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WSJ: Bushing helping Sauds build nukes?!?
Topic: WSJ: Bushing helping Sauds build nukes?!? (Read 5286 times)
WSJ: Bushing helping Sauds build nukes?!?
June 10, 2008, 07:26:11 AM »
Why Is Bush Helping Saudi Arabia Build Nukes?
By EDWARD J. MARKEY
June 10, 2008
Here's a quick geopolitical quiz: What country is three times the size of Texas and has more than 300 days of blazing sun a year? What country has the world's largest oil reserves resting below miles upon miles of sand? And what country is being given nuclear power, not solar, by President George W. Bush, even when the mere assumption of nuclear possession in its region has been known to provoke pre-emptive air strikes, even wars?
If you answered Saudi Arabia to all of these questions, you're right.
Last month, while the American people were becoming the personal ATMs of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in Saudi Arabia signing away an even more valuable gift: nuclear technology. In a ceremony little-noticed in this country, Ms. Rice volunteered the U.S. to assist Saudi Arabia in developing nuclear reactors, training nuclear engineers, and constructing nuclear infrastructure. While oil breaks records at $130 per barrel or more, the American consumer is footing the bill for Saudi Arabia's nuclear ambitions.
Saudi Arabia has poured money into developing its vast reserves of natural gas for domestic electricity production. It continues to invest in a national gas transportation pipeline and stepped-up exploration, building a solid foundation for domestic energy production that could meet its electricity needs for many decades. Nuclear energy, on the other hand, would require enormous investments in new infrastructure by a country with zero expertise in this complex technology.
Have Ms. Rice, Mr. Bush or Saudi leaders looked skyward? The Saudi desert is under almost constant sunshine. If Mr. Bush wanted to help his friends in Riyadh diversify their energy portfolio, he should have offered solar panels, not nuclear plants.
Saudi Arabia's interest in nuclear technology can only be explained by the dangerous politics of the Middle East. Saudi Arabia, a champion and kingpin of the Sunni Arab world, is deeply threatened by the rise of Shiite-ruled Iran.
The two countries watch each other warily over the waters of the Persian Gulf, buying arms and waging war by proxy in Lebanon and Iraq. An Iranian nuclear weapon would radically alter the region's balance of power, and could prove to be the match that lights the tinderbox. By signing this agreement with the U.S., Saudi Arabia is warning Iran that two can play the nuclear game.
In 2004, Vice President Dick Cheney said, "[Iran is] already sitting on an awful lot of oil and gas. No one can figure why they need nuclear, as well, to generate energy." Mr. Cheney got it right about Iran. But a potential Saudi nuclear program is just as suspicious. For a country with so much oil, gas and solar potential, importing expensive and dangerous nuclear power makes no economic sense.
The Bush administration argues that Saudi Arabia can not be compared to Iran, because Riyadh said it won't develop uranium enrichment or spent-fuel reprocessing, the two most dangerous nuclear technologies. At a recent hearing before my Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman shrugged off concerns about potential Saudi misuse of nuclear assistance for a weapons program, saying simply: "I presume that the president has a good deal of confidence in the King and in the leadership of Saudi Arabia."
That's not good enough. We would do well to remember that it was the U.S. who provided the original nuclear assistance to Iran under the Atoms for Peace program, before Iran's monarch was overthrown in the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Such an uprising in Saudi Arabia today could be at least as damaging to U.S. security.
We've long known that America's addiction to oil pays for the spread of extremism. If this Bush nuclear deal moves forward, Saudi Arabia's petrodollars could flow to the dangerous expansion of nuclear technologies in the most volatile region of the world.
While the scorching Saudi Arabian sun heats sand dunes instead of powering photovoltaic panels, millions of Americans will fork over $4 a gallon without realizing that their gas tank is fueling a nascent nuclear arms race.
Rep. Markey (D., Mass.) is chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.
See all of today's editorials
Re: WSJ: Bushing helping Sauds build nukes?!?
Reply #1 on:
June 10, 2008, 09:17:58 AM »
Crafty's concern is well taken, we need a mechanism can keep a country from migrating from nuclear powered electricity to WMD and weapons delivery systems. I did notice, however, some misleading information and false choices presented in the editorial. "In 2004, Vice President Dick Cheney said, "[Iran is] already sitting on an awful lot of oil and gas. No one can figure why they need nuclear, as well, to generate energy." " Interesting point of argument from 2004. But today we know Iran is burning plenty of oil and gas for electricity and safe, nuclear electricity would put that oil and gas back onto the world market where it is unfortunately needed because of the failure of countries like the US to produce from our own sources.
"If Mr. Bush wanted to help his friends in Riyadh diversify their energy portfolio, he should have offered solar panels, not nuclear plants." - That naive remark is explained only by the 'D-Mass' after the writer's name. Who on earth thinks solar technology today is equal in economic energy production to nuclear. Certainly not the Democrats here who think solar needs massive subsidy to exist at all.
