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The Wolfowitz Chronology:

An examination of the presumptive World Bank President’s works on oil, national security, development, corruption, human rights, and debt.

Intro :: 1972-1992 :: 1993-2000 :: 2001-2005

By Jim Vallette
Research Director
Sustainable Energy and Economy Network, Institute for Policy Studies
March 2005


The following timeline summarizes the amazing career of World Bank presidential nominee Paul Wolfowitz. The past three decades of works and deeds reveal a remarkably consistent ideology, one in which the U.S. holds unrivaled global power. This power is reinforced, as necessary, through unilateral military action. His words have framed Republican foreign policy initiatives, in partnership with his more powerful hard-line sponsors – Fred Iklé in the 1970s, Alexander Haig in the early 80’s, and Dick Cheney thereafter. His mantras grew in prominence, as did his patrons’ political might.

Oil fuels hegemony, in the Wolfowitz vision. Under Haig, he focused on the security of Western oil supplies from the Persian Gulf . While ambassador to Indonesia , the embassy pressured Suharto’s regime to cut U.S. oil companies better deals. Under then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, he wrote, “In the Middle East and Southwest Asia , our overall objective is to remain the predominant outside power in the region and preserve U.S. and Western access to the region's oil.”

After the dozen-year Republican reign ended at the White House, Wolfowitz moved to the ivory towers of Johns Hopkins University , where as dean, he framed the future invasion of Iraq . He demanded that President Clinton adopt a strategy to control the southern oil fields of Iraq , install Ahmed Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress, and fund the INC with proceeds from the oil exports. He condemned Paris , Berlin , and Moscow for making oil deals with Saddam Hussein while U.S. companies were sidelined. He said, “if they were convinced that Saddam Hussein will not be back in business, and that the fabulous -- and they are fabulous -- oil resources of Iraq… will be ultimately in the control of a Government of Free Iraq, I believe you will find the French and the Russians beating down the door to find those people, and to curry favor with them for the future.”

In March 2003, a version of his vision came true with the invasion of Iraq . Ground forces swiftly seized the southern oil fields. Wolfowitz hailed the seizures, and predicted that the oil will generate up to $100 billion for Iraq ’s reconstruction in a couple years. Again, he damned Paris , Berlin , and Moscow . He crafted a Defense Department order that bars the French, Russians, Germans, and most other countries’ corporations from getting a piece of the reconstruction pie. “It is necessary for the protection of the essential security interests of the United States to limit competition for the prime contracts of these procurements to companies from the United States , Iraq , Coalition partners and force contributing nations,” he ordered.

Wolfowitz is now positioned to implant his vision upon the World Bank, the institution that defines the economic terms of the world’s developing countries. The Bank’s political structure plays right into his – and his sponsor’s – hands: the U.S. always picks the Bank’s president; it, alone, holds de facto veto powers on the executive board; and, developing countries have only token say on board decisions.

No wonder Dick Cheney said, “I can't think of anybody more qualified than Paul Wolfowitz to run the World Bank.”

The following Paul Wolfowitz Chronology is intended as a basic reference tool for researchers, journalists, policy-makers, and anyone else who wants to know who is Paul Wolfowitz. It is a working document, for which additional information is more than welcome. If the reader has information that would further complete this historical record, please contact the author at . Contributions will be credited, unless otherwise requested.

To further discover the Wolfowitz/Cheney global agenda, see the author’s previous articles, “Why Wolfowitz?” (March 17), on, and “Cheney’s Oil Change at the World Bank,” (March 21), on .

Intro :: 1972-1992 :: 1993-2000 :: 2001-2005  




Wolfowitz receives his doctorate in Political Science from the University of Chicago. His dissertation focuses upon the hazards of nuclear-powered desalination plants. “At the earliest stage in his professional career he had focused upon the dangers of nuclear weapons programs in the Middle East,” James Mann later reports.[1]


Wolfowitz gets his start in Washington’s bureaucracy as a staff member in the Evaluation and Policy Division of the Plans and Analysis Bureau of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.   He quickly moves up the ladder. In 1974 he becomes special assistant to the agency’s director, Fred C. Iklé.

In 1975, Wolfowitz rises to deputy assistant director for the Verification and Analysis Bureau.


Wolfowitz becomes Special Assistant for SALT (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks) in the Office of the Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.


Wolfowitz is Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Regional Programs in the Carter Administration.


Wolfowitz joins the Reagan administration as the State Department’s Director of Policy Planning under Secretary of State Alexander Haig. The National Journal reports: “When he set up the policy planning office, Wolfowitz… decided to focus on East-West relations and on the security of non-Communist nations and Western oil supplies in the Persian Gulf region.”

The Journal article also notes Wolfowitz’s early involvement in World Bank matters: “When it was suggested last year by some State Department officials, for example, that the Palestinians be allowed to sit in on World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings on the theory that their participation someday was inevitable, Wolfowitz and Myer Rashish, then the undersecretary for economic affairs, succeeded in fighting off such a new policy, according to department sources.”[2]

April 1982

Wolfowitz emphasizes the U.S.’ strategic interest in Persian Gulf oil, in an interview with a Moroccan newspaper.  According to an Associated Press summary of the interview, Wolfowitz says the U.S. “now regards the whole Mediterranean region including Morocco as part of its ‘strategic access’ zone to the Middle East. He said the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan proved that Soviet forces could reach the Persian Gulf area ‘merely by driving there,’ while the United States is 10,000 miles away and needs to secure its access to the world's major oil producing region.”[3]

November 1982

Wolfowitz becomes Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs under George Shultz.

