Author Topic: U.S. Plans for Iraqi Oil Predate 9-11  (Read 87 times)

Ant

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U.S. Plans for Iraqi Oil Predate 9-11
« on: March 18, 2005, 12:23:11 AM »
From BBC News

http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/mpapps/pagetools/print/news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/4354269.stm


The Bush administration made plans for war and for Iraq's oil before the 9/11 attacks, sparking a policy battle between neo-cons and Big Oil, BBC's Newsnight has revealed.

Two years ago today - when President George Bush announced US, British and Allied forces would begin to bomb Baghdad - protesters claimed the US had a secret plan for Iraq's oil once Saddam had been conquered.

In fact there were two conflicting plans, setting off a hidden policy war between neo-conservatives at the Pentagon, on one side, versus a combination of "Big Oil" executives and US State Department "pragmatists".

"Big Oil" appears to have won. The latest plan, obtained by Newsnight from the US State Department was, we learned, drafted with the help of American oil industry consultants.

Insiders told Newsnight that planning began "within weeks" of Bush's first taking office in 2001, long before the September 11th attack on the US.

   We saw an increase in the bombing of oil facilities and pipelines [in Iraq] built on the premise that privatisation is coming
Mr Falah Aljibury
An Iraqi-born oil industry consultant, Falah Aljibury, says he took part in the secret meetings in California, Washington and the Middle East. He described a State Department plan for a forced coup d'etat.

Mr Aljibury himself told Newsnight that he interviewed potential successors to Saddam Hussein on behalf of the Bush administration.

Secret sell-off plan

The industry-favoured plan was pushed aside by a secret plan, drafted just before the invasion in 2003, which called for the sell-off of all of Iraq's oil fields. The new plan was crafted by neo-conservatives intent on using Iraq's oil to destroy the Opec cartel through massive increases in production above Opec quotas.

The sell-off was given the green light in a secret meeting in London headed by Ahmed Chalabi shortly after the US entered Baghdad, according to Robert Ebel.

Mr Ebel, a former Energy and CIA oil analyst, now a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told Newsnight he flew to the London meeting at the request of the State Department.

Mr Aljibury, once Ronald Reagan's "back-channel" to Saddam, claims that plans to sell off Iraq's oil, pushed by the US-installed Governing Council in 2003, helped instigate the insurgency and attacks on US and British occupying forces.

"Insurgents used this, saying, 'Look, you're losing your country, you're losing your resources to a bunch of wealthy billionaires who want to take you over and make your life miserable,'" said Mr Aljibury from his home near San Francisco.

"We saw an increase in the bombing of oil facilities, pipelines, built on the premise that privatisation is coming."

Privatisation blocked by industry

Philip Carroll, the former CEO of Shell Oil USA who took control of Iraq's oil production for the US Government a month after the invasion, stalled the sell-off scheme.

Mr Carroll told us he made it clear to Paul Bremer, the US occupation chief who arrived in Iraq in May 2003, that: "There was to be no privatisation of Iraqi oil resources or facilities while I was involved."

Ariel Cohen, of the neo-conservative Heritage Foundation, told Newsnight that an opportunity had been missed to privatise Iraq's oil fields.

He advocated the plan as a means to help the US defeat Opec, and said America should have gone ahead with what he called a "no-brainer" decision.

Mr Carroll hit back, telling Newsnight, "I would agree with that statement. To privatize would be a no-brainer. It would only be thought about by someone with no brain."

New plans, obtained from the State Department by Newsnight and Harper's Magazine under the US Freedom of Information Act, called for creation of a state-owned oil company favoured by the US oil industry. It was completed in January 2004 under the guidance of Amy Jaffe of the James Baker Institute in Texas.

Formerly US Secretary of State, Baker is now an attorney representing Exxon-Mobil and the Saudi Arabian government.

