Thursday, September 13, 2007

Another day, another lie from the New York Times

Reading James Glanz' "Compromise on Oil Law in Iraq Seems to Be Collapsing" in this morning's New York Times, the only response is "Liar, liar, pants on fire."

A carefully constructed compromise on a draft law governing Iraq's rich oil fields, agreed to in February after months of arduous talks among Iraqi political groups, appears to have collapsed.
[. . .]
Mr. Shahristani, a senior member of the Arab Shiite coalition that controls the federal government, negotiated the compromise with leaders of the Kurdish and Arab Sunni parties.

You have to wonder about someone so willing to lie and obscure to the public.

The central element of the compromise was agreed to in February after months of difficult negotiations among Iraq's political groups.
The main parties in those negotiations were Iraqi Kurds, who were eager to sign contracts with international oil companies to develop their northern fields; Arab Shiites, whose population is concentrated around the country’s southern fields; and Arab Sunnis, with fewer oil resources where they predominate.

The main parties were US oil companies. The law was written in English and then translated. The legislation did not come from Iraqis any more than it will serve them.

Let's drop back to Democracy Now! June 6th, where Antonia Juhasz discussed 'benchmarks,' Congress, and other topics:

AMY GOODMAN: And what is this US-backed proposal?
ANTONIA JUHASZ: It's a Bush administration, US corporate, very simple attempt to figure out: if you're going to wage a war for oil, how do you get the oil. Does Exxon come in on a tank with a flag and stick it in the ground, or do you have a more careful process? The careful process is very simply: write a law, get a new Iraqi government in place, have the Iraqis pass the law, and then turn the oil over to US oil corporations.
The Bush administration designed the law. Last January, President Bush announced that it was a benchmark for passage by the Iraqi government. It was the same day that he announced the surge. And in the language of the administration, the surge was meant to provide the political space so that the Iraqis could discuss the oil law and other benchmarks. The Democrats then adopted this language of the benchmarks and said in the supplemental war spending bill, again, that the Iraqis have to pass this benchmark. And it very simply turns Iraq from a nationalized oil system, essentially closed to US oil corporations, to a privatized system in which potentially two-thirds of all of Iraq's oil could be owned by foreign oil companies, and they can control the production with as long as thirty-year contracts.

Now let's drop back to Feb. 23rd when Antonia Juhasz spoke with Kris Welch on KPFA's Living Room:

Juhasz: It's really American, and let me clarify that as Bush administration, propaganda that this law is the path towards stability in Iraq. It is absolutely propaganda. This law is being sold as the mechanism for helping the Iraqis determine how they will distribute their oil revenue. That is not what this law is about. That is the bottom end of an enormous hammer that is this oil law. This oil law is about foreign access to Iraq's oil and the terms by which that access will be determined. It is also about the distribution of decision making power between the central government and the region as to who has ultimate decision making power and the types of contracts that will be signed. There are powers that be within Iraq that would very much like to see that power divvied up into the regions, between the Kurds and the Shia in particular, and then there are powers that would like to see Iraq retained as a central authority. The Bush administration would like the central government of Iraq to have ultimate control over contracting decisions because it believes it has more allies in the central government than it would if it was split up into regions. The Bush administration is most concerned with getting an oil law passed now and passed quickly to take advantage of the weakness of the Iraqi government. The Iraqi government couldn't be in a weaker negotiating position and the law locks the government in to twenty to thirty-five year committments to granting the most extreme versions of exploration and production contracts to US companies or foreign companies. Meaning that foreign companies would have access to the vast majorities of Iraq's oil fields and they would own the oil under the ground -- they would control the production and they would in contracts yet to be determined get a percentage of that profit but they'd be negotiating essentially when Iraq is at its weakest when Iraq is hardly a country. And that's what this oil law is all about. What Iraqis are saying very clearly and have said to Raed [Jarrar] and, in particular, to the loudest voices being the Iraqi oil unions is that the only people who want to see this law passed now are the Americans. There's no other reason to push that law through.

The law wasn't written by Iraqis. And it also hasn't been approved. Glanz mentions the Hunt oil deal in passing but fails to tell readers of just how strong the reaction to that 'deal' was. From
Andy Rowell's "Iraq: Kurd Oil Deal 'Illegal'" (Oil Change International):

But the agreement is illegal according to Iraq's oil minister Hussain al-Shahristani.
announced this weekend between U.S.-based Hunt Oil Co. and the self-ruled Kurdish administration of northern Iraq to explore for oil is illegal
"Any oil deal has no standing as far as the government of Iraq is concerned," al-Shahristani said as he arrived for an OPEC meeting in Vienna. "All these contracts have to be approved by the Federal Authority before they are legal. This (contract) was not presented for approval. It has no standing."

After not telling the readers the basics or anything of use, Glanz slides in, "But the prime minister's office believes there is a simpler reason the Sunnis abandoned or at least held off on the deal: signing it would have given Mr. Maliki a political success that they did not want him to have." The puppet's paranoia continues. A law imposed on, not written by, Iraq that repeated attempts to ram through have been met with failure continues to be a failure and the puppet's fits of paranoia lead him to cry, "It's all about me!" He really is insane, there's no other word for it if that remark was sincere. It may, however, been an attempt to sell the US on keeping the puppet for a little while longer.

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