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How Deluded Is Bush?

Iraq Slogger has a side-by-side comparison between the Government Accountability Office's analysis of progress in Iraq and the just-released White House version. Chilling. There's way too much to quote, so I advise giving it a full read. Note that both … Read More

By / September 14, 2007

Iraq Slogger has a side-by-side comparison between the Government Accountability Office's analysis of progress in Iraq and the just-released White House version. Chilling.

There's way too much to quote, so I advise giving it a full read. Note that both the GAO and WH claim that a compromise on the all-but-dead Oil Law remains "unsatisfactory," despite the president's assertion last night that "sharing oil revenues with the provinces" is one of the minor success stories of the post-surge period. (Nothing has been enshrined in law, so this "sharing" is subject to infinite revision and/or cancellation.)

The KRG has every right, under the Iraqi Constitution, to strike independent oil deals because when differences between the federal and regional government can't be squared, the benefit goes to the latter. Article 111 states: "The priority goes to the regional law in case of conflict between other powers shared between the federal government and regional governments," and oil management is one such shared power — at least until a national law is implemented.

Paul Krugman's latest column is getting a lot of talkback because it mentions one of the enterprises the KRG has issued an exploratory oil contract to: the Hunt Oil Company of Dallas, which of course has ties to the Bush family. (Have you ever heard of an American oil company that doesn't have ties to them?)

Much of the current mess over the future of Iraq's coveted resource is owed to the U.S. State Department and to the White House, which, in its mercurial support for feuding tribes and militias, has always had one unalterable loyalty–to privatization. It was a lesser-known crime of Paul Bremer's CPA that he kept Saddam's labor laws on the books and that, in a move guaranteed to alienate the brave bloc of socialists and Communists who had been sympathetic to regime change, published lists of public Iraqi utilities that were to be auctioned off. Hacene Djemam, an Arab labor leader put it best: "War makes privatization easy: First you destroy society, then you let the corporations rebuild it."

Now, nothing wrong with privatization, you might say, so long as the Iraqis are the ones making that decision. The Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani is right about one thing: the Kurds are playing at independence. But at least they've reached a consensus as to how their polity ought to be governed and how its infrastructure ought to be developed. If this means shaking hands with shady ten-gallon-hat types, well, who are we to argue?

However, Iraqi trade unionists and oil workers have been betrayed, their rights to strike undermined, and their demand for transparency in the drafting of oil legislation mocked by the Washington-backed Maliki government.

Call me what you will: Neocon, "Decent," Eustonard retard or what have you. I think that when the long, sad history of this war is written, the dagger driven into the heart of Iraq's working-class will deserve much more than a footnote.

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