By Rowan Wolf of Uncommon Thought Journal
I share with many of you a growing sense of anger and frustration at the constantly worsening situation in Iraq. Now, the “surge” is in place, and “gated communities” are being delineated over the objections of both Shia and Sunni residents. The Democrats have put on a good show of trying to rein in Bush, and have been rejected. However, are they really trying to rein him in, or just playing their part in an intricately choreographed deception?
The bill that Bush vetoed contained certain “benchmarks” for the Iraqi government. Among them was the approval of the “PSAs” (Production Sharing Agreements) initiated by the US Coalition Provisional Authority [see Troop Surges and Bloody Oil]. The oil agreement was moving through the approval process, but has now met opposition by both Kurd and Sunni representatives within the Iraqi parliament.
There has been a lot of pressure to get these agreements into law, and they turn over the majority of profits from Iraq’s oil to transnational oil companies. In other words, the development and exploitation of Iraq’s principle resource will lie in the hands of others. It was expected that these agreements would be in place sometime in May of this year. Once those agreements are law, then there is little incentive to maintain a U.S. occupation of Iraq. The oil companies have benefited handsomely from the dramatic disruption of Iraq’s oil production. They are likely willing to wait a long time for things to “stabilize” in Iraq, before actually calling in their PSA chits.
The fact that the PSAs were included in the supplemental funding bill is a clear signal that there is more than a Republican vested interest in who controls (and profits from) Iraq’s oil. Further, the foot dragging to get another bill through only buys time as the occupation continues, and the PSAs have time to become law. Further, as Jeremy Scahill points out, no one in Washington is addressing the issue of the private army we are funding. Even if U.S. forces are withdrawn, the (estimated) 48,000 mercenaries we have brought into Iraq are unlikely to be defunded – or removed. In fact, the size of that force may actually grow.
Meanwhile some more ominous changes are in motion. One area of concern is what is happening with the Kurds? It seems that outside the boundaries of the government of Iraq, the U.S. is engaged in separate negotiations with the Kurds. I guess we might have anticipated this since the Kurdish area is oil rich. However, it does seem to run counter to supposed efforts to create a unified Iraq. Further, it could run the U.S. right into the middle of another conflict. This one between Turkey and the Kurds in Iraq.
As you may recall, Turkey has a long history of conflict with the Kurds. This reared its head when the U.S. was trying to position U.S. forces in Turkey prior to the invasion of Iraq. Turkey withdrew its permission – partially because of public pressure in Turkey. However, underlying that was concerns about the creation of a Kurdish state. Those concerns have not been allayed over time. Certainly, the discussion of creating three “states” in Iraq are alarming to Turkey. In fact they have promised to invade if a Kurdish state is created along Turkey’s boarder.
So, what we have here is a growing independence of the Kurdish region from the “unified Iraq,” enhanced by separate relations between the Kurdish government and the United States, while Turkey moves from simmer towards boil. If Turkey invades the Kurdish region, what would be the response of the United States. This would be a sticky wicket indeed.
The other alarming shift is the possibility that the U.S. is going to end up actively engaged in genocide in Iraq. Purportedly, U.S. forces (particularly in Baghdad) are under the authority of Iraq. While that may be a legal fiction, what happens with the Iraqi forces are significant. Therefore, there should be some alarm that al Maliki seems to be purging the Army and police force of leaders who have aggressively gone after Shi’ite militias. Even prior to this purge, there have been concerns that Sunnis were the primary target of both Iraqi police and military, as well as the primary target of U.S. forces.
This places U.S. troops (and by extension the United States) possibly actively engaged in a genocidal offensive against Iraqi Sunnis.
All of this takes us back to the resistance of the Kurd and Sunni representatives in the Iraqi government to the PSAs. While I agree with the resistant “bloc” in regard to the PSAs, one has to wonder at the pressures that may be being brought to bear on both groups.
Is the price of the US friendship with Kurds support for the PSAs in exchange for protection against a possible Turkish invasion? Is the the tacit U.S. participation in a Sunni genocide a “lever” to get Sunni support of the PSAs? Or is the U.S playing of both sides of the fence in case the Shia end up in control of oil in the Sunni region of Iraq?
Meanwhile, the “bi-partisan” interest is still in the corporate control of Iraq’s oil regardless of blood, cost, or genocide. I am more than disgusted by the prospect and trends. I am sickened and enraged.