Kissinger May Live To See His "Vision" Of Iraq To Haifa Pipeline Become A Reality
Israel imports nearly all of its oil, from countries like Mexico, Russia and Indonesia, but as an ever energy hungry and fast growing nation, its rulers have long dreamed of re-opening the near fabled pipelines that once carried oil from Northern Iraq, through Jordan, to the port city of Haifa. That pipeline was shut down in 1948, when the newly, UN-minted Israel began invading and occupying neighbouring Arab lands.
It's insulting to the thousands of Americans, and the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, who've died in the Iraq War to even try and pretend the 2003 invasion and occupation was not, in part, if not wholly, to do with securing future oil supplies for the United States and its allies, in particular, the UK, Australia and Israel.
Before the March 2003 invasion, Saddam Hussein was pushing OPEC countries to follow his 2000-2001 lead and sell their oil in Euros, all but stripping the underlying international financial bedrock from the American dollar's strength.
Hussein was also looking to China as a future buyer of his oil, and at a far better price than what the West was offering, taking into consideration that Iraq oil was worth about $US25-$US30 a barrel back in 2002.
Israel supported the US-led invasion of Iraq, quietly, so as to not inflame Muslim and Arab tensions any further then they already were, but didn't commit any troops to coalition combat units.
The true scale of Israel's involvement in the war, once it began, is still mostly unclear, though they offered unfaltering support at the United Nations, and helped enormously in the spreading of inflammatory propaganda and vast fear-mongering about Saddam Hussein's non-existence WMDs, and the hyped threat of international attacks.
Before the war was barely a month old, and years before a democratically elected Iraqi national government was in place, Israel's rulers were already itching to collect on some of the spoils of the war (From an April 20, 2003 report) :
Plans to build a pipeline to siphon oil from newly conquered Iraq to Israel are being discussed between Washington, Tel Aviv and potential future government figures in Baghdad.
(the pipeline's) resurrection would transform economic power in the region, bringing revenue to the new US-dominated Iraq, cutting out Syria and solving Israel's energy crisis at a stroke.
It would also create an endless and easily accessible source of cheap Iraqi oil for the US guaranteed by reliable allies other than Saudi Arabia - a keystone of US foreign policy for decades and especially since 11 September 2001.
The revival of the pipeline was first discussed openly by the Israeli Minister for National Infrastructures, Joseph Paritzky, according to the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz .
The paper quotes Paritzky as saying that the pipeline would cut Israel's energy bill drastically - probably by more than 25 per cent - since the country is currently largely dependent on expensive imports from Russia.
One former senior CIA official said: 'It has long been a dream of a powerful section of the people now driving this administration [of President George W. Bush] and the war in Iraq to safeguard Israel's energy supply as well as that of the United States.
'The Haifa pipeline was something that existed, was resurrected as a dream and is now a viable project - albeit with a lot of building to do.'
Sources at the State Department said that concluding a peace treaty with Israel is to be 'top of the agenda' for a new Iraqi government...
James Akins, a former US ambassador to the region and one of America's leading Arabists, said: 'There would be a fee for transit rights through Jordan, just as there would be fees for Israel from those using what would be the Haifa terminal.
'After all, this is a new world order now. This is what things look like particularly if we wipe out Syria. It just goes to show that it is all about oil, for the United States and its ally.'
Akins was ambassador to Saudi Arabia before he was fired after a series of conflicts with then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, father of the vision to pipe oil west from Iraq.
In 1975, Kissinger signed what forms the basis for the Haifa project: a Memorandum of Understanding whereby the US would guarantee Israel's oil reserves and energy supply in times of crisis.
Kissinger was also master of the American plan in the mid-Eighties - when Saddam Hussein was a key US ally - to run an oil pipeline from Iraq toAqaba in Jordan, opposite the Israeli port of Eilat.
The plan was promoted by...Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and the pipeline was to be built by the Bechtel company, which the Bush administration last week awarded a multi-billion dollar contract for the reconstruction of Iraq.
A few more weeks later and the Haifa pipeline was still looking like rapidly becoming a reality. Some in Israel's ruling elite couldn't hold back and wait to see what a new Iraqi government would do about the pipeline. They started talking like they were just about to turn on the spigot.
