Tuesday, March 18
Iraqi oil and the US war
T.V.R. Shenoy, Rediff.com, March 18, 2003
Amman: Everyone in the Jordanian capital takes it for granted that I am a journalist. How do they know? Because everybody else, even diplomats, is making a beeline out of the Middle East before the shooting starts.
So, when is the war due to start?
Jordanians are sure it will ignite as soon as 'The Resort' is complete. Thinking this to be a code-word of some sort, I ask for a clarification. It turns out that 'The Resort' is just what the name suggests, 150 luxurious villas on a hundred sprawling acres of land somewhere in the north of Iraq, about 70 kilometres from the Syrian border. Owned by a Kurd, the capital is apparently coming from the United States. Jordanians are convinced this has been earmarked as the operational headquarters for this part of the world by American and British officers. As soon as the last inch of optic-fibre cable is laid and the last satellite dish tilted just so, the invaders shall arrive to take possession.
Jordan seems to be resigned to the inevitability of war. They are most worried about the fallout on their own kingdom. Most of Jordan's petroleum comes courtesy Iraq, and they have wangled a special deal -- a whopping 50 per cent -- 75 per cent below the market rate. The United States has promised to find a replacement, but oil supplies are low everywhere thanks to an unusually cold winter in the northern hemisphere and civil unrest in distant Venezuela.[...]