Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 01, 2006

WB: Stopped Clocks


But in the meantime the oil will continue to flow, and Middle East Mukhabarats will continue to hunt and kill Al Qaeda operatives and keep Islamist movements under close surveillance. At this point, that's about the best the American gas guzzling public can hope for -- that is, barring a complete 180 in the direction of U.S. imperial foreign policy.

Stopped Clocks

Posted by b on November 1, 2006 at 20:05 UTC | Permalink


" Most of the major players, Sunni and Allawite and Shi'a -- have a vested interest in keeping Humpty Dumpty perched on his wall."

Fair enough.

But wouldn't that be the Pottery Barn's Humpty v1.0 (ie. pre-Mar 2003). Because with todays v10.2 aren't the Cheneyites actually asking al-Maliki to keep his (current) parliamentary colleagues from stomping on the tiny chunks of egg-shell already littering the ground beneath the wall?


Posted by: RossK | Nov 1 2006 21:08 utc | 1

Billmon-You're a national treasure. You've even bumped Brad Delong from the top of my bloglist. I just wish I could dispell this fear of mine that you're going to go insane someday. Keep up the good work. And Thanks!

Posted by: AC | Nov 1 2006 21:25 utc | 2

Too much Halloween for me-I'm putting a spell in dispel.

Posted by: AC | Nov 1 2006 21:41 utc | 3

A timely and insightful post, Billmon.

If I may, does it not seem that with evey passing day the stronger players in the region are China and Russia? Their popularity increases as America's declines; they have money to spend on infrastructure that the Americans will no longer even pretend to toss around; and they will deal with anybody, on any political or business basis that gets the petrochemicals out of the ground.

Russia and China stand to gain an impoverished and impotent American military from this war, and they stand to gain a basket full of basket case statelets, easily played oil marketers , out of the partition of Iraq.

All China or Russia needs to do is be technologically helpful, send regular supplies of legal tender, and discreetly fail at all times to assist the Americans in their grab for democracy in the form of hegemony.

Partition is probably a done deal, in the eyes of the tribal councils sitting down these days in Iraq. Now it's just a matter of haggling, arm-wrestling and killing over the details of who gets which square footage, which wells, which water, which road.

The tribal and clan councils in the nation states surrounding Iraq will partake in or abstain from the Great Shia Takeover in future, strictly on what's in it for their tribe.

Some legal tender is a lot thicker than blood. 'Tain't personal -- strictly business.


Posted by: Antifa | Nov 1 2006 22:21 utc | 4

Antifa: Anyone with some senses that has actually watched what happened with N Korea the last few days can see China gaining weight and influence big time.
Right now, the main question is if Russia and/or China would benefit from a massive gutting of the US Army - basically, pushing Bush to attack Iran, or at the very least making sure the Shia will revolt very soon -, or if they prefer the US troops in Iraq not to be completely wiped out.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Nov 1 2006 23:17 utc | 5


yr writing lile a wonder, this very day

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 1 2006 23:18 utc | 6

The real problem with an Iraqi break-up doesn't concern the Cheneyite hegemonists; the headache is for the BushCo oil corporates.

The formal deal legitimising the permanent role of amerikan oil companies in Iraqi oilfields established and those yet to be developed has not been completed.

The Cutler article that Anna Missed linked to in another thread argues that partitioning is a threat that is being dragged out at the behest of the oil companies intent on forcing a neo-con like deal upon an Iraqi ruling class who possess a stubborn insistence which bridges the sectarian divide, on preserving the nationalist/ socialist, anti-globalist independence of old. Why? Cause 10% of huge always beats 100% of fuck-all.

So the idea of a break-up is an attempt to get the sunnis arguing with the shite and the al Sadrists on the one subject they are unified on and the one issue that BushCo care about more than anything else. More than the numbers of Iraqi dead, the numbers or amerikan dead, or even their standing in the amerikan polls.

Unless a deal can be made which legitimises the oil grab, all is lost. So the pressure is huge.

The factions within Iraq also understand that once the oil grab has been legitimised the rest aint gonna mean shit.

BushCo and the oil majors won't care who is running Iraq or how many people are dying there if they own the paper on all the oil now and into the future. Any time it gets to the point where they can't get out the oil, they won't. They will wait holding their paper knowing that the longer they wait the bigger their share, courtesy of compound interest, penalty clauses, over-runs and any other names they have invented for stealing from the locals. Economic imperialism has come a long way since the old 'land tax on a people without a cash economy' rort.

About the only thing that could destroy the value of that paper would be the destruction of Iraq as a sovereign state; because then all the deals and sub-deals wouldn't have a legal entity to hold to account.

There is no chapter 11 or any other way of keeping a sovereign state alive on the books when it is dead in the water.

In other words the situation regarding the oil deal has become so desperate that BushCo and the oil majors are trying to bluff a culture with a couple thousand years experience of poker faces. Their only hope is to threaten the ' go nuclear' option. Tell em "either you go with the deal or we will make the state fragment and everyone loses".

At anytime the cardboard cut-out 'legitimate government' of Iraq which BushCo arm-twisted, bribed, cajoled and plain ass fucked enough votes outta the rest of the world to get legitimised in the UN could collapse and that would mean that there was no-one to sign the paper.

This is probably one of the main, if not the only reasons the bullshit about 'there is no civil war in Iraq' has been clung to like a piece a 4 x 2 in a storm when leakproof barrels are floating past.

Admission that "those dumb arabs couldn't stop fighting long enough to appreciate democracy", so now they are fighting a civil war between each other rather than an insurrection against amerika, probably would have let the rethugs off the hook a bit.

But a war has to be won, a frank admission of the true state of Iraq could, probably would leave amerika on the losing side. Whichever faction amerika sidled up to, all the other factions would unite against.

Then even if they had their deal signed, the fact it was signed in the midst of what even amerika conceeded was a Civil War, would probably invalidate the paper.

The only way to get paper that will last is for the 'legitimate' Iraqi government to go through a 'legitimate process' to give away a big chunk of it's resources.

Will the dems winning control of congress cause the Iraqi elite to consider a break-up is really on the cards as amerikan policy? I dunno, they are old hands but it would give them pause. Pause enough to agree to the theft? Who knows, we shall see.

So conspiracists, is that really why the Foley folly surfaced when it did?

I dunno and I couldn't fuckin care less; I'm just rooting for the Iraqi people, (AFAIK alla the amerikans and brits in Iraq are consenting adults).

Though the thing is if Iraqis hang on a bit longer more people will die, and even if it does stop amerika from getting control of all the oil in Iraq for ever more, the slimy assholes holding the cards at the Iraqi end of the table aren't likely to let too much of the oil go to the people either.

Still there's always a chance that they can get it back that way, whereas once BushCo and the Oilists get their sticky with blood paws on the resource, that will be how it will stay for ever.

Unless of course the empire dies before the oil runs out. There's a thought.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Nov 2 2006 0:15 utc | 7

@ did

one word - nationalization

Posted by: andrew in caledon | Nov 2 2006 1:06 utc | 8

And on the war front here at home:

Das Amerikanische Gestapo CONT...


I guess the mainstream media PTB doesn't want to report anything that might make the sheep, I mean the voters, to suspect that the election isn't on the up and up!

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 2 2006 1:14 utc | 9

US Attorney Sitting on Renzi Indictment Until After Election!

These guys are a little slow, but they are getting it...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 2 2006 1:19 utc | 10

opps, damn, #10 should have been on the OT, sorry kids...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 2 2006 1:20 utc | 11

Bush said that he was "worried that rival forms of extremists will battle for power, obviously creating incredible damage if they do so; that they will topple modern governments, that they will be in a position to use oil as a tool to blackmail the West."

"People say, 'What do you mean by that?'" The president continued. "I say, 'If they control oil resources, then they pull oil off the market in order to run the price up, and they will do so unless we abandon Israel, for example, or unless we abandon allies.'"

Posted by: annie | Nov 2 2006 1:39 utc | 12

Yeah, don't they understand that it may be their sand, but it's OUR oil?

