Monday, May 05, 2014

Security Concerns for Iraq's Oil Infrastructure

In light of the recent conflicts in the area, the oil and gas industry in Iraq has suffered many transformations and it is clear that many of them have influenced the security of the country. Lately, the United States are said to have contributed with advice on security matters and oil infrastructure, mainly because there have been several attacks on pipelines. Baghdad authorities are making efforts to stabilize the economy, but the situation remains tense and there are still few optimistic prospects. The US Energy and State Department has announced a collaboration with Iraqi authorities, with a view to offer protection from frequent attacks in the area. It is a notable event, not only at a local scale, but also on a global one. Oil and gas companies all over the world have already picked up the news and are interested in finding out how this will affect their activity.

The official involved in this collaboration is deputy prime minister Hussein al-Shahristani, who has announced that foreign troops will help acquire oil equipment. Moreover, he said that these troops will protect pipelines in the north, which have reportedly been under terrorist attacks and oil installation in the area was delayed for this reason. After a period of growth, export levels diminished last year, the official cause for this being unfavorable weather conditions and improper maintenance. There have even been reports of bombing in the northern region and pomping was stopped. The aim of the agreement between Iraq and the USA is to protect these pipelines from similar attacks and also to ensure that they benefit from proper maintenance and safety of transport. In his speech, Hussein al-Shahristani stated that foreign troops will not be involved in the development of security plans.

Iraqi authorities have also announced earlier this year that they will take measures against the Kurd and Turk companies who have taken oil out of the country without the Iraq's authorization. The situation is definitely tense in the area, and the oil and gas industry will probably suffer even more changes in 2014. So far, this information is not readily available everywhere and those who want to stay up to date with everything that is happening will need more than the local daily news report. Fortunately, there are several online portals that offer daily information about the state of events in the oil industry, not only in key regions such as Iraq, but also around the world.

The situation is prone to social and political bias, which is why it is important to read the news from an objective news website. While not all sources might present inaccurate information, many will choose to omit some sides of the story, so you should keep that in mind when choosing your news portal. The conflict between the Kurds and the Iraqi officials is definitely one of the highlights in the Middle East and those who are interested in these events should definitely read daily updates. There are many sources of information online and apart from traditional news websites you can also find several blogs and specialized portals. Groshan Fabiola

Friday, January 17, 2014

How Accurate Is Your Memory on Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction?

"The repetition of tentative news stories, even if they are subsequently dis-confirmed, can assist in the creation of false memories in a substantial proportion of people."

The above is a quote taken from the Psychological Science research study of March 2005 [1] "Memory for Fact, Fiction, and Misinformation" Vol. 16, No. 3.

The study also determined "Once information is published, its subsequent correction does not alter people's beliefs unless they are suspicious about the motives underlying the events the news stories are about."

This study confirmed what the majority of US voters have hopefully been able to determine on their own which is the more we hear something on the news, the more likely we are to believe the statement is true, whether what we are hearing is fact or fiction.

Such is the case with weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Over and over again the public was advised by President Bush and V.P. Cheney that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that could be used against the United States and the only way to eliminate the threat was for the U.S. to destroy the WMD's.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released their bipartisan report titled "POSTWAR FINDINGS ABOUT IRAQ'S WMD PROGRAMS AND LINKS TO TERRORISM AND HOW THEY COMPARE WITH PREWAR ASSESSMENTS" on September 8, 2006.

This report was prepared by the 109th Congress, when Republicans held the majority in both the House and the Senate.

The SSCI committee members consisted of the following (8) Republicans - Pat Roberts, Chairman, Orrin Hatch, Mike DeWine, Christopher Bond, Trent Lott, Olympia Snowe, Chuck Hagel and Chambliss Saxby and (7) Democrats - John Rockefeller, Vice Chairman, Carl Levin, Dianne Feinstein, Ron Wyden, Evan Bayh, Barbara Mikulski and Russ Feingold, along with three ex offico's; Bill Frist, Harry Reid, and John Warner. Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, as well as the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee serve as ex officio SSCI members.

