Chomsky: Iraq Invasion ‘Major Crime’ Designed to Control Middle East Oil

Photo by John Soares via

Photo by John Soares via

Political activist Noam Chomsky says that although President Obama views the Iraq invasion merely as “a mistake” or “strategic blunder,” it is, in fact, a “major crime” designed to enable America to control the Middle East oil reserves.

“It’s [“strategic blunder”] probably what the German general staff was telling Hitler after Stalingrad,” Chomsky quipped, referring to the big Nazi defeat by the Soviet army in 1943.

“There is basically no significant change in the fundamental traditional conception that if we can control Middle East energy resources, then we can control the world,” he added.

In a lecture at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London Oct. 27th, Chomsky warned against expecting significant foreign policy changes from Obama, according to a report by Mamoon Alabbasi published on Alabbasi is an editor at Middle East Online.

“As Obama came into office, (former Secretary of State) Condoleezza Rice predicted he would follow the policies of Bush’s second term, and that is pretty much what happened, apart from a different rhetorical style,” Chomsky said.

Chomsky said the U.S. operates under the “Mafia principle,” explaining “the Godfather does not tolerate ‘successful defiance’” and must be stamped out “so that others understand that disobedience is not an option.”

Despite pressure on the U.S. to withdraw from Iraq, Alabbasi reported, Chomsky said the U.S. continues to seek a long-term presence in the country and the huge U.S. embassy in Baghdad is to be expanded under Obama.

“As late as November, 2007, the U.S. was still insisting that the ‘Status of Forces Agreement’ allow for an indefinite U.S. military presence and privileged access to Iraq’s resources by U.S. investors,” Chomsky added. “Well, they didn’t get that on paper at least. They had to back down,” Alabbasi quotes him as saying.

Chomsky said Middle East oil reserves are understood to be “a stupendous source of strategic power” and “one of the greatest material prizes in world history.”

Concerning Iran, Chomsky said the U.S. acted to overthrow its parliamentary democracy in 1953 “to retain control of Iranian resources” and when the Iranians reasserted themselves in 1979, the U.S. acted “to support Saddam Hussein’s merciless invasion” of that country.

“The torture of Iran continued without a break and still does, with sanctions and other means,” Chomsky said. According to Alabbasi, Chomsky “mocked the idea” presented by mainstream media that a nuclear-armed Iran might attack nuclear-armed Israel. Iranian leaders would have to have a “fanatic death wish” to attack Israel, which reportedly has 200 nuclear weapons or more.

“The chance of Iran launching a missile attack, nuclear or not, is about at the level of an asteroid hitting the earth,” Chomsky said. He said the presence of U.S. anti-missile weapons in Israel are really meant for preparing a possible attack on Iran, not for self-defense, as they are often presented.

Chomsky is professor emeritus of linguistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Sherwood Ross formerly worked for The Chicago Daily News and other major dailies and as a columnist for wire services. He currently runs a public relations firm for “worthy causes”. Reach him at

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11 Responses for “Chomsky: Iraq Invasion ‘Major Crime’ Designed to Control Middle East Oil”

  1. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Reddit by Technohazard: I’m surprised that a man as smart as Noam Chomsky actually thinks President Obama ‘views’ the Iraq invasion as anything other than what it actually is.

    Obama knows what it is, he’s just performin…

  2. Jesse Hemingway says:

    Mr. Chomsky, peel this crime spree back a little further and it will take you to 9/11 “ouch”. Time is on our side once the world comes to terms with the fact that Saudi Arabia oil reserves are currently over stated by 50% then it all makes senses. The issue now is that the United States is a fascist country yes by your on assessment in this article Mr. Chomsky. The United States of America integrated it’s military to benefit the oil corporations game over welcome to fascisms. This is where we part paths Mr. Chomsky is that you fail to make the connections with the United States government involvement in 9/11. Obama is no fool he knows to say what ever it takes don’t rock the boat and leave office a very rich man just another Clinton Democrat Inc.

