Iraq: the Biggest Petroleum Heist in History
Mission Accomplished, Indeed
These are the “best of times” for the oil giants in Iraq. Production is up, profits are soaring, and big oil is rolling in dough. Here’s the story from the Wall Street Journal:
“Iraq’s oil production surged to its highest level in over 30 years last month, surprising skeptics of the country’s efforts to restore its oil industry after decades of war and neglect.”
You bet. But for those who still cling to the idea that the U.S. was serious about promoting democracy or removing a vicious dictator or eliminating WMD or any of the other kooky excuses, consider what we’ve learned in the last couple weeks. Here’s the story from Al Jazeera:
“While the U.S. military has formally ended its occupation of Iraq, some of the largest western oil companies, ExxonMobil, BP and Shell, remain.
“On November 27, 38 months after Royal Dutch Shell announced its pursuit of a massive gas deal in southern Iraq, the oil giant had its contract signed for a $17 billion flared gas deal. Three days later, the U.S.-based energy firm Emerson submitted a bid for a contract to operate at Iraq’s giant Zubair oil field, which reportedly holds some eight million barrels of oil.
“Earlier this year, Emerson was awarded a contract to provide crude oil metering systems and other technology for a new oil terminal in Basra, currently under construction in the Persian Gulf, and the company is installing control systems in the power stations in Hilla and Kerbala. Iraq’s supergiant Rumaila oil field is already being developed by BP, and the other supergiant reserve, Majnoon oil field, is being developed by Royal Dutch Shell. Both fields are in southern Iraq.” (“Western oil firms remain as U.S. exits Iraq,” Dahr Jamail, Al Jazeera.)
If it sounds like the big boys are dividing the spoils among themselves; it’s because they are. Exxon, BP, Shell; they’re all here. They all have their contracts in hand, and they’re all drilling their brains out thanks to the American servicemen and women who gave their lives for some trumped up baloney about WMD. Isn’t that what’s going on?
Sure it is. And even now—after all the reasons for going to war have been exposed as lies—the farce continues. Nothing has changed. Nothing. There’s still no talk of reparations, no official investigation, no indictments, no prosecutions, no trials, no penalties, no nothing. Not even a stinking apology. Just a big “up yours,” Iraq. We’re way too important to apologize for killing a million of your people and reducing your five-thousand-year-old civilization to a pile of rubble. Instead, we’ll just screw you some more and paper it over with a little public relations, like Obama did a couple weeks ago when he promised to “leave behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people.”
Oh yeah. Obama’s all about sovereignty and stability, everyone knows that. That’s why Baghdad is the terror capital of the world, because Obama’s so committed to security.
These PR blurbs are effective though; they provide the necessary cover for leaving enough troops behind to protect the oil installations and pipelines. That’s the kind of security Obama cares about. Security for the oligarchs and their stolen property. Everyone else can fend for themselves, which is why Baghdad is such a bloody mess. Here’s more from Al Jazeera:
“Prior to the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, U.S. and other western oil companies were all but completely shut out of Iraq’s oil market,” oil industry analyst Antonia Juhasz told Al Jazeera. “But thanks to the invasion and occupation, the companies are now back inside Iraq and producing oil there for the first time since being forced out of the country in 1973.”
Yeah, thanks for that invasion, Mr. Bush. We couldn’t have done it without you, guy. Hope you have a great retirement painting pictures of poodles and stuff while people continue to get blown to pieces in the terrorist Hellhole you created. Here’s more Al Jazeera:
“Juhasz, author of the books The Tyranny of Oil and The Bush Agenda, said that while U.S. and other western oil companies have not yet received all they had hoped the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq would bring them, “They’ve certainly done quite well for themselves, landing production contracts for some of the world’s largest remaining oil fields under some of the world’s most lucrative terms.”
Dr. Abdulhay Yahya Zalloum, an international oil consultant and economist …(said) he believes western oil companies have successfully acquired the lions’ share of Iraq’s oil, “but they gave a little piece of the cake for China and some of the other countries and companies to keep them silent.” (Al Jazeera)
How do you like that? These guys operate just like the Mafia. The Bossman pays off China with a few million barrels, and China keeps its mouth shut. Nice. Everyone gets “their cut” so they don’t go blabbing to the media about the rip-off that’s taking place in broad daylight. The stench of corruption is overpowering.
And here’s something else you won’t see in the media. In a White House press release, the Obama administration announced that they would continue to support Iraq’s “efforts to develop the energy sector” in order to “help boost Iraq’s oil production.”….
