As the U.S., France and British rulers launch air strikes at Libya, the U.S main focus is still focus on energy’s grand prize, Saudi Arabia and the greater Persian Gulf region. As important as Libya’s 46-billion-barrel reserves are, threats to far richer sources preoccupy Obama and the oil-fueled imperialists he serves.
As of March 11, dictator Qaddafi was brutally retaking key oil towns from the rebels, indiscriminately slaughtering civilians and his opponents. Leading senators — Democrat Kerry, Independent Lieberman, and Republican McCain — have called for a “no-fly zone” entailing U.S. bombardment of Libyan planes, air defenses, and runways. But, on that very day, March 11, Obama sent war boss Robert Gates to embattled Bahrain, on the Persian Gulf — not to Libya’s U.S.-backed neighbors Tunisia or Egypt.
Bahrain houses the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which polices the globally-crucial oil exports of U.S. protectorates Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, U.S.-occupied Iraq and U.S. enemy Iran.
Kenneth Pollack, a Gulf expert having worked at the CIA, the National Security Council, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Brookings Institution, wrote a book in 2002, “The Case for Invading Iraq.” Now he has written: “It is not clear that… Libya is enough of a national interest to justify…long-term military and diplomatic commitment. Just within the Middle East, there are countries of far greater importance to the United States that may well need us to invest those resources there to make sure they turn out right.” (Brookings website, 3/09/11)
Iraq, following two U.S. invasions and sanctions that killed over two million, has, for now, “turned out right” for Exxon Mobil. Consequently, the latter now enjoys access to Iraq’s West Qurna oil field, one of the world’s biggest.
U.S. Rulers, Exxon-Mobil, Won Big in Iraq War, But Could Lose All in Saudi Destabilization
Stratfor, an outfit that provides geostrategic analysis to U.S. corporations, explained Gates’s travel plans on its website (3/9): “Unlike Libya, where the effects are primarily internal, the events in Bahrain clearly involve Saudi, Iranian and U.S. interests….Bahrain is the focal point of a struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran for control of the western littoral [shoreline regions] of the Persian Gulf ….[Saudi] destabilization would change the regional balance of power and the way the world works.”
In other words, upheavals in Saudi Arabia — home to more oil than any other country in the world — could end the biggest racket in the history of imperialism. Exxon Mobil, Saudi Arabia’s biggest customer and investor, today controls the lion’s share of the kingdom’s production. Through Exxon and its U.S. and British allies — Chevron, BP and Shell — entire nations are beholden to U.S. rulers’ terms for the supply of capitalism’s lifeblood.
Obama, Pentagon Boss Gates Oppose Only Those Wars Not in the Rulers’ ‘National Interest’
Obama’s “Defense” Secretary Gates opposes a “no-fly zone” in Libya only because it detracts from his imperialist masters’ larger need to secure the Middle East. Note his February 25 warning to West Point that any future war secretary advising a U.S. president to send a large land army into Asia, the Middle East or Africa, “should have his head examined.” Colonel Gian Gentile, an active-duty military fellow at the ultra-imperialist, Rockefeller-led Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), translated:
“The secretary is suggesting that, if a future secretary of defense advises an American president to send a significant land force into a foreign country to do nation building, the analysis has to show that that kind of effort… is worth the costs…. because it will be a costly and long-term endeavor.” (CFR website, 3/2/11) Gates, hardly a pacifist, rewords Gen. Colin Powell’s “Doctrine” which clearly specified that indispensable, imperialist goals (like securing Saudi Arabia) require overwhelming U.S. military force.
The workers and youth rebelling against fascist dictators in North Africa and the Mideast have put their lives on the line in battling the police and the armies. They have struck in demanding jobs and freedom from poverty. They deserve the support of workers worldwide.
But for the working class, two deadly misunderstandings are woven into this upsurge. First is thinking that it represents “liberation.” Without militant, class-based, communist revolution, one gang of exploiters will replace another in every country involved. Secondly is the assumption that any temporary reluctance of U.S. rulers to deploy deadly force shows “peaceful” intentions. In reality, U.S. imperialism’s continuing existence depends on control of Mideast oil. Obama & Co. and their successors will fight for it to their last bullet and to the last drop of workers’ blood.
It is up to the working class, and especially to communists, to mobilize our forces wherever we are — in shops, unions, schools, within the military, in churches and community organizations — to turn the class struggle against the ruling capitalists into a fight that goes beyond the immediate one for reforms. The rulers hold state power and always can, and do, take back these reforms. Their goal of maximum profits — and their system’s inevitable crises which produce mass unemployment, racist exploitation and imperialist war — drives them to demand these give-backs from the working class.
Only a communist revolution that smashes the bosses’ state power and their racist system altogether, creating a society run by and for our class — which produces all value — can free us from the misery of the profit system.