Democrats & Liberals Archives

Democracy in Middle East: Bringing Big oil to Iraq

saddam with donaldSince Saddam Hussein was dethroned, hanged and out of the way, Exxon Mobile, Shell, Total and BP (and new coat-tailer, Chevron) are moving back into Iraq, 36 years after Saddam kicked them out. They’re going back, of course, with the help of ‘no-bid’ contracts to service Iraq’s large oil concession.

The New York Times (link) and the Washington Post (link) reported that Iraq was finishing no-bid contracts with these large oil companies to manage infrastructure refurbishment of the existing oil fields to improve production output, as well as technical support.

Although the short-term goals for the no-bid contracts are limited to service, riders in the contracts secure that these big players are to gain access to vast new oil fields and reserves within Iraq.

“The bigger prize everybody is waiting for is development of the giant new fields,” Leila Benali, an authority on Middle East oil at Cambridge Energy Research Associates, said in a telephone interview from the firm’s Paris office. The current contracts, she said, are a “foothold” in Iraq for companies striving for these longer-term deals.

I realize that, to some, this is “old-news”. But after more than five years of an endless war, with 4102 American and 1,225, 898 (link) Iraqi civilian dead (along with the countless wounded). The real reason why America invaded Iraq comes out…. to spread democracy in the Middle East.

And we all know that you don’t get true democracy until large corporations move in.

Posted by john trevisani at June 23, 2008 7:27 AM
Comment #256447

Before the invasion, the invasion was about oil. It would have been obviously about oil from then to now, except the civil war kept the oil industry cut back for years. Now that the surge has reduced the violence to the point that it is relatively safe to work the oil, the reason for the invasion and the reason for the surge are revealed again.

Couldn’t be plainer if Bush had just blurted it out, ‘It Was Always About the Oil.’

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 23, 2008 9:10 AM
Comment #256451

John and David

could not agree more. This war is disgusting and amoral as are the leaders who are responsible for this. It is times like these that I wished I believed in hell so that I would know that people like Bush and Cheney would receive their just rewards.

I do not exclude the democrats that are culpable in this as well. Why we are not impeaching this president is beyond my understanding. I am a democrat but feel I have been sorely represented by the current collaborators in congress. Pelosi and Reid need to go.

Posted by: Carolina at June 23, 2008 10:05 AM
Comment #256454

Now that victory has been achieved can we bring the troops home or will the American taxpayer continue to foot the bill for securing the oil fields for the big 5 oil companies? Seems we should get the lions share of the proceeds for the effort of our troops on the behalf of the oil copmpanies.

I suppose that the righties are still arguing that off shore and ANWR drilling is vital to our best interests. However it would seem with this work ahead of them the oil companies may not need to explore ANWR and off shore for a awhile.

Posted by: j2t2 at June 23, 2008 10:39 AM
Comment #256457

I wouldn’t necessarily say that the invasion and occupation of Iraq was all about the oil other than it is obvious that our interest in the Middle East in general is because of the oil. I think it was a perfect storm of bad ideology in thinking that we could start a wave of fledgling democracies in the region by forcing it down the Iraqis throats; of bad intelligence used badly - everyone thought that they had WMDs (bad intel) and Bush was ignorant enough to use it to start a war (bad intel used badly); bad culture in the US - we were reeling from 9-11 and Americans were angry enough about that to let Bush whip the country into a war fever; and finally the oil - we wouldn’t be there without it and our government has a very strange view of what democracy is - they seem to think that democracy means a country that allows our corporations to extract the wealth from a country for very little in return for anyone other than the people running the government. I don’t think we have gotten involved in any war for a singular reason but for anyone to say it’s not about the oil is just not true. No oil = no war.

We are essentially turning Iraq into an oil colony to make sure our corporations have access to cheap oil to make billions selling it back to the people who have paid for it already in tax money and in the blood of our troops. In addition, we have put Iraq back on the same course they were on before Saddam Hussein took over the country 30+ years ago. They were not reaping the real benefits of their natural resources - American oil companies were really the ones profiting and apparently soon will be again and the cycle repeats itself.

