The question of an entropic Iraq
Mordechai From Middle East Information Center 07/31/2005
The question of an entropic Iraq?
For many critics of the Iraqi operation, the question is commonly used. In various forms perhaps, but nonetheless it articulates one of the principle arguments against the Iraqi operation. However for those who support the Iraqi operation, the question is not a valid question as it inherently has bias. Whatever side one may be, much of the question depends on one’s perceptions and goals for the operation; moreover, it brings with it any bias, prejudice one may have, such as a view of an “imperial United States,” or some variation of an evil wrong United States and allied forces or Arab and Muslim countries, or “the Jews are responsible,” or “Islam is the root of all evil” among other reasons. Moreover, many have a vicarious bias such as lashing out at Iraq for a grievance with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict or vice-versa.
Then one cannot forget the ideological arguments between “containment” and “preemptive” strategies perpetuating the fallacy that preemptive tactics were something new. The strategic and technological warfare curve had shifted out of necessity and apparently left a few behind. Quite simply you cannot “contain” asymmetrical tactics /unconventional warfare commonly called terrorism, essentially a belligerent lacis. I believe Sun Tzu states best with, “when you induce others to construct a formation while you yourself are formless, then you are concentrated while the opponent is divided... Therefore the consummation of forming an army is to arrive at formlessness. When you have no form, undercover espionage cannot find out anything, intelligence cannot form a strategy."
Tied in with the “containment” and “preemptive” argument is the confusion as to the definition of the “War on Terror.” For many the Iraqi operation, often labeled “Iraq War” is separate from the “War on Terror.” One of the arguments used is for a proof of a link between Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden tied in with further confusion as to what is the appropriate target, individuals and/or states; however, the operation in Afghanistan a state, is legitimized. But, on what grounds, what is the difference; quite simply for many, Afghanistan is justified because Osama was there, however that is also true for Pakistan and Sudan to name a few, but what about all the countries believed to have Al Qaeda bases? I admit, I being facetious here, but there is a serious flaw with believing that capturing Osama and the Afghani operation suffices for victory on the “War on Terror.” Remember, we are dealing with the “formless” therefore it becomes necessary that we attack what the formless feeds from and helps keep it “formless.” Iraq thus became a strategic target. It is not about different religious beliefs between Saddam and Osama or even 9/11, as there were plenty of attacks against the U.S. and others from Al Qaeda before 9/11 in other words, the threat was just as real. Another critical flaw is to believe that we only go after those who conducted the attacks on 9/11, in other words if there were an army attacking us, we only attack those specific solders that attack us as to pretend the rest of the army will not attack. Again, this is asymmetrical warfare the belligerent lacis and it must be fought against with a matching tactic. That being said Iraq had more than enough practical evidence of a relationship through subordinates from two U.S. Administrations and Committee reports; even after the 9/11 commission especially from sources like the recent release of the Iraqi Intelligence Service documents. As I said it is not important to have Saddam and Osama shaking hands literally, what is important is to recognize that Iraq was a market for selling weapons and a means to help train potential belligerents thus a source of “food.” Iraq had significant logical signs for those of which who do not believe in reports, that indeed made it dangerous and a target. Iraq was under sanctions and suffered horrible economic pressures; when official means of commerce is limited it then becomes necessary to have commerce unofficially such as selling weapons and black market operations. Of course, this then leads to weapons of mass destruction of which is also in the Iraqi Intelligence Service documents.  However, on this subject I never understood the rational when the burden of proof was on Saddam via the UNSCOM reports from 1998 , the unaccounted weapons have not been found, but where is the evidence that they have all been destroyed? It is a serious mistake to dismiss the latter. But many have, as Hans Blix concluded when he stated in referring to those who assumed that what was unaccounted for must still exist was a “deficit of critical thinking;”  however, “the case remains open” as Douglas Hanson of the Iraqi Ministry of Science and Technology stated  because new intelligence is being found.
However, weapons of mass destruction are not the end all be all, conventional weapons such as explosives, firearms, training, money, storage and concealment, recruits are just as dangerous and just as effective, of which Iraq had in supply; examples of use, such as homicide and car bombings to name a couple used in attacks around the world, the 93 World Trade Center bombing and the recent London bombings, the various car bombs and attacks within Iraq comes to mind as other examples of many of conventional explosives use. However, for those focused on WMD, Iraq also had important conventional weapons parts and components needed to complete the complex puzzle of making an effective weapon of mass destruction or sophisticated surface to air missiles. Such parts as missile parts, warheads, propulsion and the logistics to support it of which a “formless” entity is unlikely to have under its own power, thus the need for a network to include states to fill in those kinds of gaps.
However, what made Iraq the 2nd state to go after was that it was considered the easiest to invade out of other possible targets and its geographic position. Iraq was considered weaker economically and military, it had a constant wave of air campaigns for many years via the no-fly-zones, it had gone though the Gulf War and Operation Desert Fox in 1998 as well, basically an already worn country contrary to what the media at the time reported. Of course there is another argument as to why Iraq, the famous sound bite of “a war for oil.” So lets take a deeper look into the world of oil, U.S. dependency and some statistics to entertain this claim.
