The Missing Three-Letter Word in the Iran Crisis

Michael T. Klare offers an overview of oil’s enduring sway in U.S. policy in the Middle East.

By Michael T. Klare 
TomDispatch.com

It’s always the oil. While President Donald Trump was hobnobbing with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the G-20 summit in Japan, brushing off a recent UN report about the prince’s role in the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Asia and the Middle East, pleading with foreign leaders to support “Sentinel.” The aim of that administration plan: to protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf. Both Trump and Pompeo insisted that their efforts were driven by concern over Iranian misbehavior in the region and the need to ensure the safety of maritime commerce. Neither, however, mentioned one inconvenient three-letter word — O-I-L — that lay behind their Iranian maneuvering (as it has impelled every other American incursion in the Middle East since World War II).

Now, it’s true that the United States no longer relies on imported petroleum for a large share of its energy needs. Thanks to the fracking revolution, the country now gets the bulk of its oil — approximately 75 percent  — from domestic sources. (In 2008, that share had been closer to 35 percent.)  Key allies in NATO and rivals like China, however, continue to depend on Middle Eastern oil for a significant proportion of their energy needs. As it happens, the world economy — of which the U.S. is the leading beneficiary (despite Trump’s self-destructive trade wars) —relies on an uninterrupted flow of oil from the Persian Gulf to keep energy prices low. By continuing to serve as the principal overseer of that flow, Washington enjoys striking geopolitical advantages that its foreign policy elites would no more abandon than they would their country’s nuclear supremacy.

Pompeo arriving in Abu Dhabi, June 24, 2019. (State Department/ Ron Przysucha)

This logic was spelled out clearly by President Barack Obama in a September 2013 address to the UN General Assembly in which he declared that “the United States of America is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure our core interests” in the Middle East. He then pointed out that, while the U.S. was steadily reducing its reliance on imported oil, “the world still depends on the region’s energy supply and a severe disruption could destabilize the entire global economy.” Accordingly, he concluded, “We will ensure the free flow of energy from the region to the world.”

To some Americans, that dictum — and its continued embrace by Trump and Pompeo — may seem anachronistic. True, Washington fought wars in the Middle East when the American economy was still deeply vulnerable to any disruption in the flow of imported oil. In 1990, this was the key reason President George H.W. Bush gave for his decision to evict Iraqi troops from Kuwait after Saddam Hussein’s invasion of that land. “Our country now imports nearly half the oil it consumes and could face a major threat to its economic independence,” he told a nationwide TV audience. But talk of oil soon disappeared from his comments about what became Washington’s first (but hardly last) Gulf War after his statement provoked widespread public outrage. (“No Blood for Oil” became a widely used protest sign then.) His son, the second President Bush, never even mentioned that three-letter word when announcing his 2003 invasion of Iraq. Yet, as Obama’s UN speech made clear, oil remained, and still remains, at the center of U.S. foreign policy. A quick review of global energy trends helps explain why this has continued to be so.

The World’s Undiminished Reliance on Petroleum

Despite all that’s been said about climate change and oil’s role in causing it — and about the enormous progress being made in bringing solar and wind power online — we remain trapped in a remarkably oil-dependent world. To grasp this reality, all you have to do is read the most recent edition of oil giant BP’s “Statistical Review of World Energy,” published this June. In 2018, according to that report, oil still accounted for by far the largest share of world energy consumption, as it has every year for decades. All told, 33.6 percent of world energy consumption last year was made up of oil, 27.2 percent of coal (itself a global disgrace), 23.9 percent of natural gas, 6.8 percent of hydro-electricity, 4.4 percent of nuclear power, and a mere 4 percent of renewables.

Most energy analysts believe that the global reliance on petroleum as a share of world energy use will decline in the coming decades, as more governments impose restrictions on carbon emissions and as consumers, especially in the developed world, switch from oil-powered to electric vehicles. But such declines are unlikely to prevail in every region of the globe and total oil consumption may not even decline. According to projections from the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its New Policies Scenario (which assumes significant but not drastic government efforts to curb carbon emissions globally), Asia, Africa, and the Middle East are likely to experience a substantially increased demand for petroleum in the years to come, which, grimly enough, means global oil consumption will continue to rise.

Concluding that the increased demand for oil in Asia, in particular, will outweigh reduced demand elsewhere, the IEA calculated in its 2017 World Energy Outlook” that oil will remain the world’s dominant source of energy in 2040, accounting for an estimated 27.5 percent of total global energy consumption. That will indeed be a smaller share than in 2018, but because global energy consumption as a whole is expected to grow substantially during those decades, net oil production could still rise — from an estimated 100 million barrels a day in 2018 to about 105 million barrels in 2040.

Of course, no one, including the IEA’s experts, can be sure how future extreme manifestations of global warming like the severe heat waves recently tormenting Europe and South Asia could change such projections. It’s possible that growing public outrage could lead to far tougher restrictions on carbon emissions between now and 2040. Unexpected developments in the field of alternative energy production could also play a role in changing those projections. In other words, oil’s continuing dominance could still be curbed in ways that are now unpredictable.

In the meantime, from a geopolitical perspective, a profound shift is taking place in the worldwide demand for petroleum. In 2000, according to the IEA, older industrialized nations — most of them members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) — accounted for about two-thirds of global oil consumption; only about a third went to countries in the developing world. By 2040, the IEA’s experts believe that ratio will be reversed, with the OECD consuming about one-third of the world’s oil and non-OECD nations the rest. More dramatic yet is the growing centrality of the Asia-Pacific region to the global flow of petroleum. In 2000, that region accounted for only 28 — of world consumption; in 2040, its share is expected to stand at 44 —, thanks to the growth of China, India, and other Asian countries, whose newly affluent consumers are already buying cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other oil-powered products.

Where will Asia get its oil? Among energy experts, there is little doubt on this matter. Lacking significant reserves of their own, the major Asian consumers will turn to the one place with sufficient capacity to satisfy their rising needs: the Persian Gulf. According to BP, in 2018, Japan already obtained 87 percent of its oil imports from the Middle East, India 64 percent, and China 44 percent. Most analysts assume these percentages will only grow in the years to come, as production in other areas declines.

This will, in turn, lend even greater strategic importance to the Persian Gulf region, which now possesses more than 60 percent of the world’s untapped petroleum reserves, and to the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow passageway through which approximately one-third of the world’s seaborne oil passes daily. Bordered by Iran, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates, the Strait is perhaps the most significant — and contested — geostrategic location on the planet today.

