The Center for Cooperative Research
U:     P:    
Not registered yet? Register here
 
Search
 
Current timeline only
Advanced Search


Main Menu
Home 
History Engine Sub-Menu
Timelines 
Entities 
Forum 
Miscellaneous Sub-Menu
Donate 
Links 
End of Main Menu

Volunteers Needed!
Submit a timeline entry
Donate: If you think this site is important, please help us out financially. We need your help!
Email updates
 



  View mode (info):
  Ordering (info):
  Time period (info):

Key Events

Key events related to DSM (56)

General Topic Areas

Alleged al-Qaeda ties (83)
Politicization of intelligence (80)
Pre-9/11 plans for war (34)
Weapons inspections (122)
Alleged WMDs (99)
The decision to invade (104)
Internal opposition (29)
Motives
Pre-war planning (30)
Predictions (19)
Legal justification (96)
Propaganda (23)
Public opinion on Iraqi threat (13)
Diversion of Resources to Iraq (8)
Pre-war attacks against Iraq (18)

Specific Allegations

Aluminum tubes allegation (59)
Office of Special Plans (24)
Africa-uranium allegation (97)
Prague Connection (24)
Al Zarqawi allegation (10)
Poisons And Gases (5)
Drones (4)
Biological weapons trailers (18)

Specific cases and issues

Spying on the UN (8)
Outing of Jose Bustani (13)
Powells Speech to UN (13)
Chalabi and the INC (63)

Quotes from senior US officials

Chemical and biological weapons allegations (23)
Imminent threat allegations (5)
Iraq ties to terrorist allegations (15)
Nuclear weapons allegations (29)
WMD allegations (9)
Democracy rhetoric (33)
Decision to Invade quotes (16)
Click here to join: Suggest changes to existing data, add new data to the website, or compile your own timeline. More Info >>

 

Events leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq: Motives

 
  

Project: Inquiry into the decision to invade Iraq

Export to XML Printer Friendly View Email to a Friend Increase Text Size Decrease Text Size


1975

       Secretary of State Henry Kissinger signs a “Memorandum of Understanding” with Israel obligating the US to ensure the security of Israel's oil reserves and energy supply in times of crisis. “The memorandum ... [is] quietly renewed every five years” according to the London Observer, “with special legislation attached whereby the US stocks a strategic oil reserve for Israel even if it entail[s] domestic shortages—at a cost of $3 billion in 2002 to US taxpayers.” [Observer, 4/20/2003; Janes Foreign Report, 4/16/03 Sources: Memorandum of Understanding, 9/1/1975] In the event that commercial shippers refuse to ship oil to Israel, the US is obligated to ship it using its own tankers. [Janes Foreign Report, 4/16/03]
People and organizations involved: Israel, Henry A. Kissinger
          

January 1990

       Speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee, CIA Director William acknowledges the West's increasing dependency on Middle East oil. [Cited in Ahmed, 10/2/01]
People and organizations involved: William H. Webster
          

May 1990

       The US National Security Council presents a white paper to President Bush in which it describes Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq as the optimum contender “to replace the Warsaw Pact” and on that basis argues for the continuation of Cold War-level military spending. [Pilger, 1991 cited in Davidsson, n.d.]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

July 8, 1996

       The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, an Israeli think tank, publishes a paper titled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.” [Guardian, 9/3/02; Washington Times, 10/7/03; Chicago Sun-Times, 3/6/03] The paper, whose lead author is Richard Perle, advises the new, right-wing Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu to break with the policies of the previous government by adopting a strategy “based on an entirely new intellectual foundation, one that restores strategic initiative and provides the nation the room to engage every possible energy on rebuilding Zionism ....” Much along the lines of an earlier paper by Israeli Oded Yinon , the document urges the Israelis to aggressively seek the downfall of their Arab neighbors—especially Syria and Iraq—by exploiting the inherent tensions within and among the Arab States. Specifically, it recommends that Israel work with Turkey and Jordan to remove Saddam Hussein from power as a means of “foiling Syria's regional ambitions.” [Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, 7/8/96; Carnegie Endowment for Peace, 3/19/03; Guardian, 9/3/02 Sources: A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm] Other suggestions for Israel include abandoning the Oslo Accords, developing a foreign policy based on a traditional balance of power strategy, reserving its right to invade the West Bank and Gaza Strip as part of a strategy of “self-defense,” abandoning any notion of “land for peace,” reestablishing a policy of preemptive strikes, forging closer ties to the US while taking steps towards self-reliance, and seeking an alternative to Yasser Arafat as leader of the PLO. [Guardian, 9/3/02; Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, 7/8/96 Sources: A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm]
People and organizations involved: Douglas Feith, Jeffrey T. Bergner, Richard Armitage, Richard V. Allen, Benjamin Netanyahu, Richard Perle, A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, James Colbert, Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Jonathan Torop, Meyrav Wurmser, Robert Loewenberg, David Wurmser
          

1998

       Ahmed Chalabi suggests in an interview with the Jerusalem Post that if the INC is successful in its efforts to topple Saddam Hussein's government, the new government will restore the oil pipeline from Kirkuk, Iraq to Haifa, Israel. The pipeline has been inoperative since the state of Israel was established in 1948. [New Yorker, 6/7/2004]
People and organizations involved: Ahmed Chalabi, Iraqi National Congress
          

