Friday, March 29, 2013

And How Did That Work Out For You?

It's settled now that Iraq's oil riches pretty much sealed Saddam Hussein's fate.   The Anglo-American conquest of Iraq was heavily an oil-driven decision.   And wasn't it nice of the Americans to avoid bombing Iraq's oil infrastructure and to make it the first of the few things they actually secured after they toppled Saddam?

And now, a decade later, Iraq is on the verge of becoming the world's second-largest oil producer.  Oh boy, all those years of war and suffering are finally paying off.    Sure, that is if you're China.

America, with its own homegrown energy bonanza, isn’t going after the petroleum that lies beneath Iraq’s sands nearly as aggressively as is China, a country hungry to fuel its rise as an economic power.

Iraq remains highly unstable in terms of security, infrastructure and politics. Chinese state-owned oil companies appear more willing to put up with that than Americans are.

“The Chinese have a higher tolerance for risk,” said Gal Luft, a co-director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, a Washington research center focused on energy.

The International Energy Agency expects China to become the main customer for Iraq’s vast oil reserves. Fatih Birol, the agency’s chief economist, recently declared “a new trade axis is being formed between Baghdad and Beijing.” Birol said that about 80 percent of Iraq’s future oil exports were expected to go to Asia, mainly to China.

Isn't America generous?  It spent trillions of dollars to make Iran the dominant power in the region and to allow China to stitch up Iraq's oil reserves (hint, Beijing is doing the same with Iran's oil).

All the King's Horses and All the King's Men....

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Anonymous said...

Articles I've read recently say Iraq has lost it's shine for most of the US oil companies, and largely it's because the Iraqi's want to squeeze more for themselves than they want to give.

One article said the US multi's were shifting their focus to the Kurdish areas, where they have found officials to be more pliable. Getting the oil out of that area is a challenge though, and apparently a good deal of jawing has taken place with the Turks, and that is being pointed to as the reason why the Kurds and Turks are making nice.

This article from the Globe talks it the situation and includes the Russians;

Another here with more details;

The Mound of Sound said...

Interesting, Anon, thanks. China's resource grab (you should see how they cornered Afghanistan's copper fields) is an integral part of Beijing's larger geo-political aspirations in that region, exploiting the power-vacuum conveniently left by the Americans.

Anonymous said...

If I were an American I would be wondering out loud why US blood and treasure so often benefits the Chinese? That along with why America's leaders allow China to access their domestic markets with few controls to fetter the impact?

I did a quick search for some info on the Kurd and Turk situation, and found an article from Reuters. It doesn't jive completely with other things I've read but it is informative.

I wonder about the broader implications as in US, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Turkey, Israel etc. It's like a giant puzzle, and I don't care for puzzles very much.

As the head of one of the world's leading Security agencies said, the Americans have turned Iraq into the New Wild West, and it makes a person think about how many other countries they may be willing to do that to?

Anonymous said...
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