May 1984

In a departmental budget request to Congress, Wolfowitz highlights U.S. commercial interests in the Asian sultanate of Brunei. “Oil-rich Brunei offers significant commercial opportunities for U.S. business and investment,” he writes.  Brunei and other East Asian countries “symbolize the dynamism of the free market system.…in sharp contrast to the dreary, rigid mold the neighboring command economies have imposed on their people.”[4]

Wolfowitz fails to note the human rights dimensions of oil-rich countries like Brunei, where Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin and his offspring have ruled under  “emergency powers” in effect since 1962.[5] 

April-May 1984

In a speech to U.S.-China traders, Wolfowitz congratulates U.S. industrialists for the “most extraordinary… contribution that your endeavors make to U.S. foreign policy. [A]n economically modernizing China is in both our countries' interests…. It should be the role of the government to facilitate and further trade, though not at the expense of our security.” Wolfowitz noted that  “U.S. oil companies will be investing hundreds of millions (of dollars) in offshore exploration and major investments in coal are also likely. China welcomes foreign investment, not only as a source of capital but also as a very efficient vehicle for technology transfer.”[6]

March 1985

Platt’s Oilgram News reports, “U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian & Pacific Affairs Paul Wolfowitz said that although he believes the Indonesian government is firm in its commitment to provide a good investment climate for foreign oil contractors, sometimes those intentions run afoul in reality. Wolfowitz, who spoke with A. R. Ramly, head of state oil company Pertamina, said he found some issues of common concern to foreign companies such as customs delays. He said other topics covered included world oil markets, LNG markets and the product exports from the Gulf to the U.S.”[7]


Wolfowitz becomes U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia.  His three-year term coincides with the harsh rule of Indonesian strongman Suharto.   Nineteen years later, Indonesian human rights campaigners recalled Wolfowitz’s stint as an envoy.

"Of all former U.S. ambassadors, he was considered closest to and most influential with Suharto and his family," said Abdul Hakim Garuda Nusantara, whose Legal Aid Institute worked to free political prisoners in the 1980s. "But he never showed interest in issues regarding democratization or respect of human rights. Wolfowitz never once visited our offices. I also never heard him publicly mention corruption, not once.”

Indonesian democracy and development expert Binny Buchori agreed that Wolfowitz  “never alluded to any concerns about the level of corruption or the need for more transparency. He was an effective diplomat, but he gave no moral support for dissidents. He went to East Timor and saw abuses going on, but then kept quiet,” she told the Associated Press. [8]

February 1988

Wolfowitz says over $4 billion in U.S. investments in Indonesia shows that “'economic and political ties are becoming ever more intertwined. Indonesia's strength as the largest country in Southeast Asia is of prime importance to the region's stability.  Its economic success has contributed greatly to the striking dynamism of the Pacific Basin.” [9]   

March 1988

As 30-year oil and gas production-sharing contracts near expiration, Indonesia promises that the next round of contracts will be even more attractive for foreign investors. Abdul Rahman Ramly, president of Indonesia’s state oil company, says “we’ll make changes where necessary – more flexibility, speedier approvals, less red tape.”[10]

October 19, 1988

The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta warns Indonesia that foreign oil companies may pull out of the country unless it creates more attractive conditions for exploration. According to the Journal of Commerce, “Rigid policies on pricing and production-sharing imposed by Indonesia's state oil company, Pertamina, have a double-whammy effect in a time of falling oil prices, the report says. Foreign companies' tax bills are still based on previous, higher market prices, while their share of the oil produced is falling below the normal 15 percent, the assessment says.  Their share of profits in most cases has been reduced to near zero, with some not even able to fully recover costs, the report says without specifying any companies. It adds that some overseas contractors are reducing production. Others have shut-in producing wells (and more) may have to do so, it says.”[11]

February 1989

Indonesia Energy Minister Ginandjar Kartasamita says the government will create new incentives for foreign companies’ oil and gas investments.[12]

April 14, 1989

President George H.W. Bush nominates Wolfowitz to be Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, succeeding his former boss in the 1970s, Fred Iklé.[13]

February 13, 1990

The Washington Post reveals a classified new “Defense Planning Guidance” prepared by Wolfowitz under the direction of his boss, Defense Secretary Dick Cheney. “A strategy change directed by Cheney and reflecting growing concern about U.S. reliance on oil imports,” the Post reports. “The guidance states that the defense of Middle Eastern oil fields ‘ranks above South America and Africa in terms of global wartime priorities.’”[14]

November 12, 1991

A peaceful memorial procession to the Santa Cruz cemetery in Dili, East Timor, turns into a massacre of over 271 people. Indonesian troops fire upon the pro-independence demonstrators at the cemetery; scores more are killed in hospitals.[15]

