Monday, April 28, 2003

In retrospect, Dr. Nayyer Ali was not far off the mark:

**(And if the people of the US are not reaping the benefit, who IS? )**

"By Dr. Nayyer Ali

December 13, 2002

Iraq and Oil

Ignore everything that is going on with the weapons inspectors. Bush will strike Saddam in the first three months of 2003 and the US will find itself occupying Iraq. The inspections game is being played out of a desire to appease the rest of the world by creating at least an impression of showing deference to the UN Security Council, but the US will not be constrained by anything the weapons inspectors find or don¹t find.

Iraq is a vast country, and a few weapons inspectors cannot possibly thoroughly inspect the place, even if they had years. The vast majority of the finds that the inspectors had in the early and middle 1990s were based on tips and information gathered from high-ranking Iraqi defectors. Very little was found by driving around the country and looking in random buildings of interest. Which is why Saddam is willing to comply with the current inspection regime and also why the US has no faith in it.

Given the coming war, there is much confusion as to why the US has decided to pursue it. The reasons are complex, but one that is put forth by many critics of US policy is of course oil. Iraq has oil reserves of 113 billion barrels, which is the second largest reserve in the world, and almost half of the leader, Saudi Arabia. Despite this vast pool of oil, Iraq has never produced at a level proportionate to the reserve base. Since the Gulf War, Iraq¹s production has been limited by sanctions and allowed sales under the oil for food program (by which Iraq has sold 60 billion dollars worth of oil over the last 5 years) and what else can be smuggled out. This amounts to less than 1 billion barrels per year. If Iraq were reintegrated into the world economy, it could allow massive investment in its oil sector and boost output to 2.5 billion barrels per year, or about 7 million barrels a day.

Total world oil production is about 75 million barrels, and OPEC combined produces about 25 million barrels.

What would be the consequences of this? There are two obvious things.

First would be the collapse of OPEC, whose strategy of limiting production to maximize price will have finally reached its limit. An Iraq that can produce that much oil will want to do so, and will not allow OPEC to limit it to 2 million barrels per day. If Iraq busts its quota, then who in OPEC will give up 5 million barrels of production? No one could afford to, and OPEC would die. This would lead to the second major consequence, which is a collapse in the price of oil to the 10-dollar range per barrel. The world currently uses 25 billion barrels per year, so a 15-dollar drop will save oil-consuming nations 375 billion dollars in crude oil costs every year.

The benefit to the American economy will be 75 billion dollars, which is not huge, but is certainly significant. Lower global oil prices will lead to faster growth in most developed and developing nations, which will benefit American exporters selling to these economies.

Some have argued that the US wants to take over the oil fields. Actually, that is of little value to the American economy. Even if the US simply confiscated all of Iraq’s oil and sold it, it would only add about 20 billion dollars to the US treasury each year. In addition, the US would have to pay for maintenance and investment in the fields, and provide security.

20 billion dollars is a lot of money, but given that the US government spending is over 150 times greater than that, and the entire US economy is 500 times larger, the 20 billion is just pocket change. In the last twelve months, in which the economy has been growing slowly, the US still added over 300 billion dollars to its economy. So the idea that the US is going to war to literally grab barrels of crude does not withstand analysis.

On the flip side, the war itself is projected to cost 50-100 billion dollars. In addition the occupation after the war will take at least 50,000 peacekeepers, each of which cost 100,000 dollars to maintain per year, which adds up to 5 billion dollars per year. And that is if everything goes without a hitch. The Iraq war is not a moneymaker. But it could be an OPEC breaker. That however is a long-term outcome that will require Iraq to be successfully reconstituted into a functioning state in which massive oil sector investment can take place."


