Friday, October 26, 2007

Tensions continue, oil prices soar

"Ironic. The PKK is on the State Department's terrorist list; the U.S. claims it doesn't 'talk with terrorists.' But the U.S. -- and Israel -- aids and abets the PKK through local Iraqi Kurds. And why? The PKK arm, Pejak, attacks Iran. For services rendered, while the PKK attacks Turkey the administration winks and has kept the Turkish military from retaliating. ..."For giving safe haven to the PKK/Pejak, for doing Washington's bidding in Baghdad, [Massoud] Barzani and [Jalal] Talabani have been more than amply rewarded. In 2003 the U.S. military facilitated their takeover of 'security' in Kirkuk and even in Mosul. Now, under the pretext of fighting al Qaeda, units of the U.S. military have been joining Kurdish fighting units (veiled as members of the 'Iraqi' military) in ethnically cleansing 'contested areas' of non-Kurds in advance of a referendum that will determine under whose jurisdiction these parts of Diyala and Nineveh provinces will fall."Perhaps it all depends on who's doing the cleansing. In 1992 Armenians in Nagorno Karabagh aided by the Republic of Armenia ethnically cleansed Red Kurdistan, the largest and oldest Kurdish community in the Caucasus -- 160,000 Kurds simply disappeared. With few exceptions, Kurds elsewhere said nothing. Kurdish Life did a detailed report on the issue and distributed it to members of Congress, not least Rep. Tom Lantos, Sen. Ted Kennedy and Sen. Joe Biden, all still in office. President Bill Clinton did nothing. Instead, Armenians were rewarded with direct U.S. foreign aid."

The above is Vera Beaudin Saeedpour's statements from an Institute for Public Accuracy (Norman Solomon's group) news release entitled "Perspectives on Iraq, Turkey and Kurds." But of course, it's not bad news for everyone. Citing the tensions, the New York Times notes that oil topped $90 a barrel (90.46 ) and may hit $100 a barrel before the end of the year. Reuters tells you it's already gone above ninety and change: "Oil rallied to a fresh record high above $92 a barrel on Friday as the dollar tumbled to a record low, Washington imposed new sanctions on Iran and gunmen shut more oil production in Nigeria." From David R. Baker's "Tight supplies, speculation send oil, gas prices to new highs" (San Francisco Chronicle):

Crude prices are within easy striking distance of inflation-adjusted records set in 1981 after the start of the Iran-Iraq war.
Direct comparisons are impossible, because the market for buying and selling oil has changed radically in the past 26 years. Estimates of the all-time high, however, range from roughly $92 per barrel to $104.
In contrast, gasoline prices aren't in record territory. But they are climbing. In California, they leapt 10 cents in the past week before leveling off on Wednesday and Thursday.
The state's average price for gasoline stands at $3.16 for a gallon of regular, according to the AAA auto club. For that gallon of gas, drivers are paying about $3.29 in San Francisco, $3.20 in San Jose and $3.19 in Oakland.
A year ago, the state's average was $2.47 per gallon.
"The trend of gradually higher gasoline prices with no real end in sight - that AAA has been forecasting since early this decade - seems likely to continue, which may intensify the United States' need to develop a more sustainable energy policy," said Sean Comey, spokesman for AAA of Northern California.
Many analysts blame the recent increase in oil and gasoline prices on a bull market run wild.
Speculators who use oil solely as an investment have been latching onto any news that could drive the price higher - such as Turkey's threats to attack Kurdish rebels inside oil-rich Iraq - and ignoring everything else.
But Kingston said the high prices reflect real problems in the oil market.

Chevron named a tanker after her -- maybe because she moves so slowly? CNN notes:

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will be in Ankara Thursday for bilateral meetings with Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. She then will travel to Istanbul for a "ministerial level international meeting on Iraq," scheduled for Nov. 2-3.

No need to rush when there's money to be made. Meanwhile Thomas Grove (Reuters) notes:

Turkish helicopters ferried more troops to the border with Iraq on Friday as diplomatic efforts got underway in Ankara to avert a major offensive against Kurdish guerrillas based in northern Iraq.
State-run Anatolian news agency said Cobra helicopters and fighter jets had also pounded PKK shelters discovered after reconnaissance missions along the border and inside Turkey, which has NATO's second biggest army.
Turkey has massed up to 100,000 troops along the mountainous border before a possible cross-border operation to crush about 3,000 guerrillas of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) who launch deadly attacks into Turkey from northern Iraq.

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