Back in 2007, retired US Army General Wesley Clark, said in an interview that in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the Pentagon was planning to launch seven military campaigns across the Middle East and North Africa in less than five years, targeting Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran .
Even though the US didn’t manage to bring this plan into fruition within this timeframe, all of the above listed countries, except for Iran, have been subjected to US military aggression. This brings us to today, when the United States is engaged in waging war across seven nations as mentioned in a recently declassified report titled, Report on the Legal and Policy Frameworks Guiding the United States’ Use of Military Force and Related National Security Operations. However, nowhere in this paper are those conflicts denoted as wars, as we see the mention of Washington using military force to bolster its national security. However, regardless of the wording those in power choose to use, there’s little doubt that such military operations are extremely expensive, yet the Pentagon has an ace up its sleeve.
According to the estimate provided by the project known as Costs of War, hosted by the Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, those instances of “applications of military force aimed at bolstering American national security” came at a staggering price of 6 trillion dollars spent since 2001. It means Americans spend 32 million dollars per hour, according to a counter by the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.
In other words, it’s been estimated that every American taxpayer has spent almost 24,000 dollars on overseas wars, which equals to an average down payment on a house, a new Honda Accord, or a year at a public university.
However, it’s true that wars continue spreading like wildfire, as they are no longer limited to Afghanistan, Iraq, or Syria. Indeed, the US military is escalating a shadowy network of anti-terror operations all across the world — in at least 76 nations, or 40% of of all nations on the planet.
To finance this expansion the Pentagon demanded 716 billion dollars for the 2019 fiscal year, with expenditure levels officially approved in accordance with the request of US President Donald Trump.
Public opinion has criticized the White House’s military adventuring time and time again, demanding a reduction in America’s inflated military budget, as money is not just being spent on maintaining America’s defense capabilities, but also on supporting over 700 US military installations all across the globe together with ongoing military conflicts, the list of which keeps growing. In response to this criticism, Trump would reiterate his intention to make US military bases profitable for the United States. However, this can only be achieved in one of two ways. The burden of maintaining those bases can be put on the shoulders of those countries that allow Washington to deploy its troops on their territory. Alternatively, the US can confiscate the wealth of those states where the Pentagon and its allies are conducting military operations.
Regarding the first option, it is worth recalling the speech presented by Trump last January at the Pentagon, in which he urged American allies to pay a mind-boggling price tag for the maintenance of US military installations on their soil, plus 50% bonus “for the opportunity to host American troops” .
As for the second option, it doesn’t differ too much from the typical policies of any invading force: stealing in favor of those who occupy foreign territory. In a similar way, the Nazis stole the resources of the territories they occupied prior and during WWII…
However, those were precisely the policies that Washington would pursue in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, launching the invasion of Iraq with the goal of overthrowing Saddam Hussein. Even then, the United States was trying to torpedo the oil industry of this Middle Eastern country in a bid to inflate oil prices on the world market, at the same time putting Beijing and its allies in a difficult economic situation.
In the same fashion, the White House would launch a campaign against Libya in 2011 to overthrow its leader – Muammar Gaddafi. But this time, it was acting under the cover of fulfilling its ally responsibility to Europe, relying on the then French head of state, Nicolas Sarkozy, who received money from Gaddafi to sponsor his election campaign and clearly wasn’t in a hurry to return his debt, preferring to get rid of the Libyan ally by using the American military power. Once Gaddafi was murdered, the entire Libyan state collapsed, which resulted in bitter civil war. Hillary Clinton’s letters released by Wikileaks made it clear that the real reasoning behind the US intervention was an attempt to steal Libya’s oil wealth.
However, Washington wasn’t content with the amount of oil it managed to steal from these invaded nations, which resulted in the White House making the decision to hijack Syria’s oil reserves, transforming these regions into strongholds, manned by both US servicemen and operatives of private military companies. Trump doesn’t think he should make a big secret out of the fact that he used both ISIS and the Kurds as a pretext to get his hands on Syria’s hydrocarbon wealth. In late October, Trump announced in one of his speeches that ExxonMobil or some other American oil producer is going to begin operating in Syria in the near future. This announcement provoked a massive outcry among lawyers and other experts observing the situation.
Even though ExxonMobil and Chevron refused to comment on this statement, a number of other public figures did not make a big secret out of their outlook on this situation. In particular, as it’s been reported by Reuters, Bruce Riedel, a former national security advisor and now senior fellow at the Brookings Institution think-tank announced that:
“It is not only a dubious legal move, it sends a message to the whole region and the world that America wants to steal the oil.”
In turn, Jeff Colgan, an associate professor of political science and international studies at Brown University stated the following:
“The idea that the United States would ‘keep the oil’ in the hands of ExxonMobil or some other U.S. company is immoral and possibly illegal.”
In order to keep hold of the captured Syrian oil fields, the United States began returning previously withdrawn troops from Iraq. Thus, the Arab publication Al Yaum reported that about 150 US army trucks and vehicles carrying equipment, weapons and soldiers were relocated to the east of the Syrian Arab Republic.
In turn, the Russian Ministry of Defense presented evidence revealing details about the sale of stolen Syrian oil by the United States. It turned out that banal theft and smuggling are goals that Washington pursues, and not the protection of Syrian oil from Syrians themselves, as the US doesn’t make a big secret out of its smuggling operations, which were revealed by the released satellite images depicting a massive number of vehicles parked at the Daman oil gathering station. The oil export contract is implemented by the US-controlled company Sadcab, created under the supervision of the so-called Autonomous Administration of Eastern Syria. And the proceeds from the smuggling of Syrian oil through the brokerage companies flow to a number of accounts of US private military companies and US intelligence agencies.
The other day a tanker arrived to the port of Odessa, carrying a cargo of oil from Libya. In total, its cargo included 81,282 tons of raw oil that arrived directly from the Libyan port of Ez-Zawiya.
So, no matter how much US politicians brag about the “primacy of democratic ideals,” Washington’s real motivation is easy profit through aggression, fake “color revolutions” and the blatant, overt seizure of other people’s property.
Valery Kulikov, expert politologist, exclusively for the online magazine ‘New Eastern Outlook’