DEEPER BACKGROUND "UNMASKING ISIS"

  • DEEPER BACKGROUND "UNMASKING ISIS"

    To understand the deeper story behind ISIS, we have to go back more than half a century to look at U.S. history in the Middle East.

    Target: Iraq

    Between 1932 and 1948, the roots for the current wars in Iraq were planted. As Wikipedia explains:

     

    PART 1: OOPS … WE CREATED A MONSTER

    President Barack Obama noted in an interview in March 2015:

    ISIL [also known as ISIS] is a direct outgrowth of Al-Qaeda in Iraq that grew out of our invasion. Which is an example of unintended consequences. Which is why we should generally aim before we shoot.

    The Mosul–Haifa oil pipeline (also known as Mediterranean pipeline) was a crude oil pipeline from the oil fields in Kirkuk, located in north Iraq, through Jordan to Haifa (now on the territory of Israel). The pipeline was operational in 1935–1948. Its length was about 942 kilometres (585 mi), with a diameter of 12 inches (300 mm) (reducing to 10 and 8 inches (250 and 200 mm) in parts), and it took about 10 days for crude oil to travel the full length of the line. The oil arriving in Haifa was distilled in the Haifa refineries, stored in tanks, and then put in tankers for shipment to Europe.

    The pipeline was built by the Iraq Petroleum Company between 1932 and 1935, during which period most of the area through which the pipeline passed was under a British mandate approved by the League of Nations. The pipeline was one of two pipelines carrying oil from the Kirkuk oilfield to the Mediterranean coast. The main pipeline split at Haditha with a second line carrying oil to Tripoli, Lebanon, which was then under a French mandate. This line was built primarily to satisfy the demands of the French partner in IPC, Compagnie Française des Pétroles, for a separate line to be built across French mandated territory.

    The pipeline and the Haifa refineries were considered strategically important by the British Government, and indeed provided much of the fuel needs of the British and American forces in the Mediterranean during the Second World War.

    The pipeline was a target of attacks by Arab gangs during the Great Arab Revolt, and as a result one of the main objectives of a joint British-Jewish Special Night Squads commanded by Captain Orde Wingate was to protect the pipeline against such attacks. Later on, the pipeline was the target of attacks by the Irgun. [Background.]

    In 1948, with the outbreak of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, the official operation of the pipeline ended when the Iraqi Government refused to pump any more oil through it.

    Why is this relevant today?   Haaretz reported soon after the Iraq war started in 2003:

    The Prime Minister’s Office, which views the pipeline to Haifa as a “bonus” the U.S. could give to Israel in return for its unequivocal support for the American-led campaign in Iraq, had asked the Americans for the official telegram.

    The new pipeline would take oil from the Kirkuk area, where some 40 percent of Iraqi oil is produced, and transport it via Mosul, and then across Jordan to Israel. The U.S. telegram included a request for a cost estimate for repairing the Mosul-Haifa pipeline that was in use prior to 1948.  During the War of Independence [what Israelis call the 1948 war to form the state of Israel], the Iraqis stopped the flow of oil to Haifa and the pipeline fell into disrepair over the years.

    ***

    National Infrastructure Minister Yosef Paritzky said yesterday that the port of Haifa is an attractive destination for Iraqi oil and that he plans to discuss this matter with the U.S. secretary of energy during his planned visit to Washington next month.

    ***

    In response to rumors about the possible Kirkuk-Mosul-Haifa pipeline, Turkey has warned Israel that it would regard this development as a serious blow to Turkish-Israeli relations.

    So the fighting over Iraq can be traced back to events occurring in 1948 and before.

    But let’s fast-forward to subsequent little-known events in Iraq.

    The CIA plotted to poison the Iraqi leader in 1960.

    In 1963, the U.S. backed the coup which succeeded in killing the head of Iraq.

    And everyone knows that the U.S. also toppled Saddam Hussein during the Iraq war.  But most don’t know that neoconservatives planned regime change in Iraq once again in 1991.

    4-Star General Wesley Clark – former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO – said:

    It came back to me … a 1991 meeting I had with Paul Wolfowitz.

    ***

    In 1991, he was the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy – the number 3 position at the Pentagon. And I had gone to see him when I was a 1-Star General commanding the National Training Center.

    ***

    And I said, “Mr. Secretary, you must be pretty happy with the performance of the troops in Desert Storm.” And he said: “Yeah, but not really, because the truth is we should have gotten rid of Saddam Hussein, and we didn’t … But one thing we did learn [from the Persian Gulf War] is that we can use our military in the region – in the Middle East – and the Soviets won’t stop us. And we’ve got about 5 or 10 years to clean up those old Soviet client regimes – Syria, Iran, IRAQ – before the next great superpower comes on to challenge us.”

    And many people don’t know that the architects of the Iraq War themselves admitted the war was about oil. For example, former U.S. Secretary of Defense – and former 12-year Republican Senator – Chuck Hagel said of the Iraq war in 2007:

    People say we’re not fighting for oil. Of course we are. They talk about America’s national interest. What the hell do you think they’re talking about? We’re not there for figs.

    4 Star General John Abizaid – the former commander of CENTCOM with responsibility for Iraq – said:

    Of course it’s about oil, it’s very much about oil, and we can’t really deny that.

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