Centre for Research on Globalisation
Centre de recherche sur la mondialisation


Saudi Arabia, West Africa -- Next Stops in the Infinite War for Oil

by Michael C. Ruppert

From the Wilderness, 15 May 2003.
www.globalresearch.ca   17 May 2003

The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/RUP305A.html

The three bombings of expatriate compounds which took place in the Saudi Capital on Monday, May 12, signal more than a "resurgent" al Qaeda. That the CIA, the Bush family and Osama bin Laden have been cooperating and doing business for decades is now extremely well documented and part of the "9/11 cover-up" being alluded to by Bob Graham, the former chair of the Senate intelligence committee, in his public remarks. As The Financial Times reported in separate stories on May 13, the attacks signal the possible start of a campaign to overthrow the feeble Saudi monarchy and represent a serious challenge to the royal family. Quoting a senior western diplomat in the Saudi capital the FT reported, "This is a serious challenge to the al-Sauds. It is on the scale of the 1979 takeover of the Grand Mosque in Mecca." As FTW reported last August, Saudi King Fahd remains on life support on a private island off the coast of Spain while Crown Prince Abdullah and Prince Sultan jockey for position and are ready to fight for the throne the instant the King takes his last breath. Abdullah controls the Saudi National Guard and Sultan controls the army. Both are prepared to cater to elements of the population which largely sympathizes with al Qaeda, and which is highly fragmented, and which really likes neither of the billionaire princes.

FTW's previous reporting from last August indicated that the US was likely developing plans to destabilize Saudi Arabia, partition it, and occupy the world's largest oil fields shortly after it had successfully occupied Iraq. To read the full story please visit: http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/082102_saudi_arabia_1.html

Meanwhile, in Nigeria , the world's sixth largest oil producer, and throughout western and equatorial Africa, continuing rebel violence is laying the groundwork for NATO and US military intervention. Both developments are in keeping with Dick Cheney's "war which will not end in our lifetimes," a war to control the last remaining oil reserves on the planet.

Saudi Arabia 2003

Al Qaeda has never been known to issue warnings about pending attacks. Yet according to an AP story on May 13, just twenty-four hours before the attacks occurred, an al Qaeda operative calling himself Abu Mohammed al-Ablaj sent an email to the London-based Arab magazine Al-Majalla stating that suicide attacks targeting the Saudi regime and American interests were pending. This made it certain that al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden would be identified as the perpetrators.

As the number of deaths from the highly coordinated and synchronized machine gun and car bomb suicide attacks of May 12 varied, few noticed that one of the targets was a compound occupied by the Vinnell Corporation - now a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman. Vinnell has an interesting history about which FTW has written before. Previously owned by the now-notorious Carlyle Group, Vinnell is perhaps the most elite paramilitary training company in the world and it has long been reported to have heavy ties to the CIA, even to the point of providing non-official cover (NOC) for CIA officers and agents. As we reported in October of 2000, Vinnell, along with DynCorp and MPRI, are the three largest and best-connected private mercenary operations in the world.

A Times of London story on May 14, headlined "Firm ‘Was Cover for CIA'" discussed Vinnell's spooky past, its longstanding military presence in the region and noted that the current attack was the second bombing Vinnell had suffered in eight years. It was actually the third bombing of Vinnell operations since 1991. The Times did not mention the fact that a Vinnell joint venture with Halliburton's Brown and Root (Vinnell, Brown and Root) had its Ankara office bombed shortly after the Gulf War by a Kurdish separatist group. Brown and Root and the Kurds have been repeatedly connected to heroin smuggling controlled by the CIA from as far back as 1977. (To learn more about the Vinnell Corp. please visit:
http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ciadrugs/bush-cheney-drugs.html .)

Motives for these bombings might have varied as in the case of the 1991 bombing where Kurdish separatists - feeling betrayed (again) by the CIA - were seeking revenge after being left exposed and vulnerable at the end of the Gulf War.