Why I think that the reason we got into this war should be such an important issue for the November election isn’t whether or not Obama or McCain have drastically different policies about what to do with Iraq and our army occupying the country. To be honest, I don’t know what the answer is - pulling out immediately might start a civil war and more death and misery for a people who have had more than their share in the last 5 years; it might give the Iraqi gov’t the impetus to start figuring things out for themselves. We do owe something to the Iraqi people after breaking their country and maybe that means staying, I don’t know. But what makes this such a vital politic issue and hasn’t really been used effectively by the Democrats is that a decision like that should never ever be made again. McCain seems to be defending Bush’s decision to go to war even though he has been critical about the way it was done. Obama should be hammering this point that America should never again start a war of choice. There are way too many unintended and unexpected consequences and our history has shown it never turns out well. Preemptive warfare is among the worst foreign policy decisions that you can possibly make and this is what needs to be discredited and abandoned as a course of action.

Posted by: tcsned at June 23, 2008 11:05 AM
Comment #256460

While America gnashes it teeth in recriminations, manifest destiny moves forward. Slaughter Native Americans, Mexicans and Iraqi’s. Whomever happens to be in the way. While the younger Bush may not have to blurt it out, his father did during his Gulf War. I’ve tried to find this quote without success. It’s vanished from the record. This is about the Cartel and absolute control. Why is gasoline higher in Europe? When it is closer to the source? They can’t provide the military thuggery the US can. What a deal.

Posted by: googlumpugus at June 23, 2008 11:33 AM
Comment #256461

The nearest I can to finding the quote I was referring to is this YouTube video. I’m not sure if any of these clips are from the speech I was referring to. Bush’s response was to a question from a reported. He responded by saying that the price of oil would skyrocket if he did not act.

But like the documentary states, polling showed that this was a misstep. Bush II was not much different from Bush I, Bush I was just a little slicker. There was never a reference to oil again.

Posted by: googlumpugus at June 23, 2008 11:45 AM
Comment #256468

“Why is gasoline higher in Europe? When it is closer to the source? They can’t provide the military thuggery the US can. What a deal.”
Posted by: googlumpugus at June 23, 2008 11:33 AM

Wow, what a statement. You may wish to do a little reading to discover why Europe pays more at the pump. Can you say taxes? Much the same brilliant strategy the liberal goons would have the American taxpayer swallow. As for oil, it is a commodity traded just the same as corn, coffee, pork bellies and gold.

Many Obama fanatics proclaim his great wisdom in declaring his opposition to the war without being in a position to vote either for or against. Once again we are seeing Obama’s great wisdom in defending using food for fuel while his real motives run much deeper and darker as you may read in this editorial from the NY Times.

The “chickens are coming home to roost” for this great thinker and author of change. His call for change is easily translated into, I not only want your tax dollars, but your “change” as well. I would encourage all those who attend Obama gatherings to rattle the change in their pocket and shout, “Here’s your change Obama”.

Posted by: Jim M at June 23, 2008 1:07 PM
Comment #256472

Those 58 permanent bases in Iraq are for the purpose of creating two new boundries within the boundry of Iraq. One aroude the southern oil fields and one around the northern fields.

The shareholders of oil stocks are receiving huge profits from the price of oil. They put these profits into the commodities market driving up the price of oil and everything else.

No other business on this planet comes close to producing the kinds of profits that oil does. It would be far better to place a huge tax on the shareholders profits than to place a windfall profits tax on the oil companies. If we make the shareholders oil stocks less profitable, perhaps they will find less taxable alternatives for their investment dollars.

The windfall profits tax placed on oil companies in the 1980’s was projected to provide 395 billion dollars in revenue for the government. The oil companies bribed the politicians into providing a ton of loopholes in the bill. As a result, the revenue to the federal government was reduced to 80 billion.

Perhaps the shareholders will invest their money in Obama’s ethanol cartel.

Posted by: jlw at June 23, 2008 1:27 PM
Comment #256474


Don’t you think it’s a little deceptive to post only a portion of the whole truth?

