Published by Science for Peace and Dundurn Press nine months before September 11th, my book, Petrotyranny provides the basis for a sane response to the problem of terrorism. The connection between oppressive regimes, the export of oil to largely western economies, and the funding of various groups is discussed in the context of Africa and Central Asia. It is a salient point of interest that bin Laden was financed largely by Saudi money gained through dealings with US oil interests and, in his own words, acted out of defiance of not only the US military presence in Saudi Arabia but also US military and economic pressure throughout the Arab world.
There are many similarities to the situation today in Iraq. Again, blinded by its military superiority, the US is not developing a coherent policy that would encourage regime change through nonviolent methods. The US once supported Hussein as they did bin Laden; both have made decisions that opposed US strategic and economic interests; both have been bombed by the US. Oil smuggling, which pays for Iraq’s armies, continues without serious US protest through Turkey, Syria and Jordan, while funding for bin Laden’s group has come from the US itself, and later from the free flow of oil revenues across the Saudi border. No serious effort is being made to target sanctions more effectively in Iraq, through efforts to hunt down the bank accounts and ban the travel of the regime’s top 200 personalities, for example; sanctions against Afghanistan were short-lived and similarly ineffective.
Unlike the situation in Afghanistan, there is a large contingent of groups in Iraq who favour a secular democratic state through non-violent means. Of course, supporting such groups would cede self-determination to the people of Iraq, while bombing and selecting the ‘democrats’ who will rule is an opportunity to extend US control over the region. This is currently the situation in Afghanistan, where former UNOCAL (oil corporation) consultant Hamid Karzai has been installed as leader, and former UNOCAL consultant Zalmay Khalilzad is US Special Envoy to Afghanistan, from another country run by oil executives — the US, by Bush, Cheney, and Rice.
It is possible for humans to live good lives, in democratic countries at peace with each other, without the terrible destruction of the environment caused by fossil fuels. Working towards this dream is what those who work for peace, human rights and the protection of the environment are striving towards. This means abolishing petrotyranny and creating a green and democratic peace.