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Old December 9th, 2006, 03:26 AM   #1
Southpaw
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Troops out, Oil Companies in?


But,...., but...., They said it was about WMDs and ruthless Dictator and Democracy and 9/11 revenge. I am shattered and so disillusioned.


Quote:
The Baker Agenda: Troops out, Oil Companies in?
by Tom Hayden


Recommendations 62 and 63 confirm that control of Iraqi oil is a fundamental premise of Administration policy. This was denied in the first years of the war, but this week the President confirmed his belief that Islamic extremists will “gain access to vast oil reserves and use Iraq as a base to overthrow moderate governments all across the broader Middle East.” [LAT, 12-6-06]. Then James Baker revealed the interest of his longtime oil industry allies, as well as key financial and corporate interests, in an Iraq resolution favorable to their narrow interests.

Recommendation 62 says the US government should help draft an oil law that “creates a fiscal and legal framework for investment.” It further recommends that the US, in conjunction with the International Monetary Fund [IMF], should “pres Iraq to continue reducing subsidies in the energy sector...until Iraqis pay market prices for oil products...” That is, in a country besieged by civil war, bombings of infrastructure, unemployment at 50 percent levels, and the lack of necessities, the Baker Report proposes to make everyday life harder for average Iraqis so that the oil industry profits.

Recommendation 63 says the US should “assist” Iraqi leaders in privatizing the national oil industry into a “commercial enterprise” to encourage investment by the multi-national oil companies.

Who said it was not about blood for oil?

There’s more to uncover. But at this point we know that the Baker commission is sprinkled with heavyweights from oil, construction, and financial entities with interests in Iraq. Baker is a Texas oilman whose law firm has interests in debt repayment to Kuwait and other Gulf States. Lawrence Eagleberger has ties to Halliburton and Philips Petroleum, and is a former head of Kissinger Associates, a corporate consulting firm whose clients remain secret [Paul Bremer was managing partner of the Associates]. Vernon Jordan is a power lawyer at Akin Gump who is closely associated with the secretive Bilderberg Group [as well as the Clinton circle and civil rights firms]. Leon Panetta served on the board of the New York Stock Exchange. The expert working groups for the ISG include leaders of Bechtel, PFC Energy, and two representatives of Citygroup, Inc., the firm of Robert Rubin, leading neo-liberal advocate and member of Clinton’s cabinet.

Not a single person from the peace movement, women’s, environmental, civil rights or labor organizations were among the “expert” consultants listed in the ISG Report, although the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute were there.

The Report acknowledges that “senior members of Iraq’s oil industry” argue for a nationalized oil company to centralize and allocate revenues fairly by region and group. But the Baker team dismisses any such idea on grounds that simply favor private multinationals. They approve of “aggressive” Kurdish investment deals with oil companies in northern Iraq, and note that Shi’a leaders are reported to be negotiating for foreign oil companies as well.

The Sunni armed nationalist groups have consistently stood for the Iraqi right to control Iraqi oil, while also offering a generous role for American contractors and corporations in their vision of the future.

All this suggests that the ideological goal of the US invasion was not simply to displace Saddam Hussein but to dismantle the Arab nationalist state as a whole, opening the oil fields to private penetration. It is even possible that the grand alliance behind the Baker report includes support for US military disengagement in exchange for permanent guarantees that privatize the second largest oil fields on the planet.

As for the peace movement, it has been hobbled by the lack of a powerful alliance, both organizational and organic, with the “anti-globalization” movement which has fought the global IMF and WTO privatization plans, and the environmental groups battling global warming and greenhouse emissions. Without those unifying linkages, the peace movement has been limited mainly to demands for US troop withdrawals, an effort that has had an enormous impact.

What if the endgame is US combat troops out, US multinational corporations in? What if James Baker is remembered as the peacemaker, if not the leader of the peace movement?

While pushing hard for the removal of troops, it might not be too late to broaden and connect the peace movement more closely with other social movements as the historic debate accelerates about the lessons of the war for our country’s future memory.
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Old December 9th, 2006, 03:29 AM   #2
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There are no coincidences. Right?????????