Yes, the big oil companies are moving back into Iraq, BUT…you failed to mention that there were 41 (yes…41…not just 5) total foreign oil firms that the contracts were awarded to.

A slight omission? An omission to support your premise? Awarding contracts to 35 oil firms and 6 state owned oil firms is a little more than 5, wouldn’t you say?

Please tell the whole story. Only telling part of the story does elicit a “knee jerk” reaction I’m sure you’re looking for, but the whole truth is always better than telling the part that will support your premise.

Here’s the whole story about the awarding the oil contracts.

Posted by: Jim T at June 23, 2008 1:48 PM
Comment #256492

Last year you guys said we couldn’t win and should just scurry off. We created the success you said could not be done. Now you can just talk about the cost of victory. That is a valid discussion, but much better than the debate about the cost of defeat.

Obama would have taken the chicken run in 2006 and we would be screwed today. He was wrong, as were all who said it couldn’t be done. I am content today to know that the criticism has become the yapping and ankle biting about costs, and not about defeat.

Posted by: Jack at June 23, 2008 3:59 PM
Comment #256493


Not so sure of your point here. America has had interest in the middle east because of oil for some time. I think at least since the end of WWII.

It is hard to imagine what the world would be like if there were no oil in the middle east.

Yes the root cause of the war in Iraq was oil. So was the root cause of the first war in Iraq. So was the root cause of the Clinton policy towards Iraq.

You also need to look at oil for food.

I think you are trying to somehow paint Bush as outside the norm on this point. Actually every president at least since Rosevelt has supported this policy.

If Iraq had no oil, Iraq would not have been a major foreign policy issue for the last 20 years.

If it wasn’t for oil the Senate would not have unanamously passed the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 !!

Posted by: Craig Holmes at June 23, 2008 4:05 PM
Comment #256496

Well said. i read that Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol said that Bush is more likely to bomb Iran if he thinks that Obama will win the election. His reasoning is that McCain will continue with Bush’s foreign policy and Obama wouldn’t.

Posted by: john trevisani at June 23, 2008 4:07 PM
Comment #256497

While the US had interests in the Middle East since WWII, we didn’t invade a sovereign country to take their oil until 2003.

Oil for food? How about BLOOD for oil. How about all of the fine American families throughout the country who watched their brave family members go overseas after being told to ‘protect the homeland’, only to find that the real reason was to ‘protect the oil companies balance sheet’?

Posted by: john trevisani at June 23, 2008 4:12 PM
Comment #256511


Oil for food? How about BLOOD for oil. How about all of the fine American families throughout the country who watched their brave family members go overseas after being told to ‘protect the homeland’, only to find that the real reason was to ‘protect the oil companies balance sheet’?

You are talking about the first war right?

“No Blood for oil” was the peace theme in 1990.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at June 23, 2008 5:25 PM
Comment #256513


Are you implying that we can now claim victory in Iraq? If so I will take your word for it and emphasize that if that is the case then we should probably be drawing up redeployment plans.

So far as I am concerned I personally do not wish for any of my tax dollars to go towards providing security for big oil. They are making plenty, let them foot the bill for their own protection. It is time to give our troops a break from the stresses of war. It is also time to regroup our military and refresh depleted assets.

Posted by: RickIL at June 23, 2008 5:45 PM
Comment #256520


I am not sure what you are proposing. What about the consumers of oil? America has kept those shipping lanes open for 60 years. Are you suggesting that we pull back and bring all the troops home, navy included?

My son is in Kuwait. Do you want him home as well?

Do you just mean Iraq?

What about Qatar? Do you want those troops home as well?

What about our signed contracts with Saudi Arabia. Should be stop those as well?

What about the no fly zone the we kept in place through the 1990’s was that bad as well?

Just wondering where your limits are.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at June 23, 2008 6:05 PM
Comment #256534

Jim T

Here is another source that says the big 5 not 41 companies are being awarded contracts. The original 41 were invited to bid out of a field of 70.

Are you sue about breitbart being correct?

