Splitting the Iraqi Oil Piñata – Something for Everyone

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Although the UN Security Council and the majority of the world community did not support the US “preemptive” attack on Iraq now that the US forces and their British allies are in charge on the ground there were important political and economic reasons to accommodate to the situation, particularly the disposal of Iraqi oil. This has now been done with Security Council Resolution 1483.

Iraq is a potentially rich country because of its oil reserves. No great insight there. Now that Saddam has been removed many greedy hands are about to reach for that wealth but it was frozen by the UN imposed sanctions regime. One way or another that had to be taken care of. The people of Iraq are in no position to resist the orders of their military conquerors and the first steps have now been taken to open Iraq for exploitation. All of this is being done under a screen of moralistic rhetoric about “helping” Iraq. The reality is that it is a mask for piracy on a grand scale by some of the world’s self-perceived finest folks.

The military conquest of Iraq by the US and Britain was of course an essential first step as it removed the existing government of Iraq, that of the unpleasant dictator Saddam Hussein. There is now literally no Iraqi government. Legally if not morally everything is up for grabs. Right now everything is in the hands of an inept military occupation with all that implies and will be for some time. But the key moral and legal cover for the serious political and economic exploitation opportunities was the recently approved United Nations Resolution 1483, hailed in the US media as “ending the sanctions”. Those sanctions, imposed on Iraq after the first Gulf war had caused grave human damage to the ordinary people of Iraq including the death of many innocent children because of the crippling of medical care as the sanctions were restrictively interpreted at the urging of the US and Britain. There was in fact no international constituency for continuing the sanctions themselves. The tie-in to the UN inspection system for weapons of mass destruction was strictly a political matter giving opponents of the war some leverage to embarrass the US because of its continued foolish insistence on the existence of such weapons. The headlines about getting rid of the sanctions was only a political cover for the real aims of the US resolution which were (1) to give international legal legitimacy to the occupation after an attack which notably lacked such legitimizing authority from the international community and (2) to give control over the disposition of Iraq’s oil revenues to the conquerors. Everything else is window-dressing. 

The supposed concern of some nations about the UN inspectors being allowed to return to confirm Iraq’s absence of weapons of mass destruction was never a serious matter. No one believes such weapons exist. It was simply a well deserved jab at the US by those many UN members who had been vilified, ridiculed and even threatened by the US for seeking more evidence of those WMD’s before starting a war – a position justified more strongly every passing day without discovery of those weapons. Those concerns were simply and conveniently brushed aside in the final Resolution.

No, the big focus of greedy attention was really on the oil revenues of Iraq. And here there was a sudden high level convergence of interests. It was not the interests of “big oil” and it was not of the people of Iraq. The interests were those of the US, Britain and other governments.

Who will benefit from the decisions about the expenditures of the oil revenues from the “Development Fund for Iraq”? After all the Resolution says that the funds shall be used “in a transparent manner to meet the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people”. Who could oppose that? And specifically for, “the economic reconstruction and repair of Iraq’s infrastructure” (which has been wrecked by the same people making the decisions), “the continued disarmament of Iraq” (to pay the costs of the occupying forces which are immense), “the costs of Iraqi civilian administration” (watch this one for growth potential) and finally “for other purposes benefiting the people of Iraq” (decided by guess who?) – all purposes to be decided of course by the conquerors and the Iraq puppets appointed by them. This language is quite loose enough to allow virtually any expenditure of funds since opinions as to what benefits the people of Iraq can only be imagined but who will complain after Resolution 1483?

The first to benefit from this blank check system will of course be the “allies”. As military “occupying powers” under international law they are responsible for the welfare of the people under their control. Absent their newfound ability to tap the bank account of the people of Iraq they might have had to foot the bills themselves. What a relief it must have been to have been granted a license by the United Nations itself to loot Iraq’s oil account! Absent approval of the Resolution 1483 the “allies” might have been forced to adopt the Israeli line in the Palestinian occupied territories: to simply deny any responsibility, leaving all help to the international community – a rather embarrassing posture since they had recently been thumbing their collective nose at that community! Although it doesn’t bother the Israelis to do this it might have been a little more troublesome for the more sanctimonious allies.

The next in line at the pay window will be the contractors hired by the administration to rebuild Iraq after the destruction – the Halliburtons, etc.  So the oil revenues of the people of Iraq will go to foreign contractors from the attacking countries paid to clean up the damage done by the same foreign governments which devastated their country. It is very unlikely that any other contractors will be allowed to join this gravy train except perhaps for some token subcontracts “to look good”. Then there will be the hoard of “experts” such as those already hired by the administration to revise the education system in Iraq to impart politically correct progressive ideas, all to meet the needs of the Iraqi people as seen by us of course. The sounds of salvation and salivation are growing.

But there are other less noticed beneficiaries here. The French and Russian governments were anxious that their share of the Pi�ata’s contents would be included and they were. They will get their outstanding bills paid, undoubtedly  a factor in their suddenly docile support for the arrangement.

Next we have the crippling outstanding compensation claims against Iraq based on Gulf War I damage caused by Saddam’s attack on Kuwait. Many of these claims are believed to be overstated and even fraudulent and which many thought should have caused the whole to have been suspended, but apparently they will continue to be paid off, a tremendous mortgage on the innocent people of Iraq – not the departed Saddam.

And then there is the United Nations organization itself. After being snubbed and insulted by the US it is now rejoicing at the tiny role which has been conceded to it as “consultant” and “coordinator” of outside assistance, all financed by the same Iraqi oil revenues you may be sure. So grateful are they for this recognition that it is doubtful they will make much of a fuss as allied “values” are imposed on the people of Iraq paid for with their own money. This may require the suppression of  considerable free political opinion in Iraq but given the supine US media this should not prove to be a serious matter.

The benefits to Israel, never mentioned as a US war aim but very much one, are more dubious. With the removal of the “threat” of Saddam Hussein the US may expect Israel to make some concessions in their illegal occupation of Palestinian territories and abuse of the Palestinians to placate world opinion. Naturally it won’t be expressed that way but that’s the bottom line. This will be very difficult for the fanatic Zionists who currently dominate in Israel and the US will rapidly expose its bias if it caves in to their demands. This is a source of danger for US policy.

And last but not least in line the Iraqi people may actually get benefit,  at least from the end of attacks on their country and the ending of sanctions. Also the brutal Saddam regime is gone from their necks. Their lives can return to some semblance of normality and ultimately we are told they will be allowed to run their own country – with a large US military garrison approved of course by their US selected leadership. This US military presence is intended to dominate the Middle East. The long term trouble involved in that scenario is for the future to deal with. It will be interesting to see what will happen if a future independent Iraq asks the Americans to leave, as Saudi Arabia has done recently. But that too is in the distant future since we are a long way from an independent Iraq. There is of course no date for leaving.

So you see there is a little something in the Pi�ata for everyone with the people of Iraq last in line. 

Albert Doyle, a free-lance writer, is a retired Attorney with US Treasury Dept., and General Tax Attorney Texaco Inc. He contributed above article to Media Monitors Network (MMN) from Florida, USA.

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