According to Assim Jihad, spokesman for Iraq’s ministry of oil, “Iraq has a goal of raising its oil production capacity to 12 million barrels-per-day by 2017, which would place it in the top echelon of global producers.” (Al Jazeera)
“Twelve million barrels-per-day by 2017?”
That makes this the biggest petroleum heist in history. And we’re supposed to believe that the oil bigwigs didn’t know anything about this before the war? What a crock! I’ll bet you even money the CEOs and their lackeys figured out that Saudi Arabia was running out of gas, so they decided to pick up stakes and move their operations to good old Mesopotamia. That’s why they put their money on Bush and Cheney, because they knew that two former oilmen would do the heavy lifting once they got shoehorned into the White House. The whole thing was a set-up from the get-go, right down to the FIVE shady Supremes who suspended the voting in Florida and crowned Bush emperor in 2000. The whole thing was probably mapped out years in advance.
Big oil runs everything in America. People talk about the power of Wall Street and Israel, but oil is still king. They run it all, and they own it all. And “what they say, goes.” Here’s more:
“Juhasz explained that ExxonMobil, BP and Shell were among the oil companies that “played the most aggressive roles in lobbying their governments to ensure that the invasion would result in an Iraq open to foreign oil companies.”
They succeeded,” she added. “They are all back in.” (Al Jazeera)
Hooray. Big oil wins again, and all it cost was a million or so Iraqis who got blown to bits in air raids or shot up at checkpoints, or beaten to death with a rubber hose at Abu Ghraib or any of the other democracy reeducation centers that dot the countryside. But, hey, look at the bright side: At least production is up, right? Can you see how sick this is? Here’s more:
“Under the current circumstances, the possibility of a withdrawal of western oil companies from Iraq appears remote, and the Obama administration continues to pressure Baghdad to pass the Iraq Oil Law.” (Al Jazeera)
And what is the “Iraq Oil Law,” you ask?
It’s a way to privatize the oil market using Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs), which disproportionately benefit the corporations. Obama’s a big backer of the law since it means even heftier profits for his thieving friends. In other words, the humongous profits they’re already skimming off aren’t quite good enough. They want more. They want to own the whole shooting match lock, stock and barrel.
This is really an outrage. What other country behaves like this?
No one. No other country in the world goes out and kills a million people, destroys their country, and leaves them to scrape by on next to nothing just so they can pad the bank accounts of voracious plutocrats who have more dough than they know what to do with. No one else would even dare to act like that for fear that they’d get bombed into annihilation by the world’s biggest bullyboy, the U.S. of A. Only the U.S. can get away with this type of crap, because the U.S. is a law unto itself.
Iraq was the Cradle of Civilization. Now it’s the cradle of shit. The U.S. decimated Iraq; blew it to bits, bombed its industries, its bridges, its schools, its hospitals, leveled its cities, polluted its water, spread diseases everywhere, killed its kids, pitted brother against brother, and transformed a vibrant, unique country into a dysfunctional cesspit run by opportunists, gangsters, and fanatics.
And, here’s the corker: No one gives a rip. Face it: No one gives a flying fu** about Iraq. The American people lost interest long ago, the politicians can’t be bothered, and the UN is too afraid of the U.S. to lift a finger to help. They’d rather stamp their feet and scold Putin over Crimea than utter a peep about the genocide in Iraq. That’s the state of things today, right? No accountability for the men who started the war, and no justice for the victims. Just the infrequent (phony) pronouncement of support from the White House or the all-too-frequent sectarian bombing that leaves an untold number of civilians dead or wounded. This is all the U.S. leaves behind; hatred, death and destruction.
Here’s a clip from a poem by Iraqi writer who wants readers to take a minute and think about all the suffering the United States has created. The poem is titled “Flying Kites”:
“Come and see our overflowing morgues and find our little ones for us…
“You may find them in this corner or the other, a little hand poking out, pointing out at you…
“Come and search for them in the rubble of your ‘surgical’ air raids, you may find a little leg or a little head…pleading for your attention.
“Come and see them amassed in the garbage dumps, scavenging morsels of food…
“Come and see our little ones, under-nourished or dying from disease. Cholera, dysentery, infections…
“Come and see, come….” (“Flying Kites,” Layla Anwar)
A million people were killed so a few rich fu**ers could get even richer. That’s a hell of a legacy.
Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition.
—counterpunch.org, Weekend Edition May 23-25, 2014