In Pursuit of Oil, Mass Destruction Weapons Ignored
Contacts: Jim Vallette, 646-522-1605;
Steve Kretzmann, 202-497-1033;
Daphne Wysham, 301-573-2468
Examining recently released government and corporate sources, researchers at the Institute for Policy Studies have uncovered new evidence that oil has long been the driving concern behind US-Iraqi relations. Key figures associated with the Bush Administration, in particular Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, pressed Saddam Hussein during the mid '80's to approve the Aqaba pipeline project from Iraq to Jordan.
In "Crude Vision: How Oil Interests Obscured US Government Focus On Chemical Weapons Use by Saddam Hussein" the Institute for Policy Studies reveals that the diplomatic pressure from Rumsfeld and the Reagan administration happened during and despite Hussein's use of chemical weapons. Behind the scenes, these officials worked for two years attempting to secure the billion dollar pipeline scheme for the Bechtel corporation. The Bush/Cheney administration now eyes Bechtel as a primary contractor for the rebuilding of Iraq's infrastructure.
Bechtel's pipeline would have carried a million barrels of Iraqi crude oil a day through Jordan to the Red Sea port of Aqaba.
"The men who courted Saddam while he gassed Iranians are now waging war against him, ostensibly because he holds these same weapons of mass destruction" said Jim Vallette, lead author of the report. "To a man, they now deny that oil has anything to do with the conflict. Yet during the Reagan Administration, and in the years leading up to the present conflict, these men shaped and implemented a strategy that has everything to do with securing Iraqi oil exports. All of this documentation suggests that Reagan Administration officials bent many rules to convince Saddam Hussein to open up a pipeline of central interest to the US, from Iraq to Jordan."
Crude Vision reveals how the White House, through the Department of State and the National Security Council, pressured the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) and U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to approve financing for this deal. Reagan officials knew of numerous human rights violations by Saddam Hussein while they pursued US taxpayer support for the pipeline.
"In their own words, we now see that for Administration officials, a dictator is a friend of the United States when he is willing to make an oily deal, and a mortal enemy when he is not" said Vallette.
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