Quote:
Iraqis Near Deal on Distribution of Oil Revenues
Christoph Bangert for The New York Times

The Kurds have dropped a demand to ensure that regional governments have the power to collect and distribute revenues from future fields.


By EDWARD WONG
Published: December 9, 2006

BAGHDAD, Dec. 8 — Iraqi officials are near agreement on a national oil law that would give the central government the power to distribute current and future oil revenues to the provinces or regions, based on their population, Iraqi and American officials say.

If enacted, the measure, drafted by a committee of politicians and ministers, could help resolve a highly divisive issue that has consistently blocked efforts to reconcile the country’s feuding ethnic and sectarian factions. Sunni Arabs, who lead the insurgency, have opposed the idea of regional autonomy for fear that they would be deprived of a fair share of the country’s oil wealth, which is concentrated in the Shiite south and Kurdish north.

The Iraq Study Group report stressed that an oil law guaranteeing an equitable distribution of revenues was crucial to the process of national reconciliation, and thus to ending the war.

Without such a law, it would also be impossible for Iraq to attract the foreign investment it desperately needs to bolster its oil industry.

Officials cautioned that this was only a draft agreement, and that it could still be undermined by the ethnic and sectarian squabbling that has jeopardized other political talks. The Iraqi Constitution, for example, was stalled for weeks over small wording conflicts, and its measures are often meaningless in the chaos and violence in Iraq today.

But a deal on the oil law could be reached within days, according to officials involved in the drafting. It would then go to the cabinet and Parliament for approval.

The major remaining stumbling block, officials said, concerns the issuing of contracts for developing future oil fields. The Kurds are insisting that the regions reserve final approval over such contracts, fearing that if that power were given to a Shiite-dominated central government, it could ignore proposed contracts in the Kurdish north while permitting them in the Shiite south, American and Iraqi officials said.

The national oil law lies at the heart of debates about the future of Iraq, particularly the issue of a strong central government versus robust regional governments. The oil question has also inflamed ethnic and sectarian tensions. Sunni Arabs, who preside over areas of the country that apparently have little or no oil, are adamant about the equitable distribution of oil revenues by the central government.

On the drafting committee, Sunni Arabs have allied with the Shiites against the Kurds, who have sought to maintain as much regional control as possible over the oil industry in their autonomous northern enclave. Iraqi Kurdistan has enjoyed de facto independence since 1991, when the American military established a no-flight zone above the mountainous region to prevent raids by Saddam Hussein.

Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the senior American commander here, and Zalmay Khalilzad, the American ambassador, have urged Iraqi politicians to put the oil law at the top of their agendas, saying it must be passed before the year’s end.

The drafting committee is made up of ministers and politicians from the main Shiite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish blocs in government. They began talks months ago, but the pace picked up recently, said an American official tracking the negotiations, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he did not want to give the appearance of Western interference in sovereign Iraqi matters.

At the start of the talks, the Kurds fought to ensure that regional governments have the power to collect and distribute revenues from future fields, Iraqi and American officials said. They also proposed that revenues be shared among the regions based on both population and crimes committed against the people under Mr. Hussein’s rule. That would have given the Kurds and Shiites a share of the oil wealth larger than the proportions of their populations.

But the Kurds dropped those demands, said Barham Salih, a deputy prime minister who is a Kurd and the chairman of the committee.

“Revenue sharing is an accepted principle by all the constituent elements of the Iraqi government, including the Kurds, and that is the unifying element that we’re all hoping for in the oil law,” Mr. Salih said in an interview.

The American official said the Kurds were willing to make concessions because a national oil law could attract more foreign oil companies to exploration and development in Kurdistan. A large foreign oil company would have more confidence in signing a contract with the Kurds if it were to operate under the law of a sovereign country rather than just the law of an autonomous region.
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Old December 10th, 2006, 07:58 AM   #3
LoyaltyisaCurse
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Its always been about the oil... control of rescources is the #1 objective in any plan that involves the ME...if the oil wasn't there, our president would've cared as much about Iraq under Sadaam as he does about Darfur...

And like I said a few days ago, the fact that things in this country have gotten so bad that bringing in guys like Baker and Gates--with all of their baggage and involvment in things during Regan and Bush 1 administrations--is a very sad statement of our times...
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