III – either that, or that someone wanted to convince American viewers that Iran indeed remained a threat, despite a recent National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) finding that the country is not engaged in a nuclear weapons program as formerly alleged. Before President George W. Bush left for his Middle East visit on January 8, he told the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot, “Part of the reason I’m going to the Middle East is to make it abundantly clear to nations in that part of the world that we view Iran as a threat, and that the NIE in no way lessens that threat.” 2 Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) said in a recent MSNBC news broadcast that there is still a “great possibility” of nuclear action against Iran. The target has just shifted from nuclear power plants to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which has been declared a terrorist organization. Paul said, “[T]here are still quite a few neoconservatives who want to go after Iran under these unbelievable conditions.” 3

The question is, why? One popular theory holds that the push for war is all about oil; but many countries have oil, and we don’t normally invade them to get their assets. Why go to war for Iran’s oil when we can just buy it?

Continue reading the story here.

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