Indian companies eye Iraqi oil contracts


"NEW DELHI, Apr 27: Indian industry is vying for a pie in the billions of dollars worth of Iraqi oil industry reconstruction cake by taking sub-contracts for refinery revamp and pipeline construction.
E&P Company Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Oil Refiner Indian Oil, Engineering Consultancy Firm Engineers India Ltd, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd and construction major Larsen and Toubro together with help from Ministry of External Affairs are vying for sub-contracts from the main contracts which are likely to be for US and British firms."
"Saddam’s Government has, since the late 1990s, signed production sharing or development agreements with oil companies from Russia, France, China, Romania, Vietnam, Syria and Turkey for the rehabilitation and development of vast swathes of its upstream oil wealth. Given the UN embargo, the companies have not acted on the contracts.
But in recent weeks, the US has signalled that its military-led interim authority will be the dispenser of oil field contracts. It already has awarded a repair and restoration deal, without competitive bids, with the Kellogg, Brown & Root unit of oil field services major Halliburton. That is tentatively estimated at up to 7 billion dollars in revenues for Halliburton or its sub-contractors, but might not necessarily interfere with the other international PSCS.
Iraqi opposition figures also have made little secret of their desire to void the contracts from the Saddam era and sign new upstream deals.
Ramachandran said the US military is expected to solicit competitive bids in the next two months to modernise and update Iraqi’s oil infrastructure.


Iraqi-Syrian oil pipeline boost oil revenue

WASHINGTON, Feb 19: The newly opened Iraqi-Syrian oil pipeline enabled Baghdad to get a sum of three million dollars per day for the last three months, dramatically boosting the oil revenue it gets outside the UN sanction, American media reports has said.

The United States proposed to take up this issue when its Secretary of State Colin Powell visits Damascus next week as part of his week long trip to the Middle East.

Oil industry analysts quoted by the Washington Post said the 552 mile pipeline which connects Iraq with Syria’s mediterranean port of Banias has been receiving 120,000 to 150,000 barrels of crude oil a day since it reopened in November last year. The latest turn over in the pipeline is estimated at 200,000 barrels a day.

Iraq is offering Syria at a sharply discounted price of 15 dollars a barrel nearly fifty per cent of the market cost. This oil sale yields around three million dollars a day for Iraq.

US officials have taken up this issue with their Syrian counterparts about the pipeline which was closed nearly nineteen years ago during the Iran-Iraq war.

The Bush administration is encouraging Syria to bring the oil sale through the pipeline into conformity with the sanctions. The revenue accrued through the sale should be deposited in the UN account for purchase of food and medicines for the Iraqi people.

The newspaper said Syria is not the only ‘offender’ as about 150,000 barrels a day of oil and diesel fuel are being smuggled from northern Iraq into Turkey aboard hundreds of trucks that ply in the border. Since Turkey provides a crucial airbase used by the American aircraft patrolling over Iraq, US officials are reluctant to take up the issue with Ankara to crack down on the lucratived trade.

The US analysts said Baghad has been asking petroleum companies to pay 25 to 30 cents per barrel directly to Iraqi Government coffers, bypassing the United Nations oil for food account and giving Saddam Hussein revenue he could spend without international supervision. The UN account provides for part of the money to be transferred to Kuwait for reparations for damage done during the Iraqi invasion of the country in 1990. (UNI)

An older article, but well worth a read!

"The Price of Liberty" by EJ Dionne
Today's YukYuk from the land of Maybe/Maybe NOT

I've learned (as rumor only, mind you) that this was overheard at the White House Correspondent's Dinner, Apr. 26, 2003:

Al Franken: "Clinton's military did pretty well in Iraq, huh?"
Paul Wolfowitz: " **** you."

Which makes me think:
*Tsk Tsk* swearin' now, Paul...get your people on the phone and order up some more cruise missiles and
some of that Crusader artillery for our next magical militaristery tour. Carlyle needs you, boy. Leave no defense contracter behind!

This was REALLY said by Mr Wolfowitz:

"I think the right goal is to move as quickly as we can to a government that is, if I can paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, of the Iraqis, by the Iraqis, for the Iraqis." -- Paul Wolfowitz, April 6

...which is a tad puzzling when you hear his administration-mate saying:

"If you're suggesting, how would we feel about an Iranian-type government with a few clerics running everything in the country, the answer is: That isn't going to happen."
-- Donald Rumsfeld, April 24

I mean...what if the Iraqi people decide the clerics are "for them....of them"?
Who made Rumsfeld final judge of Iraqi hearts and minds?
And for Pete's sake, who made Wolfowitz an Abe Lincoln already?? *(gag)*




Could it be because I don't know where the hell they are?
Helloooooo-- *echo* hello-hello-hello.....!!
Is anybody out there there-there-there????