February 18, 1992

The flow of Middle East oil to the United States remains a major component of Cheney and Wolfowitz’s Defense Department planning. In a leaked Feb. 18, 1992, draft Defense Planning Guidance, Wolfowitz asserts: “In the Middle East and Southwest Asia, our overall objective is to remain the predominant outside power in the region and preserve U.S. and Western access to the region's oil.” [16]

Intro :: 1972-1992 :: 1993-2000 :: 2001-2005 

[1] James Mann, Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet, Penguin Books, 2004

[2] Christopher Madison, “Haig's Planning Chief Finds Rewards, Risks in Helping Keep State Straight,” National Journal, April 10, 1982

[3] Michael Goldsmith, “Say Military Cooperation Talks Went Well,” Associated Press, April 27, 1982

[4] Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Paul Wolfowitz, “FY 1985 assistance requests for East Asia and the Pacific,” transcript, Department of State Bulletin, May 1984

[5] Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Brunei, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices  - 2001, U.S. Department of State, March 4, 2002

[6] Paul D. Wolfowitz, “The U.S. China Trade Relationship,” Address before the National Council for United States-China Trade on May 31, 1984, Department of State Bulletin, September 1984.

[7] “ Indonesia,” Platt’s Oilgram News, March 5, 1985

[8] Slobodan Lekic, “Indonesian rights groups decry Wolfowitz,” Associated Press, March 22, 2005

[9] “Election, but no change: Suharto to lead Indonesia again,” United Press International, Feb. 8, 1988

[10] John Murray Brown, “ Indonesia Prepares For Crucial Negotiations On Oil Contracts,” Financial Times, March 24, 1988

[11] P.T. Bangsberg, “ U.S. warns Indonesia to ease up on oil wells,” Journal of Commerce, October 20, 1988; see also: “Share of Profits Dropped to Near Zero: Oil Constructors,” Jiji Press Ticker Service, October 21, 1988

[12] P.T. Bangsberg, “ Indonesia vows new incentives for oil and gas,” Journal of Commerce, Feb. 10, 1989.

[13] “Nomination of Paul Dundes Wolfowitz To Be an Under Secretary of Defense,” White House press release, April 14, 1989

[14] Patrick Tyler, “New Pentagon 'Guidance' Cites Soviet Threat in Third World,” The Washington Post, February 13, 1990

[15] “Santa Cruz massacre,” East Timor Action Network website, at:

[16] Excerpt from the Defense Planning Guidance leaked to The New York Times, available at
For further background on this important document, see:

Intro :: 1972-1992 :: 1993-2000 :: 2001-2005 



With Democrat Bill Clinton in charge of the White House, Wolfowitz rejoins the academic world, first as a professor at the National War College, then as dean of the Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Through these positions, he continues to articulate a global security vision in which Middle Eastern oil is preeminent.

March 1994

Wolfowitz reflects upon the main achievement of the first U.S. war against Saddam Hussein. “The Gulf War transformed the security structure of the Persian Gulf, a region that is almost certain to remain the source of a large fraction of the world's energy supplies for decades to come. Having demonstrated the ability to protect the states of the Arabian peninsula effectively, the United States and its allies have provided a positive foundation for the security of those states against their much stronger neighbors to the north,” he writes in The National Interest.

“The United States and the entire industrialized world have an enormous stake in the security of the Persian Gulf, not primarily in order to save a few dollars per gallon of gasoline but rather because a hostile regime in control of those resources could wreak untold damage on the world's economy, and could apply that wealth to purposes that would endanger peace globally.” Wolfowitz concludes, “Given this permanent stake in the security of the Persian Gulf, the Gulf War provided an opportunity to base security on a foundation of credible commitment by the United States and its coalition partners.”[17]

May 5, 1994

Total, the French state oil company, names Wolfowitz to a new international advisory board. Other members of the board include former high-level officials of France, Japan, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Russia, OPEC, Venezuela, and the United Nations. “We are grateful to all of the Board Members for their valuable advice on political, economic and technological issues that affect us in today's rapidly changing world,” reads a Total report to shareholders.[18]  

June 19, 1996

In congressional testimony, Wolfowitz says U.S. diplomacy is intertwined with U.S. energy interests in Indonesia. “I think we're in a very dangerous state of reducing our presence in the world, commercial and diplomatic presence, which is relatively speaking, I think, very cost-effective way of advancing American interests.  And I noticed, for whatever combination of budgetary reasons, we've just made a decision to close the American consulate in Medan, which is one of our two consulates in Indonesia. It's really the only American presence on the island of Sumatra, which is 27 million people, huge energy investments there already, potentially very large commercial investments. (T)he money it would have cost to keep that post open, I think, would have brought over the years much, much bigger returns economically.”

Wolfowitz also testifies that U.S. energy companies had a positive impact in Indonesia. “[O]ur companies… are able to compete and one of the reasons we compete so well -- let's take the oil sector where it's … still the biggest single sector of the Indonesian economy and the foreign presence there is overwhelming American….[I]t's very striking when you visit American companies in that country that you find Indonesians at all levels of the company and the overwhelming proportion of the work force in Indonesian. We do a very good job of that and I think in the process we pass on some of our own standards to the people that we train and employ. 

