Neo-conservative Richard Perle after Kurdish oil

July 30, 2008, Wednesday/ 21:01:00
Leading US newspaper The World Street Journal (WSJ) reported yesterday that influential former Pentagon official Richard Perle has been exploring going into the oil business in Iraq and Kazakhstan.The paper sourced its information to people with knowledge of the matter and documents outlining possible deals.

“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,” the paper said in its report.

The WSJ explained that “it would involve a tract called K18, near the Kurdish city of Arbil, according to documents describing the plan.” “A consortium founded by Turkish company AK Group International is seeking rights to drill there, the documents say. Potential backers include two Turkish companies as well as Kazakhstan, according to individuals involved,” it added.

Mr. Perle also has explored obtaining an oil concession in Kazakhstan in tandem with a northern Iraq deal, according to people familiar with those discussions. Mr. Perle, who was an assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration, is known for his strong support of Israel and hawkish views on arms control. In the early days of the Bush administration, he was one of the most influential proponents of US military action to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

In the past, neoconservative Perle has been involved in some lucrative consulting deals and has made some high-level friends in Turkey. In 1986, he became the co-chair, along with the Turkish General Staff, of a US-Turkish consultative defense group. From 1989 to 1994, he worked as an adviser for the International Advisors, Inc. (IAI), a lobbying firm started by Douglas Feith, a fellow neoconservative and former US undersecretary of defense for policy, and registered as Turkey’s foreign agent with the Justice Department.

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