What is interesting about the bombings is that they targeted the compound occupied by Vinnell employees at a time when most of them weren't there. An AP story on May 13, 2003, stated, "The seven Americans killed lived in a four-story building that was heavily damaged. Seventy Americans employed by the Vinnell Corp., a Virginia company with a contract to train Saudi military and civilian officials, lived in the building. By chance, 50 were away on a training exercise."

Recent dishonesties of the Bush administration including the use of forged documents about Iraqi uranium purchases, the failure to produce Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, and a host of 9/11 inconsistencies make carte blanche acceptance of official statements a bit difficult. Only one Vinnell victim, an African American, has been publicly identified as of this writing.

It would have been more accurate, however, to say that Vinnell was training the Saudi National Guard rather than the "military," which implies the Army. As we reported last August, the US is said to be favoring Prince Sultan who controls the Army. Conveniently, this attack undermines US ability to support the National Guard which belongs to 69-year-old Crown Prince Abdullah.

To state that these attacks are al Qaeda sponsored discloses the US 's real intent. Al Qaeda is Osama bin Laden. And bin Laden, who has never been estranged from his family, which operates a multi-billion dollar corporation, does not and has never acted contrary to US interests. The Saudi Binladin Group owns a telecommunications company and operates more than 50 satellites used for cell and satellite phone transmissions. The Binladin Group has also engaged in joint construction ventures with both Halliburton and Enron. And the family maintains extremely close financial ties with the Saudi Royal banker Khaled bin Mahfouz, a player in the drug bank BCCI, and known to have provided heavy financial support to al Qaeda prior to 9/11.

Saudi Arabia is another classic example of how trickle-down economics doesn't work. The chances are good that the US would conveniently respond to a collapse of the Saudi monarchy in an operation which would see many of the al-Saud and Bin Laden family gratefully take their billions and watch as their country, which has only existed since the 1930s, be partitioned into several emirates or sultanates. They might safely and gratefully move into the eastern part of the country - where the oil is - under US protection and neatly dodge the wreckage they themselves have created in the rest of the country. Or they might move to Switzerland or Beverly Hills as the family of the Shah of Iran did in 1979. In recent years Saudi Arabia has become a debtor nation, borrowing money to finance social programs which remain under-funded due to declining oil revenues and corruption. The general population is violently anti-American and only tolerates the monarchy because they are afraid of it.

If bin Laden has signaled the time to attack the regime, and if we see one more serious attack in the coming weeks, the smart money says that the monarchy is finished and that the US will conveniently find it necessary to protect the oil fields. The recent move to take US military personnel out of the country was not to mollify Saudi public opinion. It was to take the fighter jets, bombers, tankers and sensitive communications gear to nearby bases in Qatar and Kuwait where a popular uprising couldn't reach them but where they could still quickly reach Saudi targets. And with the eventual partitioning of Saudi Arabia , the Muslim Holy cities of Mecca and Medina, far off in the west, would be safely separated from the oil, further weakening the linkage between the two in world opinion.

As a result of the bombing, Reuters reported on May 15 that as many as 60 FBI and CIA agents had arrived in-country to commence operations and assist Saudi security services with admitted shortcomings. Given the history of what happens in countries where CIA presence has rapidly grown as a result of crises, like Vietnam and Iran, it's time to start an office pool about how long the monarchy has to stay in power.

The war without end continues...

Nigeria and Africa

Before discussing developments in equatorial Africa it is essential to understand the oil picture there. There are no oil reserves anywhere which rival those of Saudi Arabia with approximately 250 billion barrels (Gb), or Iraq which has approximately 112 Gb. Current world consumption is approximately 1 Gb every twelve days and demand is increasing rapidly. The two critical factors are the accessibility of oil (both geologically and geographically) and how long it takes to get it to market. It takes about six weeks for oil from the Persian Gulf to reach an American gas tank yet it takes only about two weeks for oil from West Africa to make the same journey. Equally important, oil installations in West Africa are in direct and immediate reach of US naval forces from the Atlantic Ocean. There are no political or international coalitions which need to be massaged if intervention becomes necessary.

