30 June 2008

The war in Iraq - oil as the motivation

Last week, the New York Times reported that Western oil companies -
"Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company — along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq’s Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq’s largest fields..."
Note these are NO-BID contracts and that oil companies from non-Western countries - Russia, India, China - were not even offered the opportunity to compete for the work. The contracts "include a provision that could allow the companies to reap large profits at today’s prices: the ministry and companies are negotiating payment in oil rather than cash."

This development fulfills the prediction offered last year in the London Review of Books:
"The draft law that the US has written for the Iraqi congress would cede nearly all the oil to Western companies. The Iraq National Oil Company would retain control of 17 of Iraq’s 80 existing oilfields, leaving the rest – including all yet to be discovered oil – under foreign corporate control for 30 years. "
One of the few prominent American journalists to publicize this event is Bill Moyers:
"Oh, no, they told us, Iraq isn't a war about oil. That's cynical and simplistic, they said. It's about terror and al Qaeda and toppling a dictator and spreading democracy and protecting ourselves from weapons of mass destruction. But one by one, these concocted rationales went up in smoke, fire, and ashes. And now the bottom turns out to be....the bottom line. It is about oil...

After a long exile, Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP are back in Iraq. And on the wings of no-bid contracts – that's right, sweetheart deals like those given Halliburton, KBR, Blackwater. The kind of deals you get only if you have friends in high places. And these war profiteers have friends in very high places..."
Both articles cite the well-known quote from Alan Greenspan, recently retired chairman of the Federal Reserve: ‘I am saddened,’ he writes, ‘that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.’

I don't know which is more embarassing - to have a government that is so rapacious that it makes a power grab for something that doesn't belong to it, or to have one so duplicitous that it concocts a bunch of transparently phoney stories to justify the action.

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