The most urgent priority for success in Iraq is security, especially in Baghdad." - President Bush, speech on Jan. 10, 2006
More security and more stability in Iraq has been emphasized in recent weeks, though I have noticed a specific reason why that is the goal currently-- a proposal to privatize oil production in Iraq.
In coming days, a proposal will be voted on by the Iraqi Council of Ministers which creates a new "hydrocarbon law" and gives Oil Giants like Shell, BP, and Exxon Mobil a real deal on production-sharing agreements - 75% of profits for an indefinite period of time and then 20% once they have recovered their investment costs. The 20% is more than twice the average of standard PSAs.
Some have been writing on this already and noting this thirst for oil has been a primary concern since before the U.S. military action in Iraq began:
"This law has been in the works since the very beginning of the invasion - indeed, since months before the invasion, when the Bush administration brought in Phillip Carroll, former CEO of both Shell and Fluor, the politically-wired oil servicing firm, to devise "contingency plans" for divvying up Iraq's oil after the attack. Once the deed was done, Carroll was made head of the American "advisory committee" overseeing the oil industry of the conquered land, as Joshua Holland of Alternet.com has chronicled in two remarkable reports on the backroom maneuvering over Iraq's oil: "Bush's Petro-Cartel Almost Has Iraq's Oil" and "The US Takeover of Iraqi Oil."
"I see Plans within Plans."
Perhaps the current plan offered by the President on television last night will indeed bring a level of stability to the country of Iraq. And if this oil proposal is approved, then perhaps, in time, the benefits will trickle down to the average Iraqi.
Cynical as it may sound, it truly looks like the battle has been for business first, last and always.