Markey's byline says he is 'chairman of the Select Committee on ..Global Warming'. - I don't know why they are in denial that the only large, economical, non-emitting, energy source today is nuclear and that CO2 emitted elsewhere is the same as CO2 emitted here.
If warming alarmists were at all serious about CO2 emissions (IMO), they would be committed to making abundant all plug-in electricity from cheap, non-emitting sources so they will compete successfully against the skyrocketing cost of fossil fuels.
Last, aren't we in a better position to see that the Saudi's don't migrate from power to weapons if they buy their plants from American rather than French or Chinese sources? That is unlike our inability to monitor the plants in Iran. BTW, Iran IS now building nuclear electric plants, so it again is a false choice.
Last Edit: June 10, 2008, 03:26:30 PM by DougMacG
Possible answer - Re: WSJ: Bushing helping Sauds build nukes?!?
Reply #2 on:
June 16, 2008, 07:52:31 AM »
This is probably the reason why Bush is helping the Saudis build nukes. Asking if this is good policy by Marky is certainly a good question. Very complicated and probably no good answers.
Saudi King: 'We will pump more oil'
By Anne Penketh in Jeddah
Monday, 16 June 2008
UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, left, with Saudi foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal at Jeddah airport
Saudi Arabia will raise oil production to record levels within weeks in an attempt to avert an escalation of social and political unrest around the world. King Abdullah signalled the commitment to the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, at the weekend after the impact of skyrocketing oil prices on food sparked protests and riots from Spain to South Korea.
Next month, the Saudis will be pumping an extra half-a-million barrels of oil a day compared to last month, bringing total Saudi production to 9.7 million barrels a day, their highest ever level. But the world's biggest oil exporters are coupling the increase with an appeal to western Europe to cut fuel taxes to lower the price of petrol to consumers.
Saudi Arabia, which has called an emergency meeting of oil producers and consumers in the port city Jeddah next Sunday, says the energy crisis has not been caused purely by market pressures but by a speculative bubble. Saudi Arabia and Opec believe there are no shortages to justify the sudden surge in prices.
Mr Ban held talks with King Abdullah at the royal palace in Jeddah on Saturday evening for more than an hour which were dominated by the energy crisis. The Saudi monarch shared his concern that the oil price was "abnormally high" although he blamed "national policies" in the West, Mr Ban told The Independent yesterday. "He was also suggesting that consumers should play their own role," Mr Ban added.
Just before his departure for London yesterday, he had a telephone conversation with the Saudi oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, who told him that Saudi Arabia had raised production this month by 300,000 barrels per day at the request of consumers, and next month would raise output by a further 200,000 barrels per day. Mr Ban said: "He told me they will respond positively whenever there is a request for an increase in production. So there will be no shortage of oil."
Mr Naimi said Saudi Arabia was responding to requests from between 30 and 60 consumer countries. Finance ministers from the Group of Eight nations meeting in Tokyo yesterday added to the chorus urging Saudi Arabia to increase production.
The UN chief said he had asked the Saudi minister whether the additional output would be enough to help stabilise the market, adding: "He said the consumers and others should play their own role."
Mr Ban, who flew to Saudi Arabia after a meeting in London with Gordon Brown at Downing Street on Friday as Britain was in the grip of a protest by lorry drivers, conveyed the concerns of world leaders about the impending oil crisis. The South Korean secretary general said: "Unless we properly manage these issues, this may create a cascade of all other challenges and prices, affecting not only social and economic issues but also creating political instability."
But it appears the Saudis are just as worried that record prices – on Friday oil was being priced at just under $135 a barrel – could dampen growth in the industrialised West and lower demand, which would in turn hurt the kingdom.
As well as the protests in Britain, which continued with a go-slow by lorry drivers on the M6 on Saturday, oil-related protests have swept Europe and Asia in recent weeks. Violence has erupted in Spain, riot police were deployed in Malaysia, several Indian states have been hit by fuel-related strikes and most of South Korea's main ports have been paralysed by blockades.
Mr Ban said the King shared his view that the prices of oil and food were intricately linked to the issue of flooding and drought caused by climate change and needed to be dealt with comprehensively.
"But while he acknowledged this concern, he also expressed his own concern that common effort and co-ordination are required, particularly from consumer countries," Mr Ban said.
Saudi Arabia, which is the only Opec member with spare capacity, has been under pressure from the Bush administration to increase production, with petrol now costing a record $4 (£2) per gallon in America. But the Saudis argue that although the barrel has jumped as high as $140 recently, they are earning less in real terms owing to the decline in the value of the dollar. Until now they have hesitated to announce a large increase over a sustained period, sticking to the Opec line which blames Western speculators for the increase.
Opec countries generally follow the Saudi lead on raising levels of production, although the cartel's president, Chakib Khelil, has said it will make no new decision until a September meeting in Vienna.
Gordon Brown is to attend the unprecedented meeting of oil producers and consumers in Jeddah, and the Energy minister, Malcolm Wicks, met Mr Naimi in Riyadh on Saturday.
