As published by Foreign Policy In Focus (Institute for Policy Studies, Washington D.C.)
Among the batch of classified diplomatic cables recently released by the controversial whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, several have highlighted the vast extent of the financial infrastructure of Islamist terrorism sponsored by key
One cable by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in December 2009 notes that “donors in
Clinton raises similar concerns about other states in the Gulf and
Despite such extensive knowledge of these terrorism financing activities, successive
It's the Hydrocarbons, Stupid
Oil has always been an overwhelming Western interest in the region, beginning with
Anglo-U.S. geo-strategy exerted this control through alliances with the region’s most authoritarian regimes to ensure a cheap and stable supply of petroleum to Western markets. Recently declassified secret British Foreign Office files from the 1940s and 1950s confirm that the Gulf sheikhdoms were largely created to retain British influence in the
The protection of some of the world’s most virulent authoritarian regimes thus became integral to maintaining Anglo-U.S. geopolitical control of the world’s strategic hydrocarbon energy reserves. Our governments have willingly paid a high price for this access – the price of national security.
Still Funding Radicalism
One of al-Qaeda’s chief grievances against the West is what Osama bin Laden dubs the “Crusader-Jewish” presence in the lands of Islam, including support for repressive Arab regimes. Under
The Great Game is still in full swing. “Since the U.S.-led offensive that ousted the Taliban from power, the project has been revived and drawn strong
Other evidence demonstrates that control of the world’s strategic energy reserves has always been a key factor in the direction of the "War on Terror". For instance, the April 2001 study commissioned by then-Vice President Dick Cheney confirmed official fears of an impending global oil supply crunch, energy shortages, and “the need for military intervention” in the Middle East to maintain stability.
Other diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks show clearly that oil now remains central to
Not only did no Democratic members of the House ever contest the policy but President Obama reappointed the architect of the policy – Robert Gates – as his defence secretary. As former National Security Council staffers Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett observe, Obama’s decision earlier this year to step up covert military operations in
This anti-Iran directive, which extends covert
While classified covert operations continue to bolster terrorist activity, the Obama administration struggles vainly to deal with the geopolitical fall-out. Getting out of this impasse requires, first, recognition of our over-dependence on hydrocarbon energy sources to the detriment of real national security. Beholden to the industry lobbyists and the geopolitical dominance that control of oil provides, Western governments have supported dictatorial regimes that fuel widespread resentment in the Muslim world. Worse, the West has tolerated and until recently colluded in the sponsorship of al-Qaeda terrorist activity by these regimes precisely to maintain the existing global energy system.
Given the convergence of peak oil and climate change, it is imperative to transition to a new, renewable energy system. Such a transition will mitigate the impact of hydrocarbon energy depletion, help prevent the worst effects of anthropogenic global warming, and contribute to economic stability through infrastructure development and job creation.
By weaning us off our reliance on dubious foreign regimes, a shift to renewables and away from supporting oil dictatorships will also make us safer.