Archive for the 'Iran' Category

Iran and Brazil Can Do It. So Can We.

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

Set America Free Coalition member Gal Luft in the Washington Post:

When the founding fathers declared our independence, they could not have imagined that, 232 years later, the United States would be so spectacularly dependent on foreign countries. It would be roughly
eight more decades before oil gushed from a well in Titusville, Pa., marking the beginning of the global
oil economy; it took eight decades more for the United States to become a net oil importer. But the
republic’s disastrous dependence on foreign oil has increased by leaps and bounds ever since.
In 1973, when OPEC imposed its oil embargo, U.S. oil imports composed 30 percent of our needs;
today, they make up more than 60 percent, with a growing proportion of that crude coming from the
world’s least stable regions. At around $145 a barrel, the United States, by my calculations, will spend
more on imported oil this year than it will spend on its own defense budget, and much of that money
will flow into the coffers of those who wish us ill.

Read the whole thing.

What petrodollars buy

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Walid Phares explains what $1 billion dollars in Iranian oil money means in terms of reach and power for the terrorist organization Hizballah.

Get flexible

Sunday, December 9th, 2007

The newest Set America Free Coalition member, Admiral James Lyons, writes in the Washington Times:

Terrorist training camps and insurgents in Iraq and elsewhere are funded by Saudi and Iranian petrodollars. So are bounties for families of suicide bombers. It is incredible: by buying Saudi-controlled OPEC oil we finance a war against ourselves.

But the Saudis are not alone. Iran has used its vast accumulation of petrodollars to support terrorism throughout the Middle East as well as providing funds for their drive to develop a nuclear weapon. Oil has also given Iran, Venezuela and — in the past — Libya the flexibility to ignore economic sanctions by finding amoral partners such as China, Russia and some of the European countries who are willing to trade with them. Petro revenue has provided Vladimir Putin the means to centralize his power, bully his neighbors and steer Russia on an independent course that has been unhelpful to U.S. interests.

For all these reasons, as well as for our long-term economic and security concerns, we must break our addiction to oil…

We have technology that will underpin an energy strategy that will break our petro-addiction and OPEC’s hegemony. That strategy lies in something already available: mixed-fuel technology; vehicles that use a mixture of ethanol, methanol and gasoline.

Ethanol is produced from a variety of agricultural sources, primarily sugarcane and corn, at as low as $1.50 a gallon. In 2006, methanol, which can be made from coal, natural gas and agricultural waste, was being sold without any subsidies for 80 cents per gallon.

The engineering difference for a flex fuel car requires an additional sensor and computer chip that controls the fuel-air mixture. It also should have a corrosion resistant fuel system. The overall increase in costs for a flex fuel car will average about $100 per vehicle.

This year Detroit has offered two dozen models with a flex fuel option. To accelerate this program, Congress needs to put politics aside and enact legislation to require that 50 percent of all vehicles produced by our auto manufacturers must be flex fuel by 2012. This will not be easy. However, this is a figure the Big Three auto makers proposed to President Bush when they met last year.

West’s energy security ever-more at the mercy of foreign governments

Friday, December 29th, 2006

Set America Free Coalition member Frank Gaffney writes in the Washington Times:

As the Communist Chinese and fascistic Russian regimes move to forge close relations with energy-rich nations like Iran, Libya, Sudan, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Saudi Arabia, and as the Kremlin consolidates its control over Russia’s own vast resources, America and her allies will find themselves increasingly imperiled by their dependency on such sources for oil products and/or natural gas.
As a result, President Bush needs to make increased U.S. energy security a central part of the overhauled war-fighting strategy that he is set to announce next month. To do so, he must clearly go beyond the lip service that he paid to our “addiction to oil” in last year’s State of the Union speech by taking steps that will make a difference.
Done properly, energy security could be one of the most promising areas for cooperation between the Bush Administration and Democrats in Congress. By concentrating on areas where considerable progress is possible (rather than on such neuralgic issues as drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge or increased CAFE fuel-efficiency standards), America — and in particular its gas-guzzling transportation sector — could be made significantly less reliant on oil supplied by unstable or hostile regimes.
Such a course of action has been laid out in a blueprint produced by the Set America Free Coalition — a group spanning the political spectrum — that forms the basis for the bipartisan, bicameral Vehicle & Fuel Choices for American Security Act (introduced in the last session of Congress as S.2025 in the Senate and H.R. 4409 in the House). It entails two principal steps: (1) ensuring all cars sold in America will be Flexible Fuel Vehicles, capable of burning not just gasoline but ethanol and methanol (or some combination thereof); and (2) assuring the availability of substantially increased quantities of such alternative fuels.
This legislation would also help make electricity a true transportation fuel, by promoting the manufacture of plug-in hybrid vehicles. Since scarcely any electricity is generated in America by burning oil, the widespread use of such vehicles could greatly reduce our dependence on foreign sources of petroleum. To realize the full potential of this option, however, President Bush and the Congress will need to join forces on one other important initiative: assuring large-scale U.S. production of advanced lithium ion batteries, an essential ingredient for our future energy — and national — security and the competitiveness of our auto industry.

Ahmadinejad’s plan to subvert sanctions

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

excerpt from a recent oped by Gal Luft and Anne Korin:

What do you call a world leader who faces a strategic threat stemming from his country’s energy dependence and introduces a crash program for energy independence that taps into his country’s domestic resources?

Ahmadinejad.

With 43 percent of Iran’s gasoline imported, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad knows that a comprehensive gasoline embargo could cause social unrest that could undermine his regime. In response, he recently announced a three-part crash program for energy independence.

