Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Oil's Swell


From today's NYT:

The top American military commander for the Middle East has warned
Iraq’s prime minister in a closed-door conversation that the Iraqi government needs to make tangible political progress by next month to counter the growing tide of opposition to the war in Congress.

In a Sunday afternoon discussion that mixed gentle coaxing with a sober
appraisal of politics in Baghdad and Washington, the commander, Adm.
William J. Fallon, told Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki that the Iraqi government should aim to complete a law on the division of oil proceeds by next month

Any comments?


SweaterMan said...

Well, the three top objectives: sharing oil revenue, provincial elections, and integrating Sunni Arabs in the government/parlimentary process are pretty freakin' ambitious.

And, given that we (meaning the U.S.) don't give a rat's ass about goals #2 and #3, means that for any form of "progress" to be shown by September 2007, then we gotta press hard on goal #1 - the oil agreement.

Also, remember that the oil agreement isn't just about sharing the damn money amongst Shia, Sunni, and Kurd factions. It's more importantly about preventing nationalization of the oil resource and opening up said resources to exploration and development by international oil corporations (Shell, BP, Exxon/Mobil, etc.). That's what they really want to accomplish with the legislation.

The thing is, WTF are they thinking? I mean, I may not be the brightest bulb in the Lite-Brite set, but do the oil majors really believe their employees are just going to jump at the chance to go after those Iraqi reserves just as soon as the agreement is reached?


Because, as an oil engineer or geologist or surveyor or even a rig manager or pipeline specialist, I'd be looking at some major salary renegotiating to think about hauling my ass over to that hell-hole of a sandbox. Or, I'd be looking into another line of work. Because, see, I like going to work and not being shot at. Or kidnapped and held for ransom. Or found dumped in the street the next morning with 20 or 30 holes in my head that were put there with my Craftsman cordless power drill, ya know?

So even if the Iraqi Parliment (which resides, suspiciously, mostly not in Iraq) agrees on the oil bill, it's going to be years, if not at least a decade before the multinational oil companies are going to be able to do much about all that oil, because I suspect that their employees like going to work and not getting shot at or violently killed just as much as I do.

Demeur said...

Great analysis Sweaterman couldn't have said it better myself. The real scoop was posted some time ago here:

Demeur said...

Oh and I only for one second considered going over there, but then contractors started loosing their heads. Think I'll keep mine awhile longer thank you very much.

pygalgia said...

I'll agree. I thought about working in Iraq, as an arabic translator, but I like a certain level of safety.

--mf said...

Nice job you guys.

I agree pretty fully with what Py and SM have put together. When we hear "Benchmark(s)," we're really hearing the "Iraqi Oil Profit-Sharing Bill."

There is something gnawing in the back of my mind that is telling me that even beyond the Sunni/Shia religious differences, there is this Oil Deal MORE at the heart of it, with the Sunni/Saudi/US axis vs. the Shia/Iran axis, but, there is still some yet-unknown angle there that allows the story to be spun away by the media.

As the weekend's news reported that we are arming the Sunni's, and alMaliki has called the Iraqi Army on the Oil Workers' Union, and other Unions who are on strike to stop the Bill passing-- to me it all seems to be coming clearer, but not quite conclusive.

Waiting for the final proof. It's the next shoe to drop. This isn't a religious civil war-- it's a straight-up political civil war over control of the Oil.

A piece is still missing from the big puzzle.