One of hundreds of Kuwaiti oil fires set by retreating Iraqi forces in 1991. (Jonas Jordan, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers via Wikimedia Commons)

Controlling the Spigot

When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, the same year that militant Shiite fundamentalists overthrew the U.S.-backed Shah of Iran, U.S. policymakers concluded that America’s access to Gulf oil supplies was at risk and a U.S. military presence was needed to guarantee such access. As President Jimmy Carter would say in his State of the Union Address on Jan. 23, 1980:

“The region which is now threatened by Soviet troops in Afghanistan is of great strategic importance: It contains more than two thirds of the world’s exportable oil… The Soviet effort to dominate Afghanistan has brought Soviet military forces to within 300 miles of the Indian Ocean and close to the Strait of Hormuz, a waterway through which most of the world’s oil must flow… Let our position be absolutely clear: an attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”

To lend muscle to what would soon be dubbed the “Carter Doctrine,” the president created a new U.S. military organization, the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force (RDJTF), and obtained basing facilities for it in the Gulf region. Ronald Reagan, who succeeded Carter as president in 1981, made the RDJTF into a full-scale “geographic combatant command,” dubbed Central Command, or CENTCOM, which continues to be tasked with ensuring American access to the Gulf today (as well as overseeing the country’s never-ending wars in the Greater Middle East). Reagan was the first president to activate the Carter Doctrine in 1987 when he ordered Navy warships to escort Kuwaiti tankers, reflagged with the stars and stripes, as they traveled through the Strait of Hormuz. From time to time, such vessels had been coming under fire from Iranian gunboats, part of an ongoing Tanker War,” itself part of the Iran-Iraq War of those years. The Iranian attacks on those tankers were meant to punish Sunni Arab countries for backing Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein in that conflict.  The American response, dubbed Operation Earnest Will, offered an early model of what Pompeo is seeking to establish today with his Sentinel program.

Operation Earnest Will was followed two years later by a massive implementation of the Carter Doctrine in Bush’s 1990 decision to push Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. Although he spoke of the need to protect U.S. access to Persian Gulf oil fields, it was evident that ensuring a safe flow of oil imports wasn’t the only motive for such military involvement. Equally important then (and far more so now): the geopolitical advantage controlling the world’s major oil spigot gave Washington.

When ordering U.S. forces into combat in the Gulf, American presidents have always insisted that they were acting in the interests of the entire West. In advocating for the “reflagging” mission of 1987, for instance, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger argued (as he would later recall in his memoir Fighting for Peace), “The main thing was for us to protect the right of innocent, nonbelligerent and extremely important commerce to move freely in international open waters — and, by our offering protection, to avoid conceding the mission to the Soviets.” Though rarely so openly acknowledged, the same principle has undergirded Washington’s strategy in the region ever since: the United States alone must be the ultimate guarantor of unimpeded oil commerce in the Persian Gulf.

Look closely and you can find this principle lurking in every fundamental statement of U.S. policy related to that region and among the Washington elite more generally. My own personal favorite, when it comes to pithiness, is a sentence in a report on the geopolitics of energy issued in 2000 by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank well-populated with former government officials (several of whom contributed to the report): “As the world’s only superpower, [the United States] must accept its special responsibilities for preserving access to [the] worldwide energy supply.” You can’t get much more explicit than that.

Of course, along with this “special responsibility” comes a geopolitical advantage: by providing this service, the United States cements its status as the world’s sole superpower and places every other oil-importing nation — and the world at large — in a condition of dependence on its continued performance of this vital function.

Originally, the key dependents in this strategic equation were Europe and Japan, which, in return for assured access to Middle Eastern oil, were expected to subordinate themselves to Washington. Remember, for example, how they helped pay for Bush the elder’s Iraq War (dubbed Operation Desert Storm). Today, however, many of those countries, deeply concerned with the effects of climate change, are seeking to lessen oil’s role in their national fuel mixes. As a result, in 2019, the countries potentially most at the mercy of Washington when it comes to access to Gulf oil are economically fast-expanding China and India, whose oil needs are only likely to grow. That, in turn, will further enhance the geopolitical advantage Washington enjoyed as long as it remains the principal guardian of the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf. How it may seek to exploit this advantage remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that all parties involved, including the Chinese, are well aware of this asymmetric equation, which could give the phrase “trade war” a far deeper and more ominous meaning.

The Iranian Challenge and the Specter of War

From Washington’s perspective, the principal challenger to America’s privileged status in the Gulf is Iran. By reason of geography, that country possesses a potentially commanding position along the northern Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, as the Reagan administration learned in 1987-1988 when it threatened American oil dominance there. About this reality President Reagan couldn’t have been clearer. “Mark this point well: the use of the sea lanes of the Persian Gulf will not be dictated by the Iranians,” he declared in 1987 — and Washington’s approach to the situation has never changed.

Guided-missile destroyer USS Porter transits Strait of Hormuz, May 2012. (U.S. Navy/Alex R. Forster)

In more recent times, in response to U.S. and Israeli threats to bomb their nuclear facilities or, as the Trump administration has done, impose economic sanctions on their country, the Iranians have threatened on numerous occasions to block the Strait of Hormuz to oil traffic, squeeze global energy supplies, and precipitate an international crisis. In 2011, for example, Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi warned that, should the West impose sanctions on Iranian oil, “not even one drop of oil can flow through the Strait of Hormuz.” In response, U.S. officials have vowed ever since to let no such thing happen, just as Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta did in response to Rahimi at that time. “We have made very clear,” he said, “that the United States will not tolerate blocking of the Strait of Hormuz.” That, he added, was a “red line for us.”

It remains so today. Hence, the present ongoing crisis in the Gulf, with fierce U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil sales and threatening Iranian gestures toward the regional oil flow in response. “We will make the enemy understand that either everyone can use the Strait of Hormuz or no one,” said Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, in July 2018. And attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman near the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz on June 13th could conceivably have been an expression of just that policy, if —as claimed by the U.S. — they were indeed carried out by members of the Revolutionary Guards. Any future attacks are only likely to spur U.S. military action against Iran in accordance with the Carter Doctrine. As Pentagon spokesperson Bill Urban put it in response to Jafari’s statement, “We stand ready to ensure the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce wherever international law allows.”

As things stand today, any Iranian move in the Strait of Hormuz that can be portrayed as a threat to the “free flow of commerce” (that is, the oil trade) represents the most likely trigger for direct U.S. military action. Yes, Tehran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and its support for radical Shiite movements throughout the Middle East will be cited as evidence of its leadership’s malevolence, but its true threat will be to American dominance of the oil lanes, a danger Washington will treat as the offense of all offenses to be overcome at any cost.

If the United States goes to war with Iran, you are unlikely to hear the word “oil” uttered by top Trump administration officials, but make no mistake: that three-letter word lies at the root of the present crisis, not to speak of the world’s long-term fate.

