by Antonia Juhasz
WHILE THE Bush administration, the media and nearly all the Democrats
still refuse to explain the war in Iraq in terms of oil, the ever-pragmatic
members of the Iraq Study Group share no such reticence.
Page 1, Chapter 1 of the Iraq Study Group report lays out Iraq's importance to its region, the U.S. and the
world with this reminder: "It has the world's second-largest known oil
reserves." The group then proceeds to give very specific and radical
recommendations as to what the United States should do to secure those
reserves. If the proposals are followed, Iraq's national oil industry will
be commercialized and opened to foreign firms.
The report makes visible to everyone the elephant in the room: that we are
fighting, killing and dying in a war for oil. It states in plain language
that the U.S. government should use every tool at its disposal to ensure
that American oil interests and those of its corporations are met.
It's spelled out in Recommendation No. 63, which calls on the U.S. to
"assist Iraqi leaders to reorganize the national oil industry as a
commercial enterprise" and to "encourage investment in Iraq's oil sector by
the international community and by international energy companies." This
recommendation would turn Iraq's nationalized oil industry into a commercial
entity that could be partly or fully privatized by foreign firms.
This is an echo of calls made before and immediately after the invasion of
The U.S. State Department's Oil and Energy Working Group, meeting between
December 2002 and April 2003, also said that Iraq "should be opened to
international oil companies as quickly as possible after the war." Its
preferred method of privatization was a form of oil contract called a
production-sharing agreement. These agreements are preferred by the oil
industry but rejected by all the top oil producers in the Middle East
because they grant greater control and more profits to the companies than
the governments. The Heritage Foundation also released a report in March
2003 calling for the full privatization of Iraq's oil sector. One
representative of the foundation, Edwin Meese III, is a member of the Iraq
Study Group. Another, James J. Carafano, assisted in the study group's work.
For any degree of oil privatization to take place, and for it to apply to
all the country's oil fields, Iraq has to amend its constitution and pass a
new national oil law. . . .
Enver Masud, "A Clash Between Justice
and Greed, Not Islam and the West," The Wisdom Fund, September 2,
Enver Masud, "Iraq: Divide and Rule,"
The Wisdom Fund, October 10, 2006
"Excerpts: Iraq Study Group Report,"
Washington Post, December 6, 2006
VIDEO: Milan Rai, "What is
on the Table is Continued Control at a Reduced Political and Military
Cost," democracynow.org, December 8, 2006
Anthony Arnove, "The US Occupation
of Iraq: Act III in a Tragedy of Many Parts," counterpunch.org,
December 16, 2006
["The companies are saying, 'Before any troops are withdrawn, we have to
have these contracts.'"--Danny Fortson, "Iraq
poised to end drought for thirsting oil giants," Independent, January 7, 2007]
[Maliki's speech was a US condition for deploying extra troops, insisted on
by Bush in a two-hour teleconference with Maliki last Thursday.--Peter
Beaumont and Paul Harris, "Iraqi PM reveals US crackdown," Guardian, January 7, 2007]