January 26, 1998

       The Project for the New American Century (PNAC), an influential neoconservative think tank, publishes a letter to President Clinton urging war against Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein because he is a “hazard” to “a significant portion of the world's supply of oil.” In a foretaste of what eventually happens, the letter calls for the US to go to war alone, attacks the United Nations, and says the US should not be “crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council.” The letter is signed by many who will later lead the 2003 Iraq war. 10 of the 18 signatories later join the Bush Administration, including (future) Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Assistant Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Assistant Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Undersecretaries of State John Bolton and Paula Dobriansky, presidential adviser for the Middle East Elliott Abrams, and Bush's special Iraq envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. [Sunday Herald, 3/16/03 Sources: January 26, 1998 Open Letter to Bill Clinton] Clinton does heavily bomb Iraq in late 1998, but the bombing doesn't last long and its long term effect is the break off of United Nations weapons inspections. [New York Times, 3/22/03]
People and organizations involved: William J. Bennett, Vin Weber, Paul Wolfowitz, James Woolsey, William Schneider Jr., Donald Rumsfeld, William Jefferson ("Bill") Clinton, Robert B. Zoellick, Peter Rodman, John R. Bolton, Elliott Abrams, Richard Armitage, Jeffrey T. Bergner, Zalmay M. Khalilzad, William Kristol, Paula J. Dobriansky, Robert Kagan, Francis Fukuyama, Richard Perle
          

February 18, 1998

       Former CIA director James Woolsey participates in an online discussion on Time's weekly forum on the topic of Iraq. At one point, he is asked if he thinks the US is capable of launching a successful military attack against Iraq given the lack of support from US allies. Woolsey responds: “It will be harder but perhaps not impossible. The key holdout is Saudi Arabia—and it is indeed aggravating that even though we went to war in 1991 principally to protect its oil, they are unwilling to let us launch air strikes from their country.” [Time, 2/18/1998]
People and organizations involved: James Woolsey
          

1999

       A top level US policy document explicitly confirms the US military's readiness to fight a war for oil. The report, Strategic Assessment 1999, prepared for the US Joint Chiefs of Staff and the secretary of defense, states, “energy and resource issues will continue to shape international security,” and if an oil “problem” arises, “US forces might be used to ensure adequate supplies.” Oil conflicts over production facilities and transport routes, particularly in the Persian Gulf and Caspian regions, are specifically envisaged. [Sydney Morning Herald, 5/20/03]
People and organizations involved: United States
          

February 1999

       In his book, Tyranny's Ally: America's Failure to Defeat Saddam Hussein, David Wurmser of the American Enterprise Institute urges the US to support an insurgency aimed at toppling the Bath'ist government of Saddam Hussein as part of a broader policy to defeat pan-Arabism in Iraq. In its place, the US should encourage the creation of a “loosely unified Iraqi confederal government, shaped around strong sectarian and provincial entities,” Wurmser argues. [Wurmser, 1999, pp 136-137] What happens in Iraq is vitally important, Wurmser notes, because the country is of extreme strategic importance. “It is a key transportation route, and it is rich in both geographic endowments and human talent,” he explains. “Its location on pathways between Asia and Europe, Africa and Asia, and Europe and Africa makes it an ideal route for armies, pipelines, and trade from both the eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor to the Persian Gulf. Iraq also has large, proven oil reserves, water, and other important resources. Its geographic centrality and abundance of natural advantages alone make the country a regionally important center.” [Wurmser, 1999, pp 116-117]
People and organizations involved: David Wurmser
          

September 2000

       The neoconservative think tank Project for the New American Century writes a “blueprint” for the “creation of a ‘global Pax Americana’ ” (see also June 3, 1997). The document, titled, Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategies, Forces and Resources for a New Century, was written for the Bush team even before the 2000 Presidential election. It was written for future Vice President Cheney, future Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, future Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Florida Governor and President Bush's brother Jeb Bush, and future Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff Lewis Libby. The report calls itself a “blueprint for maintaining global US preeminence, precluding the rise of a great power rival, and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests.” The plan shows that the Bush team intended to take military control of Persian Gulf oil whether or not Saddam Hussein was in power and should retain control of the region even if there is no threat. It says: “The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.” The report calls for the control of space through a new “US Space Forces,” the political control of the internet, the subversion of any growth in political power of even close allies, and advocates “regime change” in China, North Korea, Libya, Syria, Iran and other countries. It also mentions that “advanced forms of biological warfare that can ‘target’ specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool.” (see also Spring 2001 and April 2001 (D)). [Sunday Herald, 9/7/02 Sources: Rebuilding America's Defenses] However, the report complains that these changes are likely to take a long time, “absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event—like a new Pearl Harbor.” [Los Angeles Times, 1/12/03] In an NBC interview at about the same time, Vice Presidential candidate Cheney defends Bush Jr.'s position of maintaining Clinton's policy not to attack Iraq because the US should not act as though “we were an imperialist power, willy-nilly moving into capitals in that part of the world, taking down governments.” [Washington Post, 1/12/02] This report and the Project for the New American Century generally are mostly ignored until a few weeks before the start of the Iraq war (see February-March 20, 2003).
People and organizations involved: William Jefferson ("Bill") Clinton, Donald Rumsfeld, Roger Barnett, Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, Alvin Bernstein, John Ellis ("Jeb") Bush, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Stephen A. Cambone, Eliot A. Cohen, Barry Watts, Abram Shulsky, Gary Schmitt, Steve Rosen, Dov S. Zakheim, Michael Vickers, Mackubin Owens, Phil Meilinger, Dan Goure, Donald Kagan, David Fautua, Devon Gaffney Cross, Thomas Donnelly, David Epstein, Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, Paul Wolfowitz, Robert Martinage, James Lasswell, Mark P. Lagon, Robert Kagan, Fred Kagan, William Kristol, Robert Killebrew  Additional Info 
          

