by Michael T. Klare, TomDispatch.com
While our media is filled with stories on the Bush administration and Iran, they almost invariably focus on the Iranian nuclear program (or European negotiations and U.S. non-negotiations about the same). You could read our press for weeks at a time -- if you didn't stray onto the business pages -- and not be aware that Iran sits on a sea of oil and natural gas. In fact, I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that, for long stretches, a typical newspaper reader or prime-time TV news viewer, or, for that matter, an NPR listener, would have just about no way of knowing that our world runs on oil. Of course, our local gas stations are informative enough on the subject these days, so this reality is lost on few people. Still, the sort of piece that hit the front page of the British Financial Times the other day -- IMF warns on risk of ‘permanent oil shock' -- is not normally a front-page commonplace for us.
This has a certain importance when, in the British and Israeli press and on the Internet, rumors and reports abound that either the Bush administration or the Israeli government (in coordination with Bush officials) or both are planning air attacks on Iranian nuclear facilities as early as this June (with hopes of an oil-regime change in Tehran); or when the Washington Post reports on months of Iranian air-space infringement and air-defense testing on the part of American unmanned aircraft, and Seymour Hersh reports on American Special Forces (or Kurdish agents) moving in and out of Iran, again possibly in preparation for future attacks. (By the way, an interesting counter-argument against the likelihood of an Israeli attack on Iran appeared in the Asia Times recently.)
It's strange that, when it comes to news articles on Iran, oil plays just about no role whatsoever; that, as was true with Iraq before the invasion of 2003, it is little short of a taboo subject. Fortunately, we have Michael Klare, whose book Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Dependency on Imported Oil (as I've said before) is an indispensable volume for understanding our moment. Below, Klare does what should be done in our mainstream press -- he seriously considers the role of Iran's oil and natural gas reserves, and other energy-related matters in the Bush administration's Iran planning. Tom