Iran’s attack on Israel last week, in response to the attack on its embassy in Damascus, has left the world holding its breath, and not for the first time. It seems that since the Russian/Ukraine conflict, it has been hovering on a knife edge, as many are of the view that an all out war is inevitable. 

The confused loyalties of western countries seem to add to the certainty that, should the conflict in the Ukraine escalate (as President Zelensky has suggested), and, if the Israeli genocide continues to be opposed by Iran, then the fragile stability of the world will be dangerously shaken. In the meantime, as in most long term conflicts, compassion fatigue will set in, and people will start running short of tears of grief. 

Some in the world though won’t be running short of the profits provided by oil. Oil is not only a vital resource, but it is also precarious, as history has shown. At the turn of the last century, there was a shift from coal power to oil. Today we are almost completely reliant on crude oil for the modern military to function. 

Oil is more than just the petroleum used to keep our cars on the road, it is a global industry that earns trillions a year, with the largest earnings being made by American companies. The largest oil company in the world is Saudi Aramco, making $590 billion a year in revenue.

The question one may be asking at this point is what does this profit have to do with war? Well in fact it is precisely because of Israel and its western allies that some of these companies may soon be seeing higher profits, whilst denying the greedy likes of Sunak, Biden and Netanyahu from the barrels that sustain them. 

These three countries, whilst they are allies, are also three of the biggest military spenders on the planet. The United States alone spends billions a year on oil (though this is probably a relatively large drop in an even larger, if ever shrinking, pond). The oil they purchase is vital to their continued operations.

Unfortunately for the United States and other western countries, the largest oil reserves are located in the Middle East, with the majority under the ownership of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). While the US has companies such as Exxon Mobile and Chevron operating rigs in Qatar and Kazakhstan, their support of wars in neighbouring regions has had a knock-on effect on the prices of a barrel of oil. 

Whilst the difference in price of a barrel of crude oil rising from $89.50 to $90 might seem small on that mantlepiece picture, looking at the giant atlas in the attic we can see that this tiny increase in a barrel could mean a massive difference for those big military spenders. For example, it is estimated that the United States military purchases upwards of 100 million barrels of crude oil a year. At $89.50 a barrel that’s nearly $9 billion dollars. Now if that price were to rise by even 50 cents, that would be an additional 50 million dollars a year. With experts saying the price of a barrel could rise by ten dollars by May (if the war in the Middle East escalates,) that $9 billion quickly becomes $10 billion then eventually $12 billion. 

America, with its huge wealth, can seemingly quite easily absorb these prices – though that in itself should say something about the self-proclaimed ‘greatest country on Earth.’ $9 billion dollars expenditure on oil is seen as no risk to the ongoing maintenance of their war machine, but any suggestion of universal healthcare is framed as potentially being capable of bringing the whole system crashing down. 

It is an unfortunate but true statement that oil connects countries and dictates policies both foreign and domestic. With the closure of the Strait of Hormuz, oil is staying where it is and is having a massive knock-on effect on people across the world. America is a land of huge inequalities, and life continues to remain a struggle for many. Life in the Middle-East will also only get worse for many more people, including, of course, the Palestinians who are being slaughtered on an unprecedented scale.

So that 800 billion war machine has been more than happy to encourage conflict in the Middle East, often claiming that threats exist when they don’t. It is therefore not unrealistic to assume that those American oil companies will hope that they will soon be able to push into Iran. After all, Iran holds the fourth largest reserve of oil in the world at 9.4%. That’s just 1% less than Canada, from where America imports most of their oil. There is no doubt that the major beneficiaries of an Israeli/Iran war will be the oil tycoons in their sludgy black factories. It will be a trillion-dollar dream. 

We will therefore need to do everything we can to stop the hawkish calls for action against Iran. The only winners in yet another dangerous conflict will be those with their fingers in the hugely profitable oil pie. Those tycoons and their global shareholders will be more concerned with dreams of bloated balance sheets than they are with any issues of global strategic principles. The losers will be millions of ordinary people, as, once again, the west will turn the desert into a bloody war of exploitation. 

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