Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

SWIRLING AND SHIFTING SANDS OF OCCUPATION

George W. met yesterday with a dozen moderate Republican leaders who are growing increasingly worried about losing their congressional seats over the occupation of Iraq. They said they'd give him three months to turn things around in Iraq.

All the talk these days is about benchmarks. Chief among those benchmarks for the Iraqi government to cross is the "hydro-carbon law". Translation into real language - the Iraqi's must quickly pass the law giving U.S. and British oil companies control of their oil resources.

In a new article Rolling Stone reports, "The law, endorsed here by the Democrats, is an unusually vicious piece of legislation, an open blueprint for colonial robbery of the Iraqi nation......It allows foreign companies to take advantage of Iraqi oil fields by allowing regions to pair up with foreigners using what are known as 'production-sharing agreements' or PSAs, which guarantee investing companies large shares of the profits for decades into the future. The law also makes it impossible for the Iraqi state to regulate levels of oil production (seriously undermining OPEC), allows oil companies to repatriate profits, and would also allow companies to hire foreign workers to man facilities. Add all the measures up and the Hydrocarbon law not only takes control of the oil industry away from the Iraqi state, but virtually guarantees that the state will profit very little from future oil exploitation."

Yesterday I read another very interesting article [click on link in above headline] giving the low-down on the growing conflict within the Iraqi parliament.

The article reports, "The continuing occupation of Iraq and the allocation of Iraq's resources -- especially its massive oil and natural gas deposits -- are the defining issues that now separate an increasingly restless bloc of nationalists in the Iraqi parliament from the administration of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose government is dominated by Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish separatists."

"By 'separatists,' we mean groups who oppose a unified Iraq with a strong central government.....favor partitioning Iraq into three autonomous regions with strong local governments and a weak central administration in Baghdad. (The partition plan is also favored by several congressional Democrats, notably Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware.)"

"Iraq's separatists also oppose setting a timetable for ending the U.S. occupation, preferring the addition of more American troops to secure their regime. They favor privatizing Iraq's oil and gas and decentralizing petroleum operations and revenue distribution."

"But public opinion is squarely with Iraq's nationalists. According to a poll by the University of Maryland's Project on International Public Policy Attitudes, majorities of all three of Iraq's major ethno-sectarian groups support a unified Iraq with a strong central government. For at least two years, poll after poll has shown that large majorities of Iraqis of all ethnicity's and sects want the United States to set a timeline for withdrawal, even though (in the case of Baghdad residents), they expect the security situation to deteriorate in the short term as a result."

One Iraqi nationalist member of Parliament said, "We're afraid the U.S. will make us pass this new oil law through intimidation and threatening. We don't want it to pass, and we know it'll make things worse, but we're afraid to rise up and block it, because we don't want to be bombed and arrested the next day."

So the picture is made clearer for us now. Much of the violence in Iraq is not over religion, though that is how our corporate dominated media portray it, but in fact is between the separatists (supported by the U.S. military) and those nationalists who dare to say that Iraqi oil should remain in the hands of the people of Iraq.

So when the Democrats say that Bush has not done enough to get the Iraqi parliament to pass "benchmarks" what they are really saying is that Bush must speed up the process of destroying the nationalist Iraqi leaders so that the separatist Iraqis can push through the "hydro-carbon law" which the oil corporations are eagerly lobbying for.

Right now the nationalist group has a slight control of the Iraqi parliament but the fact they fear for their lives indicates they know that the U.S. military, working hand-in-hand with the Iraqi separatists, makes their lives very insecure.

These are the kinds of details the peace movement must help the public begin to understand if we have any hope to bringing true peace and justice to Iraq.

The peace movement must also begin to see how the Democrats are playing the "benchmarks" game as a way to line up behind the oil corporation interests in Iraq while at the same time appearing to be "against" the war.

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