Tuesday, June 24, 2008

O.I.L.- Operation Iraqi LIberation

Anyone still in doubt over what this Iraqi colonial misadventure has been about? While there are many factors to consider, from neoconservative ideologues at PNAC to billions to be made by war profiteers, nothing ties all of these things neatly together like oil. That Iraq sits on one of the largest pool of oil in the region (some estimates put it at only second to Saudi Arabia) is why it was chosen for "liberty" and "freedom" say over...the Democratic Republic of Congo. However for some reason, within the political and corporate media culture, this has become a quiet truism that is best not spoken aloud. For years when this obvious fact was brought up by critics of the Iraq War, they were quickly chided as engaging in "fanciful conspiracies." That the US had gone to war primarily over oil was something only the "loony left" could dream up. So when GOP presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain back in early May inadvertently stated as much in a townhall meeting, saying that dependence on "oil from the Middle East" had sent American "young men and women into conflict,"--a policy he fervently endorses--there was an audible gasp from the media punditocracy, that their venerated "maverick" had let the cat out of the bag.

Last week a new development has turned the bag inside out, leaving it naked for all to see, as four major US oil giants--the Texas-based Exxon Mobile, British BP, Total of France and Royal Dutch Shell, all original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company that was ousted almost 40 years ago from Iraq after a near monopoly since the 1920s--are set to make a dramatic return in a new set of no-bid contracts with the installed and propped up Iraqi regime.

Surprise. Surprise. Finally, after 4,000 American lives, tens of thousands of wounded soldiers, hundreds of thousands of dead civilians, 4 million refugees, and a country wracked by military occupation, bombings, a shredding of infrastructure and organized chaos, Iraq is safe for the European oil conglomerates to colonize all over again.

Though I want to just go on and on about how "I told you so," some good articles on it have already been done it for me, which I share below.

Deals With Iraq Are Set to Bring Oil Giants Back

BAGHDAD — Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power.

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, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat. The deals, expected to be announced on June 30, will lay the foundation for the first commercial work for the major companies in Iraq since the American invasion, and open a new and potentially lucrative country for their operations.

The no-bid contracts are unusual for the industry, and the offers prevailed over others by more than 40 companies, including companies in Russia, China and India. The contracts, which would run for one to two years and are relatively small by industry standards, would nonetheless give the companies an advantage in bidding on future contracts in a country that many experts consider to be the best hope for a large-scale increase in oil production.

full article:


Big Oil and the war in Iraq

IT TOOK five years, the deaths of 4,100 US soldiers, and the wounding of 30,000 more to make Iraq safe for Exxon. It is the inescapable open question since the reasons given by President Bush for the invasion and occupation did not exist, neither the weapons of mass destruction nor Saddam Hussein's ties to Al Qaeda and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

full article:


No Blood for... er... um...: The Oil Majors Take a Little Sip of the Ol' Patrimony

More than five years after the invasion of Iraq - just in case you were still waiting - the oil giants finally hit the front page.

Last Thursday, the New York Times led with this headline: "Deals with Iraq Are Set to Bring Oil Giants Back." And who were these four giants? ExxonMobil, Shell, the French company Total and BP (formerly British Petroleum). What these firms got were mere "service contracts" - as in servicing Iraq's oil fields - not the sort of "production sharing agreements" that President Bush's representatives in Baghdad once dreamed of, and that would have left them in charge of those fields. Still, it was clearly a start. The Times reporter, Andrew E. Kramer, added this little detail: "[The contracts] include a provision that could allow the companies to reap large profits at today's prices: the [Iraqi oil] ministry and companies are negotiating payment in oil rather than cash." And here's the curious thing, exactly these four giants "lost their concessions in Iraq" back in 1972 when that country's oil was nationalized. Hmmm. You'd think the Times might have slapped some kind of "we wuz wrong" label on the piece.

full article:


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