Michael T. Klare, a TomDispatch regular, is the five-college professor emeritus of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College and a senior visiting fellow at the Arms Control Association. His most recent book is The Race for What’s Left.” His next book, All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change (Metropolitan Books) will be published in November.

This article is fromTomDispatch.com.

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72 comments for “The Missing Three-Letter Word in the Iran Crisis

  1. JC
    July 24, 2019 at 12:29

    It’s the dollar they’re protecting… the Almighty Dollar

  2. CitizenOne
    July 23, 2019 at 00:01

    Based on the comments the readers and posters overwhelmingly conclude that US foreign policy is driven by an overarching goal of supporting Israel as opposed to securing all the oil riches of the middle east. I have always believed that money is the motivator over ideology. Ideology is the mask that hides the money interest and that interest can not be defended since it is ultimately corrupt. What is required is a secondary reason which is plausible and has all the elements of intrigue and mystery that any good mystery novel has at its core. The secondary motive is designed to hide the true motive and is often described in terms surrounding the theory the the Butler did it.

    The fact is that the Butler had nothing to do with it. The crime was committed by the bank. The true objective in any crime is always money and there is no greater money pot in the world than the three letter word which is oil.

    Any decent detective will always follow the money trail and will find the true suspects which have the motive and opportunity to get the money.

    The money is in oil. There is no money in supporting Israel and there is no opportunity or motive for doing so.

    So why does the US support Israel? It is a rouse and a plot to create a religious cause like the crusades were a motive for traveling deep into the middle east to wage wars of plunder for money.

    Religion has always been a cause that plunged nations into wars of plunder which is the true reason for all wars.

    The money is always the motive. It always has been and it always will be.

    The problem that is central to the aims of those who plunge nations into wars for money is that money is ultimately not a reason that the pawns of war will sign onto to fight. The people will never support a war to make the rich richer. There is no rally call that will resonate with the people to fight a war for the benefit of the rich. The citizens of a nation will not lay their lives down for the purposes of enriching the already rich. They will however lay their lives down based on the belief that they fight for religion.

    It is the oldest play in the playbook. Hook the people on the notion that they fight for their religion and that their religion is at stake and they will sign up to defend their notion of God’s will and what the state ordains as the true fight for what God wants and the people will follow.

    This is what we face today as the money attempts to control the narrative and seeks to enjoin us in a religious narrative created out of the need to gain our support for war.

    This is exactly what the ten commandments forbade with the commandment that people and rulers must not take the Lord’s name in vain. That is the commandment that leaders of nations or tribes should not and must not claim that their money motivations for war are ordained and blessed by God.

    We are falling into a trap which was forbade by God in which we are aligning our entire military power as a crisis of religion with Israel and the middle east in an escalation of war based on religious grounds.

    Come on people! It is a battle over oil and money disguised as a battle over religion. The entire history of the world has fallen prey to this powerful creator of war and the deaths of millions.

    Money is at the heart of our current motivations pure and simple. The rest of it is all talk to disguise it.

    • anon
      July 24, 2019 at 21:45

      “There is no money in supporting Israel and there is no opportunity or motive for doing so.”
      What an absurd lie. What an opportunist. What an amoral propagandist.
      1. Clinton’s top ten donors were all zionists.
      2. Trump’s largest donors were zionists.
      3. The mass media are 60-80% owned by zionists.
      4. All politicians fear offending the zionists.
      And you know that very well.

      • CitizenOne
        July 25, 2019 at 22:17

        When I said there is no money to be made in supporting Israel I was thinking about big money not campaign money. Politicians are all the same. Why should special interests care who is “In Office”. Big money is OIL One other source of big money does come into consideration and that is defense contracts.

        Imagine you are Israel all alone in the middle east surrounded by Arab states. You have been place there by the UN. You have no defenses. What do you do? Suck up to the good old US of A and promise them you will be the bestest most BFF ally in the World if only they give you some guns and ammo.

        The US looks at this and says we can arm Israel in order to protect her from her neighbors and this will also establish that the nation of Israel will become the BFF of the USA forever because if they are not, then their enemies are going to kick their ass.

        It is a completely consistent view of how the USA or for that matter any nation deals with other nations as friend or foe. Friend nations promise to support the interests of the other nation based on shared goals. These goals do not have to be technical or precise since lawmakers and politicians operate in the land of fanciful notions anyway all the time.

        So to cut it short, I was wrong. Totally forgot the military arms deals. I guess I was focused on the oil.

        It is indeed a big mistake since Israel receives billions of dollars in arms sales. They also buy a lot of oil too.

        So Yes I agree to recind my statement there is no money in supporting Israel. In fact there is a lot.

        But all the BS about some Zionist BS is just an unnecessary layer. Like saying they buy a lot of oil and guns and we like that but the real reason is they are Zionists. Explain how it makes sense to blame every economic relationship between nations as a conspiracy between the Zionists and the rest of humanity that suffer under their evil grip on power versus just plain straightforward trade agreements that are mutually beneficial to both parties.

        As far as I am concerned you could create any attached conflated thing and hold that up as a true root cause. It does not mean the claim is true.

  3. July 21, 2019 at 11:19

    The vital interest is oil: its uninterrupted flow, at a cheap price, essential against global recession and those hydrocarbon-dependent societies grinding to a halt in the event of disruption to supply. Washington’s strategic control of energy flow ‘places every other oil-importing nation – and the world at large – in a condition of dependence’. Clearly the US government wants to keep the status quo: equally others wish to change it. Nations go to war over key interests. But history shows unequivocally that states eventually end up fighting the very war they seek to avoid: existential defeat. The US is moving increasingly towards war with Russia and China – Iran could be the spark. History also shows that leaders and decision-makers delude themselves into thinking a certain conflict can be won. Imperial powers (for want of a better term) still go to war over interests; except today they have nuclear weapons and a doctrine that they will be used in certain scenarios. Deterrence is becoming increasingly unable to prevent the scenarios where Mutual Assured Destruction might have to be resorted to. The omens point to nuclear war.
    The vital interest is oil: its uninterrupted flow, at a cheap price, essential against global recession and those hydrocarbon-dependent societies grinding to a halt in the event of disruption to supply. Washington’s strategic control of energy flow ‘places every other oil-importing nation – and the world at large – in a condition of dependence’. Clearly the US government wants to keep the status quo: equally others wish to change it. Nations go to war over key interests. But history shows unequivocally that states eventually end up fighting the very war they seek to avoid: existential defeat. The US is moving increasingly towards war with Russia and China – Iran could be the spark. History also shows that leaders and decision-makers delude themselves into thinking a certain conflict can be won. Imperial powers (for want of a better term) still go to war over interests; except today they have nuclear weapons and a doctrine that they will be used in certain scenarios. Deterrence is becoming increasingly unable to prevent the scenarios where Mutual Assured Destruction might have to be resorted to. The omens point to nuclear war.
    https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/

    • anon4d2
      July 21, 2019 at 19:22

      But you have not made any point about oil and conflict: the fact that it is a “vital interest” means that we should not be fighting wars in or near producer nations. No one has denied the US oil. We can buy it like everyone else, wherever we please, at the same price as everyone else. So what was the point you hoped we would jump to without argument? The US wars in the Mideast are obviously intended to get Israeli bribes to US politicians, and nothing else.