Bush has called for the removal of UN embargo on Iraq, and let's face it, it is not only to ease the suffering of the Iraqi people but also to permit U.S. oil companies to move into a country with the world's third largest oil reserves! Of course, there can be no trade with Iraq for oil until UN sanctions are lifted. (Oh--Bush hates that nasty UN!)

See how easy it is?

All it took was a great "liberation" for Bush and his family and his corporate benefactor/benefactees to be in the money as soon as those sanctions disappear.
Remember, Poppy's Carlyle Group has already done right well for themselves as a result of this "great liberation", too.

What have YOU gained, American people?
Not a friggen thing except a new allocation in your tax-debt for rebuilding the mess Bush made in that nation for his own self-interest and that of his corporate friends.

Is all this "liberation" altruism?
Or could it be self-interest?
I say it's self-interest..without reservation.

Do you believe that Russian, French and Germans are squabbling about lifting sanctions simply because they
"hate" the US? If so, go bury yourself back under those turnips in the back of the turnip truck. It's ALL about self-interest, babe.

And you can bet..somewhere along the line, there will be concessions made to Russia, France and Germany in order for those sanctions to be lifted..even in the face of the fact that those three countries believed this war was illegal.

Money cures just about anything.

And when we "liberated" Iraq....that's when the American oil companies laid their hands on Iraq. That's when the real looting began.



While I was away.... by Iddybud

So much to talk about.
Such as how a quickie end to sanctions on Iraq are worth billions to Bush..
and how it would give U.S. oil companies control over Iraq oil.

Or how the UN (that Bushie so hates) condemns "incredible" numbers of civilian deaths in Iraq..
most killed by U.S. bombs and rockets.

Or how the U.S. controls only a square mile of Baghdad at present while
looters are now turning to private homes instead of museums.

Or how Bush is under pressure to prove the existence of significant traces of Iraqi WMD...(substantially
threat-posing substances to Americans since this was about our security)..
while suspicion is also growing because the UN weapons inspectors that Bushie hates so much are being kept out.

Or how the U.S. is rushing to install a puppet Iraqi government to rival
the Punch and Judy show.
A U.S.-favored "Iraqi National Congress" has little to do with Iraq, doncha know.

Or how Hans Blix claims the U.S. wanted UN inspection teams to spy on Iraq..while U.S. intelligence services also faked WMD "evidence" ..even back then. (No one wanted to listen to Ritter--and Bushie tried to destroy Ritter..par for the course...the low-sinking Bushie's even trying to destroy fellow-Republicans like Sen Voinivich).

Or how Bushie's planning to appoint an arms merchant as viceroy of Baghdad..
This retired Army general was a key player in Israeli weapon deployment, doncha know.

Or about the new Iraq leadership picked by U.S...definitely a motley crew ..and some want to bring back the old monarchy!!

How about that Arab world all abuzz with rumors of a Bush - Saddam deal on this war... some conspiracy theorists believe a deal was struck to save Saddam...hmmm.....thry say the Saudis may have brokered a deal for quick Iraqi surrender...and the speedy fall of Baghdad has Arab media buzzing with rumors!!

Then there was that brutal murder of that cleric--which shows Iraqi ethnic tensions are rather high..yes?
More religious violence is predicted in the wake of Saddam's overthrow.

And dagnabbit, there's no grateful cheering over liberation at Baghdad hospitals...where doctors are performing operations without full anaesthesia! What you imagine to be cheers are actually howls of friggen pain.

Then there's life in Iraq "after Saddam": carpetbaggers everywhere!
Religious rivals, ex-pats, zany locals all jockeying for political power! Woot!

Did we expect the fall of Saddam to deepens the Russia-U.S. rift?
Who was forced to deny rumors that their Baghdad embassy was hiding Saddam?

Coudl it be that the anarchy is keeping aid-workers from entering Iraq? While aid for food, water, medical system collapses??

