Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 03, 2007

Iraqi Oil Law Drafting, Drafting, Drafting ...

At the request of the U.S. State Department, [USAID] is providing a petroleum advisor to Iraq from February to June through its contract with BearingPoint, USAID spokesman David Snider told Dow Jones Newswires in an e-mail.

"The advisor will be providing legal and regulatory advice in drafting the framework of petroleum and other energy-related legislation, including foreign investment," he wrote.
IRAQ: USAID Provides Adviser to Iraq Government on Oil Law, CorpWatch, April 28th, 2006

Somehow the various Iraqi parties don't seem impressed by the draft product Bearing Point delivered. This is a slow non-stop merry-go-round ...

Iraq cabinet approves draft oil law, IHT, February 26, 2007

The Iraqi cabinet approved a draft of a law Monday that would set guidelines for countrywide distribution of oil revenues and foreign investment in the immense oil industry.

The endorsement was a major agreement of the country's ethnic and sectarian political blocs on one of Iraq's most divisive issues.

Yes, it was a great success. But then why, five month later, are we reading the same headline again?

Iraqi cabinet backs draft oil law, BBC, July 3, 2007

The Iraqi government has approved an amended draft law on how to share the country's oil wealth, officials say.

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said parliament would begin debating the bill on Wednesday.

Is everything fine now? Certainly not:

Iraq oil law timeline unsure, UPI, July 2, 2007

Iraqi oil law negotiators are unsure when they'll reach a compromise on which oil fields the federal or regional governments will control.

"We hope that very soon, definitely within coming months, one or two months from now," Thamir Ghadhban, energy adviser to Iraq's prime minister, told reporters ...
Negotiators from the Kurdistan Regional Government and Baghdad last week approved a companion law dictating how revenue from oil sales would be split among the federal and local governments, a major breakthrough in talks ongoing for nearly a year. That law, as well as the oil law and bills governing the Ministry of Oil and Iraq National Oil Co., need approval of the council of ministers and Parliament before they are official.

Ashti Hawrami, KRG's natural resources minister and lead negotiator, told UPI this week via mobile phone from Iraq that with the revenue sharing law out of the way the oil law will come back to the front burner. "We sort of are getting back now to reviewing the draft law and annexes, so it will take some time," he said. Ghadhban, Hawrami's federal government equivalent at the talks, however, said the question on field control will instead be decided by a council that decides the country's oil policy, per language in the draft oil law. "So we don't have any more problem called annexes," he said.

There are multiple laws with several annexes that need to be passed to allow any legal certainty for investment in Iraqi oil. The central oil-law, the revenue-sharing law, the laws governing the central institutions to manage the oil reserves and industry. The media always mixes these up. Not one of these laws has passed the parliament and it is unlikely that any will.

Some central questions, as the "field control" mentioned above, have now been pushed outside of the law to be later fought over within committees.

Some years from now, there might be a legal environment for Iraqi oil riches. But it is not going to happen during Bush's time and the time of the current Congress.

What are the consequences now of missing this "benchmark" demanded by Congress?

Posted by b on July 3, 2007 at 12:22 UTC | Permalink


The Iraqis are as eager to give over 70% of their nation's petroleum profits to American oil majors as they are to offer their virgin daughters to the khaki-clad grade school graduates with guns we call America's finest.

The Bush Administration, and both parties of Congress, are eager to get those Production Sharing Agreements voted into some kind of legal status. That means America can immediately withdraw its troops from the streets of Baghdad to spend their time protecting oil wells and pipelines, and America itself can keep on keepin' on for a few more decades, living like there's no tomorrows.

If getting them signed means throwing the Maliki Government out, and starting over with a new puppet regime, they are eager to do that as well.

With this oil law signed, we can declare victory, bring a whole buncha troops home, and have an election.

Without it, we're gonna have to use nukes.

We'll just hafta.

Posted by: Antifa | Jul 3 2007 14:21 utc | 1

But without security the PSAs are worthless, at least so far as western Big Oil is concerned.

So getting them signed is only the start of a long arduous struggle and I don't see how we'll be able to secure anything with far fewer troops/mercs than we have currently failing to secure shit.

Posted by: ran | Jul 3 2007 15:14 utc | 2

Many years ago, we sat down with my wife's great-grandfather at our wedding, and asked him what was the most amazing part of his life. He described coming across the prairies in the Oklahoma stampede as a child in a wagon train, then pointed up in the air at a big 747 just then lifting off from La Guardia.


