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The Dem neocons even worse than the Repub neocons?
"The Democratic Party's neo-con vampires are a lot worse than the current ones - the second movie could be more frightening than the first." - former NYTimes and Wall Street Journal Reporter.

Both Israel and Saudis
working to elect Bush/Cheney

Mid-East Realities - MER - www.MiddleEast.Org - 8 August 2004:

Now of course neither is going to admit it in front of the cameras, and of course it's also politically confusing for many, but both the Israelis and the Saudis are working hard now to help the election of Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld and the right-wing neocons. Each for their own reasons wants the flag-waving crusading Republicans to retain full executive power in the U.S. The Royal Saudis because of their close relations with Bush and his business-circle cronies, but even more because they fear the Democratic party liberals and dem-neocons with whom they no longer have very good relations. The Likudnik Israelis -- about to form another 'national unity' government with Sharon at the top thanks to Shimon Peres -- because they have serious military plans for the years ahead and prefer Bush, the evangelicals, and the hard-line neocons so they can push ahead quickly with those plans. But, make no mistake about it, the Israelis are secure whatever knowing that they will manage if need be with the Democrats whom they also have very much under control -- with Kerry already fully mortgaged to put Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk, and the Zionist team from Clinton years back in charge as we have highlighted before.

Just this weekend the Israelis made it more publicly clear that their posturing and 'withdrawal' schemes -- however disingenuous and duplicitous when it comes to the Palestinians -- are clearly tied to the American November election. And amidst all the bloodshed and terrorism alerts many have forgotten that the huge historic issues in the Middle East involve oil, petrodollars, arms sales, and geo-strategic control of the region. The Americans have promised the Israelis that when they can arrange it oil will flow to and through Israel from Iraq -- a very major economic and strategic boost for the Israelis. And the Saudis are rushing to open up new oil fields and 'reassure' the oil markets working overtime to bring about lowering oil prices by the time Americans vote get ready to vote on 2 November.

PM will seek to evacuate outposts prior to U.S. vote

Ha'aretz - By Aluf Benn - 08/08/2004: The government will try to evacuate illegal outposts in the West Bank before the U.S. presidential elections in November, sources in the prime minister's bureau said yesterday. "We have an interest in evacuating them," one said.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is expecting the report of Justice Ministry attorney Talia Sasson, who was charged with finding a legal solution for a speedy evacuation of the outposts.

Sharon's outgoing bureau chief, Dov Weisglass, yesterday said in an interview with Channel 2 that Sasson's recommendations will be presented to Sharon in six weeks to two months. This would give Sharon "more effective tools to evacuate the outposts and he will begin to do so energetically," he said.

Weisglass said "we cannot boast" of moves to evacuate the outposts, but "we will keep this undertaking in full."

According to the defense establishment, 23 outposts have been built in the West Bank since March 2001, when Sharon came to power. The administrative and legal steps to evacuate the outposts were presented last Thursday to White House envoy Elliot Abrams, who met the defense minister's advisor, Baruch Spiegel, and Sasson.

Sharon's aids criticized Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz for not acting resolutely enough to evacuate the outposts, and for publicly confirming the plans to build 550 apartments in Ma'aleh Adumim. Sources close to Mofaz commented "the defense minister and prime minister are fully coordinated and there is no difference in their positions. All the decisions on the outposts and the construction were made by both of them."

Weisglass told Channel 2 that Israeli officials are holding "unofficial talks" with former Palestinian minister Mohamed Dahlan. "He has many acquaintances in Israel," said Weisglass. Senior officials said Dahlan was in touch with Shin Bet director Avi Dichter and head of the Defense Ministry's political-security division Amos Gilad, and less frequently with Weisglass.

Weisglass is due to leave for the U.S. on August 19 for a meeting with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. He was expected to present the separation fence's amended route, but due to delays in planning and the pending High Court debate on the petition against the fence, the route will be decided by month's end.

U.S. checking possibility of pumping oil from
northern Iraq to Haifa, via Jordan

Ha'aretz - 25/08/2003 - by Amiram Cohen: The United States has asked Israel to check the possibility of pumping oil from Iraq to the oil refineries in Haifa. The request came in a telegram last week from a senior Pentagon official to a top Foreign Ministry official in Jerusalem.

The Prime Minister's Office, which views the pipeline to Haifa as a "bonus" the U.S. could give to Israel in return for its unequivocal support for the American-led campaign in Iraq, had asked the Americans for the official telegram.

