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Enduring an Occupation for Oil

An "Enduring" Relationship for Security and Enduring an Occupation for Oil

By Ann Wright
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Last week Iraq's Maliki government "asked" President Bush for an "enduring" strategic security relationship with the United States that will have 50,000 US military and probably 50,000-75,000 US contractors/mercenaries in Iraq for decades. Reportedly these 100,000-plus Americans will be primarily confined to the fourteen permanent bases built by the US. Their role, according to Bush's point person on Iraq, retired US Army Gen. Douglas Lute, will be to backstop, perhaps for the next 50 years, newly trained Iraqi military and police forces. Iraq's new strategic security relationship also contains an agreement for preferential treatment from the Iraqi government to American corporations.

But, there is another "enduring" situation in Iraq. March 19, 2008, begins the sixth year of the occupation of Iraq. The Iraqis already have endured five long years of US occupation! During this occupation, 1.2 million Iraqis have died and four million are refugees outside the country or internally displaced within the country. Water, sewage and electrical infrastructure is destroyed, health care and education are abysmal and few Iraqis feel safe under the occupation.

How much "enduring" can Iraqis take?

The Iraqi parliament is solidly opposed to Maliki's charade that, for their own security, Iraqis desire the long-term occupation of their country by Christian oil crusaders from the United States. In particular, influential cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who heads a militia that has targeted the US military in the past, strongly objects to the Maliki government's "strategic" relationship with the US.

The Iraqi parliament knows that an "enduring security" relationship with the US is a codeword for an "enduring profit" relationship for US oil companies. The Iraqi parliament has steadfastly refused to enact Bush's benchmark No. 1, the hydrocarbon law, written by US oil barons brought to Iraq in 2003. That law provides sweetheart deals for the international privatization of Iraq's "undiscovered" oil fields. Actually, everyone knows where to "discover" the oil in Iraq. The undiscovered oil, or hydrocarbon as the Bush administration likes to refer to it, is so close to the surface, so easy to access and of such high quality that these oil fields have been saved by the Iraqi oil industry for drilling whenever they wish.

International (read US) companies have been salivating over "undiscovered" Iraqi oil for years. When Vice President Dick Cheney was CEO of the financially distressed oil industry giant Halliburton, he remarked in an oil conference in Cairo in April 1996 that was reported by Petroleum Finance Week that "The problem is that the good Lord didn't see fit to always put oil and gas resources where there are democratic governments." Cheney and Bush seem to think that the "good Lord" gave them the right to go after oil and gas wherever it is and by war and occupation.

Cheney's secretive Energy Task Force, whose membership we still do not fully know, issued a report in 2003 that stated that Middle East oil producers "will remain central to world oil security." It argued that oil producers should open their fields to foreign investment. More recently, Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006, wrote in "The Age of Turbulence," his new book, "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil."

For US corporations, the proposed "enduring" strategic security relationship with Iraq is a dream come true. From Halliburton, KBR, Parsons, Blackwater and Triple Canopy to Burger King and Taco Bell, this relationship means multibillion-dollar contracts to support the 50,000 US military left-behind force and the 50,000-75,000 US contractors needed to service the military force. For the oil giants of America, the "enduring" strategic security relationship means a US government-financed security force (aka, the US military) to protect their oil projects. They will no doubt need that security force, as US oil companies will come under attack by Iraqis who refuse to accept the strategic economic and security partnership of the Bush and Maliki governments.

For our US military forces, the strategic security relationship means long and frequent deployments to Iraq for US Army and Marine active duty, National Guard and Reserve forces. It means that the US Navy will have a large number of ships in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean regions and Air Force will continue to fly tens of thousands of transport missions into Iraq.

For the US taxpayer, the "enduring" strategic relationship means trillions of dollars focused on a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 and after five years of enduring a war on it, has become the symbol to the world of a warmongering, oil-stealing America.

Is this what we want for Iraq or for our country?

What to do? Demand by phone, email and faxes that your congressperson stop this "enduring strategic relationship" that will keep US military forces in Iraq for decades.

Come to Washington, walk the halls of Congress, talk with members of your Congressional delegation and do sit-ins in their offices to end the US occupation of Iraq.


Ann Wright is a 29-year US Army veteran who retired as a colonel, and a former US diplomat. She served in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia. In December 2001, she was on the small team that reopened the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. She resigned from the State Department in March 2003 in opposition to the Iraq war. She is the co-author of "Dissent: Voices of Conscience," which will be published in mid-December 2007.

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