Whether it's a Repuglican or a Demutante, American politicians unanimously fret over the lack of progress on Iraq's oil law.
When they speak of the legislation it's to present it as the magic key to ethnic harmony in a unified Iraq - divvying up the spoils, as it were, equitably among all three ethnic groups.
What they almost never mention is what Washington is really after in this legislation - the transfer of control of Iraq's oil wealth to America's Big Oil industry. From The Guardian:
...the administration - particularly the vice-president, Dick Cheney - and the oil lobby are enraged that the oil law is stalled. The main reason is not that the Iraqi government and parliament are a lazy bunch of Islamist incompetents or narrow-minded sectarians, as is often implied. MPs are studying the law more carefully, and have begun to see it as a major threat to Iraq's national interest regardless of people's religion or sect.
This is the second bit of good news from Iraq. Civil society, trade unions, professional oil experts and the media are stirring on the oil issue and putting their points across to parliament in the way democracy is meant to work. The oil unions have held strikes even at the risk of having leaders and members arrested.
The pervasive outside image of Iraq as a country in free-fall where violence on a mass scale is an ever-present threat is not wrong. But it can mask the fact that "normal life" and indeed "normal politics" are still possible. The real reason why the Bush administration wanted the oil law rushed through was that it feared public discussion, and was worried that the more people understood what the law entails, the greater the chances of its defeat. Key parties in the Iraqi parliament oppose it, including the main Sunni party - which this week withdrew from government - as well as the Shia Sadrists and Fadhila.
Washington has promoted the law as a "reconciliation" issue, claiming its early passage would show that Iraq's ethnic and sectarian communities could share revenues on a fair basis. But this is a trick. Only one of the law's 43 articles mentions revenue-sharing, and then just to say that a separate "federal revenue law" will decide its distribution. The first draft of this other law only appeared in June, and it is clearly unreasonable to expect the Iraqi parliament to pass it in less than two months.
The law that Washington and the US oil lobby really want would set the arrangements for foreign companies to operate in Iraq's oil sector. Independent analysts say the terms being proposed are far more favourable for foreign oil companies than those of any other oil-producing state in the region, including Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
Platform, an oil industry watchdog, warns that the Iraq oil and gas law could "sign away Iraq's future". Greg Muttitt, its co-director, says: "The law is permissive. All of Iraq's unexploited and as yet unknown reserves, which could amount to between 100bn and 200bn barrels, would go to foreign companies."
There is the true face of America in Iraq. Not content with having reduced the country to violence and ruin with their illegal war of aggression, they want to rob it of its wealth on their way out the door. Sleazy? You bet. Is it any wonder that Harper is enthralled with this gang of thugs?