One tenet of the plan is massive expansion of the country’s refining capacity. While no refinery has been built in the United States in decades, Iran’s refinery infrastructure is undergoing one of the world’s fastest expansions, including the construction of two large new refineries.

A second pillar is to secure imports of refined products from Venezuela, one of Iran’s staunchest allies against the West.

The third, and most innovative, part of the plan is to convert Iran’s vehicles to run on natural gas rather than gasoline within five years. Iran has the world’s second-largest natural-gas reserve after Russia – 16 percent of the world’s total – which guarantees an uninterrupted supply of cheap transportation fuel for decades. The cost of conversion of both the cars and refueling stations is heavily subsidized by the government.

To read the full IAGS report on Iran’s strategy to subvert sanctions, click here.

Iran: Our Response To Sanctions Will Make the West Shiver With Cold

Tuesday, August 8th, 2006

Iranian Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Larijani has a message to all those who think “the oil weapon is obsolete”:

“[sanctions against Iran] will have many ramifications in the international arena. They will be harmed more than us. We control all aspects of this issue. They must not think we will not respond if they hurt us. They must not force us to make them shiver with cold, and make them face more problems. We don’t want to take this path, but if they do, they will have to bear the consequences. This is not immediate, but if they do so, we will respond in a manner that will be sufficiently painful to them.”

Guess who’s going to Shanghai?

Tuesday, June 13th, 2006

This is a clear illustration of Sec. Rice’s comments about how energy has warped foreign policy:

Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will not be just toasting the leaders of the [Shanghai Cooperative Organization's] six members – China, Russia and four Central Asian nations – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan – as an observer to the summit to be held in Shanghai. The Iranian leader, whose country defies the free world by developing nuclear weapons and tops the list of nations supporting terrorism, will also be pushing for full membership in the SCO.

It’s “passing strange” for the SCO – which highlights the “fight on terrorism” as one of its three prime objectives (the other two being separatism and extremism) – to have invited Mr. Ahmadinejad and considered membership for Iran, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said recently at the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual Asian-Pacific conference which took place in Singapore in early June and was organized by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Not at all, according to the SCO’s secretary-general, Zhang Deguang. “We would not have invited them if we believed they sponsored terror,” he responded to an inquiry about Iran’s participation. Mr. Zhang hoped that other nations, once improving their ties with Iran, would have better opinions of that country. As for the pressing issue of nuclear non-proliferation, all he could say was, “We do not yet have legal documents on the issue.” How reassuring to those who view the SCO increasingly as an attempt by China and Russia to undermine America’s influence in their backyard and beyond.

“By letting Iran enter the SCO, Russia and China would clearly demonstrate that they side with Iran and its nuclear program and would embark on a collision course with the West,” a Moscow-based think tanker said, according to Radio Free Europe.

Iran is China’s third largest oil supplier, amounting to 13% of China’s total crude imports. For Washington to expect that Beijing, which relies on rapid economic development to maintain its rule, would exert pressure on Tehran to halt its nuclear ambitions is more than wishful thinking. I hope Secretary of State Rice proves me wrong in her decision to negotiate with the mullahs. But I’m afraid that the country the Bush administration has so desperately tried to turn into a “responsible stakeholder” would once again prove disappointing. As Ms. Rice’s deputy, Robert Zoellick, admitted to a House International Relations Committee hearing last month, when he confronted the Chinese about their dealings with Iran, he was told, “Look, we got our own interests there, we got energy security concerns.”

“An extended SCO would control a large part of the world’s oil and gas reserves and nuclear arsenal. It would essentially be an OPEC with bombs,” a professor at the University of Cambridge’s East Asia Institute, David Hall, told the Washington Times, referring to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

(emphasis added)
Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: This article by Dr. Ariel Cohen of the Heritage Foundation on the subject is excellent: Bear and Dragon summit.

Victor Davis Hanson: How oil lubricates our enemies

Monday, June 12th, 2006

VDH:

“Take away the $300-500 billion in windfall profits piled up in the coffers of the oil-exporting nations recently, and Hugo Chavez becomes just another spluttering Castro, hardly able to pay for his bankrupt populism in Venezuela, much less export it beyond his borders. Without petroleum largesse, Iran’s Mohammed Ahmadinejad could afford neither a multi-billion-dollar nuclear weapons program nor costly subsidies for terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. Vladimir Putin’s crackdown on capitalists, political freedom, and further Russian reforms comes only because he controls energy exports vital to the world economy.

“And huge petroleum profits don’t just empower dictators, subsidize nuclear proliferation, and curtail economic reform. They also have pernicious psychological effects. Americans hit with gasoline price hikes of nearly a dollar a gallon have fallen to despairing over our economy. Try telling furious motorists that the extra cost for most drivers amounts only to about $500-700 per year–a pittance compared to sky-high housing prices that leap tens of thousands of dollars annually. No matter: people see the numbers on the gas pump, and less cash in their wallets, and figure the U.S. is teetering on the brink.

“Foreign policy is warped as well. Because of its dependency on Middle East gas and oil, Europe’s high talk about human rights doesn’t apply much to Arab extremists with energy-rich patrons in the Gulf. America is in a war against Islamic fascism, yet treads carefully around Saudi Arabia, despite the kingdomͳ subsidies to America-hating madrasahs. When poor oil-importing countries in Africa and Latin America make sacrifices to enact tough market reforms, their hard work only helps to enrich failed states like Iran, Libya, and Venezuela lucky enough to have an accidental resource beneath their feet that was found, exploited, and mostly purchased by the Westerners they demonize.”