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Oil and turmoil make an imperial mix in Iraq

By Ameen Izzadeen

07/06/07 "
Daily Mirror" -- -- When you are too good, you are too gullible. When you are too good and intelligent, still you are gullible but not for long. You will soon realise that you have been deceived. But the American people — they are good and intelligent — took more than five years to realise that they had been misled. From September 11, 2001 — the day on which the United States till the Republican Party's drubbing at the 2006 mid-term elections, US President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and a coterie of Bushites believed that they could say anything to the people they govern and get away.

But the election defeat, it appears, has not made the Bush administration reform itself and dump its much disgraced strategy of presenting its secret immoral agenda as moral imperatives.

The Bush administration told the American people and the world that it had to act fast to neutralize Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. He told them that Saddam was a threat to America's and the world's security. He said Saddam had links with those terrorists who attacked the United States on 9/11.

The then US Secretary of State, probably acting against his own conscience, made a hi-tech presentation at the UN Security Council, showing what he claimed to be hard evidence.

The Bush administration with its spin doctoring skills made a majority of the Americans believe that Saddam should be stopped before he became unstoppable.

For the hardnuts, lefties, anti-capitalists and independent thinkers, the spin doctoring was crude — and also crude oil of Iraq.

The Iraq invasion had very little to do with disarming Saddam. The war plan suited the agenda of the US capitalists, especially the oil and military supply industries, with which the Bushes and the Cheneys have much connection. It suited Israel's strategic interest and it was appealing to the Bushite Christians — the likes of Jerry Farwell and Pat Robertson, who spread hatred against Islam.

While 600,000 Iraqis died and more than 3,500 Americans paid with their lives for this capitalist-Zionist agenda, Halliburton, the company which Cheney headed before he was picked by Bush as his running mate in the 2000 election, earned billions of dollars in profit from the Iraq war.

A recent report by the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction showed that Halliburton had earned 22 billion blood-soaked dollars as profits. This is how the people who authored and implemented the war earn the money. They ask Congress for billions of dollars for the Iraq campaign, which also includes rebuilding Iraq. Contracts are handed to companies such as Halliburton and Bechtel — companies which were close to the Bush administration. American companies rebuild what the American military destroyed. Fair enough, if the money comes only from the US. The US tax payers' money goes into meet only part of the cost. The other part of cost is met by Iraq's oil revenue — in other words, the Iraqis also pay for the reconstruction of their infrastructure which the Americans have destroyed. Mind you, companies like Halliburton have shifted their headquarters to Dubai and other tax havens. So they avoid paying taxes. Both the American tax payers and the Iraqi people, one fifth of whom live as refugees as a result of Bush's inhuman war, are being robbed by heartless capitalists.

As mentioned above, the spin doctoring continues. President Bush now says they are urging the Iraqi government to pass a controversial oil bill so that Iraq's oil revenue could be distributed equitably among all its people. What a kind soul he is! Such kindness fails to come out when he hears daily that scores of Iraqis are being ripped by roadside bombs. His heart did not bleed even for the victims of Haditha and Mahmoudiya massacre, for which his troops were responsible. And now he is expressing concern about Iraqi Sunnis not getting an equal share of Iraq's oil wealth. He cites that the oil bill, which the puppet Iraq cabinet headed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki approved this week, will ensure that even Sunnis who live in non-oil producing areas of the country will get an equitable share of the oil wealth.

But the irony is that the Association of Muslim Scholars, which is the most powerful political voice of Iraqi Sunnis, itself has come out strongly against the oil bill and even issued a fatwa.

"Whoever votes for the oil bill will earn God's rage," warns the fatwa.

The law envisages oil deals with transnational companies — deals that could last at least two to three decades. Besides, the deals are of a profit-sharing nature. The bill negates Iraq's pre-invasion oil contracts with countries such as France and Russia. In other words, almost all the contracts will go to US companies. This is the goal of the invasion.

In September when the US Congress will hear a report from Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq, he may say the presence of US troops in Iraq is necessary to protect the American economic interests in that country. The troops should be there to protect the world's second largest oil reserve which the American companies jointly own with the Iraqi government on long term contracts. This explains why the US is showing undue interest in the bill.

According to oil industry experts, if the Iraq's oil fields are exploited to its fullest capacity, they could pump 6 million barrels a day and generate annual revenues of more than $130 billion.

The bill had an easy passage in the cabinet, because its strongest opponents — the Sunnis and the Moqtada al-Sadr group — have quit the government. Al-Maliki, who was congratulated by President Bush for obtaining the unanimous support of a truncated cabinet for the bill, hopes that the Sunni and Sadrist boycott of parliament would continue so that he could push the bill through parliament as well. The Sunnis and the Sadrists insist that oil reserves should remain as a national asset and all oil revenues should belong to the central government instead of the regional administration as envisaged in the oil bill. To placate the Sunnis, the bill was modified in such a way that part of the oil revenue will also go to the Sunni dominant central regions where there exist no known oil reserves.

But the Sunnis have not fallen for the chocolate offered by the US, the main architect of the oil bill.

The Sunnis and the Sadrists are not nave to believe that the US troops are in Iraq to help them to rebuild their country, teach them about democracy, civilize them or liberate them. They know that George Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard sent their troops to Iraq to get a share in the oil pie.

Yesterday, Australia's defence minister confirmed what many Iraqis have been saying for long.

Yes, oil is the key factor keeping Australian troops in the US-led war in Iraq, Defence Minister Brendan Nelson said. In 2003, Australian Prime Minister, a devout Bushite, parroted what Bush had said: The invasion was aimed at eliminating Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

A highly embarrassed Howard later in the day denied that securing oil supply was a key factor behind his country's contentious involvement in the war in Iraq.

"We're not there because of oil and we didn't go there because of oil, we don't remain there because of oil," he told commercial radio. "Oil is not the reason.

But analyst John Pilger says the Aussies have gone to East Timor as peacekeepers with an eye on that country’s offshore oil reserves.

Be that as it may. In Iraq, the coming days will decide the fate of the controversial oil bill. Democracy has many positives. But one of its negatives is it can also produce a group of parliamentarians who could easily be bought over by an outside force with inducements such as money and power. A majority of the 24 million Iraqi people may oppose the bill, but their opposition counts for naught when a majority of MPs in the 275-member Iraqi assembly sell their souls to the imperialists and global capitalists. Now you understand why they introduced democracy to Iraq.

Copyright 2001 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd

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