rn: Gulf Oil Triangle & Mideast violence


Jan Slakov

Dear RN,

I sent the Gulf Oil Triangle out to a few people and one sent me, a reply
including an article by Robert Fisk of the _Independent_, which I include below.

all the best, Jan
PS There is one thing I object to in the article below: saying the Israelis
don't want peace. Certainly, there are plenty of forces for violence in
Israel, but there are some great peace groups there too!
Date: Thu, 04 Jan 2001 15:00:48 -0500
Subject: The Oil Triangle

        If the United States were really serious about ending the fighting between
the Palestinians and the Israelis, we would simply cut off all economic and
military aid to both sides.  But that is not to be.  
        American aid to the Israelis averages at least $5 billion annually
compared to less than half that amount for all Arab nations in the region,
not including the cost of American troops stationed there.
        Our apparent inability to facilitate the resolution of the conflict has
little to do with the intransigence of the two feuding neighbors who have
been fighting for centuries.  Rather it has much more to do with oil.
        For over a half century the Israeli government has skillfully manipulated
the U.S. Congress into supporting its military machine.  So powerful is the
Jewish lobby in Washington that anyone critical of American foreign policy
towards Israel is immediately branded an anti-Semite. 
        But who is manipulating whom?  Are the Israelis manipulating us or are we
simply encouraging them to do our dirty work in the Middle East?
        Of the dozen or so Arab oil producers, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait,
and UAE are by far the most important.  To keep American gas guzzlers
filled with low-cost gasoline, we depend heavily on Persian Gulf oil.  
Whether we call these Arab nations feudal monarchies, emirates, or popular
social democracies, democratic they are not.   For over twenty years we
have not hesitated to point an accusatory finger at human rights violators
all over the world with the exception of countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE,
Kuwait, and Bahrain.  About their undemocratic ways we utter not a critical
word.  They pretend to be democracies, and we pretend to believe them.  
Where does Israel, which has one of the worst human rights records in the
world, fit into this equation?  It is the third side of the triangle
involving the United States and the Persian Gulf oil states.  Israel has
been perceived as a threat by its Arab neighbors since the 1967 Six-Day
War, when it captured the West Bank from Jordan, the Gaza Strip from Egypt,
and the Golan Heights from Syria.  The sophisticated, U.S. supported,
high-tech Israeli military machine has not gone unnoticed.
        After the 1972 OPEC oil crisis every American president yearned for an
excuse to establish a permanent military presence in the Persian Gulf.  But
this temptation always had to be tempered by the threat of Soviet
reprisals.  However, in 1991 President George Bush deployed 500,000
American troops, 50 warships, and 1,000 warplanes to the Persian Gulf at
the "invitation" of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia "to teach Saddam Hussein a
lesson."  The Soviets not only blinked but joined the U.S. led coalition
against Iraq.  Ten years later American troops are still stationed in Saudi
Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, and Kuwait, as well as Egypt and Turkey.
        No one was more surprised than Saddam Hussein when President Bush turned
against his former ally and recast him as the new Adolf Hitler.  Bush
needed a bigger than life enemy to justify American military presence in
the Gulf.  Hussein played his role well.
        The big losers in the region are the Iraqi people and the Palestinians,
the latter of whom are still chafing from the territory which they lost to
Israel when it was created by the United Nations in 1948.  By continuously
nipping at the heels of the Israelis, the Palestinians energize the Gulf
Oil Triangle.  The low-level, sometimes rock-throwing, attacks by the
outmanned, outarmed Palestinians provide the justification for continued
U.S. support of Israel.  When the Israelis respond militarily to the
Palestinian provocations, the neighboring oil states, who have no love for
Israel, become paranoid.  Their governments are happy to accept American
troops to protect them from the Israelis as well as the risk of popular
uprisings at home.  
        In return for U.S. military protection, Gulf oil states adjust their
petroleum production schedules to accommodate Washington.  So long as they
play by the rules, they need not fear either the Jews or domestic political
unrest.  Uncle Sam is there.
        In today's world, direct U.S. military intervention into the affairs of
tiny friendly Arab nations like Saudi Arabia would be considered
politically incorrect.  That's why the Gulf Oil Triangle is so important to
the United States.  For less than $8 billion a year in economic and
military aid, plus the presence of a few thousand American troops, we
control the production of one of the most important oil producing regions
in the world.
        The endless high-profile Israeli-PLO summits promoted by President Bill
Clinton are a complete sham.  Neither the Israelis, the Gulf oil states,
nor the United States are committed to peace in the Middle East.  Only the
Palestinians and the Iraqi people want peace, and their votes don't count. 

