Concerning the control of oil

The United States has placed a proposed resolution before the U.N. Security Counil to lift most of the sanctions against Iraq. The draft also — surprise! — would grant the United States “broad control over the country’s oil industry and revenue until a permanent, representative Iraqi government is in place.” (_Washington Post_)

The United States has tabled a U.N. Security Council resolution to lift most of the sanctions against Iraq. The draft also would — surprise! — grant the United States “broad control over the country’s oil industry and revenue until a permanent, representative Iraqi government is in place.” (Washington Post)
“The resolution, which is to be presented to the 15-nation body Friday, would shift control of Iraq’s oil from the United Nations to the United States and its military allies, with an international advisory board having oversight responsibilities but little effective power. A transitional Iraqi government, which U.S. authorities have said they hope to establish within weeks, would be granted a consultative role.”
In an earlier article on B2I, I wrote about Feisal al-Istrabadi, a founding member of the Iraqi Forum for Democracy and an activist on various humanitarian issues relating to Iraq. Istrabadi is also a member of the planning committee for the State Department?s Future of Iraq Project, serving on its Transitional Justice and Democratic Principles working groups.
During his talk, he outlined the ideas for a transitional government.

It would last two to three years at most, must provide immediate benefits to the people of Iraq, would hold municipal elections within six months and regional elections within another six months after that and begin immediate criminal prosecutions. The other duties must be to fulfill obligations to the U.N. regarding weapons of mass destruction, he said, and human rights agreements must be adhered to. “It’s critical to me that the transitional period not be seen as a final status,” he said. “I don?t think the transitional government should be the government that signs a peace treaty with Israel. That should be the permanent government.”
And most important, he said, the United Nations should not _lift_ the sanctions. Instead they should be _suspended_ so that the transitional government doesn?t gain control of the country?s treasury and the permanent lifting of sanctions is an incentive to democratize.
“If you want to ensure the transitional figures do not become transitional in the Iraqi sense of the word — by that I mean lasting 40 years — you cannot hand over the purse strings of Iraq,” he said. “Saddam did not immediately rule by fear. He co-opted the elite during the 1960s and ’70s by drowning them in cash.”

Taking control of the oil industry, while looking really, _really_ bad to the rest of the world, is probably the best that can be made of a bad situation. Istrabadi’s right; if a transitional government took control of Iraq’s oil revenue, there likely result would be wholesale robbing that would make the looters in the closing days of the war look like pikers.
Granted, this will not help the United States’ image in Iraq or in the Arab world. They’re already convinced the U.S. was making an oil grab. The only way to combat this impression is to manage the oil industry in an enlightened and benevolent manner with no favortism given to corrupted Iraqis or American companies.
Handing out crony contracts to Halliburton subsidiaries and other, well-connected American corporations ain’t the way do this. There really don’t seem to be many good solutions to this mess.

A couple of quick pointers

This is a short entry as I’m swamped in pulling together work on various projects, but I wanted to draw your attentions to a couple of interesting-looking sites now that the war is “over” and Iraq is “free.”

This is a short entry as I’m swamped in pulling together work on various projects, but I wanted to draw your attentions to a couple of interesting-looking sites now that the war is “over” and Iraq is “free.”
The War in Context.org is pulling together a host of articles on the aftermath of Gulf War II in an attractive and easily accessible form. The Iraq War Reader, edited by Michah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf, looks to be a good resource for people trying to understand the so-far dominant story of 2003. The Village Voice has a review online. (Sifry and Cerf edited The Gulf War Reader, a collection of documents and essays about the first Gulf War in 1991.)

Call for comments

Hello all. I’m gathering material for research on the B2I proposal, and wanted to ask the readers some questions. Feel free to answer in the comments or email me. I’ll also be contacting some of you directly to interview you (if that’s OK.)

Hello all. I’m gathering material for research on the B2I proposal, and wanted to ask the readers some questions. Feel free to answer in the comments or email me. I’ll also be contacting some of you directly to interview you (if that’s OK.)
Questions

  1. What was the primary factor that attracted you to B2I?
  2. What was the primary factor that kept you coming back?
  3. How important was the “community” aspect of the site to you? Did you take part in the debates and comment sections?
  4. If you donated, what was the factor that led you to do so?
  5. How would you describe your political leanings?
  6. Did you support the war?
  7. Do you think B2I brought you stories and information that the mainstream media didn’t? If so, why do you think that’s the case?
  8. Are blogs — and specifically reader-funded blogs — a viable and new form of journalism? How willing are you to support other independent sites such as B2I?
  9. What would be the deciding factor(s) in supporting other sites?

Thanks very much everyone! Like I said, I’ll be contacting some of you to follow-up with more questions, unless you don’t wish to be contacted. If you don’t, please tell me in your email and/or comment. Thanks very much for all of y’all’s help.
Note:
Some who have written in have expressed concern about your email address being shared or distributed. This will _never_ happen. I will never give out your emails to anyone for any reason — period. I can’t emphasize this enough. The only mailings you’ll get from me are those you signed up for. (Unless you’re an old friend of mine and then I’ll bombard you; friendship often carries a burden.) Yes, I have your emails in a database, but the MoveableType software needs that for the notification emails. If you wish to be taken out of the database, please feel free to email me and — with a heavy heart and teary eyes — I’ll remove you.
If you post in the comments and you give a valid email address, however, there’s nothing to prevent someone contacting you based on the information you have provided in a public comment section, so keep that in mind.
Again, thanks for everyone’s feedback.