Nigeria , the world's sixth largest oil producer, passed its peak of production in 1979 and has estimated reserves of approximately 24 Gb. What makes Nigeria critical is the fact that it can function, with minimal investment, as a so-called "swing" producer. In the event of oil shortages there are wells, pipelines and refineries already in place and easily accessible which could accommodate a short-term increase in production to control prices or offset shortages. Shell, ChevronTexaco and TotalFinaElf have heavy investments in the country and until recently, maintained sizeable workforces there.

Recently the US has been exerting tremendous pressure on Nigeria to withdraw from OPEC and its strict production quotas by dangling the prospect of Imperially-funded prosperity in front of it. The appeal of African oil has drawn serious US government attention, even to the point of it sponsoring a January, 2002, Washington conference titled, "African Oil - A Priority for U.S. National Security and African Development." This was reported in The Petroleum Supply Monthly in December of 2002 and on the World Socialist Web Site in August of the same year.

Aside from Nigeria , the five biggest oil producers in Africa - in descending order are Algeria , Libya , Egypt and Angola . Angola alone is the ninth largest oil supplier to the U.S. The U.S. currently imports more oil from these six countries than it does from Saudi Arabia . Recent projections by the U.S. National Intelligence Council as reported in The Petroleum Supply Monthly  estimate that the proportion of U.S. oil imports from sub-Saharan Africa will reach 25% by 2015.

I have not been surprised, therefore, as I have seen stories that revolts are brewing in the Central African Republic or that Al Qaeda has been linked to weapons shipments in West Africa where it has been reportedly seeking to relocate training bases. One report issued by the Voice of America (VOA), a CIA-connected international radio network, in November, 2002, has indicated that al Qaeda is quietly supporting nationalist and tribal insurgencies throughout West Africa.

I have previously reported that a reliable CIA source has been insisting that Osama bin Laden is comfortably living in Freetown, the capital of nearby Sierra Leone , for more than a year.

Elsewhere in the region there are signs of small to mid-sized discoveries which, while not affecting Peak Oil, are certainly keys to how Peak oil politics and economics will be played out. As reported by Wayne Madsen in the Online Journal on January 16, 2003, Western Sahara -- illegally occupied by Morocco in 1975 -- is now reporting significant finds, and U.S. oil companies like Kerr-McGhee, fronted by former Bush I Secretary of State and consummate oil man James Baker, are signing offshore exploration agreements with the Moroccan government. Baker and his law firm Baker-Potts turn up in every major oil development from Kazakhstan to the Balkans to Africa.

Clearly West Africa is vital to the Empire. The Times of London acknowledged this in a July 29, 2002, story headlined, " U.S. Presses Africa to turn on the tap of crude oil." Quoting Walter Kansteiner, U.S. Under Secretary of State for African Affairs, the Times reported, "African oil is of national strategic interest to us, and it will increase and become more important as we go forward."

A Timeline of Increasing Turmoil

In the meantime, strong support for al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden remains unaffected and generally unnoticed throughout the northern half of the African continent. And although there have been no press reports (other than Stratfor) describing the Nigerian rebels as being al Qaeda connected, I wouldn't want to bet that such a "discovery" will not be conveniently made when it comes time for the empire to take the oil.

It won't be long; maybe two years, maybe less. Saudi Arabia could go at any time. The map of Peak Oil doesn't always tell us when the empire will make its moves. But since 9/11 it has certainly told us where.


[The following photograph, taken in March, 2002, in the Sierra Leone capital of Freetown, was published in the report, "For a Few Dollars More: How al Qaeda moved into the diamond trade" by Global Witness April, 2003.]


 Copyright Michael C. Ruppert  2003.  For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .