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Over and over again in the Middle East, we see the same pattern repeating itself:

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An oil-rich country takes control of its own oil fields and cuts out the Western oil companies.

What follows as the night the day, the western countries overthrow the offending government and reinstall their favorite oil companies.

This has happened in both Iran and Iraq.

Right now, the U.S. is threatening Iran with war on grounds that it is making a nuclear weapons.

To begin with, Iran is a peaceful country. It hasn’t started a war in hundreds of years. It only fought when Iraq invaded it in 1980.

In that war, Iraq used chemical weapons that it got from the United States -- so here we have an example of an American attack by proxy on Iran without any provocation.

But the United States attacked Iran on its own without using intermediaries in 1953 and overthrew the legitimate government.

Most Americans don’t know about that overthrow. It was engineered by the Central Intelligence Agency.

Since Iran did not even have a nuclear facility in 1953, what could have been the excuse for the attack?

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The answer is oil. Iran kicked out the British oil company it felt was cheating it out of a fair profit for the oil it was extracting and took the oil field over from the British.

The British tried to overthrow the “insolent” Iran government but failed. Iran kicked the British spies out of the country.

So Britain asked the American CIA to overthrow the government and the U.S. did, deposing Prime Minister Mossadegh and putting a king on the throne.

And guess who got the contracts? The western oil companies: Gulf, Standard Oil of New Jersey, Texaco and Mobil -- got a 40 percent share of the new National Iranian Oil Company.

And what happened in Iran in 1953 was also going to happen in Iraq in 2003 -- the U.S. attacked Iraq after which the Western oil companies got the plum contracts.

“Prior to the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, US and other western oil companies were all but completely shut out of Iraq’s oil market,” industry analyst Antonia Juhasz told Al Jazeera wire service. “But thanks to the invasion and occupation, the companies are now back inside Iraq and producing oil there for the first time since being forced out of the country in 1973.”

And, adds Business Week magazine, “Western producers like BP, ExxonMobil, and Shell are enjoying their best access to Iraq’s southern oil fields since 1972,” 1972 was the year Saddam Hussein nationalized Iraq’s oil fields. Another big winner of the U.S. invasion: Hunt Oil Co., of Dallas, Texas, run by Ray Hunt, President George W. Bush’s friend and fund-raiser.

Oil industry analyst Juhasz says that ExxonMobil, BP, and Shell aggressively lobbied their governments “to ensure that the invasion would result in an Iraq open to foreign oil companies” and that “they succeeded.” Sure they succeeded. Because the Pentagon works hand-in-glove with the oil industry.

So what we have here is history repeating itself. Whenever Iraq or Iran have been attacked by the U.S. in the past it’s been over oil. That’s the record. Those are facts. But if you like you can believe the U.S. and Israel are threatening to attack only because they’re trying to stop Iran from getting a nuke. That’s an echo of President George Bush’s lie that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

There’s an inscription from Shakespeare etched on the National Archives building in downtown Washington, D.C. It says, “What’s past is prologue.” Shakespeare was right. Better believe it. And history will repeat itself with a new U.S.-Israeli attack on Iran unless the American people rise up and declare: “No blood for oil.”

Sherwood Ross