Posted by: j2t2 at June 23, 2008 7:11 PM
Comment #256538

I think the Iraqis are taking a rather practical approach to the oil issue. Give the oil companies short term contracts to develop the oil fields until they get the American monkey off their backs. Then they can do what they want to do, nationalize.

Posted by: jlw at June 23, 2008 7:42 PM
Comment #256545

“The real reason why America invaded Iraq comes out…. to spread democracy in the Middle East.”

John T. was being sarcastic, of course…but such is the line that the Neo-Cons tried to feed us.

How about a little history from someone else who used the spread of ‘freedom’ as their excuse to wage aggressive war:

“Some might question whether America is as shining an example of these good things as is often claimed. Nonetheless, spreading them around is certainly a more appealing policy than propping up ”our” dictators in the name of realpolitik. Still, history shows that the forceful imposition of even decent ideas in the claim of universalism tends to backfire — creating not converts but enemies who will do anything to defend their blood and soil.

Such was the response two centuries ago of the German-speaking areas of Europe when Napoleon’s armies invaded them under the banner of universal freedom, equality and brotherhood. Napoleon was a despot and his Grande Armée could be brutal, to be sure, but his reforms were mostly beneficial. Religious freedom was established, government efficiency improved, and the Napoleonic legal code has served continental Europeans well for two centuries.

Yet France’s armed intervention was deeply resented. Some nativist reactions were relatively benign: romantic poetry celebrating the native soul, or a taste for folkloric roots. But in other cases the native soul, especially in Germany, turned sour and became anti-liberal, anti-cosmopolitan, and anti-Semitic. Some 19th-century nativists claimed that Napoleon was a Jew. This was not just because he liberated the Jews from their ghettoes and declared that France would be their homeland, but also because universal ideals, promising equality for all, have often been associated by nativists with rootless cosmopolitanism, which in their eyes is synonymous with Jewishness.

As soon as Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo, the liberal laws he instituted in Prussia were annulled. And a century later, the resentments planted by Napoleon’s armed liberation sprouted their most bitter fruits in Nazi Germany.”

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 23, 2008 8:23 PM
Comment #256551


Just wondering where your limits are.

Redeployment in that the bulk of our troops return come home from Iraq. If Jack is indeed implying victory, I am assuming that means a stable operating country with a functional government capable of defending themselves. I do not support providing security for large corporations. They have the funds let them do it on their own. They have the best of two worlds, they get to rape us at the pumps and rely on our tax dollars to insure that their companies remain profitable and under the proper control. If it takes my tax dollars to insure that they are able to maintain an outrageous profit margin then perhaps it is time that we nationalize our oil concerns. If I am going to be required to subsidize the most profitable industry on earth I would like to have some say, via the polling booth, as to how it operates.

Fact is I am a huge supporter of alternatives. I think it is of the utmost importance that we begin now to wean ourselves of an industry which oozes slime at every orifice. No pun intended. I would much rather subsidize alternatives and provide a jump start to an industry that would flourish if given the chance.

Posted by: RickIL at June 23, 2008 9:12 PM
Comment #256562


perhaps it is time that we nationalize our oil concerns.

So you are for socialism?

I do not support providing security for large corporations.

I think you should rethink that. There would be no globalization without our military. there would be no “free trade”. Our navy protects major shipping lanes around the world. There is not a major corporation in the world that the military is not providing security for. If we were to stop, then our standard of living would drastically decline.

As for outrageous profit margins. Their margins are not ourtrageous.
There profits may be but not their margins. I think it’s about 7.6% are something like that.

I think over time you will see many troops coming home regardless of who is President. All wars wind down.

The latest information I have is yes we have won the war, but Iraq’s military is still dependent on ours for logistics, training etc. That worst thing we could possibly do is what Obama is suggesting, to just walk away. I think you will see a recommendation to pull some troops out this fall.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at June 23, 2008 11:03 PM
Comment #256564

Jim M,

Your right. I admit when I make an error, and that was a big one. Thanks for the correction.