“I think that is probably the single biggest influence of American companies and I think it's very large,” he continued. “I suspect if one looked into the details of how we operate on a particular -- especially big projects, I think one would also see that because our companies are international, they have international concerns, they have an American political constituency that they're attentive to, I think on the whole I would think their environmental record is better than some of the alternatives, but I can't give you specific examples there.”[19]

Sept. 4, 1996

Wolfowitz – at the time, a key foreign policy advisor to Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole – begins to attack Europeans for dealing in oil with Saddam Hussein. “One of the reasons we're having trouble with our allies is some of them are hoping to have Saddam deposit that money in their bank accounts. Some of them are hoping to have him sell that oil through their oil companies, and we should put a stop to that. We should make it very clear.”[20]

Sept. 18, 1996

Wolfowitz delivers his foreign policy vision on television. “(T)he Persian Gulf with its vital oil resources is critical to us, and that we have got to be a leader, and the leader's got to be somebody that people can count on. That's absolutely central to constructing the kind of world that will be safer in the next century,” he says on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.[21]

November 26, 1996

Journal of Commerce reports on Wolfowitz’s ties to the U.S.-Indonesia Society, an influential conglomeration of U.S. and Indonesian political and business officials. Wolfowitz is co-chair of the society’s board of trustees. Chief business supporters include Mobil [now part of ExxonMobil] and Freeport McMoRan, operator of a highly-controversial copper and gold mine on the heights of Irian Jaya.[22]

May 7, 1997

Wolfowitz hails Suharto’s “greater openness” in Indonesia. He testifies at a House hearing, “[I]n the 7 years since I left Indonesia, on the positive side, there has been significantly greater openness in a number of respects. There is more open questioning of public officials on government decisions that have gone against the government, although in most cases, the government eventually prevailed.” He adds, “Any balanced judgment of the situation in Indonesia today, including the very important and sensitive issue of human rights, needs to take account of the significant progress that Indonesia has already made and needs to acknowledge that much of this progress has to be credited to the strong and remarkable leadership of President Suharto.”[23]

December 1997

Wolfowitz co-authors, with Zalmay M. Khalizad, an article that advocates the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. “(W)e must seek to delegitimize Saddam and his regime. He should be indicted as a war criminal on the basis of his crimes against Iraq's Kurds and Shi'ias, and against the people of Kuwait. We should emphasize that contracts signed with his regime are not legally valid and that the United States will never permit Saddam to sell the oil that companies in France and elsewhere are already panting after. Companies that want to develop Iraq's enormous oil wealth should line up with a government of free Iraq instead.”[24]

Earlier in the year, Khalizad took part in a Houston reception sponsored by UNOCAL for members of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. UNOCAL later signed a tentative pipeline deal with the Taliban.[25]

January 26, 1998

Wolfowitz signs on to a Project for a New American Century letter to President Clinton, which warns: “It hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil will all be put at hazard.”[26]

February 23, 1998

Wolfowitz signs on to Steve Forbes-led memo, telling  “members of congress and conservative leaders… what to do about Saddam Hussein.”  The memo warns,” Saddam Hussein continues to develop biological and chemical weapons. He may be experimenting on human prisoners with deadly biological toxins. He is threatening a million-man "holy war" against the U.S. Now he is cutting deals with United Nations bureaucrats to buy time to accelerate his production of weapons of mass destruction. The serious threat Saddam Hussein poses grows by the day.”

It advocates the recognition of “a provisional government of Iraq based on the principles and leaders of the [Ahmed Chalabi-led] Iraqi National Congress (INC) that is representative of all the peoples of Iraq.” It further calls for funneling oil money to Chalabi’s INC. “(T)he oil resources and products of the liberated areas should help fund the provisional government's insurrection and humanitarian relief for the people of liberated Iraq.”[27]

March 25, 1998

Wolfowitz testifies to a U.S. Senate hearing on Iraq, “Ultimately, the most important economic measure will be to make provision for the oil resources of liberated areas to be made available to support the resistance to Saddam Hussein.”[28]

May 13-15, 1998

Protests and violence leave 1,200 dead and lead to the end of Suharto’s rule in Indonesia.

September 16, 1998

Wolfowitz elaborates his idea of creating an oil-rich enclave for the Iraqi National Congress inside the country. He tells the U.S. House National Security Committee, “A strategy for supporting this enormous latent opposition to Saddam requires political and economic as well as military components. It is eminently possible for a country that possesses the overwhelming power that the United States has in the Gulf. The heart of such action would be to create a liberated zone in Southern Iraq comparable to what the United States and its partners did so successfully in the North in 1991. Establishing a safe protected zone in the South, where opposition to Saddam could rally and organize, would make it possible.”

He adds,  “For that provisional government to control the largest oil field in Iraq” it would have available “under some kind of appropriate international supervision, enormous financial resources for political, humanitarian and eventually military purposes…. Saddam’s supporters in the Security Council -- in particular France and Russia -- would suddenly see a different prospect before them. Instead of lucrative oil production contracts with the Saddam Hussein regime, they would now have to calculate the economic and commercial opportunities that would come from ingratiating themselves with the future government of Iraq.

