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Editorial: Yet another war for oil?

Once again, in an attempt to protect Western control over Middle East oil supplies, the titular head of US corporate capitalism, George W Bush, has presented the world with the vision of well-known bogey-man Saddam Hussein building up weapons of mass destruction.

No doubt, in this world where “might is right”, the Iraq regime would like to arm itself, just like any other state, with the most destructive weapons it can afford, and it would not be at all surprising that it was trying to develop them. In Iraq's case this would be so as to be able to throw its weight around more in the Middle East. But this is precisely America's aim too. Hence the clash of interests. Bush and Blair want the Saddam regime out of the way because they see it as a threat to Western capitalism's continued domination of the Middle East and its oilfields. It's as simple as that. For them too, might is right, as they are itching to prove.

Some of America's allies are not convinced that a war with Iraq won't endanger rather than protect their oil supplies or political stability. Aware of this, Bush is now pursuing his campaign via the UN, clearly hoping that Iraq's failure to comply with requests from UN weapons inspectors will provide the pretext he needs to justify an attack upon Iraq. He cites Iraq's refusal to comply with UN resolutions as evidence of Saddam's contempt for the world. Yet that US ally, Israel, is in breach of as many UN resolutions as the errant Iraq. And the US itself has refused to accept a ruling from the International Court of Justice condemning its “unlawful use of force” during its terrorist war against Nicaragua, and for which it was also ordered to pay substantial reparations. Dismissing that particular ruling and refusing to pay, the US went on to intensify that assault.

That the US is concerned with the chemical facilities Iraq might have is understandable. Saddam certainly has the technological know-how. It came courtesy of the US when they sponsored Saddam in his war with Iran. Back in 1994, the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs produced a report entitled U.S. Chemical and Biological Warfare-Related Dual Use Exports to Iraq and their Possible Impact on the Health Consequences of the Persian Gulf War. It concluded:

The United States provided the Government of Iraq with 'dual use' licensed materials which assisted in the development of Iraqi chemical, biological, and missile-system programs, including: chemical warfare agent precursors; chemical warfare agent production facility plans and technical drawings…chemical warhead filling equipment; biological warfare related materials; missile fabrication equipment; and, missile-system guidance equipment”.

We can further observe that the country with the biggest nuclear arsenal on Earth and the biggest stockpile of chemical weapons, and which has a proven track record of having used them, is the United States. Clearly, America doesn't object to the stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction as such. It just wants it and its allies to have a monopoly of them, not in the interests of world peace but in the interests of its world domination.

There can be no other reason for the US obsession with Iraq than continuing control of Middle East oils supplies. What remains imprecise is the US game plan: to use Iraq as a springboard to capture Iran and thus secure a shorter and cheaper route to Gulf ports for Caspian oil, or maybe to get a tighter grip on Saudi oil lest there be an Islamic fundamentalist blowback resulting from the “war on terror”? You don't think so? Then ask yourself if there'd there be so much US concern if the Middle East just supplied dates.

Someone who has seen through the current charade is Mo Mowlam, once a member of Blair's cabinet, who has written:

“This whole affair has nothing to do with a threat from Iraq – there isn't one. It has nothing to do with the war against terrorism or with morality. Saddam Hussein is obviously an evil man, but when we were selling arms to him to keep the Iranians in check he was the same evil man he is today. He was a pawn then and he is a pawn now. In the same way he served Western interests then, he is now the distraction for the sleight of hand to protect the West's supply of oil” (Guardian, 5 September).

Capitalism is a war-prone society in that built-in to it is perpetual conflict between rival states over markets, raw material sources, trade routes and investment outlets, for the profit-seeking capitalist corporations they exist to protect. You can't have capitalism without wars, the threat of war and preparations for war.

So if you're just demonstrating against war, then take our advice and invest in a sturdy anti-war banner, for if you are prepared to oppose war without opposing the very system that gives rise to it, then you'll be demonstrating for quite some time to come. Alternatively you can join the movement which believes that to end wars we must first put an end capitalism. An uphill struggle? Less than campaigning to end war against the backdrop of the profit system.

We must unite to establish a world community without frontiers where all the resources of the planet would be at the disposal of all the people of the planet. Then we could use them to end world poverty, hunger and preventable disease once and for all and rapidly move towards applying the principle “from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs”, ensuring that no man, woman or child anywhere on Earth goes without adequate food, clothing, shelter or other amenities. A world where wars and weapons of mass destruction would be things of the past. This can be done. So let's do it.