I do however think, like Jack, that bastion of liberalism does, that higher prices will impel us further toward reducing demand and less involvement in foreign entanglements. Those taxes could build better mass transit(like Europe) and the savings in defense spending could be applied here at home.

I agree Ethanol is a bad proposition. I don’t think we’ll have to invade Iowa, however, and spend 4000 lives to get it.

Posted by: googlumpugus at June 23, 2008 11:19 PM
Comment #256566


Are you also angry at Gold producers, and farmers? Many commodities are on the rise. You only mentioned Oil companies. Oil companies I think are making about 10 cents/gallon in profit.

Not sure why we demonize them

Posted by: Craig Holmes at June 23, 2008 11:43 PM
Comment #256583

Jack and google.

Alcohol is not a bad proposition. The way we are doing it is. Instead of corn exclusively we should be encouraging the developement of sugarcane and cellulosic conversion. geopolitically this would have a nember of good effects close to home in the Caribbean. There is a renant industry there already. Cane production is the best,proven crop in the region. Cane conversion has benn practiced for hundreds of years. Rebooting the industry would strenghten the economies of mostly friendly countries near our borders.Perhaps even Haiti,the poorest nation in the New World.This would expand US influence in a region that actually matters to US security. If we don’t,Cuba will. The big industry there now is tourism. Thats great but only sustains part of an expanding population. The rest wind up emmigrating, legally or not. Most to the US. Jack in particular. Time to get outside the box no matter what McCains pet lobbiest say. The investment involved should be less than the touted offshore expansion and produce sustainable results quicker.
Regards BillS in the RP.

Posted by: BillS at June 24, 2008 6:46 AM
Comment #256590

Jack you said, “Obama would have taken the chicken run in 2006 and we would be screwed today. He was wrong, as were all who said it couldn’t be done. I am content today to know that the criticism has become the yapping and ankle biting about costs, and not about defeat.”

I don’t think that anyone who says that this war was a huge mistake and we shouldn’t have been there in the first place is a chicken. I would say that these people are smart, certainly a lot smarter than the group that got us stuck there. While I am happy that the level of violence is down - too many innocent people have already died for this mistake, too many brave soldiers have died for this mistake, and too many lives have been shattered for this mistake. All of this talk about the surge working is a little naive. The violence is down for sure, but the reason why the violence is down is a lot more complicated than just because of the surge. The Baghdad neighborhoods that were to locus of much of the Shiite-Sunni violence have been for the most part ethnically cleansed. Without the mix of ethnicities causing problems and more distinct boundaries between rival factions the US Army’s job was made a lot easier.

Iraq’s problems have only really been delayed by this surge which took a terrible toll on American troops. They are no closer to having some sort of unity government than they were in 2003. There is no national movement, no nationalism that crosses religious lines. We have successfully engineered a stand off nothing more. They haven’t used this so called breathing room to move towards some sort of national reconciliation.

I believe that there are no easy outs in Iraq - if we pull out now there will likely be a bloody civil war. Then again, if we pull out in 10 years there will likely be a bloody civil war. We opened Pandora’s Box when Bush made the unilateral decision to invade and occupy Iraq. They were either delusional about how things would go there or they knew full well and caused this nightmare for some insidious purpose (oil, privatizing the military, robbing the treasury, enriching war profiteers, etc). Either way Iraq was a blunder of monumental and impeachable proportions.

I don’t think that there is a good outcome possible for the poor people of Iraq and if by some fluke a democracy does emerge from Iraq it will only happen after a lot of ethnic cleansing.