The Top World Oil Producers (2004) numbers include crude oil, natural gas liquids, condensate, refinery gain, and other liquids. 
million barrels per day
1 Saudi Arabia 10.37
2 Russia 9.27
3 United States 8.69
4 Iran 4.09
5 Mexico 3.83
6 China 3.62
7 Norway 3.18
8 Canada 3.14
9 Venezuela 2.86
10 United Arab Emirates 2.76
11 Kuwait 2.51
12 Nigeria 2.51
13 United Kingdom 2.08
14 Iraq 2.03
Top World Oil Net Exporters, (2004)
million barrels per day
1 Saudi Arabia 8.73
2 Russia 6.67
3 Norway 2.91
4 Iran 2.55
5 Venezuela 2.36
6 United Arab Emirates 2.33
7 Kuwait 2.20
8 Nigeria 2.19
9 Mexico 1.80
10 Algeria 1.68
11 Iraq 1.48
12 Libya 1.34
13 Kazakhstan 1.06
14 Qatar 1.02
United States Imports Crude only for 2004
barrels in thousands 
3.Saudi Arabia 547,125
9.United Kingdom 87,193
Breakdown of Product Refinery Yield 
Residual Fuel Oil 8%
Other Net of gain* 12%
Diesel, Heating Oil,
Jet Fuel, Kerosene 34%
Motor Gasoline 46%
* Note: Processing gain is the volume increase that results as denser molecules (e.g., residual fuel oil) are split into less dense ones (e.g. gasoline). The processing gain in U.S. refineries is equal to about 6%
Now Imports are important part of the argument for the “war for oil” claim as it suggests the need and greed of it all. As of 2002 and read this very carefully, the United States has about a 52% consumption and dropping of total net imports  compared to other countries like Germany or Japan that have 90% - 100% consumption of imports. Moreover, our dependency of Middle Eastern crude oil is much lower than it was in the 70’s. Today most of our imports come from the Western hemisphere and is showing a trend of increasing. 
What about profits since that is the primary articulation for the “war for oil” hence greed? Profit rates as of 2002 are a –2.5% for Refining/Marketing and slightly above 10% for production
How did Oil do compared to other industries for profit margins in 3rd quarter 2004?
The Oil industry is very low on the list averaging at 6.5% compared to Insurance 7.5%, Health Care 8.5%, Financial Services 14.5%, Software & Services 16%, Pharmaceuticals & Biotech 21.5% and Banks at 21%.
So how is it logical to be a “war for oil” when the United States has increased its imports from the western hemisphere from roughly less than1 million barrel per day (1976) to roughly 4.5 million per day (2002) and climbing.
Economically it does not make sense to severely change the regional trends of imports, especially when you have to start from scratch and wait for political stabilization in terms of oil production as the current exports are producing a lesser quality in Iraq. Thus there is not a whole lot of support for the claim of “war for oil.” However, I propose the it is a “war for oil” for a few of the countries opposed to the Iraqi Operation, Russia in particular where Russia’s economic growth is greatly effected by the price of oil, if Iraq were to increase its supply from the days of oil for food program, the Russian economy is going to suffer as the price goes down. Currently prices of oil are high and considered above “normal” it would be in Russian economic interests to impede the flow of oil from Iraq to general world supply. or go through major reforms.
What about France? I won’t get into other French industries that had economic ties to Iraq, but to stay on the topic of oil. TotalFinaElf now just Total “was practically born in Iraq”  and had “exclusive negotiating rights to develop Majnoon, a field on the Iranian border with estimated reserves of 10 billion barrels, and Bin Umar, with an estimated production potential of 440,000 barrels a day, according to oil industry executives.”  Today Total has to start from scratch for the bidding process, but because of its previous ties to Iraq if awarded has an advantage over the competition. 
As of today, Total has been given a break via Iran to help offset the Iraq loss  another member of the “Axis of Evil” of which remains to be seen how the French interests with Iran turn out.
Then there is China’s “China National Oil Company, partnered with China North Industries Corp., negotiated a 22-year-long deal for future oil exploration in the Al Ahdab field in southern Iraq” 
Then there is the operation itself while I support the operation and I do not by any means claim to be a military expert, I am one to admit there were some tactical mistakes made in the actual invasion itself that paved the way for more insurgents to immigrate in the conflict. However it is also my opinion that there is a tactical advantage via the current move of the “formless” moving into Iraq.
From my own analysis, the U.S. initial invasion was too fast, failed in consolidating logistical lines via bypassing untouched towns, which ties into unnecessary unaccounted and exposed areas, leaving the door open to insurgents to do as they will. First there was the famous “Shock and Awe” of which is affective militarily, but no replacement for infantry. Being a former Marine, infantry is still the primary component to achieving most if not all military objectives. I recall everyone glued to the TV screen literally watching live footage from CNN, Fox and others of U.S. vehicles driving straight to Baghdad. Granted, the target was the Iraqi military, but it is my analysis, that by going slower, and placing more importance on exposed open areas, flanks and thorough consolidation, that it would have emboldened the remaining Iraqi military creating more of a target for the U.S. military than less of a target as many Iraqi solders simply blended into a civilian status becoming formless a more difficult target to hit. Moreover, a slower pace would have created logistically a more secure parameter thus making it harder for the “formless” (insurgents) to root in as they did.
