Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Iraq War and Oil Privatization

The Iraq War and Oil Privatization
Antonia Juhasz, author of "The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time,"

"to have nobody talk about it, to me, is fairly shocking and makes clear that still the Democrats, the Republicans, the media are afraid to talk about oil"

"the report calls for privatization of Iraq’s oil, turning it over to private foreign corporate hands, putting all of the oil in the hands of the central government, and essentially, I would argue, extending the war in Iraq to ensure that US oil companies get what the Bush administration went in there for: control and greater access to Iraq's oil."

"the report also says that the US government will withhold military, economic and political support of the Iraqi government, unless the recommendations are met. That’s a pretty straightforward statement. The US government will not provide any support to the al-Maliki government, unless it advances the changes to the Iraqi constitution and changes to Iraqi national law that essentially privatize Iraq's oil."

That is something for us in the antiwar movement to be very, very clear about, that this is their objective and that we have to, as I repeatedly say, not just call for the end of troops in Iraq, but make clear that the US corporate invasion cannot be progressed or continue, as well."- Oil for Sale: Why the Iraq Study Group is Calling for the Privatization of Iraq's Oil Industry

"The Iraqi government is considering a new oil law that could give private oil companies greater control over its vast reserves. In light of rampant violence and shaky democratic institutions, many fear the law is being pushed through hastily by special interests behind closed doors."

How is pressure used to make Iraq do what the special interests want? See:

"The recent Iraq Study Group report recommended the US help Iraq "prepare a draft oil law" to hasten investment. The report estimates Iraq could raise oil production from 2 million to 3 or 3.5 million barrels per day over the next three to five years.

Critics say the US is leaning on the IMF and World Bank to push Iraq into signing oil contracts fast, so western firms can secure the oil before Chinese, Indian and Russian firms do. An IMF official told SPIEGEL ONLINE that "passage of a hydrocarbon law is not a condition for financial support from the IMF." Nevertheless, Iraqi authorities found it necessary to promise the IMF a draft petroleum law by the end of this year -- this in the same letter that says "we will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that the program remains on track."

The IMF sets the conditions for Iraq's debt relief from the so-called Paris Club countries. Eighty percent of that debt has been wiped clean, and the final 20 percent depends on certain economic reforms. With the final reduction, Iraq's debt would come to 33 percent of its GDP -- but if the reforms are not made, debt would climb to 57 percent of GDP, according to an IMF report.

Criticisms have also been levelled against the World Bank, where former US deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz is in charge. Wolfowitz has been accused of pushing a US agenda after opening a World Bank office in Baghdad."

- Will Iraq's Oil Blessing Become a Curse? By Joshua Gallu in Berlin


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