On Dec. 31, 2011, after an eight-year presence that included the 2003-04 war ousting Iraq’s leader Saddam Hussein, the last American military forces exited Iraq. But it’s not that President Barack Obama wanted to leave.
The very purpose of America being in Iraq had not been fully accomplished. Oh, yes, Saddam was long gone by then, death by the gallows. And, oops, there were no weapons of mass destruction after all. Sorry about that, Mr. Hussein. Our bad.
You see, the real purpose behind the overthrow of Saddam and eight-year occupation had nothing to do with WMD. The real purpose was two-fold. First, in 1999, with the value of the Euro steadily increasing against the dollar, Saddam Hussein declared Iraq would no longer accept American currency in exchange for its oil, opting for Euros instead. That was strike one. Saddam had to go.
Four years later Saddam is found holed-up under the ground in his hometown. We all know what happened after that.
Either way, with Saddam gone and with full military control of Iraq, President George W. Bush authorized J.P. Morgan to reorganize the banking system of Iraq, which of course meant U.S. dollars would be restored as the international trading currency for Iraqi oil.
Why is that so important?
Bush was not looking after the interests of the American people. In removing Saddam and installing full military control over Iraq, Bush furthered merely the interests of Wall Street banks, whose only product, dollars, they issue freely without cost. So if an oil-rich country like Iraq sells its oil for U.S. dollars, Wall Street banks and their affiliates can purchase that oil, essentially for free. Understand?
When Saddam opted for Euros and declined selling for dollars, Wall Street banks could no longer purchase Iraqi oil with dollars conjured out of thin air. OK, I think you’re getting it.
But restoring the oil-buying power of Wall Street banks was only half of Bush’s goal. Since he had control of the entire country of Iraq, and since under the ground of Iraq are oil reserves in vast quantities, Bush’s next job was to secure a favorable, albeit coercive agreement with the Iraqi government for western oil companies to extract Iraq’s oil and sell it on the world market. The better the split for the oil companies, the lesser the people of Iraq would benefit from the arrangement.
And so, in 2007 the Bush administration proposed legislation known as the 2007 Iraq Oil Law, and forced then Prime Minster Nouri al-Maliki, in place by an agreement crafted by Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani, whose name has been in the news recently, to propose it to Iraq’s law-makers. Bush’ law would privatize Iraq’s oil fields, benefiting western oil companies to the utmost, while handing the Iraqi government pennies on the dollar for that right. Iraqi legislators refused to approve Bush’s plan. That was strike two.
And finally, part of J.P. Morgan’s banking reorganization called for an independent, Federal Reserve-styled central bank. If you read this column you know what that was all about. The Iraq Supreme Court in place by Bush’s new Iraq constitution rejected that idea, opining that operating a private central bank would be unconstitutional. That was strike three.
And so, under the watchful interest of new U.S. President Barack Obama the Iraqi government decided it wanted all U.S. forces gone. The status-of-forces agreement in place since the Bush takeover expired on Dec. 31, 2011. Maliki informed Obama that he must remove all U.S. forces from Iraq by that time. That was done. America was out of Iraq.
So what happened next? Remember? In 2014, out of the western sands of Iraq materialized the forces of ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, transported via a fleet of late-model Toyota battle wagons complete with 50 cal. machine guns. Half turned toward central Iraq, wreaking havoc as they went. The other half embarked to Syria in an effort to take down the Assad government unfriendly to western interests.
Maliki told the world at the time that western allies were behind the ISIS invasion of Iraq and Syria. And you might recall, during the 2016 campaign candidate Donald Trump announced the same thing, that “Obama and Hillary created ISIS.”
Notably, President Obama refused to help Iraq battle ISIS until the Maliki government was gone and a new government, one presumably more agreeable toward signing the Bush oil agreement, might be in place.
As a result, in August 2014 Maliki stepped down as prime minister. The new Iraq government welcomed Barack Obama to bring U.S. troops back in to fight ISIS. So as long as ISIS might be breaking things, Iraq would need U.S. troops to fend them off. Hopefully you see what is going on here.
The threat of ISIS gave Obama and presumptively-elected new President Hillary Clinton leverage against the Iraqi government to sign that same oil law left languishing since 2007. But Hillary didn’t win.
Donald Trump won in 2016 and used the U.S. forces stationed in Iraq at the behest of the Iraqi government to actually destroy ISIS. Now that ISIS is gone, and now that Trump has used those same forces to neutralize Iranian General Qassim Soleimani, friend of Maliki you recall, Iraqi legislators want U.S. forces gone again.
Now you are caught up.
Hank Sullivan is a Forsyth County resident, businessman, author and speaker on American history, economics and geopolitics.