Now back to the chicken comment, I think a much stronger case can be made that the chickens are roosting on the other side of the aisle and in the Whitehouse. It is chicken to wage a war without asking the American people to sacrifice anything for it. We have been told by the Bush Administration to go about our business and by cheap plastic crap with lead paint on it from China at the nearest WalMart instead of tightening our belts and paying for this war. Instead, they chickened out and placed the financial burden of this war on my children and my future grandchildren because they were afraid that if the American people were actually asked to pay for this war they would have rejected it and the politicians that got us stuck there. It is chicken to use the national guard and stop-lossed troops to carry the burden of this war instead of asking the American people to contribute their blood to the war. I think an all volunteer military is a good thing but it is insufficient to fill the demands the Bush Administration has put upon it. This administration is packed full of chicken-hawks who are all for military action unless it means that they would have to be in harms way. Here McCain at least has credibility, he knows the horrors of war better than Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and the rest. McCain’s problems aren’t being a chicken but rather in his belief that we lost Vietnam because we gave up and if we had just stayed in it longer we would have won which we wouldn’t have no matter how long we stayed - the same is true with Iraq.

Iraq all boils down to this - there will never be democracy or peace in Iraq until they reach a point where a Sunni would vote for a Shiite because they share political ideology. This didn’t happen in any election that has been held in Iraq. When they held national elections all of those purple fingers were votes for their own ethnic group not for political ideology. It would be as if in this country a Baptist presidential candidate would not get my vote simply because I was raised Catholic. Sunni and Shiite are not political parties or rather they should not be political parties but they are. Until I see some convincing evidence that this is changing then I will continue to be pessimistic about Iraq and the Middle East in general. All that exists in Iraq is a brewing civil war not democracy, not stability, not victory as many are asserting.

Posted by: tcsned at June 24, 2008 8:24 AM
Comment #256599

tcsned -

You’re right that there will never be democracy in Iraq until a Sunni will vote for a Shi’a and vice versa based on political beliefs alone.

BUT that will not happen on any scale large enough to matter.


The Shi’a/Sunni split is NOT like the difference between Catholics and protestants. It’s more akin to the difference between, say, Moonies and Catholics, but worse. In America, it might be scandalous to marry someone of a different religion. Between Sunni and Shi’a, it’s a quick way to the grave (or, if the couple is lucky, ‘only’ prison). To garble an old saying, Shi’a is Shi’a and Sunni is Sunni and ne’er the twain shall meet.

They can work together, but you will NOT see democratically political cooperation between the two on a scale large enough to matter.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 24, 2008 11:11 AM
Comment #256605


I don’t see the difference in the basic facts of the two articles. I see the difference in writing style…downplaying the other oil companies and focusing on the big 5 oil companies and insinuating that Americans in the oil ministry influenced the contracts for American oil companies.

From your article:

According to Iraq’s oil ministry officials and an American diplomat, Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP - the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company - along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq’s Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq’s largest fields.

(emphasis mine)


There was suspicion among many in the Arab world and among parts of the American public that the United States had gone to war in Iraq precisely to secure the oil wealth these contracts seek to extract. The Bush administration claims that the war was necessary to combat terrorism. It is not clear what role the United States played in awarding the contracts; there are still American advisers to Iraq’s Oil Ministry.

(emphasis mine)

Clearly the writer of this article believes that America, specifically Bush, started this war for oil.

I do believe the Breitbart article more, as they give all the facts right up front and don’t try to “slant” the article to the “see…I told you so” point of view.

From my article…

Iraq will award contracts to 41 foreign oil firms in a bid to boost production that could give multinationals a potentially lucrative foothold in huge but underdeveloped oil fields, an official said on Sunday.

“We chose 35 companies of international standard, according to their finances, environment and experience, and we granted them permission to extract oil,” oil ministry spokesman Asim Jihad told AFP.

Six other state-owned oil firms from Algeria, Angola, Pakistan, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam will also be awarded extraction deals, Jihad said.

The agreements, to be signed on June 30, are expected to be short-term arrangements although the ministry has yet to provide a timeframe.

Do you see the difference? Right up front, you find out that the big 5 are not the only ones getting a “no-bid” contract. Also, you’ll find the name of the oil minister…not just an off-hand reference to unnamed “Iraqi oil officials”.

Yes, I want to know the whole story…not just someone’s “see I told you so” slant on a story.

Posted by: Jim T at June 24, 2008 11:45 AM
Comment #256608

Exactly my point. Which is why this whole war was so misconceived from the outset. The Neo-Cons thought that this war would bring a wave of democracy to the Middle East and there is pretty much a 0% chance that it will ever happen.