(Between February 2001 and February 2003)

       Falah Aljibury, an Iraqi-born oil industry consultant with strong ties to OPEC and Big Oil, interviews potential successors to Saddam Hussein on behalf of the Bush administration. One of the candidates that he will consider is Gen. Nizar Khazrahi, who is under house arrest in Denmark awaiting trial for war crimes. [BBC Newsnight, 3/17/05; Democracy Now!, 3/21/05; Harpers Magazine, 4/05, pp 74-76 Sources: Falah Aljibury]
People and organizations involved: Falah Aljibury, Nizar Khazrahi
          

(February 2001 and After)

       “Within weeks” of taking office, the Bush administration begins planning for a post-Saddam Iraqi government. The State Department convenes a series of secret discussions attended by prominent Iraqi expatriates, many with ties to US industries, to plan for a post-Saddam Iraq. The meetings are held in the home of Falah Aljibury, an adviser to OPEC, Goldman Sachs, and Amerada Hess's oil trading arm. He also served as Ronald Reagan's backchannel to Saddam Hussein during the 1980s. According to Aljibury, the discussion group, led by Pamela Quanrud, an NSC economics expert, quickly evolves into an “oil group.” The plan they develop is said to represent the views of the oil industry and the State Department. According to the plan, Saddam Hussein would be replaced by some former Baathist general, while the rest of the government would continue to function as before. One of the candidates that is considered to head post-Saddam Iraq is Gen. Nizar Khazrahi (see (Between February 2001 and February 2003)), who is under house arrest in Denmark awaiting trial for war crimes. “The petroleum industry, the chemical industry, the banking industry—they'd hoped that Iraq would go for a revolution like in the past and government was shut down for two or three days,” Aljibury will later tell reporter Greg Palast. “You have martial law ... and say Iraq is being liberated and everybody stay where they are ... Everything as is.” [Democracy Now!, 3/21/05; BBC Newsnight, 3/17/05; Harpers Magazine, 4/05, pp 74-76 Sources: Unnamed inside sources]
People and organizations involved: Pamela Quanrud, Falah Aljibury, Nizar Khazrahi, Bush administration
          

March 2001

       Cheney's Energy Task Force authors a variety of documents relating to the oil industries of Iraq, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. [New York Times, 1/12/04; CBS News, 1/10/04; Judicial Watch, 7/17/03]
Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield contracts - This document, dated March 5, 2001, includes a table listing 30 countries which have interests in Iraq's oil industry. The document also includes the names of companies that have interests, the oil fields with which those interests are associated, as well as the statuses of those interests. [Sources: Iraq Oil Foreign Suitors, page 2, Iraq Oil Foreign Suitors, page 1]

Map of Iraq's oil fields - The map includes markings for “supergiant” oil fields of 5 billion barrels or more, other oilfields, fields “earmarked for production sharing,” oil pipelines, operational refineries, and tanker terminals. [Sources: Iraq Oil Map]

Other documents - Other documents include oil field maps and project tables for both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates [Sources: UAE Oil Map, Saudia Arabia Oil Map, UAE Oil Project Table, Saudi Arabia Oil Project Table]

People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

April 12, 2001

       A report commissioned by former US Secretary of State James Baker and the Council on Foreign Relations, titled “Strategic Energy Policy Challenges For The 21st Century,” is completed and submitted to Vice President Dick Cheney. The report was drafted by the James A.Baker III Institute for Public Policy. Edward L. Morse, an energy industry analyst, chaired the project, and Amy Myers Jaffe was the project's director. The paper urges the US to formulate a comprehensive, integrated strategic energy policy to address the current energy crisis, which it attributes to infrastructural restraints, rapid global economic expansion, and the presence of obstacles to foreign investment in the oil-rich Middle East. The report says the world's supply of oil is not a factor in the crisis. “The reasons for the energy challenge have nothing to do with the global hydrocarbon resource base. ... The world will not run short of hydrocarbons in the foreseeable future,” the paper insists. One of the report's recommendations is to “[r]eview policies toward Iraq” with the ultimate goal of “eas[ing] Iraqi oil-field investment restrictions.” Iraq, under the leadership of Saddam Hussein remains a “destabilizing influence ... to the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East.” It also notes, “Saddam Hussein has also demonstrated a willingness to threaten to use the oil weapon and to use his own export program to manipulate oil markets.” Therefore, the report says, the “United States should conduct an immediate policy review toward Iraq, including military, energy, economic, and political/diplomatic assessments.” [Sunday Herald, 10/05/02; Sydney Morning Herald, 12/26/02 Sources: Strategic Energy Policy Challenges For The 21st Century]
People and organizations involved: James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy of Rice University, Amy Myers Jaffe, Edward L. Morse, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, James Baker, Council on Foreign Relations  Additional Info 
          

