Saturday, March 22, 2008

Oil’s Not That Ends Well

By Sunil K Poolani

As a ‘secular’ Indian one should, of course, be wary and concerned about neo-Hindutva’s cataclysm and its despicable pogrom programmes, however tinny and wan they might appear. But what baffles one is the contemporary Islam’s (and its various mutations’) tryst with the world order.

Reams and reams have been written about the influence (read: oil money) Saudi Arabia has over the developed world. Ditto, World Police USA’s duplicity in targeting, destroying and then rebuilding Islamic countries under the illusion that these countries possess ‘weapons of mass destruction’.

As Michael Moore and the late Hunter Thompson have had reminded their brethren a zillion times, all these wars are not fought because there is an (invisible) enemy in the wastelands of Afghanistan (or is it Pakistan?) but because the Americans are strung-up with the thought that one day their oil will evaporate; and they cannot run their BMWs and Rolls-Royces with water.

A geographical overview: Iraq is done with; Afghanistan is in a shambles (but there is drug money, nonetheless); Iran is next in line; there are promising targets like Venezuela and North Korea; and, yes, why not Russia? What do these countries have in common, save Afghanistan? They have oil; so the US conveniently finds cock-and-bull excuses like Islamic fundamentalism and communism to ‘tame’ these ‘rogue’ nations.

The US, as any third-grader would tell you, is the rogue nation. Now, forget what America is and how far it can lower itself. But, pray, why an oil-rich kingdom like Saudi Arabia does not come under the US bombardment schedule? Reasons are aplenty. Three emerge plausible.

1) Saudi stumbled on oil decades ago and the gold rush started; it has enough oil to keep the whole world running for decades to come. Along with oil, the Saudis’ business interest, too, rose. And the US became their perfect partner in this business. The Arabs’ oil money and the Americans’ thinking power (well, do not go by Bush’s face) resulted in several business partnerships taking shape. So it’s natural that the Bush family has business relationships with the bin Laden family (remember: the bin Ladens were safely allowed to leave the American soil few hours after the 9/11 terror attack).

2) The Americans want a military base (along with financial and oil support) in the Arab region — a dual gain for the US and Saudi. The US can target and bomb (consider: the commissions from the arms- and ammunitions-makers) Arab nations that are a ‘threat’ to world peace. In the process, it can gather oil from Saudi and adjoining sultanates (for at least a short time). Once the destruction job is over, America can commission, ahem, multinational companies the job of rebuilding the battered countries. It doesn’t matter whether Iraq is Sunni-dominated, a la Saudi Arabia; ultimately, once the US gets tired of the Arabian desert and leaves the coast these oil rich lands will fall in the lap of Saudi. Moreover, when it comes to attacking a Shia-majority Iran, Saudi would gleefully extend any help.

3) A school of thought believes that Bush & Co were (and are) party to all the so-called ‘terror’ attacks happening all over the world. The US does realise that the real terror attack will happen if they treat Saudi like, say Iraq or Afghanistan. After all, Saudi is the holy land of all the Muslims across the world, and US would never dream of waging a war against the kingdom.

These questions are too relevant in today’s global politico-sphere. Where do we stand and where are we headed towards? Oil has the final answer: it made certain countries rich, and that richness helped a certain religion a fearsome force to reckon with — across the globe. Today the West and the Hindu Indians eye the Muslims differently: with fear, loathe, envy, not necessarily in that order. The followers of the present form of Islam, cash rich and clueless about how to sensibly utilise it for the betterment of world peace and growth, have enjoyed all the momentary joy money can buy and are now on a rabid trip of self-destruction, blowing millions in the process.

If narcotic money once made Afghanistan strong enough to fight the ‘infidels’, oil is continuing to do the same thing for certain Arab nations. Oil has become the new opium of the masses — Arabs and Americans alike.

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