    • anon4d2
      July 22, 2019 at 06:41

      The assumption in your comment seems to be that the US is protecting “Washington’s strategic control of energy flow” which is not established. Neither is it an interest to protect, as it implies only intent to restrict others’ access to resources as a means of bullying. Neither is it necessary to use force to protect US access to oil, as only the US has in any way threatened that access, by means of its wars for Israeli land theft and Israeli bribes to US politicians.

  4. Dunderhead
    July 21, 2019 at 08:13

    Why does this rag not have an unsubscribe button?

  5. July 21, 2019 at 07:50

    “Die ” as in we’re all going to die. Because we’re addicted to fossil fuels as surely as we’re addicted to the violence of war and the narcissism of believing we’re fundamentally just down right better than everyone, which entitles us to make everyone die for our sins.

    https://osociety.org/2019/07/17/its-the-end-of-the-world-as-they-know-it/

    Those of us who are scientists been pointing at Rome burning for decades. I started yelling in the ’90s. Hasn’t done a bit of good because we’re resistant to facts in America.

  6. Dunderhead
    July 21, 2019 at 00:49

    This publication has turned into such a goddamned rag it’s just embarrassing I suppose you can’t get anything passed the dildos in editorial without saying climate change five times in a row. Carbon is a lagging indicator Normie’s, not to mention if this new Green new deal ever were to materialize with all of its social justice baggage, none of it mind you has anything to do with the environment but I digress, if this garbage were to occur, all you idiot liberals, just know you’re children will burn first in the all against all fiasco that is sure to come, belly up normie’s because the ride is going to get even more interesting.

    • CitizenOne
      July 22, 2019 at 23:03

      Evidently the “dildos” in an editorial position to censor your post managed to find the fortitude to publish your post even though it was a condescending and disparaging name calling post in which you called out “if this garbage were to occur, all you liberal idiots, just know (you’re) your children will burn first in the all against all fiasco that is sure to come”.

      Threatening peoples children and calling citizens who are concerned with global warming “liberal idiots” and promising that “the ride is going to get even more interesting” are nothing more or less than threats.

      Dunderhead, threats by people like yourself who are engaged in making intimidating threats toward people who are concerned with the future habitability of our planet is a major concern. The author of the article is a well respected military analyst published regularly in well respected military publications. There is a major concern by our military defense organizations that has concluded that the widespread social disruptions which will be caused by global warming across the planet is a serious threat to international security and the foreign interests of the United States.

      Our military establishment is not aligned with your theory and they certainly have the means to thwart any threat that “children will burn first” because of the “liberal idiots” you rail against.

      The citizens of the United States are free to voice their views without threats of death to their children as you espouse as a consequence of their concerns about degradation of the global environment. In fact they are free to speak their concerns that the chief threat to their children’s future is the phenomenon of global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels. Making death threats on children promising that they “will burn first” over the climate change debate is hate speech and also terrorist threats.

      You are indeed privileged to enjoy your right to free speech on this site even though your rhetoric is violent and hateful.

      Although the editorial board has chosen to let you speak freely, do not expect that your words will garner sympathy here. Our planet is facing enormous challenges and global emissions of greenhouse gasses is one of the biggest challenges we face.

      In fact, what we face is the prospect that all of our children will inherit an Earth that is substantially changed and more inhospitable because we have done too little too late to curb Global Warming.

      Threats, hate speech etc. will not silence anyone. There is too much at stake to let dunderheads like you intimidate anyone with threatening posts like this into silence.

      But I digress, apologies in advance. You are the idiot.

  7. DeQuincey
    July 20, 2019 at 07:40

    “When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, the same year that militant Shiite fundamentalists overthrew the U.S.-backed Shah of Iran..”
    Its funny how a casual error like this can destroy the author’s credibility.

    Try this, https://www.voltairenet.org/article206955.html#nb2, “Brzezi?ski set up “Operation Cyclone” in Afghanistan. Between 17,000 and 35,000 Muslim Brothers from about 40 countries came to fight the USSR, which had come to the defence of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, at its request [2]. There had never been a “Soviet invasion”, as US propaganda pretended.”
    [[2] « Brzezinski : “Oui, la CIA est entrée en Afghanistan avant les Russes …” », par Zbigniew Brzezi?ski, Nouvel Observateur (France) , Réseau Voltaire, 15 janvier 1998.]

    • July 20, 2019 at 14:00

      I had the same reaction.

    • Hank
      July 21, 2019 at 10:23

      The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan? Osama Bin Laden masterminded the 911 attacks? Lies are the fuel that keeps American government crimes under the rug! The USA subverts ANY government it can while claiming it is “fighting for freedom and democracy” while the Soviets address a real concern close to their borders and are labelled “invaders”. Just another news day in the lying USA!

  8. T.J
    July 20, 2019 at 05:31

    From the beginning to the end I felt uneasy about Michael Klare’s article. On the face of it the article appears plausible but it’s superficiality is exposed by the enlightened comments of the readers. They fill in the gaps missing in the original article which is useful in presenting a more credible analysis and understanding of what constitutes the Iran crisis.

  9. Bill Anderson
    July 20, 2019 at 00:44

    I’m puzzled and somewhat outraged that Mr Klare ends his piece with “Yes, Tehran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and its support for radical Shiite movements throughout the Middle East will be cited as evidence of its leadership’s malevolence, but its true threat will be to American dominance of the oil lanes, a danger Washington will treat as the offense of all offenses to be overcome at any cost.” As if the Iranian government IS in fact pursuing nuclear weapons? C’mon, Klare, what gives with that? They bent over backwards to accept fairly onerous terms in order to accommodate and sign the JCPOA, which the US has now abandoned, and you write this entire piece with no mention thereof, and insinuate quite outrageously that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. Very disappointing

  10. M Awan
    July 19, 2019 at 21:07

    During the rush to cover the war story who will cover the mother of all scandals the Jaffery Epstein child sex scandal?

  11. Brian James
    July 19, 2019 at 16:26

    Jun 13, 2019 Persian Gulf Tanker Attack: Iran Guilty? False Flag? Cui Bono?

