Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 7, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

POLITICAL PROGRESS UPDATE....The Iraqi parliament is adjourning for the year:

Iraqi legislators suspended parliamentary sessions Thursday until Dec. 30 because of Muslim religious holidays, ending efforts to pass U.S.-backed legislation aimed at achieving national reconciliation this year.

....Dec. 30 is one day before the end of the current term for parliament. Lawmakers normally would take a recess for two months at that time, but they were expected to extend the term by a month so they could meet in January to pass a budget and other important measures, a senior U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

I doubt very much that any "important measures" will get passed in the January rump session. It's much more likely that parliament will — barely — pass a budget and then recess again. So that means even if the political climate starts to improve, it's going to be a minimum of April or May before any important bills get passed, let alone the full package that the U.S. has been insisting on as a sign of political reconciliation.

Nothing surprising here. I don't think anyone expected any serious progress this year. But still not good news.

Kevin Drum 12:26 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (20)

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Comments

The Iraqis refuse to work on Eid?

Cancel Christmas!

Posted by: anonymous on December 7, 2007 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Of course Cheney will stick to his prediction of a fully functional democratic government that for the most part will be capable of defending itself in the region. By January 2009. Oh, and also influencing its neighbors to travel the same track. And Wolf Blitzer and Pumpkinhead will fail to note he's batshit insane. Ever.

Posted by: steve duncan on December 7, 2007 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

The Surge is working!

Posted by: Gen. David Petraeus on December 7, 2007 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see, their last excuse for not taking action was the incredible heat of the Iraqi summer, but Bush promised they were going to get right back on it and get it hammered out as soon as that break was over.

When are the remaining Bush buttkissers going to finally wake up and figure out that he's lying and that he has no intention of ever getting anything accomplished in Iraq, but merely delay, delay, delay until he can get out of office and blame the next president for the sh*thole he created in Iraq.

Was their ever a president with so little sense of personal responsibility and such an utter contempt for the harm he's wreaking on American soldiers and American national security interests.

Posted by: anonymous on December 7, 2007 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin's post about the Iraqi Congress would apply almost word for word to the US Congress.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 7, 2007 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

At least W. Bush cannot make recess appointments in Iraq. If W. Bush wants something, it cannot be good. Iraqi parliamentarians should avoid doing anything W. Bush wants.

Posted by: Brojo on December 7, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin's post about the Iraqi Congress would apply almost word for word to the US Congress.

...thanks once again to Republican malfeasance!

Posted by: Gregory on December 7, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

never-a-lib: Kevin's post about the Iraqi Congress would apply almost word for word to the US Congress.

No kidding; you'll get no argument from me if you suggest they work longer hours. However, you'll recall that last time it was suggested (January of this year), Republican representatives whined with straight faces that requiring them to work five days a week was "anti-family." I'm still laughing over that one.

Posted by: shortstop on December 7, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Somos simpatico, Gregory.

Posted by: shortstop on December 7, 2007 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: "... let alone the full package that the U.S. has been insisting on as a sign of political reconciliation."

The "full package" of legislation that the Cheney/Bush administration insists on "as a sign of political reconciliation" is the so-called Iraq Hydrocarbon Law, written for Iraq by the Cheney/Bush administration, which would give control of and the overwhelming majority of profits from Iraq's oil production to the Cheney/Bush administration's cronies and financial backers in the US-based multinational oil corporations.

"Political reconciliation" is defined by the Cheney/Bush administration as acquiescence to the seizure of Iraq's oil wealth by US corporations and the permanent presence of tens of thousands of US troops to enforce that seizure.


Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 7, 2007 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal, current-mentiroso: Kevin's post about the Iraqi Congress would apply almost word for word to the US Congress.

Only in that bizarro-world inhabited by ex-liberal!

Posted by: anonymous on December 7, 2007 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, but check out those Iraqi bonds. Back in August, I was very pessimistic, due to overall credit market conditions, but, if I recall, ex-liberal was vowing to buy some. He's made a mint!

Posted by: y81 on December 7, 2007 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

hell, why should they meet? democracy is on the march!

Posted by: mudwall jackson on December 7, 2007 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Good memory, y81! Did you buy them, ex-lib? How are they doing? You made a big deal of it at the time, so a follow-up report seems to be in order.

Posted by: shortstop on December 7, 2007 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist,

"Political reconciliation" is defined by the Cheney/Bush administration as acquiescence to the seizure of Iraq's oil wealth by US corporations and the permanent presence of tens of thousands of US troops to enforce that seizure.

