The Iraq War and Privatization of Iraqui oil

U.S. presidential candidate Dennis Kuchinich maintains that the Iraq war has been about oil and that the U.S. should not be a party to any attempt, by multinational oil companies, to take over Iraq’s oil resources. J. Schenone has an interesting piece on Kuchinich's arguments.

Kucinich argues that Bush's Iraq legislation would lead to the privatization of Iraq’s oil making it very difficult for the US to end the war any time in the near future. Amongst his concerns are several benchmarks set up by the current U.S. administration for the Iraqi government; one of which required passage of a hydrocarbon law that the Bush administration has chosen to hide. Kuchinich further emphasizes that while many in Washington are contemplating linking funding for the war in Iraq to the completion of these benchmarks, insistence on the passage of any legislation that included insistence on the passage of a hydrocarbon act places the U.S. in a position of promoting the privatization of Iraq’s oil.

The proposed legislation ensures that “chief executives of important related petroleum companies” be represented on a Federal Oil and Gas Council, which approves oil and gas contracts. Kuchinich states that “this is akin to allowing foreign oil companies to approve their own contracts.” It further ensures that the “Iraqi National Oil Company, which is the oil company of the people of Iraq, has no exclusive rights for the exploration, development, production, transportation, and marketing of oil and that they must compete against foreign oil companies with rules that benefit the foreign oil companies. According to Kuchinich, the legislation does give the Iraq National Oil Company temporary control of the oil pipelines and export terminals, but then it directs the Federal Oil and Gas Council, which is controlled by foreign oil companies, to turn these assets over to any entity with no further instructions.
In a further effort to ensure that big oil companies gain control of Iraqi oil this legislation provides for 35 years of exclusive control over oil fields for foreign oil companies. These companies are further protected by a provision that guarantees Iraqis preference for jobs and services only as long as they do not place extra costs or inconveniences on the foreign oil companies. Any disputes regarding any matter between the State of Iraq and any foreign investors have to be submitted for arbitration to an international court and will not be decided upon by an Iraqi court.

Kuchinich appears to have a good foundation for his belief that the Iraq War was based on oil greed.

No comments: