Archive for the ‘Iraq’ Category

Get flexible

Sunday, December 9th, 2007

The newest Set America Free Coalition member, Admiral James Lyons, writes in the Washington Times:

Terrorist training camps and insurgents in Iraq and elsewhere are funded by Saudi and Iranian petrodollars. So are bounties for families of suicide bombers. It is incredible: by buying Saudi-controlled OPEC oil we finance a war against ourselves.

But the Saudis are not alone. Iran has used its vast accumulation of petrodollars to support terrorism throughout the Middle East as well as providing funds for their drive to develop a nuclear weapon. Oil has also given Iran, Venezuela and — in the past — Libya the flexibility to ignore economic sanctions by finding amoral partners such as China, Russia and some of the European countries who are willing to trade with them. Petro revenue has provided Vladimir Putin the means to centralize his power, bully his neighbors and steer Russia on an independent course that has been unhelpful to U.S. interests.

For all these reasons, as well as for our long-term economic and security concerns, we must break our addiction to oil…

We have technology that will underpin an energy strategy that will break our petro-addiction and OPEC’s hegemony. That strategy lies in something already available: mixed-fuel technology; vehicles that use a mixture of ethanol, methanol and gasoline.

Ethanol is produced from a variety of agricultural sources, primarily sugarcane and corn, at as low as $1.50 a gallon. In 2006, methanol, which can be made from coal, natural gas and agricultural waste, was being sold without any subsidies for 80 cents per gallon.

The engineering difference for a flex fuel car requires an additional sensor and computer chip that controls the fuel-air mixture. It also should have a corrosion resistant fuel system. The overall increase in costs for a flex fuel car will average about $100 per vehicle.

This year Detroit has offered two dozen models with a flex fuel option. To accelerate this program, Congress needs to put politics aside and enact legislation to require that 50 percent of all vehicles produced by our auto manufacturers must be flex fuel by 2012. This will not be easy. However, this is a figure the Big Three auto makers proposed to President Bush when they met last year.

Oil funds terrorism in Iraq

Saturday, November 25th, 2006

The New York Times reports on a federal government estimate that groups responsible for many insurgent and terrorist attacks in Iraq get “$25 million to $100 million [a year] comes from oil smuggling and other criminal activity involving the state-owned oil industry, aided by ‘corrupt and complicit’ Iraqi officials”. The article adds “other estimates suggest the sums involved could be far higher. The oil ministry in Baghdad, for example, estimated earlier this year that 10 percent to 30 percent of the $4 billion to $5 billion in fuel imported for public consumption in 2005 was smuggled back out of the country for resale. At that time, the finance minister estimated that close to half of all smuggling profits was going to insurgents. If true, that would be $200 million or more from fuel smuggling alone.”

How Iraqi Oil Smuggling Greases Violence

Thursday, October 12th, 2006

Bilal A. Wahab in the Middle East Quarterly:

“Oil is the lifeblood of Iraq. As Iraqis work to emerge from years of war and sanctions, oil exports are the government’s greatest source of revenue. Since 2003, the new Iraqi government has exported US$33 billion in oil. But rather than just fund reconstruction, oil has become a primary commodity on the black market and a central component of the web of corruption, terror, and criminality in Iraq. Oil smuggling has led to a convergence of crime and terrorism that increasingly destabilizes the country [...]

“Up to 30 percent of Iraq’s imported gasoline has been lost to smuggling networks, half of which is pocketed by the Iraqi insurgency [...] Not only have funds for vital projects been lost, but a portion of the missing revenue helps fund insurgency. Terrorism, in turn, hampers foreign investment. Attacking the oil pipelines could be a criminal enterprise but, regardless, insurgents benefit by extorting protection money from oil trucks. Terrorists and criminals have established a dangerous symbiosis[...]

“While problems associated with subsidies and oil industry corruption may seem mundane amidst continued kidnapping and car bombs, until U.S. and Iraqi authorities manage to constrain Iraqi oil smuggling, violent crime and insurgency will continue to flourish.”

Read it all.

More on this:

Fencing in looters and saboteurs in Iraq

Iraq’s Oil Sector One Year After Liberation (June 2004 paper)

Nigeria: 800,000 oil barrels/day shut in

Friday, June 9th, 2006

Attacks against oil infrastructure have shut in 800,000 barrels of oil per day in Nigeria. Tony Chukwueke, director of Nigeria’s Department of Petroleum Resources, said “This is a huge loss to Nigeria and we don’t know what to do about it.”

Meanwhile, another top Iraqi oil industry official was kidnapped yesterday.