Thursday, March 27, 2003

Flashback: Bush / Iraq / Rumsfeld / France / Aqaba Pipeline

After the "war", will the pipeline be built, contract to Bechtel, from Iraq to Aqaba, Jordan, and then to the GAZA strip, which will be part of the Palestinian land which will be given to Israel in the new "roadmap for peace"?

Shaking Hands: Iraqi President Saddam Hussein greets Donald Rumsfeld, then special envoy of President Ronald Reagan, in Baghdad on December 20, 1983 Rumsfeld was to discuss with Iraqi officials the Reagan administration's hope that it could obtain Export-Import Bank credits for Iraq, the Aqaba pipeline, and its vigorous efforts to cut off arms exports to Iran. According to an affidavit prepared by one of Rumsfeld's companions during his Mideast travels, former NSC staff member Howard Teicher, Rumsfeld also conveyed to Iraq an offer from Israel to provide assistance, which was rejected [Document 61]. Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein: The U.S. Tilts toward Iraq, 1980-1984
THE CASE OF IRAQ AND THE EXPORT-IMPORT BANK, Henry B. Gonzalez, (TX-20), (House of Representatives - February 24, 1992), Excerpts: "These questions need to be answered, and I think that the President of the United States needs to explain to the people of this country what he was doing prior to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, why he was so committed to this policy of trying to appease Saddam Hussein, and that is about the only word that I can think of to accurately describe this policy, and, if the gentleman recalls, even a few days prior to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait we had a vote here on the floor of the House to extend the export enhancement program to Iraq, and the administration's position just a few days prior to the invasion was we did not dare offend Saddam Hussein, for goodness sakes, and this was a man who was committing atrocities against the Kurds and his own people, and apparently the CIA had knowledge of this."

"Over the next 7 years the State Department and the White House would pressure the Eximbank repeatedly to gain access to guaranteed financing for Iraqi projects. The most prominent of these projects was an Iraqi oil pipeline with an outlet at the Red Sea Port of Aqaba, Jordan. This contract alone was worth $1 billion for its contractor, Bechtel, the California engineering conglomerate. Secretary of State George Shultz and Bechtel had a longstanding business relationship ... Other high officials in the Reagan administration involved in this project including President Bush, the current Deputy Secretary of State, Lawrence Eagleburger, former Attorney General Ed Meese, former NSC Director Robert McFarlane, and former CIA Director William Casey. At various times, every one of them contacted the Eximbank to obtain financing for the Aqaba pipeline project." "On June 19, 1984, the Eximbank's Board met and not surprisingly approved a preliminary commitment of $484 million for the Aqaba pipeline for Bechtel."
The Institute for Policy Studies: RUMSFELD IGNORED WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION IN PURSUIT OF OIL PIPELINE NEW REPORT DOCUMENTS HAWKS' EFFORTS ON BECHTEL'S BEHALF, Excerpt: "Crude Vision reveals how the White House, through the Department of State and the National Security Council, pressured the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) and U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to approve financing for this deal. Reagan officials knew of numerous human rights violations by Saddam Hussein while they pursued US taxpayer support for the pipeline. And it notes that the break in US-Iraq relations occurred not after Iraq used chemical weapons on the Iranians, nor after Iraq gassed its own Kurdish people, nor even after Iraq invaded Kuwait, but rather, followed Saddam's rejection of the Aqaba pipeline deal." "Key figures associated with the Bush Administration, in particular Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, pressed Saddam Hussein during the mid '80's to approve the Aqaba pipeline project from Iraq to Jordan ... Behind the scenes, these officials worked for two years attempting to secure the billion dollar pipeline scheme for the Bechtel corporation. The Bush/Cheney administration now eyes Bechtel as a primary contractor for the rebuilding of Iraq's infrastructure. Bechtel's pipeline would have carried a million barrels of Iraqi crude oil a day through Jordan to the Red Sea port of Aqaba."
More about the Aqaba Pipeline -- Excerpts from article: In 1984, the Iraqi government was already negotiating the same project with an American company: BECHTEL. The main fear was then that Israel could any time attack and destroy the pipeline. (In 1981 Israel bombed and destroyed Iraq's nuclear power plant -- one of the pilots that bombed it was the Israeli astronaut killed in the recent Columbia Space Shuttle accident) But ten years later- in 1994- the same project became an asset in the hands of the Jordanian negotiators, who made of it a condition for signing a peace agreement with Israel. That's why King Hussein of Jordan discussed the subject in Washington in January 1994, then with Alain Juppé, French Foreign minister in Amman in February ... Negotiations, which started in 17 May 1992, needed a year and half to reach an agreement, signed in Baghdad by Taha Hammud (vice-Minister for oil) and the representatives of TOTAL-ELF. The agreement settled the issue, thus allowing the French to invest in the Iraqi fields, according to the notion of "production sharing" ... After the proclamation of the Oslo accords, the French tried to launch another ambitious project, concerning a pipeline linking Al-rumaila oil fields in southern Iraq to the Jordanian port of Aqaba, then to Gaza in the Palestinian self-rule area ... If the idea of linking Gaza to Rumaila met some difficulties, the Aqaba pipeline became soon the focus of numerous parties ... that would not be the only subject of disagreement between Paris and Washington concerning Iraq. The issue became so problematic that some observers could not help but notice that the struggle in the UN Security Council grew pregnant of French and American controversial reactions following the negotiations about oil production and exports and other trades with Iraq, such as the "airbus" deal won by the French at the expenses of "Boeing", or the 1994's contract signed also by the French aiming at settling 650.000 telephonic lines in Iraq, which would not be effective before the lifting of the embargo ... "

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