Plundering Iraq Would Ensure More, Longer War
|March 6, 2007||Posted by Staff under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Plundering Iraq Would Ensure More, Longer War
Proposed Iraqi Hydrocarbon Law Would Require Prolonged U.S. Occupation, Say Greens
Here are excerpts from statements by the Green Party of the United States and authors Antonia Juhasz and Raed Jarrar. Green Party leaders warned that the new ‘hydrocarbon law’ up for approval in Iraq would lead to a prolonged, possibly permanent U.S. presence in Iraq, with U.S. military and Iraqi civilian casualties for years to come.
“The Iraqi hydrocarbon law, if approved by Iraqi lawmakers, will provide lucrative profits for U.S. energy corporations by placing up to 2/3 of Iraqi oil resources under foreign control,” said Liz Arnone, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States. “The U.S. government, whether led by Democrats or Republicans, will be committed to protecting American energy company operations and investments in Iraq by keeping U.S. troops there.”
Greens noted that passage of the law will aggravate Iraqi and regional anger over the U.S. invasion, which has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians (as well as over 3,100 U.S. troops), destroyed Iraqi infrastructure, and ignited a sectarian civil war.
“Iraqis should be allowed to decide how their resources will be used, without the pressure of the U.S. occupation and demands from the Bush Administration,” said Katey Culver, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States and co-chiar of the Green Party of Tennessee. “The hydrocarbon law amounts to legalized pillage by a foreign country, and that’s how Iraqis will interpret it.”
The Green Party has called for immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and has urged Congress to cut off funding for the war to compel President Bush to order the safe return of American service personnel.
“The Iraqi oil law shows that ‘blood for oil’ was a major reason for the Iraq War all along. It demonstrates that President Bush didn’t invade Iraq because of claims about WMDs, conspiracy between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, liberation and democracy for the Iraqi people, or other reasons that have proved fraudulent,” said Green Party co-chair Jim Coplen.
The Iraqi hydrocarbon law, which was secretly drafted with the help of BearingPoint, a U.S. consultancy firm, provides ‘production-sharing agreements’ (PSAs) allowing major Western energy companies like ExxonMobil, Shell, ChevronTexaco, and BP to sign deals of up to 30 years to extract Iraq’s oil. The PSAs appear to allow Iraq to retain legal ownership of its oil, but will ensure major profits for non-Iraqi companies that invest in infrastructure and operation of the wells, pipelines and refineries.
Iraq would be the only major Middle Eastern oil producing nation whose oil production is controlled by foreign companies. The hydrocarbon law will turn Iraq into an oil spigot for western nations, rather than a resource that benefits Iraqis.
The drafting process was secretive; few Iraqi officials were allowed to read the text, until it was leaked over the Internet. The law was approved by the Iraqi cabinet on February 26 and now heads to the Iraqi Parliament, which is under heavy pressure from the U.S. to pass it.
Antonia Juhasz and Raed Jarrar write:
- The new oil law gives foreign corporations access to almost every sector of Iraqs oil and natural gas industry. This includes service contracts on existing fields that are already being developed and that are managed and operated by the Iraqi National Oil Company (INOC). For fields that have already been discovered, but not yet developed, the proposed law stipulates that INOC will have to be a partner on these contracts. But for as-yet-undiscovered fields, neither INOC nor private Iraqi companies receive preference in new exploration and development. Foreign companies have full access to these contracts.
The exploration and production contracts give firms exclusive control of fields for up to 35 years including contracts that guarantee profits for 25-years. A foreign company, if hired, is not required to partner with an Iraqi company or reinvest any of its money in the Iraqi economy. Its not obligated to hire Iraqi workers train Iraqi workers, or transfer technology.
The daily lives of most people in Iraq are overwhelmed with meeting basic needs. They are unaware of the details and full nature of the oil law shortly to be considered in parliament. Their parliamentarians, in turn, have not been included in the debate over the law and were unable to even read the draft until it was leaked on the Internet. Those Iraqis able to make their voices heard on the oil law want more time. They urge postponing a decision until Iraqis have their own sovereign state without a foreign occupation.
Passing this oil law while the political future of Iraq is unclear can only further the existing schisms in the Iraqi government. Forcing its passage will achieve nothing more than an increase in the levels of violence, anger, and instability in Iraq and a prolongation of the U.S. occupation.
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