Opinion | Back story: Oil politics and the collusion plot
In the early 1900s, First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, and retired First Sea Lord Admiral “Jackie” Fisher converted the Royal Navy from coal to oil. Access to the oil of the Middle East became of vital interest to Great Britain.
Up until the recent and on-going shift in U.S. demographics, Great Britain was thought of by most Americans as the “mother country.” But, as a result of decades of ineffective border control and sovereignty-undermining immigration laws, “mother country” is beginning to mean something else, depending on one’s country of origin or religious belief.
During the negotiation of the Treaty of Versailles, Great Britain made sure she was given a “mandate” to organize the nations of the Middle East to ensure the Royal Navy’s continued access to the oil of the Persian Gulf.
Pursuant to Versailles, Winston Churchill, T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia) and Gertrude Bell, Britain’s wealthy spy who lived in Baghdad, met in Cairo to draw the borders for what became modern-day Iraq. The trio made sure the Port of Basra, at the oil-rich headwaters of the Persian Gulf, was under British control. A robust Royal Navy stood ready to enforce the Versailles mandates.
For the moment, leap forward to 2003. After the U.S.-led coalition defeated Saddam Hussein, what part of Iraq did Great Britain occupy? The oil-port at Basra.
Now, go back to World War II and the allied conferences at Yalta and Potsdam that divided up the post-war world. Despite U.S. efforts to dial back British and French colonialism, Britain still had a lock on the oil of the Middle East. (Back then, the U.S. had yet to invent fracking and other technologies which, by 2018, would make the U.S. oil- and gas- independent and a net exporter of petroleum products.)
But, from 1945 to 2018, both the U.S. and Great Britain had a vital interest in access to the oil of the Middle East. When Saddam Hussein began to act in ways disturbing to the oil status quo, such as when he went to war with Iran and when Saddam invaded Kuwait, the Brits decided Saddam had to go.
British MI-6 circulated a story that Saddam had not, in fact, given up his nuclear-weapons program. MI-6 convinced President Bill Clinton’s pick for CIA Director, George Tenet, whom President G.W. Bush foolishly reappointed, that Saddam would soon have nuclear weapons and would then become the de facto ruler of Middle East oil. Director Tenet told President Bush that Saddam’s nukes were a “slam dunk” that he could “take that to the bank.”
When presidential candidate Donald J. Trump said the oil of the Middle East was no longer a U.S. vital interest, forces within the British and U.S. intelligence communities began to conspire. The “mother-country, special relationship” between Britain’s MI-6 and MI-5 and our CIA and FBI began to support the Clinton-paid-for Steele Dossier. Britain’s NSA, known as GCHQ, began to leak anti-Trump telephone intercepts. Fortunately, the now-exposed collusion plot is history.
Ironically, years of on-again, off-again socialism in Great Britain have resulted in a Royal Navy almost too weak to protect British oil-tankers in the Persian Gulf. Will President Trump bail out the Brits? Pray, not.
William Hamilton is a laureate of the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, and the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame. Dr. Hamilton is the author of Formula for Failure in Vietnam: The Folly of Limited Warfare, McFarland Books, (2019). For pre-publication orders: Toll free: (800) 253-2187. Central View can also be seen at http://www.central-view.com.
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