Monday, December 11, 2006

Iraq Study Group is all about the oil

The Iraq Study Group has released their report and, as we all expected, it’s just more of the same, but with a cute twist that most commentators have missed.

Generally speaking, this group of ten "noble" men has proposed that we remain in Iraq until the Iraqis stand up so we can stand down (sound familiar?), but until at least 2008 (that could be either one year or two years, depending on how you’re counting, and when you are counting from) but there isn’t a deadline in sight, no timetable, just a vague reference to some foggy internal “benchmarks.” But the real nitty-gritty is the requirement that the package be accepted in toto, and no picking and choosing the parts we like.

So what? you ask. Well, here’s so what: Recommendation No. 63 calls on the US to “assist Iraqi leaders to reorganize the national oil industry as a commercial enterprise.” (my emphasis)

The present Iraqi constitution as written would need amending to authorize the privatization of Iraqi oil fields, so Recommendation No. 63 calls for the US government to “provide technical assistance to the Iraqi government to prepare a draft oil law.” To button all this up, the report calls on the US to commit troops in Iraq to provide continuing security for Iraq’s oil infrastructure, for the foreseeable future and probably beyond.

As Antonia Juhasz writes in an editorial in The Los Angeles Times:

“All told, the Iraq Study Group has simply made the case for extending the war until foreign oil companies – presumably American ones – have guaranteed legal access to all of Iraq’s oil fields and until they are assured the best legal and financial terms possible.”

It’s about the oil and American profits; it was always about the oil, and it will continue to be about the oil and American profits.