Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Elephant in the Room

I came across this interesting article today by Anne Wright on truthout. She says the new bill to "support the troops" is nothing more than blackmail of the Iraqi parliament and confirms what this war has been about since the very beginning: Oil. I am stating the obvious here, but when it is spelled out in front of you it becomes shocking. Now, Congress is caught up in the action. No privatization of Iraqi oil, no reconstruction to rebuild the country America destroyed.

Colonel Anne Wright writes: "The privatization law, written by American oil company consultants hired by the Bush administration, would leave control with the Iraq National Oil Company for only 17 of the 80 known oil fields. The remainder (two-thirds) of known oil fields, and all yet undiscovered ones, would be up for grabs by the private oil companies of the world (but guess how many would go to United States firms - given to them by the compliant Iraqi government.)"

She also says: "No other nation in the Middle East has privatized its oil. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Iran give only limited usage contracts to international oil companies for one or two years. The $12 billion dollar "Support the Troops" legislation passed by Congress requires Iraq, in order to get reconstruction funds from the United States, to privatize its oil resources and put them up for long term (20- to 30-year) contracts."

This article sparked my interest so I searched and interestingly enough I found The Iraq Study Group, the vaunted group the world over, says in recommendation #63 "which calls on the U.S. to 'assist Iraqi leaders to reorganize the national oil industry as a commercial enterprise' and to 'encourage investment in Iraq's oil sector by the international community and by international energy companies.' " This recommendation would turn Iraq's nationalized oil industry into a commercial entity that could be partly or fully privatized by foreign firms.

Sound familiar? How about the Project for the New American Century? So, I continued to search. And found this on Global Policy Forum. Iraq has the second largest proven oil reserve and according to experts, new exploration will raise Iraq's production to 200+ billion barrels of high grade crude oil which is very cheap to produce. The four largest oil firms in the UK and the US have been trying to get back into Iraq (with no luck apparently) since the nationalization of Iraq's oil fields in 1972. In fact, towards the end of the Saddam era Russia, China, France (all countries who did not support the invasion) had lucrative contracts with Iraq and Saddam. But, the Iraq sanctions made the contracts inoperable.

Suddenly, since the invasion of Iraq (miraculously) everything has changed. The new Iraqi constitution in 2005 guarantees a major role for foreign companies (I forget, who helped write the constitution?) Negotiators are optimistic that contracts can be completed soon which will give foreign companies control over oil fields.

Despite this major pressure, however, the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people have not capitulated and the current Iraqi government has not passed a national oil law. Most Iraqis, and more importantly, the powerful oil workers' union do not favor denationalization. In walks the U.S. Congress abandoning benchmarks and telling Iraq no privatization, no reconstruction funds. It is so simple, yet so devious.

Support the troops means in plain English: support big oil.

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