That's just preposterous. People have been hawking this blood for oil nonsense for years, refusing to recognize reality as it unfolds around them. We didn't invade Iraq to seize their oil nor will we be seizing their oil in the future. And bids for helping Iraq exploit its oil have gone to nations other than the U.S. The concept of production sharing agreements (built into the hydrocarbon law) have been around since the 1950s and have often been used to help nations develop their oil production capabilities (and have often been nationalized afterwards one should note). Apparently you don't recognize the reality that, particularly for countries like Iraq which lack a capable oil infrastructure, it is MNCs and their oil expertise that is needed to develop oil production capacity.

What changes over time is the relationship between the national oil company and those MNCs. For example, Chavez moved only last year to nationalize oil operations that were being run under PSAs by several major oil companies. But those companies had been generating large revenues for Venezuela while providing the modern technology needed to most efficiently extract oil. It remains to be seen how the process progresses or regresses under new management. The point being, there is nothing new, unique, or "evil" about having PSAs in the hydrocarbon law. In fact, without them, Iraqi oil will remain stuck in the sand doing little good to anyone, Iraqi or otherwise.

Posted by: Hacksaw on December 7, 2007 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

We didn't invade Iraq to seize their oil

American soldiers invaded Iraq to seize their oil for Exxon and BP, not for the American people, who will be expected to pay monopoly prices for it.

Posted by: Brojo on December 7, 2007 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK
....We didn't invade Iraq to seize their oil nor will we be seizing their oil in the future..... Hack at 1:13 PM |
Why does the Iraq Oil law that Bush wants cede control of their own oil to multinational corporations through production sharing agreements.

...Since the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, much has changed. In the new setting, with Washington running the show, "friendly" companies expect to gain most of the lucrative oil deals that will be worth hundreds of billions of dollars in profits in the coming decades. The Iraqi constitution of 2005, greatly influenced by US advisors, contains language that guarantees a major role for foreign companies. Negotiators hope soon to complete deals on Production Sharing Agreements that will give the companies control over dozens of fields, including the fabled super-giant Majnoon. But first the Parliament must pass a new oil sector investment law allowing foreign companies to assume a major role in the country. The US has threatened to withhold funding as well as financial and military support if the law does not soon pass. Although the Iraqi cabinet endorsed the draft law in July 2007, Parliament has balked at the legislation. Most Iraqis favor continued control by a national company and the powerful oil workers union strongly opposes de-nationalization....

Your bs spin isn't selling very well.

Posted by: Mike on December 7, 2007 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Look, Bush made it clear months ago that he is going to kick the Iraq can down the road and let his successor deal with it, because he doesn't have a freakin' clue as to what to do. Reaching a desirable outcome in this mess involves having vision, a quality that is totally absent from the Bush DNA. Bush is busy mountain biking, playing video games and telling fart jokes with his henchmen, until Janaury 2009 when he can get back to what he does best - beating Laura, drinking heavily and snorting coke off the vanity mirror at Camp David, when he goes back for visits....

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on December 7, 2007 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

When he announced the surge last January, he said, "the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November." How'd that work out?

Posted by: croatoan on December 7, 2007 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Hacksaw wrote: "We didn't invade Iraq to seize their oil nor will we be seizing their oil in the future."

You are shockingly ignorant, or dishonest, or both.

The sole and entire purpose of the Cheney/Bush administration's war of unprovoked aggression against Iraq (which was justified to the American people and the US Congress on the basis of elaborate, repeated, sickening sickening lies about what Bush and Cheney knew at the time to be a nonexistent threat from nonexistent "Iraqi weapons of mass destruction" and nonexistent "operational links between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda") was to seize control of Iraq's oil.

The sole and entire interest of the USA in the Middle East is, and has been since at least the end of World War II, the vast reserves of oil in the region.

The sole and entire interest of the Cheney/Bush administration is to ensure that their cronies and financial backers in the US-based multinational oil companies will control and profit from the extraction of Iraq's oil.

The production sharing agreements mandated by the Iraq Hydrocarbon Law -- which was drafted by US oil corporations -- would hand over the overwhelming majority of profits from Iraq's oil to the oil corporations, and such agreements are not in place in any of the other massively oil-rich countries in the region.

That's why the Hydrocarbon Law is widely and fiercely opposed by Iraq's oil workers, Iraqi civil society, and Iraqi nationalists generally. And that's why the Cheney/Bush administration's idea of "political reconciliation" is, and has always been, the establishment of a subservient puppet government that will pass the US-written Hydrocarbon Law and acquiesce to a large scale permanent US military presence to enforce it.

Hacksaw wrote: "In fact, without them, Iraqi oil will remain stuck in the sand doing little good to anyone, Iraqi or otherwise."

The best thing that could happen for the American people, the Iraqi people, and all people everywhere is for all the world's oil, and coal, to remain in the ground instead of being burned and releasing more CO2 which will make the Earth uninhabitable. But that's another topic.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 7, 2007 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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