However, parting from what could have been to what is, there is a tactical advantage to the current situation in that because the insurgents feel emboldened as media outlets and others report more of a negative Iraq combined with the ant-war movement is forcing them, the “formless” to use considerable amount of resources. Iraq is important to the belligerent lacis and thus the more the “formless” moves into Iraq, the more the “formless” will form as that would be the tactical advantage needed to rid Iraq of the insurgents.
However after the invasion, there is yet another argument that the United States openly kills civilians and have no regard for the Iraqi population. This bias I take the most offense to as many who are just flat out ant-military have no concept of the rules of engagement and the amount of training and money that goes into surgical warfare so that civilian casualties are avoided. Granted there is the school of thought that suggests carpet bombing and obliterating the Sunni Triangle of one variation or another. I do not share that line of thought, but I do encourage a harder means of deployment and conduct. Too much preoccupation to diplomatic matters via military units not trained for the purpose quite simply leaves the door open to U.S. and civilian casualties and civilian descent.
Despite any setbacks and the long road ahead, Iraq has elected a governing body, and has the upcoming constitution. However, there those that believe no good can come from the United States and argue the elections will lead to some sort of failure via some sort of demographic doomsday scenario and that the constitution will create conditions far worse than life under Saddam Hussein. This is where the worse of prejudice and bias culminate. For many the “War on Terror” is a war between east and west fulfilling what the belligerents want and believe. The prejudice with many is overwhelming, this is where the “evil immoral west” meets the “religion of hate” and it is only getting worse. For the west, there are many who blur the enemy from a few to millions, namely Islam becomes the enemy. This is a tactical mistake, because for the belligerents, ideology is everything, it is the fuel of the network for the west to fulfill the war of east vs west. Fulfilling the belligerents’ prophecies only creates more of the enemy. Attacking Islam is not the answer and leaving Iraq unstable is not either. For many Muslims living in the west, are on the receiving end of much prejudice and it is unfortunate. For example, many non-Muslims in the west refuse to accept a different belief or lifestyle from their own. An example is an argument that women in Iraq under the new constitution will be forced to wear a headscarf. The west automatically assumes this is oppression and I do not blame them for when the media is selective in showing out of control dictators who use religion to oppress their own people, one without any knowledge of the culture is left with nothing else to compare. But for many Muslim women, why is not understandable that they are observant of their faith and that they wear the headscarf out of love and respect for G_d? It is no different from Judaism or before Vatican II and other religion's of thw world modesty laws and commandments that in some groups are exaggerated and misunderstood when it is done to show greater respect to G_d. I am one that hopes the constitution is one that preserves individual rights much like the United States so that the women who refuse to wear the scarf may do so as it is the same within Islamic law not known to many, quite simply it is would not be morally acceptable. There are many Muslims that fear this, for they fear the decay of morals and the removal of G_d again much like the political battles in the U.S. One could even place this war of ideology as a war to preserve G_d from a certain perspective. The truth is fanatical secularism and fanatical religion, are two very dangerous positions to be. Therefore, I would also like to see the constitution contain a moral standard based on the principles of Islam much like the founding fathers of the United States with Judeo-Christian principles. I do not blame the Muslim fear of loosing their faith from society, but I do not believe in clergy overseeing and having great authority over a state as with the Iran. I am one like the founding fathers who believes in checks and balances. However, I also believe in G_d and his commandments and understand the argument from religious Muslims, that secularism is as it is defined, the exclusion of G_d. When it comes to the debate of secularism, I like to paraphrase a favorite writer of mine, “we have two feet, one is reason and the other faith. We can get farther by using both.” 
In the end, Iraq needs a constitution that emboldens its citizens and gives them and the west a fighting chance against the belligerent ideology; because, that is the goal to remove any persuasion or influence the belligerents have, because without it they will die because the ideology dies.
That being said, critics should also get used to some sort of U.S. presence in the Middle East and possibly Iraq to give time for stability and finish the job of hunting down or should I say shutting down the network.
So what is the answer to the question of an entropic Iraq? Quite simply it is as I demonstrated with this commentary. Iraq 20 years from now, stable, with a constitutional republic founded on Islamic moral principles and an economy that of Hong Kong will still be labeled a mistake and a failure. That is the entropic Iraq.
1 The Athenian attacks against Sparta, U.S. attack on the Barbary Pirates, Grenada 1983, Panama 1989, Russia strikes the first Chechen war 1994-96 to name a few.
1st published page translated of 42
5 Hans Blix Disarming Iraq: The Search For Weapons of Mass Destruction, Bloomsbury, London, 2004, p. 263.
8 also look at direct imports of motor fuels http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/petroleum_supply_annual/psa_volume1/current/txt/table_21.txt
19 Trish Saywell, “Oil: The Danger of Deals with Iraq,” Far Eastern Economic Review, March 6, 2003 http://www.feer.com/articles/2003/0303_06/p020region.html