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Only one impediment to total U.S. control of the Middle East: Iran

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Message Michael Payne

A war is raging in the Middle East but, at least for now, it only involves words rather than bullets and bombs. This war of words, with Israel and the U.S. on one hand and Iran on the other, is highly dangerous in itself as it continues to fan the flames of enmity and mistrust. The entire world, war weary as it is, watches in fear and apprehension, hoping that it will not witness yet another massive military conflict that could ignite a Middle East inferno.

Israel and Iran have been locked in an ideological impasse for decades, but there is much more involved with this tenuous situation. The Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS) is one of the world's leading research organizations on energy security. By projecting current oil production levels, it estimates that by 2020, 83% of global oil reserves will be controlled by Middle Eastern nations; primarily, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates.

The Middle East region, over the next two decades, will increase its share of total world oil reserves significantly because nations such as Russia, Mexico, U.S., Norway, China and Brazil will see their reserves greatly diminish. At that point, the Middle East will become the world's major crude oil reservoir.

Based on that probability it now becomes crystal clear why the Bush administration invaded and occupied Iraq, which has the fourth largest oil reserves in the world. The U.S. is now firmly entrenched in Iraq with the largest U.S. embassy in the world, numerous military bases throughout the country and a very cooperative client government. While a substantial number of troops might exit Iraq by the end of 2011, you can bet that a permanent military presence, let's say about 40,000 troops, will remain in Iraq for an indefinite period of time.

Iran is the only Middle Eastern nation with substantial oil reserves that remains completely independent of U.S. influence or control. It finds itself in a precarious position because of that fact and because it remains in the crosshairs of both Israel and the U.S. over its nuclear program.

This is de'jà vu all over again. Remember when Bush and his fellow war hawks were threatening Saddam Hussein over his supposed arsenal of weapons of mass construction? WMD's were, of course, non-existent but the drums of war never stopped beating until Iraq was attacked and then occupied in March of 2003. And the first step in the process to control the Middle East became a reality.

Now we seem to be in the early stages of another eerily similar scenario as both the U.S. and its other client state, Israel, are constantly issuing warnings and threats over Iran's nuclear program. Iran says that it is developing nuclear power for domestic energy purposes. They are allowed to do so since they are a member of the NPT, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an independent international organization which is affiliated with the United Nations, has been closely monitoring Iran's nuclear program and facilities for years and has never found concrete proof of any program to develop nuclear weapons.

But just as the United Nation's weapons inspectors relentlessly searched for Saddam's cache of WMD's, and found none, the findings and conclusions of the IAEA have been totally disregarded and dismissed by the U.S. and Israel.

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