The report listed the following conclusions on Iraq WMD's:

Conclusion 1: Postwar findings do not support the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) judgment that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Information obtained after the war supports the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research's (INR) assessment in the NIE that the Intelligence Community lacked persuasive evidence that Baghdad had launched a coherent effort to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program.

Conclusion 2: Postwar findings do not support the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) assessment that Iraq's acquisition of high-strength aluminum tubes was intended for an Iraqi nuclear program. The findings do support the assessments in the NIE of the Department of Energy's Office of Intelligence and the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) that the aluminum tubes were likely intended for a conventional rocket program.

Conclusion 3: Postwar findings to not support the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) assessment that Iraq was "vigorously trying to procure uranium ore and yellowcake" from Africa. Postwar findings support the assessment in the NIE of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) that claims of Iraqi pursuit of natural uranium in Africa are "highly dubious."

Conclusion 4: Postwar findings do not support the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) assessment that "Iraq has biological weapons" and that "all key aspects of Iraq's offensive biological weapons (BW) program are larger and more advanced than before the Gulf war."

Conclusion 5: Postwar findings do not support the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) assessment that Iraq possessed, or ever developed, mobile facilities for producing biological warfare (BW) agents.

Conclusion 6: Concerns existed within the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIUA) Directorate of Operations (DO) prior to the war about the credibility of the mobile biological weapons program source code-named CURVE BALL. The concerns were based, in part, on doubts raised by the foreign intelligence service that handled CURVE BALL and a third service. The Committee has no information that these concerns were conveyed to policymakers, including members of the U.S. Congress, prior to the war. The Committee is continuing to investigate issues regarding prewar concerns about CURVE BALL'S credibility.

Conclusion 7: Postwar findings do not support the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) assessments that Iraq "has chemical weapons" or "is expanding its chemical industry to support chemical weapons (CW) production."

Conclusion 8: Postwar findings support the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) assessment that Iraq had missiles which exceeded United Nation (UN) range limits. The findings do not support the assessment that Iraq likely retained a covert force of SCUD variant short range ballistic missiles (SRBMs).

Conclusion 9: Postwar findings do not support the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) assessments that Iraq had a developmental program for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) "probably intended to deliver biological agents" or that an effort to procure U.S. mapping software "strongly suggests that Iraq is investing the use of these UAV's for missions targeting the United States." Postwar findings support the view of the Air Force, joined by DIA and the Army, in an NIE published in January 2003 that Iraq's UAV's were primarily intended for reconnaissance.

Information on threats to the United States is now provided to our leaders by one or more of the following agencies within the Intelligence Community:
  • · Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)
  • · Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
  • · National Security Agency (NSA)
  • · Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
  • · National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)
  • · National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)
In addition, the DOS, DOD, DOJ, FBI, DEA, DHS, DOT, DOE and all branches of the military contribute information on intelligence.

The rush to judgment on Iraq has cost this country dearly. Thousands of U.S. troops lost their lives fighting in Iraq [4,423], while tens of thousands were wounded [31,942]. Spouses and children were left to fend on their own while our troops went charging off into the sunset to attack a country that we had no business being in, much less attacking. Billions of dollars [$616 billion through June of 2008] of our tax dollars have been spent on military actions in Iraq that could and should have been spent in this country updating our crumbling infrastructure.

CRS prepared a report in June of 2008 [RS22926] indicating current year costs as well as constant dollars.

A cursory review of the numbers will indicate that as of June 2008 we had already spent more in Iraq, than what the other five conflicts cost combined.

Many other countries around the world assisted us in our fight against WMD's and hundreds of their troops were killed and/or wounded as well. If you add the hundreds of thousands of civilians that were killed and/or maimed in Iraq and the losses that country took at our hands, the numbers are astronomical.

Was it worth it?

© 2014 Patricia L Johnson

Patricia L Johnson is a former special assignment writer/photographer and co-owner of the Articles and Answers News and Infomation sites. You may read more by this author at