American Samizdat

Thursday, March 01, 2007. *
Got the following in an e-mail from

Iraq Oil Law Runs into Opposition


"Iraq possesses huge reserves of oil and gas—reserves I'd love Chevron to have access to." -- Chevron's CEO Kenneth Derr, 1998.


Dear Friends,
On Monday, the Bush administration and U.S. oil companies came one step closer to "winning" the war in Iraq when the Iraqi Cabinet passed a new national oil law.

The brainchild of the Bush administration and its corporate allies, the law is the smoking gun exposing Bush's war for oil.

It would transform Iraq's oil system from a nationalized model all-but-closed to U.S. oil companies, to a commercialized model, all-but-fully privatized and opened to U.S. corporate control.

The law now goes to the Iraqi Parliament for consideration in early March.

It's simple: the Bush administration and Big Oil are trying to get the best deal and the most oil possible out of a war-ravaged and desperate people. They are holding 25 million Iraqis – and 150,000 American troops -- hostage to their oil agenda.

There is time, if we shine enough sunlight, to expose the oil agenda driving the war and support Iraqis who believe that now is not the time for their government to rush into contracts that will lock in the fate of their most valuable resource for a generation.

I have very happily teamed up with Oil Change International to raise awareness about this law and to get the U.S. government and our oil corporations off of Iraq’s Back.


+ Participate in Protests against War AND Climate Change on the 4-Year Anniversary of the Iraq War.

Oil Change International (, Global Exchange (, and more Organizations and Groups Every Day are joining with Hundreds of communities throughout the US, and the world, to hold protest events on March 17-19, to mark the 4-year anniversary of the Iraq war.

We urge environmentalists and climate change activists to join with peace activists and organize protests on these dates at the headquarters and gas stations of the oil companies leading the charge in Iraq: Chevron, ExxonMobil, Marathon, ConocoPhillips, Shell and BP. What better locations to send a message about war, oil and the consequences of oil addiction?
List your protest at

MARCH 19 - In the Bay Area, I’ve joined with activists planning a Rally, Protest, and Nonviolent Direct Action at Chevron's World Headquarters on March 19 7:00-11:00am in San Ramon. Visit:Protest Chevron! .

+ Learn about an international network of organizations organizing protests under the heading "Hands Off Iraq's Oil!" Visit their website

+ Let your elected officials know that you oppose U.S. government pressure on the Iraqis to pass an oil law that benefits U.S. corporations while harming the economic security of Iraqis.

+ Let the media hear from you! Contact your local newspaper and radio stations and encourage them expose the oil agenda behind the war. Write Letters to the Editor. Call in on local Radio Shows. Write your own Op Ed, your own article, and more!

+ Share this information with your friends, neighbors, community and colleagues.

+ Hold your own rally, protest, press conference, direct action, or festival and spread the word!

+ With the media? Contact Celia Alario to arrange for great interviewees at 310-214-6830 or

+ More Information on protests and the oil law will be posted soon at
Oil Change International

Before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, U.S. oil companies were shut out of
Iraq's oil industry with the exception of limited marketing contracts.

As a result of the invasion, if the oil law passes, U.S. oil companies will emerge as the corporate front-runners in line for contracts giving them control over the vast majority of Iraq's oil under some of the most corporate-friendly terms in the world for twenty to thirty-five years.

The law grants the Iraq National Oil Company oversight only over "existing" fields, which is about one-third of Iraq's oil. Exploration and production contracts for the remainder of Iraq's oil will be opened to private foreign investment. Neither Iraqi public nor private oil companies will receive any preference in contracting decisions.

Contrary to the Bush administration's claims, Iraq does not need foreign oil corporations in order reap the benefits of its oil. Prior to the U.S. invasion, Iraq produced an average of 2.5 million barrels of oil a day. Since the invasion, the Iraqis have averaged approximately 2.2 million barrels of oil a day. This amount has dropped recently due to the surge in violence to about 1.7 million barrels a day. Because Iraq's oil is the cheapest in the world to produce, only about sixty cents a barrel, and oil is selling today at $61 per barrel – the return on any investment is enormous. At its current low rate of production, Iraq is expected to generate more than $30 billion from its oil this year alone – more than enough to keep the industry running and the economy stable.

If the new law passed, Iraq's oil system would be utterly unique in the Middle East and in virtually any oil rich nation. For example, Kuwait, Iran and Saudi Arabia all maintain nationalized oil systems and have outlawed foreign control over oil development. They all hire foreign oil companies as contractors to provide specific services, as needed, for a limited duration, without giving the foreign company any direct interest in the oil produced.

We all know that the Bush administration began planning for the Iraq war well before the September 11 terrorist attacks. In fact, former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neil has explained that by February 2001, the administration was well passed debating whether or not to attack Iraq, but rather discussing the logistics of how to invade.

Few people know that just month later, in March 2001, Cheney's Energy Task Force was working on a series of maps and lists outlining Iraq's entire oil productive capacity and the foreign companies lined-up to cash-in. The task force included representatives from all of the major U.S. oil and energy service companies, including Halliburton, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips. In addition to maps, they compiled two lists entitled "Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts as of 5 March 2001" that listed all the companies – none of them American – that were in negotiations with, or had already signed, oil contracts with Saddam Hussein. Because of the sanctions against Iraq, however, none of the contracts were actually in force. But the writing was on the wall. Global public opinion had turned against the sanctions. If the sanctions were removed while Saddam Hussein was in power, oil companies from China, Russia, France, and elsewhere would get their hands on Iraq's oil, while ! U.S. companies would be left out.

So, the administration invaded and replaced Saddam Hussein and his regime. It is now on the verge of reopening the Iraqi oil industry for itself and its corporate allies.

Most Iraqis remain in the dark about the new oil law. Iraq's oil workers had to travel to Jordan to learn details of the law from the London-based research organization Platform. As a result, in September 2006, the nation's five trade union federations—between them representing hundreds of thousands of workers—released a public statement rejecting "the handing of control over oil to foreign companies, whose aim is to make big profits at the expense of the Iraqi people, and to rob the national wealth, according to long-term, unfair contracts, that undermine the sovereignty of the state and the dignity of the Iraqi people." They demanded a delay in consideration of any law until all Iraqis could be included in the discussion.

Support Iraqis by demanding an End to the U.S. occupation of Iraq, and End to U.S. government and corporate pressure on Iraq's fragile government; and an End to all wars for oil!


Read "Oil Grab in Iraq" by Antonia Juhasz and Raed Jarrar, Foreign Policy In Focus,

"Iraqis Will Never Accept This Sellout to the Oil Corporations" by Kamil Mahdi.

"It's Still About the Oil in Iraq," the Los Angeles Times, by Antonia Juhasz

The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time (HarperCollins, April 2006) by Antonia Juhasz.

posted by Uncle $cam at 10:23 PM
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