                                                -Thomas H. Naylor
                                                November 15, 2000

        Professor Emeritus of Economics at Duke University and co-author of The
Technofascist Manifesto, to be published by New River Press, Woonsocket,
Rhode Island.

-Thomas Naylor
        [Note from Jan: I originally got this paper from Carolyn Chute, a
novelist and activist I "met" through rkm & who lives in Maine with "no
phone, no fax, no paved road". I called the author because I wanted a copy
by e-mail to send to you. He, being against technofascism, has no e-mail!
However, several phone calls later and his son managed to get it to me:) ]
From: Chris (in Switzerland)
Regarding Mr. Naylor's reference to the "sham summits", read the article

Best regards,

INDEPENDENT (London)       29 December 2000

Sham summit promised little for the Palestinians
        By Robert Fisk

In the end, it was the same old story. The Israelis would make "one last
step for peace". They would probably concede according to a number of
inaccurate Western newspaper reports Palestinian "sovereignty" over the
Temple Mount/ Haram al-Sharif mosques in Jerusalem. And Yasser Arafat
would be blamed if he turned down the last chance he would ever get for a
real peace in the Middle East. Thus was yesterday's doomed summit at Sharm
el-Sheikh promoted and upon these factual untruths it died before it was
ever held.

Of course, Ehud Barak pulled out. Of course, Mr Arafat could not accept
the terms, because Israel was offering the Palestinians "control" of the
surface of the mosques, it never offered "sovereignty". And by midday
yesterday, Mr Barak's security adviser, Danny Yatom, was saying just that.
Mr Barak, he announced, "will not sign an accord which transfers
sovereignty [over the Temple Mount/ Haram al-Sharif] to the Palestinians".
The result? The world believes that Mr Arafat turned down what he had
always demanded, and the cancellation of the Sharm el-Sheikh summit was
entirely his fault.

Having claimed in the past that Israel was offering 92 per cent of the
West Bank and then 94 per cent to the Palestinians, the Americans insisted
that the latest Clinton proposals would give Mr Arafat 95 per cent. But a
careful reading of the Clinton document proves this to be untrue. With the
Dead Sea waters that would become Palestinian "territory", with the
Israeli army "buffer zones", with the "rental" of the Kiryat Arba
settlement land, with the exclusion of the West Bank land illegally
annexed into Jerusalem by the Israelis (including the massive Male Adumim
settlement), Arafat was still likely to get no more than 64 or 65 per

And the Palestinian Authority knows all too well what "control" would mean
in Jerusalem. While Arafat's men collected garbage, supplied the traffic
cops and kept their own people in order, the Israelis would continue to
hold sovereign power over all Jerusalem.

Palestinian "control" of Palestinian "neighbourhoods" of Jerusalem would
recreate the insanity of West Bank areas A, B and C where Israelis and
Palestinians variously "control" all of an area or share parts of it. One
Jerusalem street would have Palestinian policemen, the next Israelis. And
the Israelis, of course, could besiege a street just as they can currently
besiege a town on the West Bank.

Then there was the "swap" of Palestinian land on the West Bank that Israel
would keep in return for "some land outside the Gaza Strip in the south of
our country", as one Israeli journalist put it on Wednesday night. The
only small detail about this piece of generosity that was not mentioned
was that the "land" Israelis would hand over happens to be desert. In
return for keeping settlements illegally built on occupied territory, Mr
Arafat would be the recipient of a patch of sand.

For Mr Arafat's millions of refugees, there would be no more "right of
return"  goodbye to UN General Assembly resolution 194 merely a profound
hope that some could go to the new "Palestine" where they never had their
home, or go to Israel as part of a family "reunion" agreement. In reality
and with tens of thousands of Palestinians in Lebanon or settled in
northern Europe and America this is probably what will, one day, happen.

But bundled in with the rest of the Clinton proposals, Mr Arafat and Mr
Barak were never going to make a deal. That much is certain. Along with
the fact that the ever-more humiliated Mr Arafat is going to be blamed yet
again for turning down that infamous "last chance for peace".