Posted by: billmon | Nov 2 2006 2:51 utc | 13

In the Green Zone, a walled area where the Iraqi government and American Embassy are located, Mowaffak al-Rubaie. In a statement, Rubaie said the men discussed the work of a committee established by Maliki and President Bush to speed training for the Iraqi Army.

or perhaps they talked about a place for al-Rubaie in the new coup. as a critical link to key members of Iraq's powerful Shiite clergy: Grand Ayatollah Hussein al-Sadr referred to by the blog free iraq "Evidence: Militias are working with the Iraqi Police and Army"

i have no idea if any of this is true , i read free iraq w/a grain or two of salt but i do keep my eye on al-rubaie

Posted by: annie | Nov 2 2006 4:11 utc | 14


in the Green Zone, a walled area where the Iraqi government and American Embassy are located, Hadley met with his opposite number, Iraq's national security adviser, Mowaffak al-Rubaie.

Posted by: annie | Nov 2 2006 4:18 utc | 15

Exit polls on Election Day 2006? Yes.

Posted by: mistah charley | Nov 2 2006 13:35 utc | 16

Billmon: ... the only ones who truly seem interested in tearing the system apart are the American neocons and their messianic president (...) the Cheneyites are probably dead right about this one -- if Iraq breaks up, it could easily lead to the first mass genocide of the 21st century.

I appreciate Deb’s comments above, and yet, things are even simpler, I feel. Bush is pigheaded, he’s become attached to a unified, ‘democratic’ Iraq, he is used to Saudi - it is easier to deal (oil) with one puppet Gvmt, as opposed to several actors, which moreover would take time, but that is secondary, as everyone has far more patience than is usually admitted to. The Zionists want Iraq broken up for one reason only: to weaken it and they don’t care about stability, contracts, anything.

As for Billmon’s comment. Iraq has no functioning State. Nada. Nothing. The system has been torn apart, it is done. Maliki only counts because the Americans talk to him. The Constitution is scrap paper, the police are murderers, teachers are not paid. Talking about a federation, separate states, and so forth, as if one was in a place where such legal arrangements could be brought about is nonsense. Switzerland can have cantons that split, or even secede, not Iraq. Iraq is not in the grip of a civil war, Iraq has descended into barbarism, and that is a quite different state of affairs.

The model is not Vietnam, or Yugoslavia (made to conform to a civil war model and submit, which they did), or Palestine (...) but Afghanistan, with the added complication of control of the oil fields.

Posted by: Noirette | Nov 2 2006 17:06 utc | 17

If the Russians were suckered into Afghanistan, they are sure enjoying their revenge. All over the world, particularly in S. America, in Europe too, and possibly China (as I only heard that once from the mouth of a Chinese) when the USuk finally did invade Iraq, people threw up their hands and said, Ok well that will keep them busy, and bring them to their ruin. They wanted, they get. When the cat is away the mice will play.

Posted by: Noirette | Nov 2 2006 17:17 utc | 18

Antifa wrote:

Partition is probably a done deal, in the eyes of the tribal councils sitting down these days in Iraq. Now it's just a matter of haggling, arm-wrestling and killing over the details of who gets which square footage, which wells, which water, which road.

The tribal and clan councils in the nation states surrounding Iraq will partake in or abstain from the Great Shia Takeover in future, strictly on what's in it for their tribe.

However, Juan Cole wrote on Oct. 28 that

Some hoped that Iraqi tribes, which often have both Sunni and Shiite members, might be a force for unity in the face of the sectarian violence of the militias and guerrilla groups. But al-Zaman in English is reporting that instead, the tribes themselves are being torn apart by faith-based infighting, and are also fighting other tribes of other ethnicities. Al-Zaman says, "Mixed tribes are present in several areas in Iraq, particularly in the small towns between Baghdad and Tikrit in the north. There are reports that the tribes have divided themselves on sectarian grounds and have began fighting each other, using rocket propelled grenades and mortars."

Posted by: mistah charley | Nov 2 2006 18:44 utc | 19

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