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Petroleum Crumbs

By Michael Brazel

Let’s talk about the attack on the oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia. This has the potential to be the critical flash-point not only in Middle Eastern affairs but in the world’s financial systems. This could snowball out from the deserts where our modern concept of civilisation and bring down the world as we know it. If that sounds serious, well it is.

If the flow of oil is hindered, and prices go up, then goods and services become more expensive. Transport costs go up, which means everything goes up which means access to everything gets harder. Which means access to basic necessities starts getting out of reach. Which means people start getting stressed and hungry and competitive. Which means a world as volatile as the petroleum at the root of the issue here.

It would be occurring at a time when markets are already fragile, and when people all over the world are polarised and suspicious and craving radical change.

Investors will start questioning the potential returns on their investments and stop investing. People will spend less and the world will head into a depression that will make the 1930s look meek. Partly because most people in the 1930s had never experienced the level of opulence many of us have come to expect of life.

As prices rise to cope with the stymied flow, the knock-on effects are felt as future projects start getting stalled. Creating the lethal scenario where ravenous corporations also start going hungry. And starved of their profits, they can be a most destructive beast. They will continue the trend of hoarding their wealth like gluttonous dragons and the people will continue their trend of wanting their dragon heads on spikes.

Meanwhile, back at the burning oil facilities, the Houthis, who have been fighting Saudi backed extremism in Yemen in what is currently the world’s cruellest and most extreme war have claimed responsibility for the attack. They have apparently flown ten relatively cheap military drones, worth $15,000 or so each into Saudi territory and attacked two of the world’s largest oil processing facilities, affecting half the world’s energy supplies.

Needless to say, this has made the US war-hawks very upset. And in true form, they are getting ready to attack Iran for something someone else has claimed responsibility for.

Yes, the Houthis do receive assistance from Iran in their war against Saudi backed extremism in their own country, but does that make Iran responsible? A Saudi prince could stub his toe on an oil pipeline and the US would accuse Iran and find some grainy black and white footage to “prove” it was responsible.

It would make sense to believe the Houthis when they claim responsibility for this attack. They are at war with the Saudi-led coalition, who have been vicious in Yemen and they have been involved in cross border attacks before. In fact, earlier this year, in at least two instances, Saudi forces have struck down drone attacks by the Houthis in their airspace. Add to this the fact that the Saudi government was just about to make Saudi Aramco, its national oil company public, a move that could be worth up to US$2 trillion, it would make a large-scale attack on infrastructure like this a perfect target.

But Mike Pompeo says no. The US establishment, including Democratic representatives say no. Our lying eyes deceive us. It was Iran. The Houthis they say, couldn’t possibly have the drone capabilities to have carried out such an attack, despite the fact they have previously been carrying attempted attacks of a similar nature.

So the Houthis say it was them. Iran says it wasn’t us. But the American administration is just itching to invade and is looking for any excuse possible. And there’s nothing like an attack on inanimate fossil fuels to get the US up in arms. They certainly don’t seem to get upset about the atrocities in Yemen.

Yemen has seen war crimes committed by both sides. The Houthis have plenty of civilian blood on their hands and have been responsible for laying landmines through vast tracts of land, attacking civilian areas and kidnappings. But the US executive branch seems intent on only coming down on the Houthi side, while ignoring the war crimes coming from the other side. The Saudi-coalition has been responsible for bombing weddings, hospitals, sanctions leading to famine and the use of cluster bombs, yet this doesn’t seem to raise the ire of the world’s petro-hyperpower. An average Tuesday for the American war machine.

It could be Yemen’s geo-political positioning. It sits right at the mouth of a critical transport hub in the Gulf of Aden, which is one of the key ways that Saudi oil enters the world market and continues to prop up the hegemony of the US petro-dollar.

It could be that the Saudi-led coalition, which is mostly regional states, also includes Academi, formerly Blackwater, which is essentially the world’s largest and most lethal mercenary force that is stationed in the US, and works both with and for the CIA making the US not only a behind the scenes force in the Yemen conflict but a direct participant. Blackwater cum Academi has basically been the US’s private militia, able to do the dirty work that even the US military isn’t willing to do. And that is saying something. They also provide a way for non-US citizens to get paid work as mercenaries for its imperial ambitions. And Erik Prince, its founder is the brother of insufferable Betsy DeVos, the Secretary for Education in the US.

While the Yemen war is considered a civil war, it has long been seen as a Saudi/Iranian proxy war. But taking into account the role of Academi, the funding and weapons supplied by the US, this shows the conflict in Yemen even more clearly to have been a proxy conflict between the US and Iran, and makes the more and more frequent claims that Iran is responsible for various political trigger events even more dubious. The US has been responsible for the destabilisation of the region for many years, is world-famous for lying themselves into invasions in the Middle East and as a consequence has directly overthrown many regional governments, including Iran, and yet we are supposed to trust their judgement.