From wagon wheels and oxcarts to jumbo jet airplanes in the span of one lifetime, now, here today, from big diesel rigs
back to bicycle wheels and burro carts in a single lifetime.

Went shopping for US trucks yesterday, the big rigs have a sticker on their window something like, "Mileage report not required for this model". The next smaller rig gets 11 mpg.

This, after driving an EU diesel sports car a few years ago
that went all the way from Antwerp to Paris and back on one tank, but can't get into US because of "emissions standards".

The dealer quipped how he sold a low-end sedan (18mpg) to a
woman who had traded in her brand new Prius (37mpg). "Yeah,
we got her down from $400 a month to $159, haw, haw, haw."
America land of oil paupers, savings rate gone upside down.

But man, those big diesel rigs are fun to drive, as long as you employ a little mental trick that everything we see out the windshield will disappear within our kids' lifetimes!

BP announced yesterday they are part of a huge bioethanol project in UK, using wheat grain. The US is posted to burn more than 30% of their maize harvest on bioethanol in 2008,
and ramp up from there to 50% of the maize harvest.
Brazil is booming with sugar ethanol, and Argentina is
planting vast tracts in maize, just to burn in big rigs.
Of course, ethanol only pencils because US taxpayers are
ponying up $1.85/gal tax subsidies driving this madness.

We can all get good and drunk when the petroleum flames out,
and adapt to eat freeze-dried algae made from sewage. Yumm!
Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, "Free Scooter"!

Posted by: Polit Burro | Jul 3 2007 16:05 utc | 3

It's not just oil, it's oil and everything else...

Iraq draws up plans for privatisation gold rush

The Iraqi government has begun preparing the groundwork for what could be one of the biggest privatisations of state-owned assets.

Posted by: Alamet | Jul 3 2007 18:31 utc | 4

We were told that this war was not about oil, it was about instituting democracy. Now we are pressuring a democratically elected goverment to hand over the oil or else we will not end the occupation. Any questions?

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jul 3 2007 18:58 utc | 5

Iraq resistance hasn't given up the fight:

U.S. base comes under mortar attack near Falluja
U.S. base in Kut mortared – eyewitnesses
Joint Coordination Centre, British bases attacked in Basra
U.S. helicopter down south of Baghdad

Not to worry, though, the US continues with its winning strategy:

Private contractors outnumber U.S. troops in Iraq

The number of U.S.-paid private contractors in Iraq now exceeds that of American combat troops, newly released figures show, raising fresh questions about the privatization of the war effort and the government's capacity to carry out military and rebuilding campaigns.

More than 180,000 civilians — including Americans, foreigners and Iraqis — are working in Iraq under U.S. contracts, according to State and Defense Department figures obtained by The Times. Including the recent troop surge, 160,000 soldiers and a few thousand civilian government employees are stationed in Iraq.

The total number of private contractors, far higher than previously reported, shows how heavily the Bush administration has relied on private corporations to carry out the occupation of Iraq — a mission criticized as being undermanned.

One bit that caught my eye in the above report was,
The total number of Iraqis employed under U.S. contracts is important, in part because it may influence debate in Congress regarding how many Iraqis will be allowed to come to the U.S. to escape violence in their homeland.

They are foreseeing a helicopters-on-the-embassy-roof kind of exit scenario, I suspect...

Posted by: Alamet | Jul 3 2007 23:51 utc | 6

NYT: Iraqi Cabinet Moves Forward on Oil Measure

“We are astonished at the government’s rush to submit the law to Parliament,” said Salim Abdullah, a member of the Sunni bloc, Tawafiq. “We will not be an obstacle in the road of the law but we have some comments and reservations,” he said.

Complicating matters is the fact that members of the Sunni bloc are boycotting Parliament and cabinet meetings to protest an arrest warrant against the culture minister and to insist on the reinstatement of the speaker, Mahmoud al-Mashadani, a Sunni Arab, who had been asked to step aside by a majority in Parliament.

If their boycott continues, it is likely that discussion and passage of the oil framework law will be protracted.

Posted by: b | Jul 4 2007 5:34 utc | 7

They are foreseeing a helicopters-on-the-embassy-roof kind of exit scenario, I suspect...

Certainly, though the helicopters ain't save either ...