May 2001

       Vice President Dick Cheney's Energy Task Force releases its energy plan. The plan, titled, Reliable, Affordable and Environmentally Sound Energy for America's Future, warns that the quantity of oil imported per day will need to rise more than fifty percent to 16.7 million barrels by 2020. “A significant disruption in world oil supplies could adversely affect our economy and our ability to promote key foreign and economic policy objectives, regardless of the level of US dependence on oil imports,” the report explains. One of these objectives is to open markets to US investors and promote free trade through new investment treaties. To meet the United States' rising demand for imported oil, the plan calls for “deep water offshore exploration and production in the Atlantic Basin, stretching from offshore Canada to the Caribbean, Brazil and West Africa.” [Guardian, 1/23/03 Sources: Reliable, Affordable and Environmentally Sound Energy for America?s Future, Chapter 8]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

2002-2003

       Noted experts, analysts and commentators, as well as current and former US and foreign government officials, say that control over Iraq's oil would benefit the United States. A pro-American government in Iraq would provide the US with stable access to its northern and southern oil fields, provide US oil companies with favorable access to oil production sharing agreements and other oil industry-related contracts, allow the US to undermine OPEC's influence in the oil market, and ensure that Iraq's oil is traded in US dollars.
 Additional Info 
          

2002-2004

       Critics of the Bush administration's Iraq policy say that its plans for war are motivated by reasons other than those being cited by the White House.
 Additional Info 
          

April 2002

       According to Arnaud de Borchgrave, the editor-at-large of the Washington Times, he learns in April 2002 from neoconservatives that the planned war against Iraq is not about WMD, but about reshaping the Middle East. In a February 2004 op-ed, he writes: “WMDs were not the principal reason for going to war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq; they were the pretext. ... When this writer first heard from prominent neoconservatives in April 2002 that war was no longer a question of ‘if’ but ‘when,’ the casus belli had little to do with WMDs. The Bush administration, they explained, starkly and simply, had decided to redraw the geopolitical map of the Middle East. The Bush Doctrine of preemption had become the vehicle for driving axis-of-evil practitioners out of power.” [Washington Times, 2/10/2004]
People and organizations involved: Arnaud de Borchgrave
          

June 28, 2002

       The National Review publishes an op-ed piece by Lawrence Kudlow, titled, “Taking back the market . . . by force,” in which he claims, “The shock therapy of decisive war will elevate the stock market by a couple thousand points.” Kudlow is the CEO of Kudlow & Co. [National Review, 6/26/02]
People and organizations involved: Research Unit for Political Economy
          

August 7, 2002

       Speaking to the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco, Cheney states, “Many of us, I think, are skeptical that simply returning the inspectors will solve the problem. A debate with [Mr Hussein] over inspectors simply, I think, would be an effort by him to obfuscate, delay and avoid having to live up to the accords that he signed up to at the end of the Gulf war.” [New York Times, 8/7/02; Observer, 8/11/02] In the speech, he also tells his audience that Saddam “sits on top of 10 per cent of the world's oil reserves. He has enormous wealth being generated by that,” adding, “And left to his own devices, it's the judgment of many of us that in the not too distant future he will acquire nuclear weapons.” [New York Times, 8/7/02; Observer, 8/11/02]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

August 15, 2002

       The Washington Post syndicated columnist Charles Krauthhammer, speaking on “Inside Washington” in a discussion with fellow Post columnist Charlie King and Post military reporter Thomas Ricks, argues in favor of the Bush administration's policy on Iraq. At one point, moderator Gordan Petersons asks what the US should do after deposing Saddam. Krauthhammer responds: “We don't speak about exit strategies; this is not Bosnia, or Haiti, or the Balkans. This is very important, everybody understands it, we are not going to run away. We are going to get there, and we are going to stay. We are going to try to make a reasonably civil society, reasonably pro-American, a good influence on the neighbors, and disarmed. That's a large undertaking, and I think we are absolutely [unintelligible] everybody who is supporting the war or the invasion is in favor of staying and doing the job.” When Thomas Ricks notes that Krauthhammer's proposal would involve nine of the US Army's ten active-duty divisions, he counters, “That assumption is entirely unwarranted. I think we will be accepted as liberators, as we were in Afghanistan.” He also shoots down a comment from Peterson referring to the cost of invading Iraq. “If we win the war, we are in control of Iraq, it is the single largest source of oil in the world, it's got huge reserves, which have been suppressed because of Iraq's actions, and Saddam's. We will have a bonanza, a financial one, at the other end, if the war is successful,” Krauthhammer explains. [WUSATV, 8/3/02]
People and organizations involved: Charles Krauthhammer
          

