The New Great Game
Lutz C. Kleveman
1st April, 2003
War on Iraq is about a lot more than boosting oil companies’ profits. It’s the latest battle in the ongoing war over who gets to control the earth’s remaining energy reserves. By Lutz C Kleveman.
‘No blood for oil’ was a common slogan at the recent anti-war demos around the globe. Yet, few people have an idea of just how momentous a strategic struggle is being waged behind the rhetoric of weapons inspections and human rights. What is at stake is nothing less than who controls the earth’s remaining energy reserves. This new ‘Great Game’ (a modern variant of the imperial rivalry between Great Britain and Tsarist Russia in 19th century Central Asia) over oil is about to enter a crucial stage. However vehement the denials by the Bush administration, Washington’s true intention is to turn Iraq into an alternative to Saudi Arabia: a strategic oil supplier for its economy and a key US ally in the Middle East.
The new Great Game is being played out not only in the Middle East but also in other energy-rich regions such as West Africa and the Caspian Sea. There too, the scramble for petrol reserves and pipeline routes is producing bloody conflicts, proving beyond doubt why oil has been called ‘the tears of the devil’.
Iraq, however, has become the linchpin in a US strategy to secure cheap oil while breaking the clout of the Arab-dominated oil cartel Opec....
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