Thursday, January 31, 2008

Big oil time in Iraq

For five years mega construction and engineering companies like Bechtel and Halliburton together with defense contractors - everyone's favorite Blackwater included- have been literally making a killing in Iraq. As an American I am proud that the usual colonialist stew of blood and tax dollars has yielded these companies' incredible profits.

It's good then that the only thing people are talking about right now is the domestic economy, who will be the next president and the latest turn in the Britney Spears saga. You've got recession, greed, fraud, race, gender, elections, addiction and celebrity. You couldn't dream up a better diversion for the grand heist the big oil boys are about to pull off in Iraq.

They are quietly poised and ready to strike. Is anyone watching? Would it matter if they were?

Royal Dutch Shell, whose big, red and yellow cartoon-like Shell logo could just as well be a tool in Ronald McDonald's sand box, is in negotiations with the Iraqi government to build a $2.5 billion natural gas plant in Southern Iraq.

In fact, all the beasts - Exxon Mobil, BP, Chevron and Shell - have already quietly submitted proposals to the Iraqi Oil Ministry "to help develop selected oil and gas fields" in the country.

So while Republican candidates trade barbs over who is the bigger war supporter and Democrats talk about war authorization votes, the multinationals hardly care. It doesn't matter what party rules Washington for the next eight years because the Bush administration has already done the dirty work of war.

That's what's funny about the American political system and the myth of freedom and choice. For all their differences, the two political parties in the end will do whatever it takes to protect profits, big business and the American empire, no matter the damage.
Take populist John Edwards. He is considered a major threat by the political and corporate powers that be when he says he'll deny the big boys a seat at the table. That's why he had to go.

So the cash will continue to flow from Iraq and out of it. And flow it should as Iraq's Middle East neighbors' economies boom and diversify. Have you seen who has helped keep the giant International banks like Citigroup and Merill Lynch afloat through the sub-prime crisis? The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and the Kuwait Investment Authority are just a few names.

The Bush administration has cleared out the sandbox for the US military to bully so the corporations can play for a while, if they play nicely.

Move over Halliburton and Blackwater, it's big oil's time to roll around in the sand. Then comes Ronald McDonald.

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