The US, the world's biggest oil customer, which has expressed considerable frustration with the Saudi position, will be represented at the meeting at ministerial level. Yesterday's Arabic-language newspapers had dampened down speculation about an increase in Saudi production.
The Al Riyadh newspaper quoted oil ministry sources who said that if there had been no increase in demand, there was no need to increase supply. A commentator in Al Watan newspaper said: "Why should we please consumers and increase production?" pointing out that the value of the dollar was in decline.
Saudi Arabia is keenly aware of the political and economic effect of the oil market on the upwards spiral of food prices, and contributed $500m to the World Food Programme ahead of the food summit in Rome to enable the UN agency to cope with escalating problems in feeding the world's poor. Mr Ban thanked King Abdullah for that gesture.
Mr Ban's talks in Saudi Arabia also focused on regional Middle East issues, including Lebanon, Israel/Palestine and Somalia, where a UN-brokered process backed by the Saudis has just produced a peace agreement.***
Re: WSJ: Bushing helping Sauds build nukes?!?
Reply #3 on:
June 16, 2008, 08:25:09 AM »
The Saudis plan to become a nuclear power to counter Iran. Wait and see.
Even our Presidents are for sale?!
Reply #4 on:
June 29, 2008, 10:25:30 PM »
***WHY IS BUSH ENTERTAINING ABU DHABI CROWN PRINCE?
By Dick Morris And Eileen McGann
Published on FOXNews.com on June 27, 2008.
Why is the president of the United States entertaining Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, at Camp David when his own State Department has singled out the Sheik’s homeland, the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), for its continuing violations of human rights?
Abu Dhabi is one of seven oil-rich — and anti-Israel states — in the United Arab Emirates. Using its massive sovereign wealth fund of over $875 billion, Abu Dhabi has been gobbling up American assets, buying considerable stakes in U.S. businesses like Citigroup, the Carlyle Group, Advanced Micro Devices, and Toll Brother and is now bidding on the Chrysler Building.
At the same time, the U.S. Department of State has singled out the U.A.E. for its continuing violation of human rights. Here’s what it said in its latest report for 2007:
“Citizens did not have the right to change their government. In some cases, security forces reportedly employed flogging as judicially sanctioned punishment. Arbitrary detention and incommunicado detention remained problems…”
“The judiciary lacked full independence. The government restricted civil liberties, including freedoms of speech, press (including the Internet), assembly, association, and religion. There were limited reports of corruption, and the government lacked transparency.”
“Domestic abuse of women remained a problem, and there were allegations that it was sometimes enabled by police. Trafficking in women and children and legal and societal discrimination against women and non-citizens also remained problems.”
“The government severely restricted workers’ rights, and the abuse of foreign domestic servants remained a problem…Political organizations, political parties, and trade unions are illegal.”
Last year, Sheik Mohammed was dismissed from a Houston lawsuit brought by a former adviser to the U.A.E. royal family, alleging that he aided and abetted his brother Sheik Issa in brutal torture and false imprisonment. Without ruling on the merits of the plaintiff’s claims, the Court held that Sheik Mohammed had sovereign immunity and could not be tried because, among other things, such torture had not been demonstrated to be illegal in the U.A.E.
And, apparently, torture it was: tapes provided to the Associated Press “showed a man who appeared to be Sheik Issa beating another man with lumber, firing an automatic weapon into the sand around him and forcing an apparent cattle prod into his anus. The victim also appeared to have been partly run over by a SUV and had salt poured on his wounds… Lawyers said the video also showed the victim’s genitals being lit on fire. They said the abuse began because the sheik felt he had been overcharged in a grain deal.”
The suit against Sheik Issa continues. After the release of the embarrassing tapes, the Embassy of the U.A.E. in the U.S. refused to comment on the lawsuit, since it is not actually against the government of the U.A.E., nor has the Embassy commented on the brutality of the documented torture. No action has been taken against the Crown Prince’s brother.
The U.A.E. does not permit Israeli citizens to enter the country and gives special scrutiny to those with Israeli stamps on their passports. Here’s what the U.S. State Department reported on institutionalized anti-Semitism:
“There was a small resident non-citizen Jewish population of unknown size. There were no synagogues. There were no reported acts of physical violence against or harassment of Jewish persons, however, anti-Semitism in the media was present in articles and editorial cartoons, which depicted negative images of Jews. These expressions occurred primarily in the government affiliated daily newspapers Al-Ittihad (government-owned) Al-Bayan (government-owned), and Al-Khaleej (pro-government, privately owned). The articles and cartoons appeared without government response.”
So why is the Crown Prince at Camp David? Maybe they’re talking about the obscene price of oil. Or, if history is any guide, one outcome of the visit might be a big donation to the George W. Bush Presidential Library. If Bush follows Clinton’s example — and his own father’s — he’ll be spending a lot of time at Camp David with prospective rich donors in the next six months.
One thing that is likely missing from the agenda is a discussion of human rights.
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