The new pipeline would take oil from the Kirkuk area, where some 40 percent of Iraqi oil is produced, and transport it via Mosul, and then across Jordan to Israel. The U.S. telegram included a request for a cost estimate for repairing the Mosul-Haifa pipeline that was in use prior to 1948. During the War of Independence, the Iraqis stopped the flow of oil to Haifa and the pipeline fell into disrepair over the years.

The National Infrastructure Ministry has recently conducted research indicating that construction of a 42-inch diameter pipeline between Kirkuk and Haifa would cost about $400,000 per kilometer. The old Mosul-Haifa pipeline was only 8 inches in diameter.

National Infrastructure Minister Yosef Paritzky said yesterday that the port of Haifa is an attractive destination for Iraqi oil and that he plans to discuss this matter with the U.S. secretary of energy during his planned visit to Washington next month. Paritzky added that the plan depends on Jordan's consent and that Jordan would receive a transit fee for allowing the oil to piped through its territory. The minister noted, however, that "due to pan-Arab concerns, it will be hard for the Jordanians to agree to the flow of Iraqi oil via Jordan and Israel."

Sources in Jerusalem confirmed yesterday that the Americans are looking into the possibility of laying a new pipeline via Jordan and Israel. (There is also a pipeline running via Syria that has not been used in some three decades.)

Iraqi oil is now being transported via Turkey to a small Mediterranean port near the Syrian border. The transit fee collected by Turkey is an important source of revenue for the country. This line has been damaged by sabotage twice in recent weeks and is presently out of service.

In response to rumors about the possible Kirkuk-Mosul-Haifa pipeline, Turkey has warned Israel that it would regard this development as a serious blow to Turkish-Israeli relations.

Sources in Jerusalem suggest that the American hints about the alternative pipeline are part of an attempt to apply pressure on Turkey.

Iraq is one of the world's largest oil producers, with the potential of reaching about 2.5 million barrels a day. Oil exports were halted after the Gulf War in 1991 and then were allowed again on a limited basis (1.5 million barrels per day) to finance the import of food and medicines. Iraq is currently exporting several hundred thousand barrels of oil per day.

During his visit to Washington in about two weeks, Paritzky also plans to discuss the possibility of U.S. and international assistance for joint Israeli-Palestinian projects in the areas of energy and infrastructure, natural gas, desalination and electricity.

Saudis spearhead attempt to dampen oil prices

By Kevin Morrison in London

Financial Times - August 4 2004: The world's largest oil producers intervened on Wednesday to try to cool oil prices, as Opec reassured customers it could raise output and Saudi Arabia, its biggest member, turned on the taps at two new fields ahead of schedule.

However, the effort did little to reverse the recent sharp rise in oil prices, which set new records in both the US and European key benchmark crude futures on Wednesday. Prices declined only slightly following the announcements from Opec and Saudi Arabia, suggesting that the oil cartel's ability to influence oil markets has been undermined.

Purnomo Yusgiantoro, the Indonesian holder of Opec's rotating presidency, said the oil cartel had spare production capacity of between 1m and 1.5m barrels a day. Most of this idle capacity lies in Saudi Arabia, which announced it had started production at two new fields three months earlier than planned.

However, Opec's spare capacity accounts for less than 2 per cent of current global production, and provides only a small cushion against possible supply disruptions due to terrorist activity in the Middle East, or from the Kremlin's battle with Yukos, Mikhail Khodorkovsky's Russian oil company.

Saudi Aramco, the kingdom's national oil company, said the new fields should eventually boost the country's output capacity by 800,000 barrels a day. Saudi Arabian oil officials have previously said that much of their new production from new was due to replace older wells, which were depleted, and the mothballing of other oil fields. However, they said the closure of the older fields may now be delayed in light of the strong demand for crude.

Concern about oil supplies keeping pace with global oil consumption, which is rising at its fastest pace in 24 years, pushed benchmark Brent crude futures to a record $40.99 a barrel yesterday, exceeding the previous peak of $40.95 reached in October 1990, in the lead up to the Gulf war.

US benchmark crude futures hit another record for the fourth consecutive day when the price touched $44.34 a barrel. However prices retreated after the latest US crude inventory report, which showed a drop in US oil imports. Brent crude dropped 19 cents to $40.48 a barrel in late London trade, and US crude futures fell 55 cents to $43.60 in early afternoon New York trade. “I think prices might be overdone, and we could see prices come back, but only by about $2 at the most,” said Christopher Bellow, an oil trader at Pru-Bache in London.

Record prices over the past month and near record imports of oil into the US are expected to result in another large import bill for the US, the world's largest oil consumer. Recent months have resulted in US crude import bills of more than $13bn, a figure that energy analysts expect to be exceeded for July.

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