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It was never about the oil


Iraq's massive oil reserves, the third-largest in the world, are about to be thrown open for large-scale exploitation by Western oil companies under a controversial law which is expected to come before the Iraqi parliament within days.

The US government has been involved in drawing up the law, a draft of which has been seen by The Independent on Sunday. It would give big oil companies such as BP, Shell and Exxon 30-year contracts to extract Iraqi crude and allow the first large-scale operation of foreign oil interests in the country since the industry was nationalised in 1972.

The huge potential prizes for Western firms will give ammunition to critics who say the Iraq war was fought for oil. They point to statements such as one from Vice-President Dick Cheney, who said in 1999, while he was still chief executive of the oil services company Halliburton, that the world would need an additional 50 million barrels of oil a day by 2010. "So where is the oil going to come from?... The Middle East, with two-thirds of the world's oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies," he said.

Here's a good line (You have to appreciate British snark):

Oil industry executives and analysts say the law, which would permit Western companies to pocket up to three-quarters of profits in the early years, is the only way to get Iraq's oil industry back on its feet after years of sanctions, war and loss of expertise.

Yep, oil industry executives say this is the only way to help the Iraqis. They're doing this for the Iraqi people's own good.

Opponents say Iraq, where oil accounts for 95 per cent of the economy, is being forced to surrender an unacceptable degree of sovereignty.

Proposing the parliamentary motion for war in 2003, Tony Blair denied the "false claim" that "we want to seize" Iraq's oil revenues. He said the money should be put into a trust fund, run by the UN, for the Iraqis, but the idea came to nothing. The same year Colin Powell, then Secretary of State, said: "It cost a great deal of money to prosecute this war. But the oil of the Iraqi people belongs to the Iraqi people; it is their wealth, it will be used for their benefit. So we did not do it for oil."

I think they've been waiting for things to "settle down" over there but that's not happening and they see that their time is running out so they're just gonna open things up now. Of course, since things aren't "settled down", these oil companies will need protection in order to extract the oil. They have two choices: 1) Hire private armies, bringing us even closer to a dystopian future where corporations are more powerful than governments or 2) Let the US army protect them, which puts our troops in the line of fire so that oil executives can have their profits (oh wait, that's been going on for years).

By fnord12 | January 11, 2007, 1:18 PM | Liberal Outrage


where's christopher hitchens now? i think he's due for a kick in the head.

didn't we invade iraq so that we could bring them our system of government? right now, corporations are our government so really, they're fulfilling their promise on that count.

they can't even keep power and water going in the country. they're going to try for the oil? they would have to pull every single soldier out of every city, let them go to shit, and station the soldiers right on the oil fields. that won't look at all like we're an outside interloper stealing what's rightfully theirs.

hearts and minds, people. hearts and minds.