    Just as the prime minister of Japan was in an historic visit to Iran (the first since the 1979 revolution), a Japanese-owned tanker (and one other) was attacked in the Persian Gulf. US neocons are pointing the finger at Iran. Does it make sense to attack Japan in the midst of productive talks? Will the propaganda machine ramp up war talk?

    https://youtu.be/Q4G8USEdhuY

  12. July 19, 2019 at 15:26

    I just posted a comment in which I stated that the war against Iran is not about oil, but about Israel wanting Iran destroyed in the interest of the creation of Greater Israel. I wonder why CN chose not to publish it.

  13. July 19, 2019 at 15:23

    I disagree with the basic premise of the author. Of course the US likes oil, who doesn’t. But this is not the reason the US has invaded and destroyed the Arab world. We get plenty of oil from the Saudis, our close “allies” and now we barely even need them. Even before 9/11, it became known that zionist Israel had plans for the creation of Greater Israel, with plans to destroy 8 ME nations, starting with Iraq and ending with Iran. Like obedient vassals, the US invaded and destroyed Iraq, attempted to destroy the second in line, Syria, and would have totally destroyed it if Russia had not come to the aid of Assad. Lybia was left more or less to NATO, but Israel insists that the US destroy Iran. Access to the oil could be called our prize money for victory, after sacrificing American lives and bearing the financial burden in the $trillions for these foreign wars for the glory and benefit of another nation. This article should really please zionist Israel, attempting to divert attention away from who is really calling the shots and starting all these unnecessary wars, which is finally beginning to come to light, after having been kept in the shadows for far too long.

  14. Lou Cassivi
    July 19, 2019 at 14:11

    Accurate and astute, vinnieoh. The one addition I would offer: the psychopathic greed for endless wealth and global domination by the Christian/ Ziofascist ruling elite.

  15. July 19, 2019 at 12:55

    test

  16. Skip Scott
    July 19, 2019 at 11:46

    I do not believe it is the oil per se, but instead who makes the money off the sale of the oil. Capitalists will always use our MIC to fight any nation that chooses to have a state run oil company and dare use it’s natural resource revenues to benefit its own population. The revenue must go to approved Corporations and accrue to the global oligarchy. It is US MIC sponsored global hegemony for our favored corporations versus a multi-polar world based on cooperation and respect for sovereignty.

    • Gregory Herr
      July 19, 2019 at 19:22

      Skip— terrifically succinct capture of the tension between corporatist oligarchic exploitation and the rights of humankind.

    • Sam F
      July 21, 2019 at 07:36

      Good point that WallSt/Repubs oppose state oil companies, as in Venezuela, Libya, and Iran.

      I would argue that oil company greed is seldom a strong motive for war, because:
      1. Supply is not threatened by Mideast interests opposed by the US, but by war tensions;
      2. Oil company losses due to war likely exceed the cost of shifting contracts & investments;
      3. They have not gained from US Mideast wars since the 1953 US overthrow of democracy in Iran.
      4. Producers have as much to protect by avoiding war as consumers;
      5. Neutrality is the policy of all who would benefit by international trade in any commodity;
      6. The oil excuse is never argued, just asserted to divert attention from Israeli aggression.

      Unless there are reliable studies showing US oil company gains due to various Mideast conflicts, we can safely discard the notion that oil is a factor there.

      The MIC/WallSt/Repubs are trained by groupthink and our zionist mass media to claim that Mideast wars somehow protect oil, economy, democracy, and human rights. But there is no real consideration, planning, effort, or improvement in those areas, because those are not the real goals. If the US had those goals, there are countless humanitarian projects around the world that would be far safer and more cost-effective than wars in the Mideast.

      • Skip Scott
        July 22, 2019 at 07:43

        Sam F-

        1. Overall supply is not threatened by war tensions, just supply from the targeted countries. The exception is Iran, because they could close the straits of Hormuz. Limiting supply increases the price (and therefore profit) for the countries not targeted. In fact US and Canadian produced oil is more expensive to get out of the ground, so the higher price supports its extraction.
        2. I would like to see data about losses due to war versus increased profits due to higher prices.
        3. If they cannot gain control of the oil, the next option is to sanction its purchase from the targeted country, thereby increasing the price of the commodity, and keeping the oil from the targeted country unsold until it is controlled by the “right” companies.
        4. Producers who are not threatened make money from the higher price, and are protected by our MIC (also one of their largest customers).
        5. Neutrality is favored by companies in areas other than oil who want to have free trade.
        6. I just argued the “oil excuse”, and I have no intention to divert attention from Israeli aggression. I see them as complimentary.

      • Sam F
        July 23, 2019 at 12:09

        Good points, Skip, and I know that you were not diverting attention from Israeli aggression. Those who profit from war-induced price increases, whether speculators or domestic producers, might well be war advocates. Speculators would be motivated to drive up prices by creating war fears, even without seeking war.

        I too would like to see data comparing oil company losses due to war vs. the cost of shifting contracts & investments vs. profits on price changes and price speculation. It would be good to know which producers and speculators gain or lose by which wars, and where their political bribes go, information which should be produced by government.

  17. July 19, 2019 at 11:41

    Michael is informative, but he’s establishment. He’s come around to being establishment, if I am reading him right. His book (“War Without End”) on counterrinsurgency is dense and informative but not terribly analytical but in the few places where he comments briefly on what he’s reporting, he looks progressive enough. But I picked up hints (as there are in the above article in which he disappears the Iranian people and only mentions Iranian extremists in connection with the removal of Washington’s Shah) that Klare is not on our side. I’m not an expert on Michael Klare (two books read only and I don’t follow TomDispatch, ‘because’ I find it sketchy), but I’ve not been impressed with some of Michael’s statements about Syria.

    I found it interesting that the above article doesn’t mention Venezuela. I’ve long thought, as well, that what the American ruling class (and the Corporatocracy’s ruling class) desires is to have everyone go green, leaving the dwindling oil for the iconic 1%, but especially its military (for it isn’t ours, Is it?) The corporate-inspired and -led New Green Deal only confirms for me that is indeed their thinking.

    I’m just saying.

    • Peter Sapo
      July 20, 2019 at 09:11

      Great comment and I agree with all of it except the bit about oil “dwindling”. Saudi Arabia pumps out 10 billion barrels a year, yet their declared reserves remain steady at 268 billion barrels year on year. I suspect that the reality of their reserves is closer to trillions of barrels. If true, then it explains why Saudi privately owned Aramco is really dragging it’s feet going public. Can you imagine what truthful disclosure of actual reserves would have on global crude oil prices and oil corporation profits?

    • vinnieoh
      July 21, 2019 at 13:27

      You may have just been sayin’, but Klare exhibits what a boss of mine of long ago pinned on himself: creeping conservative republicanism. When he said that to me, his eyes were plaintive and apologetic.