View segments of Iraq oil plans at www.GregPalast.com

Questioned by Newsnight, Ms Jaffe said the oil industry prefers state control of Iraq's oil over a sell-off because it fears a repeat of Russia's energy privatisation. In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, US oil companies were barred from bidding for the reserves.

Ms Jaffe says US oil companies are not warm to any plan that would undermine Opec and the current high oil price: "I'm not sure that if I'm the chair of an American company, and you put me on a lie detector test, I would say high oil prices are bad for me or my company."

The former Shell oil boss agrees. In Houston, he told Newsnight: "Many neo conservatives are people who have certain ideological beliefs about markets, about democracy, about this, that and the other. International oil companies, without exception, are very pragmatic commercial organizations. They don't have a theology."
 

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Re: U.S. Plans for Iraqi Oil Predate 9-11
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2005, 11:18:44 AM »
naomi klein wrote an excellent article on this for harper's magazine: baghdad year zero

the plan was to privatize the top 200 iraqi industries except for oil.  ahmad chalabi wanted to privatize oil as well, but it was deemed as politically intenable.  your article seems to suggest they went forward with that as well and failed.  however, the neo-cons certainly did win out with the rest of iraqi industry.  atleast initially.

excerpt:
Quote
The tone of Bremer’s tenure was set with his first major act on the job: he fired 500,000 state workers, most of them soldiers,  but also doctors, nurses, teachers, publishers, and printers. Next, he flung open the country’s borders to absolutely unrestricted  imports: no tariffs, no duties, no inspections, no taxes. Iraq, Bremer declared two weeks after he arrived, was “open for business.”


One month later, Bremer unveiled the centerpiece of his reforms. Before the invasion, Iraq’s non-oil-related economy had been  dominated by 200 state-owned companies, which produced everything from cement to paper to washing machines. In June, Bremer  flew to an economic summit in Jordan and announced that these firms would be privatized immediately. “Getting inefficient  state enterprises into private hands,” he said, “is essential for Iraq’s economic recovery.” It would be the largest state  liquidation sale since the collapse of the Soviet Union.


But Bremer’s economic engineering had only just begun. In September, to entice foreign investors to come to Iraq, he enacted  a radical set of laws unprecedented in their generosity to multinational corporations. There was Order 37, which lowered Iraq’s  corporate tax rate from roughly 40 percent to a flat 15 percent. There was Order 39, which allowed foreign companies to own  100 percent of Iraqi assets outside of the natural-resource sector. Even better, investors could take 100 percent of the profits  they made in Iraq out of the country; they would not be required to reinvest and they would not be taxed. Under Order 39,  they could sign leases and contracts that would last for forty years. Order 40 welcomed foreign banks to Iraq under the same  favorable terms. All that remained of Saddam Hussein’s economic policies was a law restricting trade unions and collective  bargaining.

If these policies sound familiar, it’s because they are the same ones multinationals around the world lobby for from national  governments and in international trade agreements. But while these reforms are only ever enacted in part, or in fits and starts,  Bremer delivered them all, all at once. Overnight, Iraq went from being the most isolated country in the world to being, on paper, its widest-open market.
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ShadyGuru

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Re: U.S. Plans for Iraqi Oil Predate 9-11
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2005, 04:32:50 PM »
not that surprising really, iraq oil has been an issue since the golf war
 

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Re: U.S. Plans for Iraqi Oil Predate 9-11
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2005, 08:32:50 PM »
the problem is they didn't go directly after the oil.  chalabi wanted to privatize oil but he was unpopular.  the state dept debated it and decided against it.

what they did do was go after every other iraqi industry.  additionally they put iraql oil under the control of paul bremmer who controlled the iraqi development fund, and used the proceeds to offset costs of multinational corporations coming in to privatize other industries, and potentially pay back iraqi debts and such.

this war was about more than just oil; but the oil was certainly on the table

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Re: U.S. Plans for Iraqi Oil Predate 9-11
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2005, 04:55:21 PM »
shame that even with oil on the table that gas prices are still going up and up.  gettin way too expensive