Good Reasons for Gulf War II
is Bush preparing for war with Iraq when there is unfinished business
with Al-Qaeda? Ex-President Clinton suggested that he settle the
terrorist threat first before starting a new war.
I think the two are connected.
Bush knows that Al-Qaeda is supported by oil-rich Saudis whose Wahhabi
ideology spawns the likes of Osama bin Laden. The Wahhabi version of
Islam can be described as religious fascism.
Saudi Arabia is simultaneously
an US ally and an ideological enemy. The Saudi regime and the US are
in a marriage of convenience in which the US offers protection in
exchange for a stable oil supply.
The US stands for secular
democracy, pluralism, religious freedom and the separation of church
and state. The Saudis are an Islamic theocracy that does not separate
mosque and state. It does not allow other faiths in Saudi Arabia and
shariah law is held to be supreme.
Saudis are taught in school to
hate unbelievers and encouraged to take part in jihad to expand the
borders of Islam violently. It is no wonder that Osama bin Laden is
seen to be a hero, a holy warrior and not as a terrorist. They are
spreading their wahhabi world-view through the world by using petro-dollars
to build madrassahs and mosques.
Such differing ideologies as
that of Wahhabism and American secular democracy are bound to clash.
But Bush knows that it needs Saudi Arabia to maintain a stable oil
supply. Otherwise, the fragile world economy will fall into a
recession. So it cannot press Saudi Arabia to rein in the militants in
While the Saudi government is
doing something, the Bush administration clearly wants them to do
more. Private charities in the desert kingdom continue to provide
funds to terrorist organizations and the government blocks
investigations. The main source of Islamic terrorism is Arabia.
The Saudi regime is walking a
tightrope between US pressure and its own militants. It needs the
cloak of religion to gain legitimacy and has for centuries relied on
the Wahhabis to provide this. It can only do so much to appease
Washington without provoking a backlash.
I think Bush knows the
terrorist problem lies more with their ally, Saudi Arabia than with
their enemy, the secular Saddam Hussein. But the key to Riyadh lies in
Bagdag. To pressure the Saudi regime, Bush needs Iraqi oil.
Right now, only a trickle of
Iraqi oil reaches the world markets because of UN sanctions. To get
more Iraqi oil in the market, Bush needs a friendly regime in Iraq.
With more Iraqi oil, dependence
on Saudi oil would be lessened. This means that Bush would be able to
wave the big stick at the Saudi regime.
I think the Saudis understand
all this and they are therefore not enthusiastic about the idea of
regime change in Iraq.
Pressure from the US to rein in
their militants may provoke a backlash and threaten the Saudi regime.
They may not survive.
Of course, there are other good
reasons for Bush to attack Iraq. Besides the need to take control of
Iraqi oil, there is the genuine fear of allowing a madman like Saddam
to possess a nuclear weapon. Had he possessed one in 1990, the Gulf
War may not have been fought.
If he gets one in the next two
or three years, he may invade his neighbours. This time, it would be
difficult for the US to expel him. Any US attempt to do so will result
in Saddam passing nuclear weapons to Al-Qaeda (which he may do anyway
to avenge his defeat). Leaving him in control of Persian Gulf oil will
have disastrous consequences for the world.
Given his track record, I think
it is safe to assume that his goal is to dominate the Persian Gulf.
That is why he wants nuclear weapons. The world is left with a choice.
Who do you want to control Persian Gulf oil? Saddam or Bush? I vote