  18. Rochelle
    July 19, 2019 at 11:40

    I saw this on Mondoweiss a few says ago. I was disappointed to see it there, and I am disappointed to see this here.

    Many articles from Tom’s Dispatch make me fume, frankly. To someone who’s open to logic and reason, even if they’re on the fence, outright propaganda pieces from such “papers of record” as the NYT, Guardian, BBC, Washington Post and the like are easy to disprove: you can point out the inconsistencies, the outrageous claims, the stained history of those publications of being propaganda mouthpieces including in very public cases like the Iraq WMD claims.

    But an article like this? It seems to make sense. It seems to be even-handed. It lowers your guard down, and then come what other commenters have aptly covered (and thus I won’t repeat): the “slanted adjectives.” It criticizes the imperialist antics of the US, but doesn’t shy away from smearing unfair claims on the face of the Iranians, either.

    Best thing yet, the only mention of Israel is in reference to its threats toward Iran’s nuclear facilities. In neutral terms, too. And we don’t have to guess why: it seems the author still thinks “Tehran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons” is a thing. In 2019, no less. It’s like Khamenei’s fatwa against nukes doesn’t mean a thing to many Western writers. Maybe learn a thing or two about Islam, or at least the particular school which adheres to Khamenei’s teachings and to which his decrees are relevant? Or maybe someone who thinks Iran provides “support for radical Shiite movements throughout the Middle East” can’t be bothered?

    It’s high time “it’s the oil, stupid” got replaced by “it’s Israel, stupid.”

    • anon
      July 19, 2019 at 18:29

      Yes, to “it’s the oil, stupid” one should retort “It’s Israel, stupid, and you know it.”

    • July 21, 2019 at 18:00

      TomDispatch’s connection to The Nation, I think, tells us much. I realized years ago that The Nation – which just wants to get its Democratic monster in the Whit House – is completely establishment. Why did rising star Aaron Mate settle there. I was a fan But…why?

  19. Peter Loeb
    July 19, 2019 at 11:00

    KLARE IS PUSHING OLD MYTHS

    The commenters to this article of July 18 are in their ways on track. Mr. Klare never bothered to
    read Patrick Lawrences’s piece in CNN of July 9. He is oblivious to developments in China and the
    growing East Asian block now including other countries. Klare does not comprehend Nomi Prins’ analysis
    in her book COLLUSIONS especially the Chapter on China documenting in detail
    developments since 2009. The implications for the decline of US/western hegemony are vast.

    Of course, it serves well the interests of some to keep the elephant in the room. Certain political strategies
    are not questioned thereby.

    As a matter of fact, I have heard that there is an election in the United States in 2o2o.

    After the topic, I was lost.

    Special thanks to the commenters for their significant input.

    —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA

  20. vinnieoh
    July 19, 2019 at 09:45

    I read this piece previously on another site and had the same reaction that most of the previous comments here reflect. It is absolutely true that oil is the lifeblood of the modern industrial world, and it is also true that control of the supply of oil is high among the considerations of US foreign/military policy (is there any distinction or separation there?) but it is NOT true that it is the sole reason why the US is intent on destroying the Islamic government of Iran.

    Here, in a sort of chronological order are all the factors that contribute to this march towards war against Iran:

    Revenge and retribution: The exceptionalists, the true believers in US superiority and righteousness, have never gotten over the fact that the Iranian people kicked the US’ ass out of Iran in ’79 and then said “And STAY out!”

    Duplicity and Illegitimacy: Related to the first point; the Arab street can see that Iran is the only nation in the region that has freed itself completely (although so far, it has been a rather pyric victory) from colonial domination and oppression. The Gulf monarchies are very fearful of the example set by Iran. Although Sadam’s regime was not one of royal heritage, it was Ayatollah Khomeini’s call for an Islamic revolution in Iraq that spurred Iraq to invade Iran.

    Israeli Expansionism: Throughout Israel’s theft of more and more of Palestinian, Syrian, and Lebanese territory, it is only Iran (after the elimination of Sadam’s Iraq) that has steadfastly supported those factions and entities pushing back against the Israelis. Iran is a thorn in the side of Israel that Israel is determined to excise.

    The Correspondent’s Banquet during Obama’s presidency: Obama publicly shamed and ridiculed Donald Trump in full public view in a way that someone of Trump’s ego and pride had seldom ever experienced. Trump hates every single cell of Barack Obama’s existence and will do anything and everything to dismantle and disappear everything that Obama “accomplished.”

    Christian Zionist Lunacy: Mike Pence, John Bolton, Mike Pompeo. Need I say more? Well yes, actually – the mega-billionaire Zionists that helped fund Trump’s campaign(s).

    I understand where Michael Klare is coming from, but it is a very incomplete picture that he paints.

    • klavith
      July 19, 2019 at 10:29

      These are all secondary factors; oil is obviously the primary one.

      For example you site soreness over 1979, when the US was “kicked out” – but why was the US there in the first place? The answer is because in 1953 Mossadegh nationalized the oil industry, and this was intolerable to Western powers (chiefly the UK), who had previously dominated the Iranian oil industry. So Mossadegh had to be replaced by a pliant Shah and his newly-minted, CIA-trained security service.

      The same is true of Zionism. Many of these comments seem to imply that Zionism is a primary interest of American power. Not true; Zionist expansion is a primary interest of Israel, but the Americans didn’t become interested in it until 1967, when Israel proved it could be a reliable counter to expanding Arab nationalism, which since the Suez crisis had demonstrated that it could threaten American oil interests in the reason. None of the commenters here have explained why Zionism would be a primary interest of American power, nor could they.

      Don’t put the cart before the horse. Oil is what matters in the Middle East, and it has been since 1920.

      • anon
        July 19, 2019 at 18:31

        Sorry there, Jesus, but you need to spend some time catching up.
        You failed to answer at all the numerous valid points made here.

      • klavith
        July 20, 2019 at 12:08

        I’m unclear on what points I didn’t address, perhaps you could help me by making a more detailed reply. Meanwhile no one here has addressed my observation that American support for Zionism began in 1967 (see, for example, Norman Finkelstein’s “The Holocaust Industry”), while American pursuit of oil interests in the Middle East goes back decades earlier. America began meddling in Iran in 1953, when the CIA overthrew the Iranian government. It is oil (and ultimately the power that oil represents) that drives American interest in Zionism, not vice versa.

      • TalleyUp
        July 19, 2019 at 22:36

        Klavith, You said no one has stated here why Zionism would be of interest to American power.
        One reason would be what may be one of the greatest hoaxes Israel has pulled yet (at least some people believe Israel is somehow behind it), and that is to plant into fundamentalist Christian theology that Israel must be restored to the Jews before the second coming will occur. You know the old saying, “Follow the money.” The same phrase with a twist, “Follow who benefits.” There seem to be many plants in a lot of places that benefit one people repeatedly.

