Weblog Archives

  Sunday  August 6  2006    10: 05 AM

oil and the middle east clusterfuck

Surprised that oil might have something to do with turmoil in the Middle East? I hope it's not to much of a shock. Juan Cole, along with Helena Cobban and Robert Fisk, are the most informed and insightful commentators and reporters on the Middle East. This is a good one from Juan Cole. A very good one.

One Ring to Rule Them
by Juan Cole

The wholesale destruction of all of Lebanon by Israel and the US Pentagon does not make any sense. Why bomb roads, roads, bridges, ports, fuel depots in Sunni and Christian areas that have nothing to do with Shiite Hizbullah in the deep south? And, why was Hizbullah's rocket capability so crucial that it provoked Israel to this orgy of destruction? Most of the rockets were small katyushas with limited range and were highly inaccurate. They were an annoyance in the Occupied Golan Heights, especially the Lebanese-owned Shebaa Farms area. Hizbullah had killed 6 Israeli civilians since 2000. For this you would destroy a whole country?

It doesn't make any sense.

Moreover, the Lebanese government elected last year was pro-American! Why risk causing it to fall by hitting the whole country so hard?

And, why was Condi Rice's reaction to the capture of two Israeli soldiers and Israel's wholesale destruction of little Lebanon that these were the "birth pangs" of the "New Middle East"? How did she know so early on that this war would be so wideranging? And, how could a little border dispute in the Levant signal such an elephantine baby's advent? Isn't it because she had, like Tony Blair, been briefed about the likelihood of a war by the Israelis, or maybe collaborated with them in the plans, and also conceived of it in much larger strategic terms?

I've had a message from a European reader that leads me to consider a Peak Oil Theory of the US-Israeli war on Lebanon (and by proxy on Iran). I say, "consider" the "theory" because this is a thought experiment. I put it on the table to see if it can be knocked down, the way you would preliminary hypotheses in a science experiment.


On a similar note from the peak oil crowd:

Middle East at a crossroads

At the fifth annual conference of ASPO (the Association for the Study of Peak Oil), held in July in Pisa, Italy, there were many excellent presentations, one of which I will report on at some length below.

But the timing of the conference proved ominous. During two weeks of travel in Italy I had only occasional access to the Internet or to other news sources, and heard only sporadic reports on the unfolding crisis in Israel, Gaza, and Lebanon. Back home, I quickly caught up on the events.

The situation clearly requires comment, as it has enormous implications both for the world as a whole and for the small but growing community of people involved in preparations for Peak Oil. Mainstream reporting seems to miss much of the context of events and, when discussing the Middle East, the geopolitical struggle for control of energy resources nearly always forms much of that context.


  thanks to The Oil Drum