So what is the solution for Iraq? Let them fight it out and the top dog rules the country? Stay there forever as a barrier between them (McCain/Bush plan)? Install another Saddam-like strongman who can use fear and violence to force the people into getting along (we would be back at square one)?

This is why it is next to impossible to force democracy on a country at the point of a gun and why we should not be in that business. Preemptive warfare should forever be discredited as a policy as well as exporting democracy. We can support movements towards democracy when they are strong enough and have enough popular support to be viable. McCain and Bush refuse to see it and electing McCain to the presidency will bring more of the same bad decisions that have us currently stuck in Iraq with no good options.

Posted by: tcsned at June 24, 2008 11:55 AM
Comment #256654

From the same article Jim T

“The no-bid contracts are unusual for the industry, and the offers prevailed over others by more than 40 companies, including companies in Russia, China and India. The contracts, which would run for one to two years and are relatively small by industry standards, would nonetheless give the companies an advantage in bidding on future contracts in a country that many experts consider to be the best hope for a large-scale increase in oil production.”

Led me to believe that the other 35 got the bones while the big 5 got the steak. So I guess as most news outlets don’t consider this to be news we will have to wait unti 30 June 08 to find out who is signing deals and who isn’t signing deals.

I also looked at this reference to be more neutral than you did as the
“There was suspicion among many in the Arab world and among parts of the American public that the United States had gone to war in Iraq precisely to secure the oil wealth these contracts seek to extract. The Bush administration claims that the war was necessary to combat terrorism. It is not clear what role the United States played in awarding the contracts; there are still American advisers to Iraq’s Oil Ministry.”
comment doesnt slant the article it just reports what many thought and Bush’s comment to give both perspectives IMHO.

From Breitbart:
“These agreements will be announced alongside technical support agreements (TSAs) with five foreign oil majors.”

So it seems the 5 big dogs get the TSA’a and the remaining 35 get something I’m just not sure what. Seems the TSA’s are the big prize but none of the articles are real clear on that.

I do agree the breitbart article gave more facts specific to the contracts though.

Posted by: j2t2 at June 24, 2008 4:06 PM
Comment #256659

Democracy in the Middle East will have religious overtones that we will not like any more than the peculiarities of the monarchies who are our allies. Would I want someone’s son to come home from Kuwait? Of course! Why would anyone want their son there instead of here. Shipping lanes? How about an International Maritime Commission dealing with that instead of the US Navy? We are too poor and debt-ridden now to afford it anyway.

Posted by: ohrealy at June 24, 2008 5:30 PM
Comment #256681

Wouldn’t it have been cheaper and easier to just buy it from them in 2003 at $140 a barrel? Oh wait! Playing cowboys and indians is more fun with real bullets.

Posted by: Stephen Hines at June 24, 2008 9:02 PM
Comment #256690

ohreally, you say that democracy in the middle east will have religious overtones - suicide bombs at mosques, abductions, and executions are a little more than peculiarities or overtones - democratic societies work their differences out peacefully (for the most part). There is absolutely nothing about the political nature of Iraq that would lead me to believe that they have any hope of peacefully working out their problems much less forming a democracy.

Posted by: tcsned at June 24, 2008 10:29 PM
Comment #256693

“Couldn’t be plainer if Bush had just blurted it out, ‘It Was Always About the Oil.’”

David R. Remer,

Yep! When you’re right you’re right! Most of us knew, and those who still deny it are either downright stupid or complicate in the scheme!

But it’s damn important to note that very few Democrats tried to stop this abomination of an administration! We Dems can NOT blame this purely on the Republicans!

All but a very few are mired deeply in this shit!

Posted by: KansasDem at June 24, 2008 11:01 PM
Comment #256709

KansasDem -

There’s a real good reason why the Democrats in Congress haven’t done more - they’ CAN’T.


They CANNOT impeach Bush or overturn any of his vetos without the Republicans, because while the Dems have a majority of one (named Liebermann), they do NOT have enough of a majority to override Bush and the Republican senators.

All the Dems could have done was to force the troops to come home by taking away the funding from the military…and that would have been political suicide.

So the Dems are doing the best they can - and if they can’t make it all happen the way we’d like, then let’s elect some MORE democrats so we CAN make it happen.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 25, 2008 5:04 AM
Comment #256717

“All the Dems could have done was to force the troops to come home by taking away the funding from the military…and that would have been political suicide.

So the Dems are doing the best they can - and if they can’t make it all happen the way we’d like, then let’s elect some MORE democrats so we CAN make it happen.”
Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 25, 2008 05:04 AM

I am curious Glenn, you said voting to unfund the military to get the US out of Iraq would be “political Suicide”. If your position is so popular with voting Americans, why would it be political suicide. Common sense would indicate the opposite.

You also imply that all democrats who may be elected in 2008 will support your position. More political suicide? Just wondering.

Posted by: Jim M at June 25, 2008 11:53 AM
Comment #256721

Jim & Glenn,
I agree with Glenn - it would have been another thing that the GOP could bludgeon the Dems with if they de-funded the war. It would hurt reelection chances and hurt Obama’s chance to win in November.

That being said, I still say it is cowardice to not de-fund the war just to save their jobs. How many people have lost their lives, how many families have been put through the most horrible tragedies both here and in Iraq for a really bad decision to go to war. Losing a job in Congress even the presidency is minor compared to all the suffering that has been caused by this misguided war.

I personally go back and forth about withdrawal. I think that while there is very little getting done to make the future better for the Iraqis - we caused this mess (rather George W. Bush, worst President in history caused this mess). We now owe it to the Iraqi people to do right by them if that means that we stay a little longer to try to help I can see that since we are to blame for the situation. I suspect, however, that no matter how long we stay the outcome will be the same - bloody civil war that causes even more suffering for a people who have had enough. Leaving tomorrow probably won’t cause more loss of Iraqi life than leaving in 10 years.

Where the Dems have really been cowardly is in not denouncing the concept of preemptive warfare. I really hate listening to these smug, self-righteous Republicans saying that arguing about why and how we got into this mess is irrelevant when it is, I think, the most relevant issue in this election cycle. Anyone who starts a war like this belongs in the deepest darkest jail cell that can be built (this would include a lot of Dems along with almost every Republican), impeachment would have only begun to address George Bush’s crimes. These folks are very cavalier with other peoples’ lives and very protective of their own (chicken-hawks). There is a need for a strong military in this country but that need is starting wars of choice they are for necessity.

Posted by: tcsned at June 25, 2008 12:37 PM
Comment #256727

So, it’s the folks who won’t defund the war who are at fault? Not the folks who took us to this war, with the threat of “unpatriotic” for anyone who didn’t vote for the President to use force? Please, let’s get our priorities straight.

Posted by: womanmarine at June 25, 2008 2:15 PM
Comment #256745

womanmarine - the fault lies squarely on the president and the GOP leadership that brought us this war. Though I don’t think that the Dems get a free pass because of fear of being labeled unpatriotic. Like I said getting called names even losing their jobs is minuscule compared to even one person losing their life much less 4,000+ Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. If you have it within your power to do something and you don’t, even worse to capitulate out of fear gets some of the fault.

The Dems did a poor job, and have really done a poor job for the last 30 years at letting the GOP paint them as weak or unpatriotic because they are rightfully cautious about using military force. When Bush was busy lying us into this war, I said at the time that Saddam probably did give up his WMDs but couldn’t let his people know that he had done so for sure because fear was the only thing holding this country together - not only that but I thought that the initial military campaign would be fairly quick but then we would get bled to death in an insurgency and civil war (recent events in Yugoslavia showed how when a strong man is removed that ethnic tensions that had been pushed down will start to bubble to the surface).

The Dems deserve blame for capitulation and for not coming up with an argument to counter that lame-old GOP accusation of “un-American” and “weak on defense” that they have been reusing since Reagan.

Posted by: tcsned at June 25, 2008 4:35 PM
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