Pilots Shot Down in Iraq Tell of Dramatic Escape

Insurgents attack military helicopters in Iraq about 100 times each month. They manage to hit about 17 of the aircraft, using weapons such as heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and shoulder-fired missiles, according to U.S. officials. Since January, at least 10 American helicopters, including two belonging to contractors, have been shot down. Since October 2001, the Army has lost 33 helicopters to hostile fire in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Posted by: b | Jul 4 2007 6:28 utc | 8

given that 30% of the xUS maize crop is due for the gas tank, of those who can afford it, in a year, it will surprise no one that the Brit. govt. drew up plans to get the masses to stop eating meat, which will be priced out of the range of the masses. McSoyBurgers on the way - if they're not already there - prob. just ratchet up the % of soy extender/TVP... I always had this fantasy anyway that one day americans would be told that they've been eating soyburgers for years...

Posted by: jj | Jul 4 2007 6:53 utc | 9

Car bomb, US air strike kill 18 in Iraq

Earlier, local officials reported that a US military air strike on insurgent targets in a southern Iraqi city killed ten civilians. The US military said two F-16 fighter jets hit targets in a street in the Shia city of Diwaniya after militants fired up to 75 mortar bombs and rockets at the Camp Echo coalition military base yesterday morning.
A hospital source said the dead included six children under the age of 12. He put the number of wounded at 30.

Sustained attacks on the base and hapless response by bombs killing kids and creating more attacks.

The military situation of the U.S. is much worse than the media picture painted by the usual propaganda.

Posted by: b | Jul 4 2007 19:20 utc | 10

Second helicopter in two days, unless I'm mistaken...

U.S. helicopter forced down in Iraq, one killed

Posted by: Alamet | Jul 4 2007 21:18 utc | 11

"The military situation of the U.S. is much worse than the media picture painted by the usual propaganda."

And orderly withdrawal becomes ever more problematic.

Posted by: anna missed | Jul 4 2007 22:46 utc | 12

And orderly withdrawal becomes ever more problematic.

If the withdrawal starts without a political solution, as it likely will, it's going to be bloody. Everyone will want to take a shot ...

Trouble with the embassy: Construction Woes Add to Fears at Embassy in Iraq

A toughly worded cable sent from the embassy to State Department headquarters on May 29 highlights a cascade of building and safety blunders in a new facility to house the security guards protecting the embassy. The guards' base, which remains unopened today, is just a small part of a $592 million project to build the largest U.S. embassy in the world.
But the problems mounted. The 252 prefabricated residential trailers, with either two or three rooms each, filled with formaldehyde fumes. The trailer manufacturer, a Saudi company called Red Sea Housing Services Co., confirmed to the embassy it had used the toxic chemical in preparing the housing.
First, KBR and First Kuwaiti quickly began finger-pointing. KBR electricians determined that the electrical wiring was too small for the load required, but First Kuwaiti electricians -- after initially concurring -- began to balk at the assessment, the cable said.

Then KBR raised new concerns about the grounding and electrical feeds into the facility.

The embassy cable noted that there had been at least four fires in dining facilities in Iraq blamed on similar problems. At a May 16 meeting, officials showed photos indicating fire hazards in the dining hall's wiring that were so serious that the few guards who had moved into the base's new residential housing were sent back to Camp Jackson.
The embassy also said that it believes it has discovered counterfeit wiring, labeled as 10mm when it was actually 6mm.
Finally, on May 25, a KBR hazardous-materials expert discovered that all 10 generators had developed leaks. The fuel tanks were installed without corrosion protection or leak detectors, and fuel had begun to saturate the soil around the tanks. The cable said that Teflon tape designed for water pipes had been used on the fuel tanks, and that such tape "will dissolve on contact with diesel fuel." KBR refused to operate the power generators unless its liability was waived.

The result, the cable concluded, is that the guards will continue to stay in "tents and deplorable living conditions." Officials now say that the guard base will not be ready until Aug. 1.

That's only the guard base of the embassy - the real problems will come with the main buildings. Incompetence abound ...

Posted by: b | Jul 5 2007 6:10 utc | 13

Not to mention the,0,2856395.story?coll=bal-iraq-headlines>180,000 contractors that will also have to be evacuated. A logistical, communication, and coordination nightmare of epic proportions. Remember that in Vietnam, most of the U.S. troops and equipment not delegated top the RVN were already out of country along with paltry (by comparison) number of contractors. Although the collapse of the VN government accelerated rather precipitously, unlike Iraq, the major ports of entry and airstrips were never in immediate danger until the very end. And even then most of the suprise and chaos was born in trying to remove diplomatic staff and allied Vietnamese ahead of a known military front moving south.

No such parallel exists in Iraq.

Posted by: anna missed | Jul 5 2007 8:08 utc | 14

Australia has started to come clean on Why They Fight:
creaky">">creaky crikey

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jul 5 2007 11:36 utc | 15

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