“And I submit that if they were convinced that Saddam Hussein will not be back in business, and that the fabulous -- and they are fabulous -- oil resources of Iraq are probably greater ultimately than Saudi Arabia, will be ultimately in the control of a Government of Free Iraq, I believe you will find the French and the Russians beating down the door to find those people, and to curry favor with them for the future,” Wolfowitz continues. Saddam Hussein’s “main supporters in the Security Council, France and Russia, I think could be expected to follow their commercial noses when they saw -- forgive the mixed metaphors -- which way the oil wind was blowing.”

He also suggests bombing Iraqi oil wells to escalate pressure on Saddam. “If these efforts fail… then we escalate by striking the infrastructure -- roads, bridges, forts, and other choke points, the electrical grid, their oil refining capability -- (and) then start taking out their oil wells.”[29]

October 1998

Indonesia Corruption Watch names Kellogg Overseas Corp. (a Halliburton subsidiary), Bechtel, and Chase Manhattan Bank in a list of 59 transnational corporations that were involved in “collusive, corruptive and nepotistic practices” with Suharto’s family.[30]   Kellogg Overseas and Bechtel were contractors on Indonesian energy projects while Wolfowitz was ambassador in the 1980s; at the same time, Chase Manhattan loaned hundreds of millions of dollars to the Suharto regime.


Wolfowitz becomes an advisor to George W. Bush’s presidential campaign.

January 1, 2000

In Commentary magazine, Wolfowitz echoes the national security priorities  he first described a decade earlier in the Defense Planning Guidance.  He notes “the differences between places like the Persian Gulf that could be the sources of major threats to U.S. security and places like Haiti that are not. When it comes to armed intervention, similarly, there is a difference between giving others the means to fight for themselves, as we should have done in Bosnia, and fighting for them. And when it comes to promoting democracy, there is a difference between defending it where it is established, as on Taiwan, and promoting it where it has not yet taken root. In the case of China, our limited influence on that country is more likely to be effective if we take the milder course that President Reagan followed in dealing with authoritarian regimes like the Philippines and South Korea than the approach he took toward our ideological rival in the cold war, the Soviet Union.” [31]  

October 2000

Wolfowitz helps prepare Cheney for his vice presidential candidates’ debate with Sen. Joe Lieberman.  According to a spokeswoman, Cheney relied on his closest colleagues for the rehearsals. “There's a tremendous amount of loyalty across the board,” said Juleanna Glover Weiss.[32]

Intro :: 1972-1992 :: 1993-2000 :: 2001-2005

[17] Paul Wolfowitz, “Crusade: The Untold Story of the Gulf War,” book review, The National Interest, Spring 1994

[18] “An International Advisory Board for Total,” ARS filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, May 10, 1995; and  “Total sets up advisory committee with international celebrities,” Europe Energy, May 20, 1994

[19] Paul Wolfowitz, testimony to the House Committee on International Relations, joint subcommittee hearing, “ U.S. relations with Southeast Asia,” June 19, 1996

[20] “Adviser Comments on Bob Dole's International Policy,” transcript, CNN, Sept. 4, 1996

[21] Transcript, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Sept. 18, 1996

[22] Tim Shorrock, “US firms influence policy on Indonesia; Foreign contributors called secondary players,” Journal of Commerce, Nov. 26, 1996

[23] United States Congress. “United States Policy Toward Indonesia,” Hearing before the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific of the Committee on International Relations, House of Representatives, 105th Congress, May 7, 1997, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1998, as cited in Joseph Nevins, “Beware a Wolfowitz in Sheep's Clothing; Washington Backs Indonesian Military Again,” Indonesia Alert!, March 17, 2005, and in Tim Shorrock, “Paul Wolfowitz, Reagan’s Man in Indonesia, Is Back at the Pentagon,” Foreign Policy in Focus, February 2001.

[24] Wolfowitz and Zalmay M. Khalilzad, “Overthrow Him,” The Weekly Standard, Dec. 1, 1997

[25] “New US envoy to Afghanistan, anti-Taliban hawk,” Agence France Presse, January 1, 2001

[26] Letter to The Honorable William J. Clinton, Project for a New American Century, January 26, 1998

[27] Signers of this memorandum included Stephen Solarz, Richard Perle, Elliot Abrams, Stephen Bryen, Richard V. Allen, Richard Burt, Richard Armitage, Frank Carlucci, Jeffrey Bergner, William Clark, John Bolton, Paula J. Dobriansky, Doug Feith, Robert A. Pastor, Frank Gaffney, Martin Peretz, Jeffrey Gedmin, Roger Robinson, Fred C. Ikle, Peter Rodman, Robert Kagan, Peter Rosenblatt, Zalmay M. Khalilzad, Donald Rumsfeld, Sven F. Kraemer, Gary Schmitt, William Kristol, Max Singer, Michael Ledeen, Helmut Sonnenfeldt, Bernard Lewis, Leon Wieseltier, Jarvis Lynch, Paul Wolfowitz, Robert C. McFarlane, David Wurmser, Joshua Muravchik,  and Dov S. Zakheim. “AHGO Blasts Clinton Administration for Iraq Policy,” Americans for Hope, Growth and Opportunity press release, Feb. 23, 1998

[28] “Situation in the Persian Gulf,” hearing, U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, March 25, 1998

[29] Wolfowitz, prepared “Testimony before the House National Security Committee,” September 16, 1998; and,  “Capitol Hill Hearing with Defense Department Personnel,” transcript, Federal News Service, Sept. 16, 1998

[30] “Indonesian body identifies 59 allegedly corrupt cos,” Asia Pulse, October 22, 1998

[31] “American Power—For What?” Commentary, January 1, 2000

[32] David Jackson, Todd Gillman, “Lieberman, Cheney say they're ready to rumble,” The Dallas Morning News, October 5, 2000; and, Karen Gullo, “For debate preparations, Cheney chooses the familiar,” Associated Press, October 1, 2000.