And just how hard is it to hide a
6-foot, 4-inch diabetic Arab with a $25 million bounty on his head? Pretty easy, it turns out -- if you know the right people!!!

What??? The U.S. moves to block an emergency UN war session?
Who woulda thunk it???
Threatening diplomats not to vote for General Assembly session on Iraq? The UN-hating Bushie? Nah! Couldn't be!

How about those media groups condemning the U.S.- killing of reporters in Iraq?
Do we dare ask questions about non-"embedded" journalists killed by U.S. military fire?

What happens when an investigation of possible U.S. war crimes in Iraq begins? Gathering data to present to International Criminal Court, are they? The bastards!

Those fragile money markets watch Iraq with unease...the entire global economy is in flux..and it isn't SARS!

Bush wants to make it clear to the much-hated UN: IRAQ BELONGS TO US!!!
Hands off..we stomped on 'em..back off! The Pentagon will be calling the shots in Iraq, even in defiance of other bureaucracies that, in contrast to the Defense Department, have real experts on Iraqi politics, history, and culture who could prove helpful in carrying out an occupation. "You can call this another aspect of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz's pre-emption strategy," said one administration official. "You can call this a coup d'etat." But right-wing hawks in the Bush administration, led by Cheney and Rumsfeld, want the United Nations to provide the clean-up crew to tidy up the war-devastated country, feed the hungry, and care for the wounded and the dying.
Have I mentioned Bush is all set to snub the UN (whom he hates) for a meaningful role in postwar Iraq??
Did you hear Bush say to Blair: "Nopers, no lead role for the UN in Iraq, Tony baby, 'cuzzin' I hates 'em"?

Have you noticed the Iraq "liberation" looks more like "Coup d'Etat"?

So...will the UN become another League Of Nations because Bush and the chickenhawks hate the UN??
There are some unsettling comparisons between Iraq and events of 1936.

Here's some more stuff to talk about.... (why aren't we talking about it???)

U.S. hopes a Europe split is forever, some experts say.. a dispute over Iraq war is just one example of EU-American differences and the Bush admin couldn't be happier with this thought.
Watch them exacerbate it in days to come.

The disgrace and failure of George W. Bush is that he lied, he bribed, he forged and, finally, he tried spying
in order to get his war on.

Bush hawks are now moving the crosshairs to Syria..the exact-same neo-con chickenhawk crowd that fomented attack on Iraq is hoping for the same with your britches on it.

No matter how Fox tries to apple-pie the whole deal, Arabs are seeing "occupation," not "liberation" of Iraq... comparisons are being made to Soviet efforts to colonize Afghanistan.

Arab Youth are still heading towards Iraq to be "Freedom Martyrs"....and the
Iraq invasion has spurred feelings of Arab nationalism. DOH...Who woulda thunkit?

Bush's short-span war, in reality, may span generations, kids....
Religious issues on both sides have made this anything BUT a conventional war.

We need to expect a long-haul stay in Iraq. Even right-wing thinktanks behind the Iraq invasion want no early fixation on exit strategies. Take off the seatbelts, ye anti-nation-builders. Dig deep into your tax-paying pockets. Iraqis need your
hard-earned dough-re-mi while Bechtel and other corporations make a lot of those policy-makers rich, rich and more rich!

What did Bush delete from an Iraq inspector's Report?
There are a missing 8000-pages..which is said to probably link U.S. companies to Iraq weapons. Who woulda thunkit?

Postwar Iraq profiteering has begun.
Over $1.5 billion in Iraq contracts have been offered to private U.S. companies. Thanks, liberators!
And the U.S. will reap an oil windfall now that Saddam's been oustered (for all intents and purposes).
Oil had practically everything to do with it..contrary to Fox-ular beliefs.

I'm confident that history will show that Iraq and the Arab world has been RADICALIZED by the attack on Iraq.
I fully believe the government of Iran is expecting to war with the US soon.

North Korea, BECAUSE of the war on Iraq, has learned a lesson. To desire a speedy race to nuclear power so we cannot do the same to them. It may be an unreasonable assumption on their part, but this is only part of what Bush's poor foreign policy has caused.

So much more to little time.


**hope you like the gift