  3. mcthorogood says:

    Ditto, for the new U.S. bases in Columbia.

  4. Cbob says:

    I find it odd that Chomsky can agree that the US would criminally manipulate its way into a war that kills anywhere from 500K-1mil people, displaces 2million, uses torture, depleted uranium, white phosphorus, etc., but it is beyond the pale that our same gov’t would stage terror to further fuel their ambitions. I don’t want to believe we stage terror attacks, and thought it was blowback when it happened, but in the following 8 yrs. there is too much that just doesn’t add up concerning. It is plainly obvious the official story is bogus. That being said, Chomsky, Zinn, Goodman and the like won’t allow the subject to be breached. Don’t quite understand why?

  5. Michael Fairfax says:

    The hands on the levers of power are covered in blood.

  6. audas says:

    It is a matter of public record from CIA whistle blowers that the hijackers were brought into the country to carry out the task. Government involvement is no longer a theory but stone cold fact – every day that now passes without an investigation into these new facts is a crime.

  7. TJ says:

    The Iraq War was the single greatest military and strategic blunder in American history and we are far from being done paying for it, not in blood and treasure alone but also the balance of power…

    To falsely lead ones nation into a needless war alone should be amongst the highest of crimes but a needless ruinous wasteful war perpetrated for criminal purposes and by design if true and based in fact is even worse..

    We voted for change and have been betrayed by this new administration on almost every issue…

    We’re not really a democracy any more but a bribeocracy, one that is controlled by banks and corporations, not we the people…

  8. Joan M in Brooklyn says:

    The BBC article below implies that although the Iraq war was of questionable “legitimacy,” whether it was illegal could only be confirmed by the UN or a suit in the International Court of Justice.

    I think it would be very helpful if non-alligned nations–which, if there were enough of them, could not be affected by US and UK reprisals–were to bring a lawsuit in the ICJ to have that Court declare the Bush doctrine of preemption and the invasion of Iraq illegal under international law.

    Iraq war ‘legitimacy’ questioned
    The Iraq war was of “questionable legitimacy” even though it is unlikely to be proved illegal, a former senior diplomat has said.

    Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the UK’s ambassador to the UN in 2003, said the invasion did not have the backing of most UN members or the UK public.

    But he said he believed the US and UK had “established” its legality and that it had never been challenged in court.

    The inquiry is looking into the background to the 2003 invasion.

    Inquiry members, headed by Sir John Chilcot, are initially concentrating on UK-US relations in the run-up to war and the UK’s assessment of Iraq’s military threat.

    On its fourth day of public hearings, the inquiry examined failed efforts to resolve the Iraq crisis through the United Nations.


    Sir Jeremy, the UK’s permanent representative to the UN between 1997 and 2003, was centre stage in UK-led efforts to negotiate a second UN resolution on Iraq in early 2003, seen by many countries as necessary to directly authorise military action.

    But Tony Blair told the House of Commons the French had said they would veto a second resolution and it never went to a Security Council vote.

    It is also known that other security council members would not back the resolution, leading critics to claim the subsequent invasion was illegal.

    “ If you do something internationally that the majority of UN member states think is wrong, illegitimate or politically unjustifiable, you are taking a risk in my view ”
    Sir Jeremy Greenstock

    Sir Jeremy said he believed existing UN resolutions provided “sufficient legal cover” for future action but only if Iraq was found to be in material breach of its disarmament obligations.

    Asked about the legality of the war, he said there were different opinions and that a “final and conclusive” verdict was never likely to be made.

    But he added: “If you do something internationally that the majority of UN member states think is wrong, illegitimate or politically unjustifiable, you are taking a risk in my view.”

    “I regarded our participation in the military action against Iraq in March 2003 as legal but of questionable legitimacy in that it did not have the democratically observable backing of a great majority of member states or even perhaps of a majority of people inside the UK.

    “There was a failure to establish legitimacy although I think we successfully established legality in the UN….to the degree, at least, that we were never challenged in the UN or International Court of Justice for those actions.”

