Colonising Iraq’s Economic Prize

Contradicting the thrust of the above mainstream version of events, PLATFORM, a London-based human rights group monitoring the oil industry, argues that the oil law “has been wrongly described as providing a mechanism for sharing revenue among Iraq’s sectarian groups; in fact, this law does +not+ deal with that issue, which will be the subject of a separate law, not yet drafted”. (PLATFORM, ‘The Iraqi oil sector, privatisation and the UK’s role,’ Submission to the Iraq Commission, 14 June 2007; – our emphasis)

PLATFORM activist Eva Jasiewicz told us:

“The mainstream media, with few exceptions, has uncritically reproduced White House and Foreign Office propaganda over Iraqi oil policy. The reporting has not been lazy; it has actively colluded in the repeated circulation of US-UK lies over revenue sharing, oil for peace and reconciliation as the goals of the law.” (Email to Media Lens, October 9, 2007)

Jasiewicz continued:

“The story of the corporate colonization of Iraq’s oil, and potential dismemberment of the country under a brutal military occupation, has been disappeared from the news agenda. Reporters ignoring the political and economic realities at stake in Iraq are guilty of deception and of promoting the neoliberal agenda of economic takeover of Iraq.”

The Federation of Oil Unions, the largest trade union in the Iraqi oil sector with over 26,000 members, also starkly challenges the media message of “reconciliation”:

“Depending on how it is applied, the current draft of the law could increase poverty, undermine state institutions and worsen the conflict in Iraq.” (PLATFORM, op. cit.)

In reality, Orwellian-named ‘production sharing agreements’ are being prepared which would hand over the lead role in the development of oil resources to corporations under highly-profitable contracts of up to 30 years. Unsurprisingly, this has been met with considerable opposition in Iraq. In response, the ‘production sharing’ terminology has been dropped from later drafts of the law. But as Kamil Mahdi, an economist at the University of Essex warns, “the content remains the same.” (Mahdi, ‘No law for oil,’ Red Pepper, August 2007;

Such lucrative contracts are being sought by US-allied sectarian and political blocks within Iraq, all manoeuvring to gain control of Iraqi politics and state institutions. read article


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