Intro :: 1972-1992 :: 1993-2000 :: 2001-2005


January 2001

After being rumored for the top job at the CIA or a stint as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Wolfowitz settles for the number-two job at Defense, serving as Donald Rumsfeld’s deputy secretary.

January 22, 2001

Oilweek reports that Wolfowitz is named to a  “Energy Task Force” headed by new Vice President Cheney.[33]

September 20, 2001

In the aftermath of the 9-11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., Wolfowitz reportedly presses for a U.S. attack on Iraq. According to a USA Today report, “Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith -- backed by Vice President Cheney -- favor targeting Iraq, administration sources say.[34] 

September 25, 2001

The New York Times reports: “Senior Bush administration officials are still wrangling over whether there is evidence to implicate Iraq in the Sept. 11 attack on the United States, senior administration officials said today. Mr. Wolfowitz is said to be wedded to the position that Mr. bin Laden and his Al Qaeda network could not have carried out the attack without Saddam Hussein's help, the officials said.”[35]

December 7, 2002

As the Bush administration prepares to invade Iraq, Wolfowitz insists that oil has nothing to do with the initiative. “I do know, emphatically, that it's not a war for oil,” he says. “The concern that motivates a willingness to risk war is, it was horrible enough to see 3,000 people die [referring to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks], but seeing 30,000 or 40,000 die from anthrax is too much to contemplate.”[36]

February 27, 2003

Wolfowitz tells the U.S. House Budget Committee that oil exports would pay for the reconstruction of post-invasion Iraq.  “It's got already, I believe, on the order of $15 billion to $20 billion a year in oil exports, which can finally -- might finally be turned to a good use instead of building Saddam's palaces,” he testifies. “It has one of the most valuable undeveloped sources of natural resources in the world. And let me emphasize, if we liberate Iraq those resources will belong to the Iraqi people, that they will be able to develop them and borrow against them.”

Wolfowitz continued his long-term tirade against European countries that are involved in Iraq’s oil industry. He denounced French and German opposition to NATO involvement. He said Eastern European countries, hopeful of joining NATO, “came out openly in opposition to the French and German position. Prime Minister Chirac of France told them they ought to shut up and behave themselves like good East Europeans, and that produced a wonderful reaction from those people. They are doing it because they believe in it. Believe me, we aren't offering them anything. If we want to talk about who is bought and paid for, it would be worth looking at who has big financial commercial interests in Saddam Hussein's regime, who were the big importers, who were the big oil developers. I get so tired of hearing chants of, ‘No war for oil.’”[37]

March 20, 2003

U.S. forces invade Iraq. The ground campaign moves to secure southern Iraq’s oil fields. Rumsfeld warns Iraq not to set them ablaze. “Needless to say, it is a crime for that regime to be destroying the riches of the Iraqi people,” he says.[38]

March 27, 2003

Wolfowitz again tells Congress that oil should pay for Iraq’s reconstruction. “The oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years. Now, there are a lot of claims on that money, but… We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon.”[39]

March 28, 2003

Wolfowitz tells reporters: “I would say that on the whole, things are happening in some respects faster than we expected. One of the most important ones is that we were able to get substantial control over the southern oil fields before Saddam Hussein was able to create the kind of environmental disaster that he was planning to do.”[40]

April 10, 2003

Wolfowitz launches a pressure campaign, trying to get Europe  -- particularly his long-time foes in Paris, Moscow, and Berlin -- to cancel outstanding Iraqi debts. He tells a Senate hearing, “I hope… they will think about the very large debts that come from money that was lent to the dictator to buy weapons and build palaces and instruments of repression. I think they ought to consider whether it might not be appropriate to forgive some or all of that debt, so the new Iraqi government is not burdened with it.”[41]

At the same time, U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow tries to enlist World Bank and International Monetary Fund support for aiding Iraq.   The Washington Post reports, “Snow said yesterday that he wants the meetings, which bring together member countries of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, to direct the two institutions to begin work promptly on assessing Iraq's need for aid and how they might provide it. But World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn said that in the absence of a United Nations resolution affording legitimacy to a new authority in Baghdad, the bank can't even send a mission to Iraq unless its major shareholder countries give the go-ahead -- a stance that drew a rebuke from Snow, who pronounced himself "baffled."”[42]

April 14, 2003

Bank president Wolfensohn gives a tepid response to a question posed by U.S. television news anchor. Jim Lehrer says, “I'm sure you noticed that the number-two man in the Pentagon, Paul Wolfowitz, over the weekend suggested or last week said that France, Germany and other countries should forgive the debt and those countries immediately said no thanks, Mr. Wolfowitz. What do you make of that?”