      • July 20, 2019 at 00:19

        AIPAC

      • July 20, 2019 at 00:25

        A$I&P%A*C

      • It is Israel stupid!
        July 20, 2019 at 04:05

        Hi Jesus. Just wondering if you have become a member of the usury class. You surely are speaking like one

      • vinnieoh
        July 20, 2019 at 08:51

        I am not denying the importance of oil in all of the US foreign policy adventures. You did read the first paragraph of what I wrote, yes? Of course oil was at the heart of Mosaddeq and the Iranian nationalism movement, but the burning desire for revenge and retribution is a factor that now stands alone and could have been the result of any event that caused US hegemons to feel like they lost face.

        Though Israel is a fine and convenient cat’s paw for the US, Israel’s desire to see Iran’s influence eliminated has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with oil.

        You could also have mentioned oil wrt to China and Iran, but even if Iran was barren of oil that nation still occupies a strategic piece of real estate and would still have the crosshairs fixed on it.

        I absolutely concede that the desire to control the supply of oil with regards to both friends and enemies is paramount in the deliberations of those that would see the US dictate terms to the rest of humanity. But when it comes to Iran, these other factors are absolutely in play.

    • Lou Cassivi
      July 19, 2019 at 11:52

      Bang on, Vinnieoh. The only other thing I would add to your lucid assessment: the psychopathic greed for wealth and global domination of the Christian-Zio Fascist ruling elite.

    • vinnieoh
      July 19, 2019 at 12:17

      addend: Place between the two last factors this; China’s rise and the Belt and Road Initiative. Iran figures predominantly, and with all those other strikes “against” it, well hell, the crosshairs seem indelibly painted there.

    • Lou Cassivi
      July 19, 2019 at 14:34

      Accurate and astute, vinnieoh. One addition I would offer: the psychopathic greed for even more wealth and global domination by the Christian/ Ziofascist ruling elite.

  21. Theo
    July 19, 2019 at 08:44

    I miss my answer to Jeff Harrison.Obviously my post went lost.

  22. Willow
    July 19, 2019 at 04:46

    We were told fracking would make us energy independent and reduce the domestic price of gasoline. But the price of gas hasn’t come down and we are still in the Middle East. Who is buying US oil exported oil.?

  23. Gregory Herr
    July 18, 2019 at 22:32

    “As things stand today, any Iranian move in the Strait of Hormuz that can be portrayed as a threat to the “free flow of commerce” (that is, the oil trade) represents the most likely trigger for direct U.S. military action.”

    Yeah right. Except the “trigger” is on a gun produced by Uncle Sam who likes it on hair release. What a set-up.
    The only threat to the free flow of commerce is a manufactured “crisis” motivated by power and greed games that Washington and Tel Aviv can never get enough of.

    Jeff has already addressed the rest of this Klarian claptrap.

  24. KiwiAntz
    July 18, 2019 at 22:05

    I agree with most of the comments here that Oil is, but one factor & reason in the open hostility against Iran, by the American Empire? The other reasons are that Iran practices strategic defiance against the Empires goals & agendas by not capitulating to their demands? This independent thinking, sovereignty & Independence cannot be allowed to continue or be tolerated by the US Hegemon? Iran must be crushed or else this example of defiance could spread to other Nations under the yoke of the Americans jackboots? Cuba’s successful 60 year strategic defiance of the American Empire was a template for Iran! Another reason is Iran’s rejection of the US Dollar domination of the Petrodollar system which also is a major threat to its undeserved & exhorting privilege to print money, endlessly out of thin air without suffering the deflationary effects of this Financial Criminality & ponzi scheme! This has embolded other Nations to pivot away from transacting Oil in currency, other than the US dollar! Another reason is the Americans obeisance to the Nation of Israel & its apartheid agenda! That’s a few more reasons rather than this simplistic statement thats its all about OIL,OIL & more OIL!

  25. Martin Katchen
    July 18, 2019 at 21:19

    And what pray tell will we do should Iran build a pipeline under the Caspian Sea to Kazakhstan and Russia so that it’s oil might flow to China unimpeded by the US Navy?

    • AnneR
      July 19, 2019 at 09:24

      Frankly, I should hope that this is something already being planned by Iran. The USA’s stranglehold on the rest of the world needs to be broken.

  26. Tom Kath
    July 18, 2019 at 20:52

    It is probably a mistake to assume that any policies are ever just about ONE aspect. That said, there seems little doubt that OIL and fossil fuels in general will continue to dominate energy needs in the foreseeable world.
    The notion that electricity can replace these fuels is the most childishly ignorant rubbish, when you consider the fuel that generates such electricity. It is the same as suggesting that water usage can be reduced by using milk or orange juice!

    • July 20, 2019 at 00:22

      There’s a lot of energy in the sun.

  27. anon4d2
    July 18, 2019 at 19:54

    No, Mr. Klare, Oil has never been the cause of the US/Israeli wars in the Mideast.
    Obviously the US can buy oil anywhere for the same price as anyone else without wars.
    Do you bomb the local gas station to stabilize the price of gas? Do they pay you for that?
    The US has always got a higher price and lesser supply of oil for its wars there,
    since 1953 when it overthrew democracy in Iran for 40% of the British oil concession.
    I knew Mr. Klare when he was a zionist fanatic in Boston with no human decency.
    He fully well knows that this “It’s the oil” gambit is a lie to serve Israeli land theft.

    • AnneR
      July 19, 2019 at 09:28

      Yes, anon, Mr Klare does seem to leave out the elephant in the room, doesn’t he? I don’t doubt that Oil is and has been *part* of the USA’s “strategic” efforts to maintain its dominance over the rest of the world (control the spigot and you can make the sanctions even more effective as a weapon), but it isn’t the *whole* story by any means.

    • ElderD
      July 19, 2019 at 11:19

      >>> “No, Mr. Klare, Oil has never been the cause of the US/Israeli wars in the Mideast.
      Obviously the US can buy oil anywhere for the same price as anyone else without wars.”

      You might want to consider reading the article again, carefully this time. You seem to have missed the argument about the key motive for US interest in oil and the Gulf.

      >>> “I knew Mr. Klare when he was a zionist fanatic in Boston with no human decency.”

      Translation: “I really dislike the author and therefore reject his arguments out of hand.”

      • anon4d2
        July 19, 2019 at 18:38

        Quite wrong there. I knew Mr. Klare when he was a zionist fanatic in Boston with no human decency. You must not have read his absurd insistence that oil supply requires genocides in the Mideast and supporting Israeli land theft.

  28. July 18, 2019 at 19:23

    “It’s always the oil.”

    I’m sorry, but in the case of Iran, the author couldn’t be more wrong with that facile generalization.