From the UK Daily Telegraph, June 21, 2003 :
Israel's finance minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, predicted yesterday that the British-era oil pipeline from Iraq's northern oilfields through Jordan to the Israeli port city of Haifa would be reopened.But then the Sunni-led insurgency, comprised of many die-hard Iraqi nationalists who didn't want to see Iraqi oil flowing out of the country (and the oil-rich north split away from the rest of Iraq) hit back against the American forces, and started destroying oil industry infrastructure.
"It won't be long when you will see Iraqi oil flowing to Haifa," Mr Netanyahu told a group of British investors in London.
"It is just a matter of time until the pipeline is reconstituted and Iraqi oil will flow to the Mediterranean."
Now, four years later, and the Haifa pipeline is back on the table. Interestingly it is now being referred to, at least in this story from Haaretz, as a "bonus" from the Americans for Israel's support and backing of the War On Iraq :
The United States has asked Israel to check the possibility of pumping oil from Iraq to the oil refineries in Haifa. The request came in a telegram last week from a senior Pentagon official to a top Foreign Ministry official in Jerusalem.Iraqi oil exports flutter between 500,000 and two million barrels a day. But with a rejuvenated oil refining and exporting industry running at full clip, many experts claim Iraq could produce 10 million or more barrels a day.
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.
The National Infrastructure Ministry has recently conducted research indicating that construction of a 42-inch diameter pipeline betweenKirkuk and Haifa would cost about $400,000 per kilometer. The old Mosul-Haifa pipeline was only 8 inches in diameter.
Sources in Jerusalem confirmed yesterday that the Americans are looking into the possibility of laying a new pipeline via Jordan and Israel.
Iraqi oil is now being transported via Turkey to a small Mediterranean port near the Syrian border. The transit fee collected by Turkey is an important source of revenue for the country.
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.
When the insurgency killed the possibility of the Haifa pipeline getting up and running sooner rather than later, Israel increased its "unequivocal support for the American-led campaign in Iraq" by teaching American forces how to fight an Islamist insurgency :
Israeli advisers are helping train US special forces in aggressive counter-insurgency operations in Iraq, including the use of assassination squads against guerrilla leaders, US intelligence and military sources said yesterday.
The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) has sent urban warfare specialists to Fort Bragg in North Carolina, the home of US special forces, and according to two sources, Israeli military "consultants" have also visited Iraq.
US forces in Iraq's Sunni triangle have already begun to use tactics that echo Israeli operations in the occupied territories, sealing off centres of resistance with razor wire and razing buildings from where attacks have been launched against US troops.
"This is basically an assassination programme. That is what is being conceptualised here. This is a hunter-killer team," said a former senior US intelligence official, who added that he feared the new tactics and enhanced cooperation with Israel would only inflame a volatile situation in the Middle East.
"It is bonkers, insane. Here we are - we're already being compared to Sharon in the Arab world, and we've just confirmed it by bringing in the Israelis and setting up assassination teams."
"They are being trained by Israelis in Fort Bragg," a well-informed intelligence source in Washington said.
"Some Israelis went to Iraq as well, not to do training, but for providing consultations."
...Brigadier General Michael Vane, mentioned the cooperation with Israel in a letter to Army magazine in July about the Iraq counter-insurgency campaign.
"We recently travelled to Israel to glean lessons learned from their counterterrorist operations in urban areas," wrote General Vane, deputy chief of staff at the army's training and doctrine command.
IDF interrogators are also widely rumoured to have played key roles in not only training some of the US interrogators involved in theAbu Ghraib sexual torture scandal, but of actively taking part in numerous interrogations at other detention facilities in Iraq.It'll be interesting to see what the new military aid bribes worth tens of billions of dollars to Sunni-dominated Arab countries in the region, like Saudi Arabia and Jordan, will mean for the eventual construction and security of the Iraq to Haifa pipeline.
President Bush is believed to have insisted, pre-war, that one of the key conditions for the pipeline to become a reality was for Israel to finalise a peace deal, and the implementation of the two state solution, with the Palestinians.