In March 2003, weeks after the invasion of Iraq, war architect Richard Perle resigned from his position on the Defense Policy Board in an attempt to “defuse a controversy over charges he stood to profit from the war in Iraq.”
But that hasn’t stopped Perle from continuing to seek profit from the war. Citing documents and people close to the negotiations, the Wall Street Journal reports today that Perle “has been exploring going into the oil business in Iraq and Kazakhstan. One of the oil tracts, near the Kurdish city of Erbil, “is estimated to hold 150 million or more barrels of oil, would potentially be operated by Houston-based Endeavour International”:
Mr. Perle, one of a group of security experts who began pushing the case for toppling Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein about a decade ago, has been discussing a possible deal with officials of northern Iraq’s Kurdistan regional government, including its Washington envoy, according to these people and the documents. […]
Mr. Perle has attended events promoting the interests of Kazakhstan, an oil-rich nation whose ruler, Nursultan Nazarbayev, is involved in a long-running U.S. investigation of 1990s-era oil-company bribery. Mr. Perle has publicly lauded President Nazarbayev as “visionary and wise,” according to a publication distributed by the Kazakh embassy in Washington.
Perle also “has explored obtaining an oil concession in Kazakhstan in tandem with a northern Iraq deal,” the Journal adds. Perle denied the reports, stating, “I am not involved in any consortium…nor am I ‘framing plans for a consortium.'” But a spokesman for Qubat Talabani, the Kurdish government’s delegate in the U.S. who deals with “investment information,” “confirmed that the envoy had been approached by Mr. Perle.”
Perle’s shady business dealings related to the war are long-standing. The New Yorker’s Sy Hersh reported in 2003 on Perle’s role as a managing partner on the defense firm Trireme Partners LLP, whose “business potential depended on a war in Iraq taking place.” In response, Perle said Hersh was a “terrorist.”
The New York Times revealed recently that the Bush administration “played an integral part” in negotiating no-bid contracts for Western oil companies in Iraq. Despite its devastating security, human, and financial costs on the United States, the Iraq war continues to pay off for the architects and their friends.