    ‘Grounds for war’

    Sir Jeremy also said he believed war may “possibly” have been averted if the weapons inspectors had been given more time in early 2003.


    November-December: Former top civil servants, spy chiefs, diplomats and military commanders to give evidence
    January-February 2010: Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and other politicians expected to appear before the panel
    March 2010: Inquiry expected to adjourn ahead of the general election campaign
    July-August 2010: Inquiry expected to resume
    Report set to be published in late 2010 or early 2011

    However, he said he still felt that Iraq had been concealing some illegal materials or programmes: “I still believe there is something there but it is a question of what that something is.”

    Sir Jeremy said Iraq’s representative at the UN told him in September 2002 that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) but the UK government was not in a position to ascertain whether this was true.

    He said UK policy was driven by the belief that Iraq had WMD and any talk from the US of other motivations for war, such as regime change, were “unhelpful”.

    Throughout the process the UK government believed dealing with Iraq was in the national interest, he said, but felt this should be done through “collective action” and on the basis of UN authorisation.

    He said he did not “recall” being consulted about an alleged change in the UK’s approach to Iraq in April 2002, the point when critics of the war say that Mr Blair signed up to military action.

    But, by early 2003, it was clear the UK had given a “commitment” that should the US go to war, the UK would fight alongside it.

    Second resolution

    UN Security Council resolution 1441, agreed in November 2002, gave Saddam Hussein a “final opportunity” to declare his weapons stockpile and co-operate with inspectors or face serious consequences.

    Sir Jeremy Greenstock, UK Permanent Representative to the UN 1997-2003

    Asked about the UK’s objective in seeking a further UN resolution, Sir Jeremy said one of the reasons was to try and obtain “the safest possible legal grounds for use of force should that be necessary”.

    Although the US felt it did not need a further resolution to justify military action it realised that the UK, as its main ally, would benefit from this, explained the former ambassador.

    The failure to do this was damaging in terms of public perceptions of the reasons for going to war, he added.

    “What we were left with by the failure of diplomacy was the US set of reasons for going to war with Iraq not the British ones.”

    Reacting to Sir Jeremy’s comments, the Lib Dems said he had been put in an “impossible situation” by Tony Blair and the inquiry needed to thoroughly examine questions about the war’s legality.

    The SNP said the government’s case for war was being undermined “with every evidence session”.

    The government has always insisted it acted in good faith over Iraq on the basis on the intelligence available.

    The Iraq inquiry, set up by Prime Minister Gordon Brown in July, is due to report by the end of 2010.

    He and Mr Blair are expected to be among future witnesses along with former senior advisers and military figures.

    Story from BBC NEWS:

    Published: 2009/11/27 17:49:33 GMT

    © BBC MMIX

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  9. raman says:

    chomsky is entitled to his opinion and comments on events, happenings. what is the remedy that he suggests and the likely fallouts that he visualises is not given in the interview. or is it sombody else’s burden.

    if one throws a stone on a tree full of fruits, at least one or two will be hit. there will be few audiences and admirer to identify with him.

    now it is my turn to throw the stone at the tree with a difference.

    i feel the atleast 10% of the sort of concessions that the USA gives to the fundmentalist, autocratic regimes that USA nowdays gives, were shown to USSR and the countries behind the former iron curtain in their earlier days and right from the days of Truemen, Ike to Bush. Sr., the world would have been a better place. but i do not know how to go to past and change the presidents of USA and the political climate of the earlier days. my understanding of the recent history has no practical value without a suggestion. i feel the USA has to go back to the nuetrality and island like approach of pre world wars’ scene. i feel it can gain. the rest of world will learn on it’s own. some will gain, some will be destroyed, some will stay in the same place. but there my be no damage to USA or even it may be better off than today. again my idea is based on my present presumtion that what is good for USA is good for the rest of the world.

  10. bobby says:

    are you stupid, if that were true Obama would have exposed him, get edudated on the subject.

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