Late August 2002

       Gideon Ezra, Israel's deputy interior minister, says, “The more aggressive the attack is, the more it will help Israel against the Palestinians. The understanding would be that what is good to do in Iraq, is also good for here.” He also says that a US invasion of Iraq would “undoubtedly deal a psychological blow” to the Palestinians. [Christian Science Monitor, 8/30/02]
People and organizations involved: Gideon Ezra
          

Late August 2002

       Yuval Steinitz, a Likud party member of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, suggests that the imposition of a pro-American regime in Baghdad would ease Israel's discomfort with Syria, which it views as a threat. Steinitz says, “After Iraq is taken by US troops and we see a new regime installed as in Afghanistan, and Iraqi bases become American bases, it will be very easy to pressure Syria to stop supporting terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, to allow the Lebanese army to dismantle Hezbollah, and maybe to put an end to the Syrian occupation in Lebanon. If this happens we will really see a new Middle East.” [Christian Science Monitor, 8/30/02]
People and organizations involved: Yuval Steinitz
          

Fall 2002

       The Bush administration picks Philip Carroll, a former CEO of Royal Dutch/Shell's US division, to advise post-Saddam Iraq's oil ministry. [Harpers Magazine, 4/05, pp 74-76]
People and organizations involved: Philip J. Carroll
          

Fall 2002

       Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld tells Fortune magazine, “If you [worry about just] the cost, the money, Iraq is a very different situation from Afghanistan ... Iraq has oil. They have financial resources.” [Financial Times, 1/16/04]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

Fall 2002-March 2003

       US officials, advisors, and foreign policy experts suggest that a portion of the cost of the US military operation in Iraq, as well as the post-war reconstruction, could be funded with Iraq's oil wealth. [St. Petersburg Times, 4/2/03; Financial Times, 1/16/04; Congressional Office of Jan Schakowsky, n.d.; White House, 2/18/03]
 Additional Info 
          

September 21, 2002

       Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri reads the full text of a statement by Saddam Hussein before the UN secretariat-general. The statement condemns the Bush administration's attempts to provoke a war with Iraq and accuses the administration of working hand in hand with the hardline Zionists in the Israeli government [Text of Letter]
          

September 25, 2002

       In a paper titled, “The Road to Economic Prosperity for a Post-Saddam Iraq,” which is a part of the study, A Future of a Post-Saddam Iraq: A Blueprint for American Involvement, Ariel Cohen and Gerald P. O'Driscoll, argue for the implementation of neoliberal reforms including the privatization of Iraq's major industries. The document says that poverty in Iraq is a result of Saddam Hussein's mismanagement, namely Saddam's decision to nationalize certain industries; Iraq's war with Iran; the invasion of Kuwait; and Saddam's refusal to comply with the requirements for the suspension of UN sanctions. The paper's proposal for jumpstarting Iraq's economy focuses on privatization of Iraq's industries and several other neoliberal reforms. To complement this, the authors recommend using the “media and the educational system to explain the benefits of privatization and the changes to come in order to ensure broad public support.” The costs of reconstruction, they suggest, could be paid for with funds generated from the sale of Iraq's oil. “Iraq's vast oil reserves are more than ample to provide the funds needed to rebuild and boost economic growth,” the report says. [Observer, 11/3/02 Sources: The Road to Economic Prosperity for a Post-Saddam Iraq. Backgrounder #1594] But in order to generate this amount, the Cohen and Driscoll write, the post-Saddam government would probably have to reconsider its membership in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) . “Following the demise of Saddam Hussein, it is unlikely that the Saudi kingdom would transfer a fraction of its production quota under the [OPEC] regime to Iraq to compensate for those lost profits and facilitate its rebuilding,” the authors note. “Iraq will need to ensure cash flow for reconstruction regardless of OPEC supply limitations. Combined with the potential privatization of the oil industry, such measures could provide incentive for Iraq to leave the OPEC cartel down the road, which would have long term, positive implications for global oil supply. ... An Iraq outside of OPEC would find available from its oil trade an ample cash flow for the country's rehabilitation.” [Sources: The Road to Economic Prosperity for a Post-Saddam Iraq. Backgrounder #1594] Cohen will later admit in an interview after the invasion of Iraq that his interest in Iraq withdrawing from OPEC was to destabilize Saudi Arabia (see (Early 2005)).
People and organizations involved: Gerald P. O'Driscoll, Ariel Cohen  Additional Info 
          

October 2002

       Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the London-based Iraqi National Congress (INC) meets with the executives of “three US oil multinationals to negotiate the carve-up of Iraq's massive oil reserves post-Saddam.” Also in attendance are “leading oilmen, exiled Iraqis, and lawyers.” The meeting, titled “Invading Iraq: dangers and opportunities for the energy sector,” meets “behind the closed doors of the Royal Institute of International Affairs” in London. Several weeks after the meeting one delegate will tell the Guardian that the whole day could have been summarized with: “Who gets the oil?” The meeting is confirmed by INC spokesman Zaab Sethna. [Observer, 11/3/02; Guardian, 11/22/02]
People and organizations involved: Ahmed Chalabi
          

October 2002

       Deutsche Bank publishes a report, titled, Baghdad Bazaar Big Oil in Iraq, which analyses the large stakes that certain countries and oil companies have in the United State's conflict with Iraq. It notes that the removal of Saddam Hussein would benefit US and British companies, while Russian, French, and Chinese companies would benefit from a peaceful outcome. Either way, companies from many different countries are positioning themselves for a role in Iraq's post-conflict oil industry, the report says. [New York Times, 10/26/02; Friends of the Earth, 1/26/03]
People and organizations involved: Deutsche Bank
          

Early October 2002

       Grant Aldonas, American undersecretary of commerce, tells a business forum that a war in Iraq “would open up this spigot on Iraqi oil, which certainly would have a profound effect in terms of the performance of the world economy for those countries that are manufacturers and oil consumers.” [MSNBC, 11/7/02; Christian Science Monitor, 10/16/02; Guardian, 1/26/03]
People and organizations involved: Grant Aldonas
          

October 9, 2002

       During his daily press briefing, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer denies that oil is a motivating factor behind the drive for war with Iraq. He says, “It is not a factor. This is about preserving the peace and saving the lives of Americans.” [New York Daily News, 10/10/02; White House, 10/9/02; MSNBC, 11/7/02]
People and organizations involved: Ari Fleischer
          

October 30, 2002

       White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer denies that the US intends to control Iraq's oil reserves. He claims, “The only interest the United States has in the region is furthering the cause of peace and stability ... not his country's ability to generate oil.” Asked if the US would take over Iraq's oil fields in the event of a US invasion of Iraq, Fleischer explains, “No. The purpose of any plan the United States has is to make certain that Saddam Hussein complies with all UN resolutions.” Asked if the US would administer Iraq's oil fields after an invasion he said, “I think that it's impossible for anybody to speculate about anything and everything that could possibly happen under any military scenario. And I wouldn't even try to start guessing what the military may or may not do.” [White House, 10/9/02; MSNBC, 11/7/02]
People and organizations involved: Ari Fleischer
          

November 2002

       The US Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that in 2025, 51 percent of world oil production will come from OPEC. And two-thirds of OPEC's production will be coming from the Persian Gulf. According to EIA, OPEC production now accounts for 38 percent of global oil production. [New York Times, 12/26/02]
          

December 2002

       John Brodman, the deputy assistant secretary of energy for international energy policy, tells the New York Times: “Our dependency on the Persian Gulf could take a slight dip before it goes up. But the basic geological fact of life is that 70 percent of the proven oil reserves are in the Middle East.” [New York Times, 12/26/02]
People and organizations involved: John Brodman
          

December 2002

       RUPE publishes a special issue in their journal, Aspects of India's Economy, analyzing the true motives behind the United States' plan to invade Iraq. The purpose for this special publication, according to RUPE, is that India (like Pakistan) has been placed within the US geo-strategic agenda for the Asian region. This has been done, among other things, by declaring India to be an important military ally, and by working for a US-India political/military axis against China. RUPE argues that this will heighten the military tension in a region occupied by nuclear powers. Therefore it is necessary to understand the true motives behind the US geo-political agenda, exemplified in the current move against Iraq, before uncritically exposing one's country to such risks. The report concludes that protecting the security of the US dollar is a primary motive behind the US's planned invasion of Iraq. [Research Unit for Political Economy,11/02]
People and organizations involved: Research Unit for Political Economy  Additional Info 
          

December 20-21, 2002

       The Oil and Energy Working Group, one of 17 such groups working under the US State Department's “Future of Iraq” project (see April 2002-March 2003), meets to discuss plans for the oil industry in a post-Saddam Iraq. People who are likely members of this group include Ahmed Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress, Sharif Ali Bin al Hussein of the Iraqi National Congress; recently defected personnel from Iraq's Ministry of Petroleum; the former Iraqi head of military intelligence; Sheikh Yamani, the former Oil Minister of Saudi Arabia; and unnamed representatives from the US Energy Department. The responsibilities of this working group include: (1) developing plans for restoring the petroleum sector in order to increase oil exports to partially pay for a possible US military occupation government. (2) reconsidering Iraq's continued membership in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and “whether it should be allowed to produce as much as possible or be limited by an OPEC quota.” (3) “consider[ing] whether to honor contracts made between the Hussein government and foreign oil companies, including the US $3.5 billion project to be carried out by Russian interests to redevelop Iraq's oilfields.” [US Department of State, 12/19/02; Observer, 11/3/02; Oil and Gas International, 10/30/02]
People and organizations involved: Ahmed Chalabi, Sheikh Yamani
          