Wolfensohn replies, “Well, I heard similar comments in these last couple days. But I don't attribute great weight to this. At a time when the negotiations are starting it's very unusual for people to say immediately, well, I will forgive something. So I regard it as the beginning of a negotiation, because what I think the world body wants is an emerging Iraq that is viable. And if there are substantial outstanding debts, something will have to be done to bring them into a more manageable position.”[43]

May 22, 2003

The United Nations Security Council approves Resolution 1483, which sets up a “Development Fund for Iraq,” financed mainly by Iraqi oil exports. The same day, Bush quietly signs Executive Order 13303, which provides absolute legal protection for U.S. interests in Iraqi oil. Bush prohibits all judicial processes regarding Iraqi oil that is in the possession of U.S. corporations.[44]

The same day, Wolfowitz tells Congress, “One of the keys to getting Iraq up and running as a country is to restore its primary source of revenue: its oil infrastructure. The resolution [1483] envisions the resumption of oil exports, and provides that revenues be deposited in the Development Fund for Iraq, with transparency provided by independent auditors and an international advisory board. Decisions regarding the long-term development of Iraq's oil resources and its economy will be the responsibility of a stable Iraqi government. The United States is dedicated to ensuring that Iraq's oil resources remain under Iraqi control. Iraq's resources--including all of its oil--belong to all of Iraq's people.”[45]

November 7, 2003

Former UK foreign secretary Robin Cook writes about his concerns over the handling of Iraqi oil revenues. “Whether the Coalition Authority is being taken for a ride by its contractors is a matter of legitimate concern to Iraqis as their money helps pay the bills. It is an outrage, which neither the US nor the UK would tolerate in their own country, that six months after the UN authorized the Iraqi Development Fund to bank the oil revenues of the country, there is still no independent system of auditing in place. Famously Tony Blair promised that Iraqi oil funds would be used for the needs of the Iraqi people. We still have no way of knowing whether that is the case and the indications are that much of it is being applied for the costs of occupation rather than investment in reconstruction.”[46]

December 5, 2003

Wolfowitz exacts his ultimate revenge upon Berlin, Paris and Moscow. In a December 5, 2003, Defense Department order, he shuts non-coalition countries’ corporations out of Iraqi reconstruction contracts. “It is necessary for the protection of the essential security interests of the United States to limit competition for the prime contracts of these procurements to companies from the United States, Iraq, Coalition partners and force contributing nations. Thus, it is clearly in the public interest to limit prime contracts to companies from these countries.”[47]

Shortly thereafter, long-time Bush family friend James Baker tours Europe, trying to get them to accede to Wolfowitz’s demands that they drop Iraqi debt.

June 25, 2004

In an on-line “Ask the White House” discussion, Wolfowitz continues to tout oil export revenues as Iraq’s saving grace, although they are flowing at levels much lower than the “50 to 100 billion dollars over the course of the next two or three years” that he predicted before the invasion.

An on-line questioner asks Wolfowitz, “What is being done with the revenue that is recouped from the Iraq oilfields?.” He replies, “Already, Iraq is beginning to contribute to its own rebuilding—including through its oil assets. Through a combination of oil revenues and existing assets, nearly $20 billion of Iraqi funds have gone into the Development Fund for Iraq to finance government operations and reconstruction projects.

An addition $8 billion of oil revenues are projected to go into the fund by the end of this year.”[48]

August 1, 2004

A London tabloid gossips about Wolfowitz’s “special relationship” with a World Bank employee. “The Sunday Telegraph can reveal that his closest companion and most valued confidante is a middle-aged Arab feminist whose own strongly held views on instilling democracy in her native Middle East have helped bolster his resolve,” gushes reporter Phillip Sherwell. “Shaha Ali Riza is a senior World Bank official who was born in Tunis, grew up in Saudi Arabia and holds an international relations masters degree from St Anthony's College, Oxford. Close acquaintances of the couple have told The Sunday Telegraph that she is romantically linked with Mr. Wolfowitz, 61, a fellow divorcee with whom she has been friends for several years.

“She previously worked for the Iraq Foundation, set up by expatriates in 1991 to push for democracy and human rights in that country after the first Gulf war, and then established the Middle East programme at the National Endowment for Democracy, a federal agency created under Ronald Reagan in 1983 with the ambitious goal of promoting American political values internationally.

“So Mr Wolfowitz and Ms Riza are not just close personally, they have also both long espoused the same deeply held conviction that democracy should be spread across the Arab world. With his ear, she is one of most influential Arabs in Washington. ‘Paul and some others always had Saddam Hussein in their sights, but she helped reinforce that resolve,’ said a friend who moves in similar conservative circles. ‘That was greatly helped by the fact that she is an Arab woman who is an expert on the process of democracy.’”

