Environmental Mystery Solved: U.S. Did It

Who stood to profit by igniting Iraqi oil fields ablaze as the Republican Guard retreated during the Gulf War?



Kuwait's oil wells, torched during the final phase of the l991 Gulf war, were set ablaze by fast-moving strike teams of U.S. Special Forces, not by Iraqi troops, as reported at the time, according to a U.S. Army officer who was there.

Smoke from the fires blocked sunlight for weeks, creating a near environmental disaster in the Mideast.

After almost a decade, this observer has decided to break his silence and divulge what he has seen on condition that his identity remain protected for the time being.

His description of how the small Gulf emirate's oil wells went up in flame matches the statements of the Iraqi government, whose top officials have long disclaimed responsibility fore this incendiary sabotage operation.

"We did not set the oil fields on fire," said then-Iraqi Oil Minister Osama al-Hiti, to a SPOTLIGHT reporter in June of 1992." Why would we? Where was the profit?"

New evidence uncovered by this populist newspaper supports Hiti's version of events.

"Iraq had no reason to destroy those wells," says a Washington petroleum analyst, who has spent years in the Gulf. Iraqi troops were already withdrawing from Kuwait when its oil fields were swept by fire.

"The Iraqi leaders had already realized that they would have to submit to an imposed settlement of that conflict," he explained.

Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein and his top aides knew full well by then that they would be held economically and financially liable for any damages claimed by Kuwait in the aftermath of the Gulf war.

Only President George Bush and his inner circle stood to profit from the ravages inflicted on Kuwait's petroleum installations, these sources have confirmed.

"Bush, his sons and his cronies began to scheme to make vast personal fortunes from rebuilding Kuwait's infrastructure as soon as the Gulf war began-even before it began," confirmed Rieter DeJongh, a Wall Street energy trader.

First oil firefighters, based in Texas, the home of President Bush, were enriched by putting the fires out. Next construction firms had to rebuild the wells, then supply firms had to resupply the sights.

Their corrupt scheme included driving from Kuwait competing energy companies such the giant Deutche Babcock conglomerate, which was bidding on a number of contracts coveted by the Bush consortium.

In the consensus of these sources, the economic consequences of wreaking devastation on Kuwait were clear: Iraq would have to pay for the wreckage-it is doing so right now-while former President Bush and his people would profit from it.

"I'd say that, all in all, the evidence tells us pretty convincingly the order to set Kuwait's oil fields afire must have come, not from Saddam Hussein but from Bush," concluded DeJongh.