Saturday, July 14, 2007


  • But the device ultimately chosen to win this war for oil is only slightly more subtle: a law, to be passed by the Iraqis themselves, which would turn Iraq's oil over to foreign oil companies.
  • The U.S. State Department Iraq Study Group began laying the foundations for the new law prior to the invasion of Iraq
  • The Bush administration has spent four years trying to force successive Iraqi governments to pass the law, referred to as either the "hydrocarbons" or "oil" law.
  • The law would change Iraq's oil system from a nationalized model -- all but closed to U.S. oil companies -- to a privatized model open to foreign corporate control.
  • At least two-thirds of Iraq's oil would be open to foreign oil companies under terms that they usually only dream about, including 30-year-long contracts.
  • In January, ....announcing the "surge" of 20,000 additional American troops to Iraq.
  • The president explained that the surge would be successful ... because ... of specific "benchmarks." .... including to "enact [a] hydrocarbons law to promote investment, national unity, and reconciliation."
  • ...the law's capacity to bring "national unity and reconciliation" by establishing a mechanism to evenly distribute Iraq's oil revenues among Iraqis on a per capita basis.
  • the American press ... refers to the oil law as a revenue sharing measure -- ignoring completely the fact that Iraqis would only be able to share the revenues left over after the foreign oil companies received their very sizeable cut.
  • In February, the oil law passed...Iraq's cabinet... (who sent) it to the parliament. However, resistance in the parliament was too great, and the law was not introduced.
  • Congress passed and the president signed the Iraq Supplemental War Spending Bill (PDF) to fund the Iraq war through the end of September.
  • In the Supplemental, Congress deliberately adopted the president's benchmarks, specifically and continually referencing his January 10, 2007, speech.
  • Instead, Congress referenced the president's benchmarks but described only the revenue-sharing component.
  • The Supplemental finds ... that 'America will change our approach to help the Iraqi government as it works to meet these benchmarks.'"
  • including: (iii) Enacting and implementing legislation to ensure the equitable distribution of hydrocarbon resources of the people of Iraq without regard to the sect...
  • Congress stipulated that if the benchmarks were not met by September, it would cut off funds being made available to Iraq
  • Congress required the Bush administration to report back on the status of the benchmarks by July 15. Thus, a flurry of effort erupted between the Bush administration and the Al-Maliki government in recent weeks to try to finally pass the law.
  • Four days later, on July 7, Usama al-Nujeyfi, a member of Iraq's parliamentary energy committee, quit in protest over the oil law, saying that it would cede too much control to global companies and "ruin the country's future."
  • His response has been typical ... the parliament has not yet taken the measure up for consideration.
  • At the same time ... negotiations were also moving forward on the federal revenue law (referred by the Bush administration as the "revenue management law")... A limited agreement was reached on the revenue law, but it has yet to approved by the Iraqi cabinet.
  • ...the future of the "framework hydrocarbon law" (the oil law) is very unclear. As U.S. pressure intensifies to pass the law before September 2007, the deadline established by the Supplemental, Iraqi resistance grows.
  • On June 19, five Nobel Peace Prize recipients released a statement publicly denouncing not only the Iraq oil law, but also the pressure being applied by the U.S. Congress and the Bush adminstration on the Iraqi government to pass it.
  • declares that "the U.S. government should leave the matter of how Iraq will address the future of its oil system to the Iraqi people to be dealt with at a time when they are free from occupation and more able to engage in truly democratic decision making. It is immoral and illegal to use war and invasion as mechanisms for robbing a people of their vital natural resources."
  • The debate in the U.S. Congress has finally shifted from "whether" to "how" to end the U.S. invasion of Iraq. ... We must be ... demand not only that the occupation end, but ... that the requirement that Iraqis change their oil system is taken off of the table.

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