Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Iraqi oil law and look who discovered weapons

The law also grants regional oil companies or governments the power to sign contracts with foreign companies for exploration and development of fields, opening the door for investment by foreign companies in a country whose oil reserves rank among the world’s three largest.
Iraqi officials say dozens of major foreign companies, including ones based in the United States, Russia and China, have expressed strong interest in developing fields or have done some work with the Iraqi industry. The national oil law would allow regions to enter into production-sharing agreements with foreign companies, which some Iraqis say could lead to foreigners reaping too much of the country’s oil wealth.
Iraqi officials say all such contracts will be subjected to a fair bidding process, but American inspectors have reported that the upper echelons of the government, including the senior ranks of the Oil Ministry, are rife with corruption. There are also fears among non-Americans that American companies could be favored.

Ya think? The above is from Edward Wong's "Iraqis Reach an Accord on Oil Revenues" in this morning's New York Times. Ryan notes Andy Rowell's "Iraqi Cabinet Approves Draft Oil Law" (Oil Change International):

In Washington, White House spokesman Tony Snow called the new oil law the “key linchpin” in Iraq’s recovery because it gives “everybody a shared economic interest in working together.”
“Shared economic interest” is code for giving control of Iraqi oil to US and other multinational oil companies. What many people cannot understand is why the Iraqis are doing it.

And Eddie notes this from Danny Schechter (News Dissector):

THE BIG NEWS: The Iraqi Oil Ministry has made a deal to please the international oil companies which when all is said and done, we will learn was a powerful motive for this war that was totally unexamined in the depth it deserved. Check out JuanCole.com for one perspective: for how Al Gore, and the Oscars connects back to Iraq.

Danny goes on to address the Oscars and to note that they weren't very political. Actually, there were several political threads going on but the press (especially the New York Times) missed them. (Most famously, business politics which the idiots for the Times passed off as "an inside joke" when it was actually the announcement of an impending career death and only two idiots for the Times could have missed that. Or else elected to miss it, the same thing that makes their 'reporting' so useless, they never see it coming and always bet on the wrong horse.)

James Glanz and Richard A. Oppel Jr. contribute "U.S. Displays Bomb Parts Said to Be Made in Iran:"

Among the confusing elements were cardboard boxes of the gray plastic PVC tubes used to make the canisters. The boxes appeared to contain shipments of tubes directly from factories in the Middle East, none of them in Iran. One box said in English that the tubes inside had been made in the United Arab Emirates and another said, in Arabic, "plastic made in Haditha," a restive Sunni town on the Euphrates River in Iraq.
The box marked U.A.E. provided a phone number for the manufacturer there. A call to that number late Monday encountered only an answering machine that said, "Leave your number and we will call you back."
Anthony H. Cordesman, who holds the Arleigh A. Burke chair in strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said that despite those confusing new elements, the United States has been cautious in how it has presented the possible evidence of Iranian involvement.
"The case that has been made has been very careful and very restrained," Mr. Cordesman said. "If this is unrealistic, it can't be blamed on the intelligence community. This has had the highest possible policy level review, and credibility on an international level is clearly the major criteria in reviewing everything that was said."
Other analysts have expressed skepticism that the American military has made a strong case for the Iranian origin of the E.F.P.'s as tensions are running high between the United States and Iran over its nuclear program.

Anyone else wondering why "other analysts" (plural, note) are summarized in one paragraph and the person agreeing with the US military's latest propaganda push gets two paragraphs?

Contrast that with this from Martha's highlight, Joshua Partlow and Ernesto Londono's "Iraq's Cabinet Backs Contentious Oil Measure" (Washington Post):

Earlier this month, U.S. military officials briefing reporters in Baghdad on condition of anonymity said without offering evidence that high-ranking Iranian government officials were involved in supplying the deadly explosives to Iraqi militants. But at a briefing Monday, officials said they had no evidence of who supplied the weapons. A military explosives expert, Maj. Marty Weber, said Iran is the only known country where these types of components are manufactured.
Military officials involved in the recent discovery said they were not sure to whom the weapon parts belonged or how they got to the village of al-Jedidah, where the Mahdi Army, a Shiite militia, has a strong presence. They said the fact that they found parts, rather than complete devices, suggests that some are being assembled in Iraq.

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the new york times
richard a. oppel jr.