Tony Blair insisted that oil had nothing to do with it:
"...the oil conspiracy theory is honestly one of the most absurd when you analyse it...It's not the oil that is the issue, it is the weapons..."
Of course there were no weapons, just a great deal of oil.
Government papers now reveal just how much the oil industry was licking its lips at the prospects in Iraq. The Independent reports:
“The Foreign Office invited BP in on 6 November 2002 to talk about opportunities in Iraq "post regime change". Its minutes state: "Iraq is the big oil prospect. BP is desperate to get in there and anxious that political deals should not deny them the opportunity.... Whereas BP was insisting in public that it had "no strategic interest" in Iraq, in private it told the Foreign Office that Iraq was "more important than anything we've seen for a long time".”
Yet all the time we were told this was really a humanitarian venture, motivated by the deepest of concerns about the victims of an evil dictator.
Fast forward to 2011, and the United Nations has passed another resolution authorising military action to ‘protect civilians’. Once again, this country is rich in oil and gas.
And once again, the mission that was supposed to be humanitarian becomes an attempt by former colonial powers to overthrow one government and impose another one.
As Simon Jenkins put it in The Guardian:
“Throughout the west there is a desire to relieve people in distress, but when humanitarians arrive with screaming missiles and a clear political agenda, those being attacked are understandably suspicious of motive... The first humanitarian duty to those who are suffering should be to relieve that suffering, not to fight their civil wars, suppress their dictators, partition their countries and destroy their infrastructure. Something has polluted foreign policy.”
It is quite clear that the original decision to establish a ‘no fly zone’ in Libya has become something else entirely. British ‘advisers’ are now on the ground. Cameron, Sarkozy and Obama are calling for ‘regime change’. This is not what the United Nations, nor our own parliament, decided.
Parliament should be recalled and the government held to account.