March 03, 2007

If We Just Don't Call It Colonial Exploitation...

I could alternatively title this, "The Lies That Never End." Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, writes in the Washington Post:
Under the national hydrocarbon law approved this week by Iraq's Council of Ministers, oil will serve as a vehicle to unify Iraq and will give all Iraqis a shared stake in their country's future. This is a significant achievement for Iraqis' national reconciliation. It demonstrates that the leaders of Iraq's principal communities can pull together to peacefully resolve difficult issues of national importance.

Resolving concerns about control of oil is central to overcoming internal divisions in Iraq. The country has the third-largest oil reserves in the world, and more than 90 percent of federal income comes from oil revenue. The effective and equitable management of these resources is critical to economic growth as well as to developing a greater sense of shared purpose among Iraqi communities.

The goal of Iraq's leaders was to draft a law that ensured that all Iraqis could be confident they would receive their fair share of the benefits of developing the country's resources, that the revenue from oil and gas would enable a decentralization of power while maintaining national unity, and that Iraq would adopt the best international practices for the development and management of its mineral wealth. By these standards, the hydrocarbon law is a great success.


This is the first time since 2003 that all major Iraqi communities have come together on a defining piece of legislation. A national reconciliation that stabilizes Iraq can be achieved if similar compromises are made on the future of de-Baathification and on amending the constitution. The agreement on the oil law should give us confidence that Iraqis are willing and able to take the steps needed for Iraq's success.
The lies in this piece are beyond counting. The primary ones are those of omission. For example, in describing the provisions of the new oil law, Khalilzad says that it: "Creates a principal policymaking body for energy -- the Federal Council on Oil and Gas -- that will have representatives from all of Iraq's regions and oil-producing provinces." A bit later, Khalilzad writes: "It provides the legal framework to enable international investment in Iraq's oil and gas sectors, a break from the statist and overcentralized practices of the past."

It enables "international investment in Iraq's oil and gas sectors..." You don't say.

I barely have the strength to go through this again. I'll simply refer you to my post of last week, where I quoted Chris Floyd, who wrote in part (about a NYT article concerning the same law):
[G]asp in shock-and-awed wonder that the leading newspaper in the United States could file a story like this and only note –in the next-to-last paragraph – that Iraq's oil will controlled by the iron fist of a "central body called the Federal Oil and Gas Council" which will have "a panel of oil experts from inside and outside Iraq" as part of the operation… without telling us that these "oil experts" will in fact be executives and representatives of American and other Western oil companies.

In other words, the Bush-backing oil barons will now have an official stranglehold on the oil of the Iraqi people. No wonder the Administration has been so adamant that "a new oil law is crucial to the country’s political and economic development," as the warm and fuzzy Times tells us.
And now the U.S. ambassador repeats the same lies in the official local propaganda outlet for the governing class.

My previous post was titled, "Slowly Going Insane..." Events of the last several days do not exactly help in this regard.

Do these people have any consciences or any souls at all? Never mind. Those of us who can still vaguely discern the outlines of reality as it recedes into the far distance know the answer.