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Iran, energy, geopolitics « Previous | |Next »
April 17, 2005

I've always found it odd how infrequent oil figures in the geopolitics of the Middle East in the corporate media in Australia. The geopolitics of energy is a non-subject.

It should figure more given that the industrial economies of the West are dependent on oil, the Middle East has lots of oil in reserve, the oil prices just keep rising, we are fighting a war over in Iraq as part of an occupying force, and the US is gearing up for an attack on Iran. There have also been reports of talks between U.S. and Israeli officials about a possible Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear weapon facilities.

So it is refreshing to read this Oil, Geopolitics, and the Coming War with Iran by Michael T. Klare over at Tom Dispatch. He says that:

Iran occupies a strategic location on the north side of the Persian Gulf, it is in a position to threaten oil fields in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates, which together possess more than half of the world's known oil reserves. Iran also sits athwart the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow waterway through which, daily, 40% of the world's oil exports pass. In addition, Iran is becoming a major supplier of oil and natural gas to China, India, and Japan, thereby giving Tehran additional clout in world affairs.

These geopolitical dimensions of energy, as much as Iran's potential to export significant quantities of oil to the United States, that would govern the Bush administration's strategic calculations. Iran will play a critical role in the world's future energy equation. Why so?
While the world currently consumes more oil than gas, the supply of petroleum is expected to contract in the not-too-distant future as global production approaches its peak sustainable level -- perhaps as soon as 2010 -- and then begins a gradual but irreversible decline. The production of natural gas, on the other hand, is not likely to peak until several decades from now, and so is expected to take up much of the slack when oil supplies become less abundant.

China, India and Japan have signed long term contracts with Iran to supply gas to fuel their economies.

The significance of this account of the geopolitics of Iran is that pulls into focus the Bush administration officials two key strategic aims: a desire to open up Iranian oil and gas fields to exploitation by American firms, and to try and block Iran's growing ties to America's competitors in the global energy market. From the Bush administration's point of view, the obvious and immediate way to achieve these aims is by inducing "regime change" in Iran and replacing the existing leadership with one far friendlier to U.S. strategic interests. That was the situation with the authoritarian Shah of Iran, prior to the Iranian revolution.

Australia, as a loyal ally, supports the US on this. Our foreign policy in the Middle East is all the way with the good ole USA. We presuppose that Iran constitutes a regional threat and consider it right and proper that America should eliminate this threat.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:54 AM | | Comments (3)
Comments

Comments

Cameron,

I accidently deleted your comments on the Iran post
Sorry
Can you repost them from memory?

In the 90s I believed Australia and Iran were the two greatest hopes for the advance of liberty. Australia failed with the Republican model it advanced - no gift to liberty there. Iran's battle has been derailed by the might of the US military being parked next door. The theocracy has used that as a pretext for naked grabs of power and suppression of libertous politics. Sad really.

Cameron,
maybe your hopes for freedom in the Middle East are finding expression in Lebanon in the first decade of the 21st century.

I am pessimistic re Australia.It is going to be a long dark night for democratic freedom.