Oil Wars  

Posted by Big Gav

Here's an interesting article from last year on the US military strategy to control the world's oil supplies.

In the first U.S. combat operation of the war in Iraq, Navy commandos stormed an offshore oil-loading platform. "Swooping silently out of the Persian Gulf night," an overexcited reporter for the New York Times wrote on March 22, "Navy Seals seized two Iraqi oil terminals in bold raids that ended early this morning, overwhelming lightly-armed Iraqi guards and claiming a bloodless victory in the battle for Iraq's vast oil empire."

A year and a half later, American soldiers are still struggling to maintain control over these vital petroleum facilities -- and the fighting is no longer bloodless. On April 24, two American sailors and a coastguardsman were killed when a boat they sought to intercept, presumably carrying suicide bombers, exploded near the Khor al-Amaya loading platform. Other Americans have come under fire while protecting some of the many installations in Iraq's "oil empire."

Indeed, Iraq has developed into a two-front war: the battles for control over Iraq's cities and the constant struggle to protect its far-flung petroleum infrastructure against sabotage and attack. The first contest has been widely reported in the American press; the second has received far less attention. Yet the fate of Iraq's oil infrastructure could prove no less significant than that of its embattled cities. A failure to prevail in this contest would eliminate the economic basis upon which a stable Iraqi government could someday emerge. "In the grand scheme of things," a senior officer told the New York Times, "there may be no other place where our armed forces are deployed that has a greater strategic importance." In recognition of this, significant numbers of U.S. soldiers have been assigned to oil-security functions.

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