February 2003

       The Bush administration completes a 100-page blueprint for post-Saddam Iraq. The document replaces the State Department- and Big Oil- sanctioned plan (see (February 2001 and After)) with one favored by neoconservatives calling for the privatization of Iraq's oil reserves and supporting industries as a means to undermine the OPEC cartel and destabilize Saudi Arabia (see (Early 2005)). It new plan bears strong resemblance to the recommendations that were put forth in a September 2002 Heritage Foundation paper by Ariel Cohen and Gerald P. O'Driscoll (see September 25, 2002). it is also heavily influenced by corporate lobbyists, including Grover Norquist, the outspoken advocate for a flat-tax system. The plan advocates changing Iraq's tax and copyright law, as well as implementing a variety of other neoliberal reforms. [Democracy Now!, 3/21/05; Harpers Magazine, 4/05, pp 74-76; BBC Newsnight, 3/17/05 Sources: The Road to Economic Prosperity for a Post-Saddam Iraq. Backgrounder #1594]
People and organizations involved: Bush administration, Gerald P. O'Driscoll
          

February 18, 2003

       Ari Fleischer says during his daily press briefing: “Iraq, unlike Afghanistan, is a rather wealthy country. Iraq has tremendous resources that belong to the Iraqi people. And so there are a variety of means that Iraq has to be able to shoulder much of the burden for their own reconstruction [sic].” [Financial Times, 1/16/04; White House, 2/18/03]
People and organizations involved: Ari Fleischer
          

March 5, 2003

       Ariel Cohen and Gerald P. O'Driscoll update their September 2002 paper titled, “The Road to Economic Prosperity for a Post-Saddam Iraq,” (see September 25, 2002) expanding the section which addresses plans for post-Saddam Iraq's oil industry. The update is apparently a reaction to the State Department's opposition to the neoconservatives' proposal to sell off Iraq's oil fields. They say that despite Secretary of State Colin Powell's remarks that the “oil of Iraq belongs to the Iraqi people.... [and] will not be exploited for the United States' own purpose....” the US should still provide “guidance to the future government of Iraq on establishing sound economic and trade policies to stimulate growth and recovery.” [Sources: The Road to Economic Prosperity for a Post-Saddam Iraq. Backgrounder #1633]
People and organizations involved: Gerald P. O'Driscoll, Ariel Cohen, Colin Powell
          

March 27, 2003

       Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage tells the House Committee on Appropriations during a hearing on a supplemental war regulation: “This is not Afghanistan ... When we approach the question of Iraq, we realize here is a country which has a resource. And it's obvious, it's oil. And it can bring in and does bring in a certain amount of revenue each year ... $10, $15, even $18 billion ... this is not a broke country.” [Congressional Office of Jan Schakowsky, n.d.]
People and organizations involved: Richard Armitage
          

March 27, 2003

       Paul Wolfowitz, deputy defense secretary, tells the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee that Iraq's oil wealth will help fund post-war reconstruction. “There's a lot of money to pay for this that doesn't have to be US taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people,” he says. “On a rough recollection, the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 billion and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years.” [Financial Times, 1/16/04; St. Petersburg Times, 4/2/03]
People and organizations involved: Paul Wolfowitz
          

March 27, 2003

       Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says during a Senate hearing, “When it comes to reconstruction, before we turn to the American taxpayer, we will turn first to the resources of the Iraqi government and the international community.” [Financial Times, 1/16/04]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

May 16, 2003

       Philip Carroll, the chief advisor to the new Iraqi government's oil ministry, tells the Washington Post that Iraq might end its membership in OPEC. “[Iraqis] have from time to time, because of compelling national interest, elected to opt out of the quota system and pursue their own path.... [The new Iraqi government] may elect to do that same thing.” But Carroll later tells investigative reporter Greg Palast that he personally would not have supported privatization. “Nobody in their right mind would have thought of doing that,” he later explains. [Washington Post, 5/17/03, pp E01]
People and organizations involved: Philip J. Carroll
          

After mid-April 2003

       After it becomes apparent that there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that could have posed a serious threat to the United States or Britain, people close to the administration begin to acknowledge, through direct and indirect statements, that there were other reasons for invading Iraq, which were not disclosed to the public before the invasion. For example, ABC News reports on April 25, 2003 that “officials ... privately acknowledge the White House had another reason for war—a global show of American power and democracy.” According to one official interviewed by ABC, the weapons of mass destruction argument was used for the sole purpose of obtaining legal justification for war from the United Nations and securing support from the American public. The primary reason for the invasion, according to the officials, was that it was believed that the Middle East would produce more terrorists if the US did nothing. Their theory was that “young Arabs, angry about their lives and without hope, would always [be] looking for someone to hate—and that someone would always be Israel and the United States.” According to these ideologues, only regime change and the imposition of a western-styled, pro-Israeli and pro-US government would provide a solution. [ABC News, 4/25/03 Sources: Unnamed US official]
 Additional Info 
          

September 2003

       Philip Carroll, the chief advisor to the new Iraqi government's oil ministry, resigns and is replaced by Rob McKee, a former vice-president of ConocoPhillips. [Harpers Magazine, 4/05, pp 75]
People and organizations involved: Philip J. Carroll, Rob McKee
          

