Monday, June 04, 2007

Iraqis come to US to protest Bush oil theft law

The Iraqis are coming all the way to the US to protest not outside Congress but outside Bearingpoint, the firm Bush hired to write the Hydrocarbon Law that will rob their country's oil income, the source of most of their wealth.

The Iraqis are fighting a Bush war crime, and most Democrats in Congress are looking the other way. In fact, the Democrats included a benchmark in the Iraq Appropriation bill that requires Iraqis to pass the law.

If the Iraqis wanted to, they could do more than protest Bearingpoint--they could sue them using the Alien Tort Statute that allows people to sue American companies for human rights violations in other countries. Aiding an economic war crime might count.

If Bush succeeds in getting this Hydrocarbon Law passed, it will not only prove to Iraqis and the Arab world that we went there to steal their oil and earn decades more hatred, it will also mean that our troops have to stay to enforce the law, which is what Bush meant when he said stay for decades.


June 3, 2007, 6:59PM

Oily Law

Protesters from Iraq draw attention to a law they fear will give control of their oil to foreign investors.

On Tuesday Iraqi oil union leaders will protest in Washington outside the offices of a consulting firm called BearingPoint. A contingent from the 26,000-member union of oil workers is on a 14-city tour to bring to the American people a heartfelt plea: Please separate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq from the passage of an oil law by the Iraqi Parliament.

With Congress pushing for benchmarks, the Bush administration has been pressing Parliament to pass the oil law. Administration and media focus has been on the provision that states that oil and gas in Iraq are owned by all its people in all regions and governorates. Unfortunately, the law does not stipulate how to fairly distribute oil revenues. Distribution of the nation's vast oil reserves is vastly unequal, and there is no system of mineral rights, which weren't needed under Iraq's national oil company.

This familiar controversy is not the source of outrage for the visiting union members. Their fear centers around the provisions in the 33-page law that have received little scrutiny in the media. They say the law forces privatization of the Iraqi oil industry, an industry that is responsible for almost 70 percent of the gross domestic product.

The nation's five trade unions, representing hundreds of thousands of workers, issued a statement that the law would amount to handing control over oil to foreign companies and undermining the sovereignty of the state and the dignity of the Iraqi people.


The union protesters pose an important question: To what degree will foreign investment be coerced, and to what degree will Iraq share in the wealth created by that investment? If oil profits wind up in the pockets of foreign investors, there might be little of the trillions in oil wealth for Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds to share.


Iraqis fighting to keep their oil

OIL motive for IRAQ WAR resources

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