    Oil has absolutely nothing to do with Trump’s rash and dangerous acts against Iran.

    If you want to understand why this is happening, see:

    https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2019/07/04/john-chuckman-comment-americas-shameful-treatment-of-iran-and-the-shameful-reasons-for-it-but-that-is-only-a-part-of-its-dangerous-behavior-today-likely-consequences/

    • Mynona
      July 19, 2019 at 02:50

      Exactly! It is not, and it was not about the oil! Oil is but a lame argument meant to hide the real reason behind US policy on Iran going back to 1979. Pity the times when a “superpower” has beens reduced to Israel’s rottweiler. That Mr Klare is the SIX letter word that is missing in the so called Iran crisis. The elephant in the room that “Middle East experts” pretend not to see has name – Israel

  29. Donald B
    July 18, 2019 at 19:03

    I think that what currency the oil is priced in is a factor also.

    • Marck
      July 23, 2019 at 13:21

      Honestly I thought no one would have mentioned this..

  30. Donald Duck
    July 18, 2019 at 17:59

    Here’s a five letter word for America’s ‘self-sufficiency’ in oil – Ponzi. The trouble with shale oil fracking is that it doesn’t make a profit – never has, never will. The technology has been known for many years but the costs – both internal and external – are so prohibitive, that this is not a viable business model. Ask yourself one question, would you invest in the fracking industry AND expect to make money.

  31. Jeff Harrison
    July 18, 2019 at 16:59

    You have some opportunities for improvement, Mr. Klare. It is true that undergirding our intentions in the Middle East is oil but in many instances I look at your words and say, minus the slanted adjectives, yes. For example,

    “militant Shiite fundamentalists overthrew the U.S.-backed Shah of Iran”. The people that overthrew Shah-en-shahi Mohammad Reza Pahlavi the Only weren’t militants nor were they fundamentalists. I know. I was there until after Fred (the Shah) left. A very broad swath of the Persian public wanted the end of Fred. A lot of that was driven by the second half of your sentence. Yes, the Shah was US backed but more importantly he was US installed.

    “Yes, Tehran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and its support for radical Shiite movements throughout the Middle East will be cited”. This old trope? Jesus. Tehran gave up its pursuit of nukes back in the early oughts. Even Mossad admitted it. Netanyahoo keeps poking it because the brainless idiots of the Washington regime give him more toys and carry more of the Israeli regime’s hod when he does. It does the world no good to have the likes of you repeating incendiary bullshit. Any time a writer wants to discredit any group all they have to do is tag the adjective fundamentalist or radical or militant in the description usually without any explanation why such adjectives are appropriate. The Shi’ites are not radicals for that you need a Sunni. The Sunni’s have the Wahhabists and the Salafists. Those guys are no-shit fundamentalist militant radicals.

    Things in that part of the world are dangerous and confused enough as it is. The world doesn’t need you making things worse.

    • Theo
      July 19, 2019 at 08:28

      I recommend an article on the website of asiatimes.com und the title”Iran using fast attack boats in Persian Gulf”.and the commentators pointing out the use of adjectives.

    • Theo
      July 19, 2019 at 08:37

      I recommend an article on asiatimes.com under the title “Iran using fast attack boats in the Persian Gulf”.Many commentators criticized the use of”slanted adjectives”too.

    • AnneR
      July 19, 2019 at 09:38

      Thank you Jeff for pointing out additional and significant points in Mr Klare’s piece. It has the flavor of a propaganda piece: omission of the role of Israel (and Saudia to a somewhat lesser extent) in this ongoing profoundly anti-Iranian plot line together with the use of adjectives and terms which are intended (as in the MSM) to reinforce and reify the *bad* Iran image as desired by the US-Israel-Saudia.

      I would only add that the present Ayatollah a few years ago (don’t recall when exactly) put a fatwa on nuclear weapons. (Note that for the rabid Sunnis of Saudia and the increasingly orthodox controlled Zionist state of Israel, not to mention the incredibly evangelically believing Christian state of the USA having nuclear weapons, and in the latter case using them, is apparently no moral, ethical or religious problem at all. The Shia show them up for what they are, clearly.)

  32. mike k
    July 18, 2019 at 16:38

    The hegemonic aspirations of the US Empire are at the root of the world problems; oil concerns are just a symptom of that mad project. The live and let live multipolar world desired by China and Russia is anathema those seeking total world domination. International law and the United Nations mean nothing to those so motivated. They are risking WWIII in pursuit of their power mad goal, and may well trigger it by their reckless behavior.

  33. anon4d2
    July 18, 2019 at 15:00

    No, Mr. Klare, it is Never the oil, this is pure zionist propaganda to explain away the their US Mideast militarism.
    The US can buy oil from anyone at the same price as anyone else without any militarism at all.
    Do you bomb your local gas station to stabilize the price of gas? Do they offer you lower prices for doing that?
    The US stole oil (40% of the British oil concession) when it overthrew democracy in Iran in 1953.
    But it has got no oil deals at all from its zionist genocides in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, etc., etc. No Oil at all.
    So try again, Klare, we are not all fools for zionist lies.

  34. July 18, 2019 at 14:00

    Nope, you’ve got it wrong. We don’t want more oil. We want LESS oil. The only oil we want is Saudi oil. Anything that competes with Saudi oil must be wiped out.

    This is broadly true of all government and corporate actions. Everything is aimed at eliminating competition and enforcing monopolies.

  35. mail
    July 18, 2019 at 13:59

    Oil is a Red Herring, a convenient Hasbara scapegoat for the criminal wars of aggression waged in the Middle East.
    Oil companies are happy to work with any government or regime.
    A steady supply of oil from the region is assured.
    The only threat to the energy supply from the region lies in US aggression and economic strangulation of countries in the area, which threatens this supply.

    All these wars, all the threats of wars, all the economic warfare against countries in the region, is the product of Zionist Neocon plotting, incitement and agitation in the interests of Israel. THESE WERE WARS FOR ISRAEL, NOT OIL. Oil has never been more than a side issue. It has been Neocon strategy to destroy 7 countries in 5 years, and the SOLE reason has been to further Zionist interests and Zionist expansion. Anything else is a distraction.

    • July 18, 2019 at 16:20

      Mail, you said what I was going to say. Countries need oil and oil producers need to keep their economies going by producing it. Short of the oil crisis created by the Saudi’s reaction to Israeli military actions in the seventies, producing countries and oil companies have no interest in military actions in the Middle East that act against their own interests.

      Mr. Klare has talked a lot about oil in the past, forecasting the looming shortage of oil, as I recall. Explaining the violence on oil was a ploy to deflect why we were being dragged into wars. Just a smelly red herring.

Comments are closed.