Posted by: Tony Carson | 31 October, 2007

How much is the Iraq war costing you?

Seriously, how much is the Iraq war costing you?

Emotionally, a lot: you’re having to endure the spectacle of the world’s only superpower making a monumental fool of itself on a gigantic scale while all the time pretending that they’ve done the right thing, even though that ‘thing’ has changed many time, and still remains oblique.

But it costs you money, too. If you are an American, big bucks in debt and interest payments but non-Americans (or in this issue, UnAmericans) are paying for the war every time they drive their cars.

Had the war not happened oil and gas prices would be far lower then they are today, reaching $93.53 a barrel on Monday. Ironic, isn’t it, that the war designed to protect oil prices is causing a great spike in those prices.

But it could get worse: a US attack on Iran could send oil through the roof.

Here is Qatar’s Energy and Oil Minister Abdulla Bin Hamad al-Attiya in an interview with Time Oil Prices: Don’t Blame OPEC

Attiya says that rising prices are the end result of crises in places like Iraq, Iran, Venezuela and Nigeria, which “create more fears, and speculators are very smart. They jump into the market and take this factor and create it as fear. They try to frighten the world. ‘Oh, maybe the oil will be disappear. Oh, maybe there will be a war.’ But with all the fears of the world, still the supply is very efficient.”

Attiya reported that prices would rise further if the Bush Administration ever carries out a military strike on Iran, his Persian Gulf neighbor. “I hope and am confident that we will not see any war between America and Iran, and that all these negotiations will settle things amicably,” Attiya said. But in the event of further conflict in the region, such as a threatened U.S. attack on Iran’s nuclear installations, Attiya said, “I think there will be a big jump [in oil prices].” War would cause an actual drop in global oil supplies which, he explained, “will create a panic, a shortage in the market.”

But that is only in the event of a real war and a cut-off of Iran’s and the region’s spigots. Right now, says Attiya, there is no actual shortage of fuel. “Why is the price of oil very high? I can confirm to you that there is no relation [to] demand and supply. We don’t believe there is any shortage of supply in the whole world. I never saw a long queue in any gas station in the world. If you take the inventories, they are the highest in five years.

“Our main [objective],” he adds, “is not to have any shortage of supply. This is our job. Back in 1997, the oil price dropped very dramatically in dollars. We never complained. It hurt us very bad. It hurt the industry. The industry also went into bankruptcy. We believed at the time it was market driven.”

Speaking in his eighth-floor office with panoramic views of Doha’s new skyscrapers and the Gulf waters beyond, Attiya said that the failure of industrialized countries to provide more refining capacity in the world had led to some shortages of usable fuel. But he was adamant that the Organization of the Oil Petroleum Exporting Countries, which will hold a major summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in mid-November, is not responsible for today’s soaring prices.

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