January 3, 2005

World Bank president Wolfensohn announces his resignation. “On May 31, 2005 my second term as President of the World Bank Group comes to an end…. I would like to retire at the end of my term and would suggest that the Board seek a new President for the Institution as I would not wish to be considered for a third term,” he tells the Bank’s executive board.[50]

January 30, 2005

Stuart Bowen Jr., Inspector General of the Coalition Provisional Authority, issues a scathing audit of the coalition’s handling of oil revenues in the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI). These revenues included residual funds from the UN Oil-for-Food program and proceeds from oil exported after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Bowen finds that the Coalition Provisional Authority “provided less than adequate controls for approximately $8.8 billion in DFI funds, provided to Iraqi ministries through the national budget process. Specifically, the CPA did not establish or implement sufficient managerial, financial, and contractual controls to ensure DFI funds were used in a transparent manner. Consequently, there was no assurance the funds were used for the purposes mandated by Resolution 1483.”[51]

March 1, 2005

Amid speculation about whom Bush would pick to be the next Bank president – names like Carly Fiorina and Bono are tossed about – the Financial Times reveals a surprising new name. “Paul Wolfowitz, US deputy secretary of defense, has emerged as a leading candidate to replace James Wolfensohn as the president of the World Bank,” report Andrew Balls and Edward Alden. “One administration official said his nomination ‘would have enormous repercussions within the development community’.”[52]

March 16, 2005

Bush announces his choice for the next World Bank president. “Paul Wolfowitz is a proven leader and experienced diplomat, who will guide the World Bank effectively and honorably during a critical time in history - both for the Bank and the developing nations it supports. He has devoted his career to advancing the cause of freedom. He is a person of compassion who believes deeply that lifting people out of poverty is critical to achieving that goal,” he says.

The president adds at a press conference, “He helped manage a large organization. The World Bank is a large organization; the Pentagon is a large organization -- he's been involved in the management of that organization. He's a skilled diplomat, worked at the State Department in high positions. He was Ambassador to Indonesia where he did a very good job representing our country. And Paul is committed to development. He's a compassionate, decent man who will do a fine job in the World Bank.”[53]

March 22, 2005

Dick Cheney, aboard Air Force Two, tells reporters that he fully supports Wolfowitz’s nomination. "I can't think of anybody more qualified than Paul Wolfowitz to run the World Bank," Cheney says. The Washington Post reports that “Cheney has been a driving force in the administration's foreign policy and privately advocated for [John] Bolton to get the U.N. job and for longtime ally Paul D. Wolfowitz to head the World Bank.”[54]

Intro :: 1972-1992 :: 1993-2000 :: 2001-2005

[33] “Task force struck to formulate new U.S. energy policy,” Oilweek, Jan. 22, 2001

[34] Jonathan Weisman, “Administration splits over whether to attack Iraq, USA Today, September 20, 2001.

[35] Elaine Sciolino, “ U.S. prepares to brief NATO on strategy to fight bin Laden,” New York Times, Sept. 25, 2001

[36] “Oil Experts Say War with Iraq Wouldn't Be War for Oil; U.S. officials say purpose of war would be to disarm Saddam Hussein,” U.S. State Department, Dec. 19, 2002

[37] House Budget Committee, transcript, Hearing on FY 2004 Defense Budget Request, Feb. 27, 2003

[38] “Oilfield in southern Iraq on fire,” Xinhua, March 20, 2003

[39] Transcript, Hearing of the Defense Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, March 27, 2003

[40] Transcript, Foreign Press Center Briefing with Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Iraq-Americans, Federal News Service, March 28, 2003

[41] Deborah Tate, “ U.S. Offers Details of Planned Iraqi Administration,” Voice of America News, April 10, 2003

[42] “U.S. Plans for Iraqi Economy Hit Friction,”, April 11, 2003

[43] “World Bank President James Wolfensohn discusses the bank's possible role in the rebuilding of Iraq,” NewsHour transcript, available at:

[44] President George Bush, “Protecting the Development Fund for Iraq and Certain Other Property in Which Iraq Has an Interest,” Executive Order 13303, May 22, 2003; Security Council, “The situation between Iraq and Kuwait,” resolution 1483 (2003), United Nations, May 22, 2003. For further information on the executive order and UN resolution, visit the website,

[45] Wolfowitz, “Testimony on Iraq reconstruction,” U.S. Department of Defense Speeches, May 22, 2003

[46] Robin Cook, “The financial scandals of occupation are worse than the errors of judgment,” The Independent, Nov. 7, 2003

[47] Wolfowitz, “Determinations and Findings,” Office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense, December 5, 2003. A copy of the order may be found at:

[48] “Paul Wolfowitz on ‘Ask the White House,” online forum, White House web site, June 25, 2004

[49] Philip Sherwell, “Revealed: the special relationship behind America's Middle East policy,” The Sunday Telegraph (London), August 1, 2004

[50] Wolfensohn’s announcement to the Board of Executive Directors,” James Wolfensohn’s presidency, World Bank web site, downloaded March 23, 2005

[51] “Oversight of Funds Provided to Iraqi Ministries through the National Budget Process,” Audit Report of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, January 30, 2005, available at:

[52] Andrew Balls and Edward Alden, “Wolfowitz on shortlist for World Bank top post,” Financial Times, March 1, 2005

[53] President George Bush, “President's Statement on World Bank and Paul Wolfowitz,” White House press release, March 16, 2005; and,  “President’s Press Conference,” White House transcript, March 16, 2005

[54] Jim VandeHei, “Cheney Defends Bush Appointments; Vice President Says Loyalists in Diplomatic Posts Will Strengthen U.S. Position,” Washington Post, March 23, 2005


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