Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Iraq Oil Law: A view from Cuba

The author is an American. I wonder how he manages to be in Cuba. I thought that in general the US did not allow travel there. I guess he does not intend to go home! Given the tone of his articles he probably will not be regarded as a refugee fleeing Cuba and welcomed back with open arms.

US-Iraq Pullout Bad for Business
Por Etchegaray / Jueves, 24 de Mayo del 2007 / 12:10:14 / rene@ahora.cu


By Circles Robinson*

A US pullout from Iraq would jeopardize the windfall profits for a host of well-placed corporations specializing in oil, weapons, construction, security, and other war services.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is at a record high, so it’s no surprise that Exxon, Chevron, Halliburton, Bechtel, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Parsons, BP, Shell, etc., are firmly behind President Bush in his efforts to maintain and extend the Iraq occupation as long as possible.

With the corporations’ security expenses and investment risks being picked up by the US taxpayers, what incentive is there to hurry up any eventual withdrawal?
To keep the profits flowing, Bush has just named Lt. General Douglas E. Lute as the new “war czar” for Iraq and Afghanistan. In appointing Lute -who must be confirmed by the Senate- Bush said he is “a tremendously accomplished military leader who understands war and government and knows how to get things done.”

Gen David H. Petraeus, commander of the multinational force in Iraq said Lute would be “a great addition to the team that is striving for success in Iraq.”

What “success” means at this point in the war has never been fully explained to the people of the United States.


OIL FOREVER

Washington’s current top agenda item in Iraq is getting the puppet Iraqi government and legislature to approve a bill that would assure that private foreign corporations control the Iraqi oil industry and hundreds of billions in profits for decades to come.

Author and oil analyst Antonia Juhasz says the law being pushed by the Bush administration for Iraq, “opens up at a minimum, two thirds of Iraq’s oil to private, foreign corporate investment on terms that are literally the most generous available, just about anywhere in the world. Generous to the oil companies that is.”

The law is so slanted to favor the transnational corporations that it has little support even among the Iraqis that have collaborated with the occupation forces. The Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions (IFOU),-not the resistance- are threatening to strike if it proceeds.

BUSH IS NO PUSHOVER FOR CONGRESS

The charade over why Iraq had to be attacked ended shortly after the 2003 occupation began. The pretexts of weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein being on a first name basis with Osama Bin Laden collapsed like a house of cards. Congress overwhelmingly supported the first hundreds of billions of dollars for the war. Now, the President is betting that when push comes to shove many critics on Capitol Hill will buckle to the fear of being accused of deserting the troops.

The 67-29 Senate vote last week against stopping funding for major combat operations within a year has bolstered the President’s hand, at least temporarily. There is still grumbling in the House of Representatives and among Democratic Party presidential candidates in the Senate but a prolonging of the war and related profits is almost guaranteed.

ROSY PICTURE, CLOUDY REALITY

For years now, the US news media has published one Pentagon report after another boasting of scores of “insurgents” killed in Iraq and rejoicing at the death of supposed “top ranking” Al Qaeda leaders. The hanging of Saddam Hussein and other former Iraqi officials was also supposed to mark a turning point. If killing Iraqis was the solution, the war would have been over a long time ago. Instead, for every “militant” or “leader” killed, many more Iraqis are willing to take their place. Kill five today and fight fifty tomorrow.

To counter the would-be quitters, the State Department and its supporters on Capitol Hill warn of a civil war and possible large-scale bloodbath if the US forces leave Iraq. I wonder what they call the 50 to a 100 dead and hundreds more wounded every day; month after month, year after year?

As was the case in the early years of the Vietnam War, the vast majority of major US newspapers rushed to support the war on Iraq. Three hundred fifty billion dollars later with $90 billion more on the horizon, and public opinion turning against the war, several major newspapers are now calling for some sort of pullout.

The L.A. Times made its about face in a recent editorial stating: “The longer we delay planning the inevitable, the worse the outcome is likely to be. The time has come to leave.”

But the California daily misses the point: Worse for whom? If the real reason for being in Iraq is to help US corporations make a buck than every day the troops remain in place is another day that the dollars flow. Isn’t the motto: What’s good for business is good for the nation?

*Circles Robinson is a US journalist living in Havana. His reports and commentaries can be read at www.circlesonline.blogspot.com

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