American Samizdat

Sunday, July 08, 2007. *
"...First you destroy society; then you let the corporations rebuild it." --Hacene Djemam
Across the political spectrum in Washington, many now demand that the Maliki government meet certain benchmarks, which presumably would show that it's really in charge in Iraq. But there's a particular problem with the most important benchmark that the Iraqi government is being pressured to meet: the oil law. The problem is, in Iraq, it may be the single most unpopular measure the United States is trying to get the government to enact.

In the United States, this law is generally presented as a means to share the oil wealth among different geographic regions of the country. Many Iraqis, however, see it differently. They look the proposed law and see instead the way its welcomes foreign oil companies into the oil fields. They see the control it would give those oil companies over setting royalties, deciding on production levels, and even determining whether Iraqis get to work in their own industry.
The article outlines the grim determination with which the Bush administration is working to hand over Iraqi oil to the multinational conglomerates. But the article is surprisingly upbeat, illustrating the strength of the oil unions in Iraq and the popular support they have among the people.

No doubt about it, the Democrats are balking on a pull-out because they want to see this oil law passed, which would reserve only about 12-25% of Iraqi oil revenues for the Iraqi people. The rest would be used to keep our gas prices down. Yet the unions are not backing down. They can and have shut down pipelines and are demanding to participate in a rewrite of the law, confounding both the Maliki government and Washington.
posted by the thistle at 8:24 PM
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