Nothing But the Oil Truth
The coin finally dropped. Stealthily, but we heard it loud and clear. It dropped while we were busy scratching our heads trying to figure out what plan America's current great leader, the eminent George W. Bush, has for Iraq, what truths were buried with Iraq's former great leader, the late eminent Saddam Hussain, how bloody Iraq's civil war will become.
This, after busily listening to tales of WMD's [was that Words of Mass Deception?], the lies "we are not there for Iraq's oil", the sham of Iraq's election process and the billions gone missing under the watchful eyes of the occupying powers.
The oil truth is now unfolding. Everything else was a charade for America as it quietly drafted Iraq's new oil law to enrich further Bush's and Cheney's oil buddies for the next 30 years.
In fact, a representative of the American company BearingPoint has been quietly working in the US embassy in Baghdad to "assist" with the law to be approved by Iraq's parliament.
This law drafted in Washington and approved by US oil companies before Iraqis themselves even heard of it, will give unprecedented partnership "rights" to American and Western oil giants.
"Under Saddam it was impossible for any foreign company to get such a deal. This is enslavement of our country by those who say they came to liberate us. Do they think we will allow them to extract our oil and sell it on such terms? This is theft of a nation under siege, exploiting our weakness at the point of a gun. They are kicking us while we are down. I opposed Saddam, that's why I live exiled in France all these years. But now I am not sure. Maybe Saddam was better."
An emotional Iraqi exile I happened to sit next to told me in a cafÃ© in Paris recently.
I asked him if he had gone back. He told me he had for one year "but I decided it was all a big lie. You cannot work within the system unless you accept the occupation first and that's too much for me to accept".
We sat quietly while he slowly turned his coffee cup in circles, his eyes holding back tears. He then took a deep breath and added, "I think it's time I go back again to help save the country from being ripped off completely."
As we put on our overcoats to walk into the dark and cold Parisian street outside, I asked him, "Will you work within the system?" He looked intently at me for a while, reached for his cup to sip the last bit of coffee, smiled and said, "I tried that the last time, it didn't work."
The new American drafted law permits the Iraqi government to offer foreign companies concessions of up to 30 years under a system known as PSA [Production Sharing Agreement].
In other words, American and other Western oil companies are being allowed to exploit Iraq's current predicament and negotiate self serving one-sided oil PSA's that will commit Iraq for the next 30 years.
It is not surprising therefore that Bush will order additional 20,000 American soldiers to risk their lives in Iraq. They will be needed to fight "terrorism" that is sure to rise as Iraqis resist the raping of their country. The world will be treated to a continuing spectacle of bloodletting. Young Iraqis dying to stop and young Anglo/Americans dying to ensure Iraq's wealth going to enrich Bush and Cheney's already rich buddies.
When they lied to us saying oil is not why they came to Iraq, the Anglo/American conquerors of Iraq thought everything will go their way and their lies will go un-noticed. After all, wasn't it all well planned?
Concocted intelligence on WMD, Iraqi women rushing out in streets with flowers and kisses to welcome the liberating GI's, overnight make destitute 400,000 armed and trained Iraqi soldiers and their families without repercussion.
Those of us who said these are dangerous American fantasies were accused of being naÃ¯ve. My inbox was swarmed with e-mails from America. Do I really know Iraq and how fed up Iraqis are and how much they want the liberating forces to arrive?
Oh yes sir, we here know Iraq well, its history, its present and can predict its future reaction too, especially with foreign occupation. We also know how naÃ¯ve the occupying powers are.
That is also why we fear the ramifications of this latest oil law, this latest naivety that will only provoke more bloodshed. More Iraqi and Anglo/American young blood that will be wasted to enrich Bush, Cheney and their oil buddies.
Meanwhile, more Iraqis, exiled by Saddam's brutality, now disillusioned by their inability to help their country within the system, may find their way in the streets, outside the system.
Naive? Ask my coffee companion in Paris and thousands like him.
Better still. Ask the families of the dead, dying and maimed Iraqis and Anglo/Americans. They have a mouthful for you.
Munir Daair is a Yemeni political writer.
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