Iran, as disturbing and problematic as their government is, has plenty of legitimate grievances against the US. Orwellian, intolerant and repressive, Iran is consistently being called out, and rightly so, for its oppressive policies and treatment of women and dissidents, let alone women dissidents, but in the Olympic decathlon of atrocious behaviour, when competing with their regular accusers, the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel, Iran would be in a real struggle to even get a place on the podium. So why are they so particularly irksome to the United States and its allies?

The US definitely struck the first blow in this very lop-sided and long conflict through a collaboration between the CIA and British intelligence services to depose the Iranian Prime Minister Mossadegh in the 1950s when he wanted to nationalise Iranian oil supplies and secure the profits gained from its sale in order to benefit the Iranian people and not just companies like BP.

They then installed, supported and worked with Shah Reza Pahlavi, helping to establish his secret police and even instituting, ironically enough, Iran’s original nuclear infrastructure. The Shah was one of America’s closest allies until he was overthrown in the 1979 Islamic Revolution, that in many ways was a direct reaction to American interference in the country and region.

In the devastating Iran-Iraq war that lasted from 1980 to 1988 and took over half a million lives, the US-backed Iraq under the then less famous and somehow less demonic Saddam Hussein, supplying him with the chemical weapons he used in that war against Iranian soldiers.

In the last twenty years, the US and its allies have overthrown countries to the left and right of Iran, namely Iraq and Afghanistan, but also Libya. And what the US hasn’t done, Saudi Arabia has, spreading Wahabist extremism throughout the region and directly funding many of the groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS that are supposedly the enemies of the all that the US stands for. Groups that are fundamentalist Sunni, directly opposed to Shia Iran.

Then with the advent of Donald Trump, and his petty reluctance to be associated with anything Obama did, the US pulled out of the JCPOA, the multi-lateral treaty that actually saw Iran agree to term that prevented them, not only from developing nuclear weapons, but also from further developing nuclear energy. This was a monumental agreement that was a pathway for Iran to reintegrate into the international community and allay some of the tensions felt around its nuclear ambitions.

This was a slap in the face of Iran, who had been upholding its end of the deal, and also of all the other countries who were instrumental in achieving the JCPOA and who have not been impressed by the US’s unilateral treaty breaking.

Since the breaking of the deal, the tone towards Iran has reverted to the pre-Obama, Bush administration “Axis of Evil” approach. It has become increasingly provocative and defamatory, appearing for all intents and purposes to be peppering the public up in preparation for war while putting Iran a corner where they are more and more likely to respond with a move that can be painted as aggressive by the US and its allies. This is no surprise considering the people Trump has surrounded himself with, including until very recently John Bolton, an architect of the Iraq war and someone considered a godfather of the Neo-Conservative movement.

But Trump himself is not a foreign policy man. He is not driving the war machine. He probably couldn’t care less about any of this let alone know the history of it. If he could secure a new nuclear deal with Iran, as he has recently been trying to do, it would probably only be so he could include a real estate clause where he could slap his name on a piece of prime real estate in Tehran. In reality, much of the aggressive rhetoric towards Iran seems to be being driven by Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Israeli government, warhawks like Bolton and Pompeo within the US executive and military industrial complex and Saudi desires to implement regional Sunni supremacy.

So when the US claims Iran is antagonistic, is aggressive, is responsible for destabilisation, it sounds like words practised in front of a mirror. The hypocrisy of it is biblical. And taking it seriously, considering their modus operandi is lying their way into wars in order to secure the petro-dollar and prevent a paradigm shift away from the global heterodoxy of American exceptionalism and market domination, would require some serious cosmic-scale grains of salt.

They are searching for any pretext at all that justify an invasion of Iran, a country of 80 million or so people. They are using all the propaganda means at their disposal to try and lube up the international community for the violent entry they are desperately wanting to make. They aren’t looking to invade Saudi Arabia. A country that beheads people on the regular, is currently responsible for the world’s worst humanitarian crises and less than a year ago, murdered Jamal Khashoggi, an American journalist, then chopped him up into little pieces and carried his remains out in bags while his fiance waited in a car outside. And they certainly aren’t going to invade Israel. They won’t even withhold a penny from them no matter how many war-crimes they commit or how egregious their treatment of the Palestinians is. They want to invade Iran. Not for humanitarian concerns. Not even for retaliation. For business. For imperial ambition. For oil. For the bottom line. For control.

We are living through the last days of industrialism as we know it. We are living in the twilight of the American Empire. And we are watching as they seek to control every last drop of oil in order to maintain hegemony at any cost. The same people trying to lie us into this war are the ones public denying climate change is a threat while strategising for how they can best profit from it in private. Our future is of little consequence in their vision. Their identity is tied up in securing what they perceive to be personal glory in the long term and personal gain in the short term. They are burning the world and us along with it and gas-lighting the world as they do.

And we as Australians will be made complicit. We are neck deep in the carnage of the Western Imperialism in the Middle East in genera–not surprising considering we are born of the same impulse–but in specific, we have Australian military working within the Saudi coalition. We have Australian companies supplying weapons systems to the Saudi coalition.

We have sent a warship over in order to help “contain” Iran. To sustain the sanctions that are literally aimed at starving the Iranian population into insurgency. Much like we helped prop up the sanctions and oil-for-food program in the ’90s which again quite literally crippled the Iraqi people.

But what a euphemism such as containment means in reality, the true objective behind such a move, the reason we invest our military and personnel, is to secure the flow of oil in order to prop up our lavish lifestyles, to serve our imperial overlords and further the destruction of our own planet in the process.

We all know what these wars have been about. Even those who don’t know the specifics can all see oil dripping from between the lines. Oil seeping from the writing on the wall. You pretty much taste petroleum in every mouthful of bullshit we are served. But soon, unfortunately, we will be feeling the crunch ourselves, rather than offshoring the destructiveness associated with our lucky country to the war-torn Middle East. We may want to blame others. We may want to jump on the US bandwagon and point the finger at Iran. But make no mistake, we are not the victims, we are minor villains in this story. Sycophants sucking up to the big boss in the hopes of maintaining our supply of crumbs. Crumbs we are willing to trade millions of lives and the fate of our world for.

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  1. David Bruce

    Spot on Michael! With less than one month of petroleum products available in Australia, we will will be the first to feel the crunch. The tankers bringing the petroleum product fly flags not Australian. Refining of these petroleum products is done in Singapore, since our wise government decided to get out of refining about the same time as we got out of car manufacturing.

    When our treasurer-in-training was asked about the policy to improve our petroleum products security, he advised the matter would be resolved by 2026!

    Under the stewardship of ScuMo and the Scumbags we no longer have food security, water security, petroleum security nor personal security. Just when we need a deficit to help fund our insurance at this time, the lnp boast about not having one!

    If brains were dollars in the Federal lnp , we could not afford to buy a cup of coffee!

  2. Michael Brazel

    Exactly. In my opinion it’s no coincidence that our slim reserves have been in the news recently. Not that having a military presence in the Gulf is a new thing. We have had ships over there since the first Gulf War, but it does seem a little like feeding the populace justification for our governments ongoing engagement in the Middle East in order to secure the flow of petroleum.

  3. disbeliever

    The last time I looked, the Houthis weren’t in the business of making missiles with 1000kms reach, and if they are making them, I doubt they’d make a bottle big enough to launch it.

  4. Bob

    Yes David, Australia will be one of the first to buckle:
    Most first world countries have about 90 days in strategic reserves, we have 30 days unchanged since at least 2008.

    Yes Michael, what a most beautiful weakness to take advantage of by the global elite when the time is right. Watch as the electorate screams for and embraces the most draconian changes offered by govt just to keep our car-cities moving. That is not to blame the citizens, it was always going to be a stitch-up. LNP, Labor & msm never following up on this matter for the last decade says something.

  5. Michael Brazel

    Most rebel insurgents aren’t making their own wrapons unless they are IED’s. But there are a lot of weapons available for purchase in that neck of the woods. They may be Iranian supplied. They may be acquired by other means. But in the last year the Houthis have been firing rockets and sending drones into Saudi territory but they have mostly been intercepted. And besides not having done something before does not prevent doing it now.

  6. andy56

    The era of large technological advantage is over. Nuclear weapons are now obsolete. You state $15,000 drones, well maybe even $1000 drones are being deployed. You can see where this is going, a swarm of drones with biologicals can wipe a nation. If that doesnt put the frighteners on the military establishment, maybe we should put the frighteners on our government . Get the FCK out of there.

  7. Paul Davis

    “The evidence … that you have seen in front of you, makes this undeniable.” So say US and Saudi military experts and politicians following the drone strikes on Saudi oil refineries. We have to sanction and if necessary slaughter the evil Iranians, or at least steal their oil.

    Remind us of anything??????? How about the same experts and their paymasters with their undisputed proof of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. So what did we learn after that? We cannot believe a politician or anyone in a military uniform. It is the same story going back millennia, never trust any person who wants power over their fellows. These monsters will enslave us, kill us if we oppose them, create ‘enemies’ and conscript our children to murder on their behalf. Bush, Blair, Howard ….. Trump, Johnson, Morrison …… same same same.

  8. Zathras

    So maybe the Houthis have used Iran-supplied weapons against the Saudis, just as the Saudis have been using US supplied weapons against Yemen.

    Trumps’ first official overseas visit as President was to Saudi Arabia where he was given a medal, did his “sword dance” and reactivated Obama’s missile sales (suspended by Obama due to civilian atrocities committed against Yemen). He likes them because “they spent $400 billion in our country over the last number of years..Saudi Arabia pays cash”.

    Forget their role in 911, their international sponsoring of Wahhabism and even the murder and dismembering of an American citizen, it’s always been about the dollars and as potential accomplices in this new venture we are no better.

    Meanwhile Israel has been constantly trying to goad the USA into taking military action against Iran (Iran was Israel’s former ally – they even developed missile systems together).

    The only thing Australia has learned from history is that we never learn anything from history.

  9. isw

    Well written Michael, a clear headed, succinct evaluation, so far I have only been able to oppose The Commonwealth of Australia’s involvement in the AngloZionist war machine by not voting for which I have been fined, prosecuted and fined again. Not voting is my Non-Violent civil disobedience.

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