Monday, July 16, 2012

Nouri's own inaction caused his oil problems today

Iraq may be of the richest oil regions in the world but all that excess oil has not translated into fewer squabbles than in other regions.  Sinan Salaheddin (AP) reports thatNouri al-Maliki's Baghdad-based government is thundering to the Turkish government about a deal that they made with the KRG to export "crude oil and gas to Turkey."  Nouri's spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh insists that the deal "is illegal and illegitimate" when, in fact, it's not.  It could be.

In the 2006 US mid-term elections, the Democrats won control of the House and Senate and a new political landscape was created.  The Democrats, like the voters who put them in control of both houses of Congress, were weary of the never-ending war and tired of the constant (false) proclamations of power.  They wanted metrics to measure alleged "progress" or else, they (falsely) said, they'd cut off funding for the war.  So the White House quickly (June 2007) came up with benchmarks for success.  And Nouri (who was prime minister even then -- there's no progress in Iraq) signed off on the 18 benchmarks.  Among those was an oil and gas law.  The benchmarks were supposed to happen in quick succession -- 1, 2, 3 -- but instead weren't accomplished in 2007 or in 2008 or since.  That's Nouri's 'leadership' for you.

Without a national oil  and gas law, there's nothing preventing the KRG from making deals on the oil in their semi-autonomous region.  Maybe if Nouri had gotten off his lazy ass and did what he was supposed to in 2007, he'd have a valid complaint today.  All the lethargic tend to do is complain -- at that Nouri excels.

Raheem Salman, Sylvia Westall and Stephen Powell (Reuters) add that Ali al-Dabbagh threatened that the deal could harm Baghdad's relationship with Ankara.  And all along, we all thought the biggest harm to the relationship between Baghdad and Anakra was Nouri's big mouth.

The Journal of Turkish Weekly quotes an unnamed Turkish official stating, "If there was a legal problem, we would not start exporting."  The journal notes that the back-and-forth is "the latest sign of cooling ties between Ankara and Baghdad, as well as between Baghdad and Arbil."  The Journal of Turkish Weekly also notes, "Turkey said on July 13 that it had begun importing 5 to 10 road tankers of crude oil a day from the northern region of Iraq and the volume could rise to 100-200 tankers per day."

On this week's Law and Disorder Radio,  an hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) and this week they address the settelemtn between the ACLU and Canyon County, the EU Parliament's interest in CIA secret prisons and renditions, they discuss political prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz (Black Liberation Army) with his daughter Theresa Shoatz and, with Glenn Greenwald, they discuss possible implications on the population from the surveillance state.  We'll close with this from Jack Hood's "Suicide crisis mounts for US soldiers and veterans" (WSWS):

Conditions facing active military service members and veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan amount to nothing less than a social crisis. According to a report obtained from the Pentagon by the Associated Press, more American armed forces active service members have killed themselves in the first six months of 2012 than in the first six months of any of the previous 11 years.
The devastating report reveals that a total of 154 soldiers killed themselves in the first 155 days of 2012. The number of deaths by suicide is 50 percent higher than combat deaths in Afghanistan during the same period and represents an 18 percent increase over active service member suicides in the first six months of 2011.
Since the war in Afghanistan began in 2001, there has been an average of one suicide every 36 hours in the US armed forces. In 2011, 19.5 percent of all active duty deaths were suicides—the second highest cause of death. From 2005 to 2009 alone, over 1,100 soldiers killed themselves.
These disturbing statistics expose the inhumane hypocrisy of the American ruling class and their political representatives who have fanned the flames of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. To the ruling elite, soldiers are nothing more than disposable tools that deserve no attention when they return in shambles from the battlefield.

The e-mail address for this site is