Tuesday, April 24, 2007

When will it end?

Why is it that the administration can not acknowledge what the rest of us can plainly see? The war in Iraq has deteriorated into an ethnic cleansing/civil war. Why must they persist to ignore these facts?

The answer I am afraid lies in a secret and very controversial law that the American and British governments are pressing the Iraqi government to enact. This secret law being drafted and shortly to be signed involves the oil wealth of Iraq. It is disguised as an effort to reapportion the oil wealth to include all parties, but that is not it’s true purpose.

That’s right the same oil wealth that British PM Tony Blair stated on March 18, 2003, "Oil revenues, which people falsely claim that we want to seize, should be put in a trust fund for the Iraqi people".

And of course there was Secretary of State Colin Powell who stated on July 10, 2003, "The oil of the Iraqi people... is their wealth. We did not [invade Iraq] for oil”.

This new legislation being drafted and sure to be pushed through involves the exploration and development of Iraq’s massive oil reserves. It would allow British and American oil companies to lock in PSA’s (Production Sharing Agreements) signed today for 30 years. These PSA’s would allow foreign oil companies to keep 60-70% of the profits from the oil while they recoup their costs and then keep another 20% of any future profits. On the surface this may not seem too bad until you look at the other OPEC countries and their agreements. All of the major oil producing countries in the world do not participate in the PSA’s. Their leaders recognize that their oil is the wealth of their people and keep it as a state trust. None of them would be crazy enough to sell that wealth using these PSA’s.

What’s wrong with PSA’s you may ask? The problem is not in the PSA’s per se, it is in the terms and the timing. Iraq would be negotiating from a weak position and could get locked into a bad deal for decades. This would not only hand cuff the current efforts at reconstruction, but many future efforts as well. Iraq has been devastated not just by this invasion, but years of UN sponsored sanctions. They are going to need a complete rework of their infra-structure, not to mention their lack of housing. Our military has bombed them back to the Stone Age; the only people with consistent services are those hiding in the “Green Zone”.

I am not against capitalism, but I am against greed. Should the companies that risk their time, money, and manpower be compensated? Of course they should be, but not at the expense of those people who have already lost so much. Because of the political system that was in place before the new leaders have been without for so long they are allowing their short sightedness and greed to prevent them from seeing that they are impoverishing their country for years to come. Regardless of the terms of any PSA they have enough oil reserves to make money, this is not the issue. The issue is whether there will be enough to share with all Iraqis and to provide all Iraqis with a decent opportunity to overcome this devastation.

We should let our voices be loud and clear, “Iraqi oil is for the Iraqi people!” Let’s not allow the big oil companies who have a history of price gouging and price fixing in this country to create another “Saddam” that our sons and daughters may have to go fight again.

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