November 2003

       BearingPoint and Amy Jaffe complete the State Department-commissioned plan for Iraq's oil industry (see November 2003). The 323-page document, titled, Options for Developing a Long Term Sustainable Iraqi Oil Industry, lays out seven possible models for Iraq's oil industry, none of which is privatization. “The seven options [range] from the Saudi Aramco model, in which the government owns the whole operation from reserves to pipelines, to the Azerbaijan model, in which the state-owned assets are operated almost entirely by ‘OICs’ (International Oil Companies),” Greg Palast reports. The plan seemingly favors the production-sharing agreement (PSA) model, in which oil reserves are owned by the state but operated and controlled by foreign oil companies that earn a percentage of oil sales. The document makes it clear that in order to secure sufficient investment, the Iraqi government will have to offer OICs a generous portion of the oil proceeds. “Countries that do not offer risk-adjusted rates of return equal to or above other nations will be unlikely to achieve significant levels of investment, regardless of the richness of their geology,” the plan states flatly. As a case in point, the plan highlights the Azerbaijan system which it notes has “been able to partially overcome their risk profile and attract billions of dollars of investment but offering a contractual balance of commercial interests within the risk contract.” [BBC Newsnight, 3/17/05; Harpers Magazine, 4/05, pp 75; Democracy Now!, 3/21/05] Jaffe later explains to reporter Greg Palast that the oil industry prefers state ownership of Iraq's oil over privatization because it fears a repeat of Russia's energy privatization, which barred US oil companies from bidding on its reserves. Furthermore, another reason the oil companies oppose the neoconservatives' privatization scheme is because they have no desire to undermine OPEC as they have no problem with high oil prices. “I'm not sure that if I'm the chair of an American company, and you put me on a lie detector test, I would say high oil prices are bad for me or my company,” she acknowledges to Palast. Similarly, a former Shell oil boss tells Palast that the interests of the neoconservatives, who were calling for total privatization, and the oil companies are “absolutely poles apart.” He says: “Many neoconservatives are people who have certain ideological beliefs about markets, about democracy, about this, that and the other. International oil companies, without exception, are very pragmatic commercial organizations. They don't have a theology. ... They are going to do what is in the best interest of their shareholders.” [Harpers Magazine, 4/05, pp 75; Democracy Now!, 3/21/05] The State Department will deny the existence of this oil plan “for months,” according to Palast, who will only obtain it after identifying its title and threatening legal action against the government. [Harpers Magazine, 4/05, pp 75; Democracy Now!, 3/21/05]
People and organizations involved: Amy Myers Jaffe, BearingPoint
          

November 2003

       Rob McKee, the recently appointed chief advisor to the new Iraqi government's oil ministry, commissions a new plan for Iraq's oil industry, which is intended to replace the neoconservatives' plan for privatization. The plan is written by State Department Contractor BearingPoint, but significant input comes from oil industry consultants and executives. BearingPoint's work is overseen by Amy Jaffe of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy of Rice University. [Harpers Magazine, 4/05, pp 75; Democracy Now!, 3/21/05]
People and organizations involved: Rob McKee, Amy Myers Jaffe, BearingPoint
          

(Early 2005)

       Ariel Cohen, who co-authored a September 2002 paper (see September 25, 2002) recommending the privatization of Iraq's oil industry, explains to reporter Greg Palast how his privatization plan would have ended OPEC's control over oil prices. He says that if Iraq's fields had been sold off, competing companies would have quickly increased the production of their individual patches, resulting in over production which would have flooded world oil markets, thrown OPEC into panic, and destabilized the Saudi monarchy. [Democracy Now!, 3/21/05; BBC Newsnight, 3/17/05; Harpers Magazine, 4/05, pp 75]
People and organizations involved: Ariel Cohen
          

(Early 2005)

       In an interview with Greg Palast, Robert Ebel, a former Energy and CIA oil analyst, acknowledges that the invasion of Iraq was driven by oil interests. “The thought was, ‘Why are you going into Iraq? It's about oil isn't it?’ And my response was, ‘No, It's about getting rid of Saddam Hussein. The morning after, it's about oil.’” [Democracy Now!, 3/21/05]
People and organizations involved: Robert Ebel
          

January 26, 2005

       ConocoPhillips reports record profits for its 2004 fourth quarter, over double the amount it posted twelve months before. Income from continuing operations rose to $2.5 billion compared with $985 million in 2003. The dramatic increase in profits is attributed to record high oil prices. [Marketwatch, 1/26/05]
People and organizations involved: ConocoPhillips
          

February 1, 2005

       ExxonMobil reports $298 billion in revenue for 2004, claiming title as the world's largest firm by revenue. Walmart, who held the number one position for 2003, generated $288 billion in 2004. The dramatic increase in revenue is attributed to record high oil prices. [Agence-France Presse, 2/1/04; Knight Ridder Newspapers, 2/12/04]
People and organizations involved: ExxonMobil
          

February 4, 2005

       Shell Oil reports that its 2004 fourth-quarter net income rose 133 percent to $4.48 billion compared with the same period a year before. The dramatic increase in profits is attributed to record high oil prices. [Agence-France Presse, 1/26/04]
People and organizations involved: Royal Dutch/Shell
          


Except where otherwise noted, the textual content of each timeline is licensed under the Creative Commons License below:

Creative Commons License Home |  About this Site |  Development |  Donate |  Contact Us
Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Use