Did President Obama really launch an illegal war? We know that Pres. Bush did (the invasion of Iraq), and that war was clearly about securing supplies of fossil oil so we can all keep driving. I saw the “Obama launched an illegal war” in one of those raving paranoid lunatic pictures circling around Facebook, so I almost dismissed it. But a quick yahoogling for “Obama illegal war” did indeed turn up Salon.com discussing how the Libya war was illegal. Libya? Oh yeah, taking down Gaddafi because of his brutal crackdown on dissent within Libya, and after a couple decades of Gaddafi-demonization by the West. Maybe the action in Libya was illegal (didn’t have authorization from either the UN or Congress). And, by the way, it may have been about Oil and Natural Gas and Energy Security for Europe.
Let’s start with whether the Libya action was illegal. That Salon.com says it was illegal gives me a lot of confidence that it actually was, because Salon.com is about the furthest from a paranoid right wing nutjob faux-news outfit that you can imagine. Their explanation is that Obama didn’t get congressional approval for the action in Libya. The Obama Administration claimed they didn’t need approval because the action was going to last fewer than 60 days. I don’t know for sure, you can read their article to see all the details.
What I want to focus on is the plausibility that the Libya action took place because of Oil and Natural Gas.
What I’m going to turn to is a Congressional Research Service paper that I’ve looked at before when writing about why the current crisis in Ukraine is due to fossil fuel resources, fracking, and Energy Security in Europe. Europe’s Energy Security:Options and Challenges toNatural Gas Supply Diversification was written by the Congressional Research Service (Aug. 2013) to advise Congress on policy and whatnot related to Europe’s complete situation around energy supplies, and what Europe must do to escape the looming threat that Russia will become the primary supplier of natural gas and other fossil fuels to Europe.
Early in that paper is this ominous statement:
Successive U.S. administrations and Congresses have viewed European energy security as a U.S. national interest.
Ominous, that is, if you understand the implication. The U.S. has a tendency to go to war over issues seen to be in our “national interest”. Why was Yanukovych toppled from power? My theory (in addition to the above blog post, see Europe’s dependency on Russian natural gas mirror’s Ukraine’s effort for liberation from Russia) is that because Ukraine possesses critical infrastructure (natural gas pipelines), and huge frackable shale deposits, that to create conditions where Chevron et al could do in Ukraine what they’re doing in North Dakota, would and launch a major oil & natural gas renaissance right on Russia’s doorstep. That would throw a huge monkey wrench into Russia’s plan to gain dominance over Europe with Natural Gas.
The CRS document has a lot to say about the potential of shale gas resources in Eastern Europe (Ukraine, Poland, Romania, and the Baltic Countries) to do such a thing.
Okay then, what about Libya? The CRS document calls Libya “Untapped Potential” and says things about Libya and Egypt that makes one pause to reconsider the whole “Arab Spring” phenomena. Did it arise naturally, or was it goosed into being by the CIA?
Yes, yes, this is bordering on lunatic fringe stuff.
Algeria, Libya and Egypt all have significant fossil hydrocarbon resources. Libya and Algeria both already have significant oil & gas industries, but production is way down for various reasons including lack of access by Western oil companies. It’s known that all three have significant shale deposits as well, that are thought to be frackable and can produce natural gas.
Algeria and Libya have difficult business climates, meaning national oil policies that restrict access by foreign oil companies. Additionally, both (and Egypt as well) have significant “terrorist” activities that disrupt western oil company operations.
I wrote some about this the other day when discussing how the Nigerian schoolgirl kidnappings are also related to western oil companies. There are elements in the region who are angry at outside influence, angry at western countries, and are conducting holy war to drive out the infidel. Western Oil companies are an example of the infidel invading their countries.
The CRS document says this about Libya:
Libya may have the greatest potential to increase natural gas exports to Europe once a new regime is established and possibly a new state oil and natural gas company in a post-Qadhafi Libya.
About Egypt it says:
Depending upon the orientation of a new government, if it promotes Western investment
in Egypt’s energy sector, and the government addresses its natural gas subsidies, this deterioration of Egypt’s natural gas sector could be reversed.
About Algeria, it says:
According to a study by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Algeria may hold shale gas resources much greater than its conventional reserves, which are substantial. In March 2013, Algeria passed a new set of amendments to its hydrocarbon law to address shale gas in the country. Depending upon the development of its unconventional natural gas resources and its conventional resources, Algeria could become a more significant natural gas producer and exporter. However, a difficult business environment may continue to limit its potential.
The tone of each talks new oil industry policies, that may require new governments.
What I’m about to say, there is no proof, but I hope you can see that there is evidence here to make this a fairly safe conjecture rather than a wild-assed guess.
These statements show that Washington is interested in the fossil fuel formations in North Africa. It’s not an idle academic interest. They want Western oil companies to have the freedom to operate in those countries, and doing so requires new governments to replace existing ones. The goal is to use those resources in North Africa as one element of shoring up Europe’s fossil fuel supplies, so that Europe doesn’t have to turn to Russia.
Everyone knows that if you give a Russian a pinkie, that they’ll take not just the hand, but the arm, and a leg to go with it. If Russia were to have a dominance position over Europe, the result could be very bad.
What those statements imply, as well as the rest of the CRS document, is that the US Government has the motive (European energy security) to start manipulating the countries of North Africa in order to create a government/business climate where western oil companies can operate freely.
This is about as far out on this limb as I want to go — Did Pres. Obama launch the Libya action to change out Libya’s government to create conditions amenable to Western Oil Company operations?
Was the Arab Spring launched for similar reasons?
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