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The Spoils of War
An intriguing pointer to one potentially significant benefit of the Iraq war for Israel was a report by the newspaper Haaretz on 31 March that minister for national infrastructures Joseph Paritzky was considering the possibility of reopening the long-defunct oil pipeline from Mosul to the Mediterranean port of Haifa. With Israel lacking energy resources of its own and depending on highly expensive oil from Russia, reopening the pipeline would transform its economy.
To resume supplies from Mosul to Haifa would require the approval of whatever Iraqi government emerges and presumably the Jordanian government, through whose territory it would be likely to run. Paritzky's ministry was reported to have said on 9 April that it would hold discussions with Jordanian authorities on resuming oil supplies from Mosul, with one source saying the Jordanians were "optimistic". Jordan, aware of the deep political sensitivities involved, immediately denied there were any such talks.
Paritzky said he was certain the USA would respond favourably to the idea of resurrecting the pipeline. Indeed, according to Western diplomatic sources in the region, the USA has discussed this with Iraqi opposition groups.
It is understood from diplomatic sources that the Bush administration has said it will not support lifting UN sanctions on Iraq unless Saddam's successors agree to supply Israel with oil.
All of this lends weight to the theory that Bush's war is part of a master plan to reshape the Middle East to serve Israel's interests. Haaretz quoted Paritzky as saying that the pipeline project is economically justifiable because it would dramatically reduce Israel's energy bill.
US efforts to get Iraqi oil to Israel are not surprising. Under a 1975 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the US guaranteed all Israel's oil needs in the event of a crisis. The MoU, which has been quietly renewed every five years, also committed the USA to construct and stock a supplementary strategic reserve for Israel, equivalent to some US$3bn in 2002. Special legislation was enacted to exempt Israel from restrictions on oil exports from the USA.
Moreover, the USA agreed to divert oil from its home market, even if that entailed domestic shortages, and guaranteed delivery of the promised oil in its own tankers if commercial shippers were unwilling or not available to carry the crude to Israel. All of this adds up to a potentially massive financial commitment.
The USA has another reason for supporting Paritzky's project: a land route for Iraqi oil direct to the Mediterranean would lessen US dependence on Gulf oil supplies. Direct access to the world's second-largest oil reserves (with the possibility of expansion through so-far untapped deposits) is an important strategic objective.
Copyright Jane Defense Weekly 2003. For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .