Blair: Iraq oil claim is 'conspiracy theory'At The Oil Drum yesterday, David Strahan placed this desperate 'derision' in its (underpublicised) historical context:
Matthew Tempest, political correspondent
Guardian, Wednesday January 15, 2003.
Tony Blair today derided as "conspiracy theories" accusations that a war on Iraq would be in pursuit of oil, as he faced down growing discontent in parliament at a meeting of Labour backbenchers and at PMQs. ...
Britain and America’s shared energy fears were secretly formalised during the planning for Iraq. It is widely accepted that Blair’s commitment to support the attack dates back to his summit with Bush at Crawford in April 2002. The Times headline was typical that weekend: Iraq Action Is Delayed But ‘Certain’. What is less well known is that at the same summit Blair proposed and Bush agreed to set up the US-UK Energy Dialogue, a permanent diplomatic liaison dedicated to “energy security and diversity”. No announcement was made, and the Dialogue’s existence was only later exposed through a US Freedom of Information enquiry by Rob Evans and David Hencke of the Guardian.
Both governments continue to refuse to release minutes of meetings between ministers and officials held under the Dialogue, but among some papers that have been released, one dated February 2003 notes that to meet projected world demand, oil production in the Middle East would have to double by 2030 to over 50 million barrels per day, and proposed “a targeted study to examine the capital and investment requirements of key Gulf countries”. So on the eve of the invasion British and American officials were secretly discussing how to raise oil production from the region and we are invited to believe this is mere coincidence. Iraq was evidently not just about corporate greed but strategic desperation.