Saturday, April 7, 2012

War in Iran Will Hit the Philippines by Erick San Juan

Due to a long weekend and I knew for a fact that all the vacation destinations are full packed and all roads going out of metro Manila are moving in snail pace, I preferred to stay home and try finishing my next book, Dossiers. I happen to review my news clippings and old mails.

An email from Jude Wanniski from the U.S. dated June 20,2005 was still very relevant up to now. It's an article written by Scott Ritter entitled "The US War with Iran Has Already Begun." Ritter was a former UN weapons inspector in Iraq. He acknowledged the fact that the Americans, along with the rest of the world, are starting to wake up to the uncomfortable truth that US President George Bush Jr not only lied to all of us about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the 911, but also the very process that led to war. He added that on October 16,2002, President Bush told the American people that "I have not ordered the use of force. I hope that the use of force will not become necessary." It was a lie. Bush Jr. by late August 2002,had signed off on the executive orders authorising the US military to begin active military operations inside Iraq, and that these orders were being implemented as early as September 2002,when the US air force, assisted by the British Royal Air Force, began expanding its bombardment of targets inside and outside the so-callled 'no-fly zone' in Iraq.

In 2003, the Bush administration spoke of "diplomacy" and a desire for a "peaceful" resolution to the Iranian solution. But the facts allegedly spoke of another agenda,that of war and the forceful removal of the theocratic regime of the reigning power in Tehran.

"The American public was mind conditioned and an all-too-compliant media accepted the merits of regime change policy regarding dictatorships in the middle east (which they now called the 'Arab Spring'). We are lulled into a false sense of complacency by the fact that overt conventional military operations have not yet commenced between the United States and Iran." "Many of us hold out the false hope that an attack in Iran can be postponed or prevented. But this is a fool's dream. The reality is that the US war with Iran has already begun. American over flights of Iranian soil are taking place, using pilotless drones and other sophisticated capabilities", Ritter concluded.

Here comes the 'Arab Spring' where Islamic dictators fall like dominoes using the historical rift between the Sunnis and the Shiites. It was timed when the price of crude oil has risen by almost 10% to $122/barrel since January this year due to the instability in the Middle East, particularly the fear of an Israeli strike against the nuclear facilities of Iran. The commodity markets are wary that even a limited conflict with that country, which is the second largest OPEC oil producer, would dramatically increase the insurance on oil tankers plying the Persian gulf.
According to Robert McNally, the president of Rapidan Group, an energy consulting firm, 'What we see now is a market that is very fearful and very tight. In those condition, it doesn't take much to send the cost of oil soaring. A limited attack on Iran would trigger an oil price increase of $23 per barrel, but a more protracted conflict may cause a price spike of more than $60 per barrel." The Citigroup commodities research unit predicts that if the price of crude were to reach $150 pre barrel, US economic growth will decline by 2 percentage points, thereby converting the nascent recovery into a recession.

If even a limited attack could cause a 2 percent drop in the American GNP (the US has a vast strategic oil reserve and is expected to be in a position to absorb such an economic and geopolitical shock), can we imagine the catastrophic effect of the eventuality on a non-oil producing country like the Philippines?

Our government has focused it's attention in the ongoing crisis in Syria and has declared a level 4 alert, the highest in it's system, with hundreds of OFW's already repatriated to the Philippines. The situation in Syria would be a small sideshow compared to the conditions of some 2.3 million Filipinos in the Middle East in the event of an armed conflict with Iran.
The PNoy administration should anticipate future developments and act accordingly on how to save the vast Filipino community in the Middle East and the economic stakes involved.

May God save our country from harm!

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