Chess Pieces Move: Bush Admin Officials Plan to Meet with Iranian and Syrian Reps in Neighborhood “Block Party”

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biden hagel.jpg
I’m getting a lot of “official statements” from U.S. Senators in my in-box all of a sudden commenting on the Bush administration’s change of heart regarding attending official meetings with representatives from the governments of Iran and Syria.
This could be a pre-meeting for a true regional conference that draws together all of the key stakeholders in and around Iraq, and that is a key pillar of the Iraq Study Group Report’s “New Diplomatic Offensive” proposal.
Time will tell whether this is meaningless flirtation — or whether this is a carefully crafted “confidence building measure” that could lead to more meaningful engagement between the US and Iran over outstanding issues — and between the US and Syria.
This has the markings of European and Saudi stage direction.
This writer has reasons to suspect that European Union High Commissioner for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana and National Security Advisor to the Saudi King Prince Bandar bin Sultan have been moving chess pieces in consultation with departing US Ambassador to Iraq and incoming US Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad to make this “neighbors meeting” work.
This is a necessary but not sufficient first step in re-establishing a new and more stable equilibrium of interests in the Middle East.
Here is what Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) says about the “deal” to possibly deal:

“This is an important diplomatic initiative taken by the Iraqi government. We will not achieve peace and stability in Iraq without a regional framework that includes Iran and Syria. This conference can be an important first step towards creating that framework,” Hagel said.

Here is presidential candidate and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden‘s statement on the White House’s reverse course:

“The Administration is right to reverse itself and engage Iran and Syria on Iraq. Right now, they’re a big part of the problem, but they have an interest in becoming part of the solution to prevent chaos in Iraq.
I hope this means that clearer heads in the Administration are beginning to prevail. If the conference is to have any impact on the sectarian violence in Iraq, it must enlist the support of Iraq’s neighbors for a political settlement that would decentralize Iraq and give Kurds, Shi’ites and Sunnis control over their daily lives. We don’t need a meeting for the sake of meeting — there has to be a clear plan and purpose.”

I have not been able to find statements as yet from Christopher Dodd, Bill Richardson, Dennis Kucinich, Mitt Romney, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Sam Brownback, or other presidential hopefuls.
In lieu of a statement from New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson though is a sensible op-ed that appeared today in the Washington Post promoting diplomatic engagement with Iran over “chest-beating and dangerous brinkmanship.”
Stay tuned. This just might be a beginning of a new, promising trend. But don’t over-invest yet.
Not to be too snarky, it does seem remarkable that these kind of breakthroughs tend to happen when the Vice President is sidelined or flying off somewhere.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

31 comments on “Chess Pieces Move: Bush Admin Officials Plan to Meet with Iranian and Syrian Reps in Neighborhood “Block Party”

  1. steambomb says:

    ~~~To be really cynical, maybe Bush, Rice and Cheney could not stop Iraq from holding the meeting so they are attending in order to sabotage any deal with Iran or Syria?
    Posted by bakho at February 28, 2007 12:18 PM ~~~
    I do so hope that you are wrong. However this is the scenario that I have predicted all along. Mostly because of the lack of diplomacy on our part. I still hope you are wrong. But hope springs eternal.

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  2. steambomb says:

    Let me state the obvious. While it my be too little and not too late. The United States is faced with being in a far weeker bargaining position than they would have been had they went into talks with Iran and Syria in mid 2003 before all the problems in Iraq occurred. Yet another foreign policy diplomacy debacle perpetuated by this administration. The should be run out of the white house in order to give the U.S. some standing in the world. It sure seems stupid to not have engaged in talks in 2003. Knowing full well that we would eventually have to talk to these nations at one time or another. We could have hedged our bet on Iraq by having Iran and Syria on board and would at least have shown the rest of the world that we are not in the middle east for Israels purposes alone.

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  3. bakho says:

    Where this VP is concerned, it is not possible to be too snarky.
    Cheney foreign policy is crafted for domestic political reasons- tough talking red meat for the GOP base. Unfortunately, as a policy it does not work.

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  4. JohnH says:

    “Time will tell whether this is a meaningless flirtation”–or a phony, Bu__Sh__ attempt to show that they did everything possible to work with Iran, but having no negotiating partner on the other side, they have to bomb. This is a page directly from the Israeli plalybook on how be intransigent while looking reasonable.
    Hope I’m wrong.

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  5. bakho says:

    To be really cynical, maybe Bush, Rice and Cheney could not stop Iraq from holding the meeting so they are attending in order to sabotage any deal with Iran or Syria?

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  6. Easy E says:

    Carroll Feb. 28 2:49am
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Also, think “Burn Baby Burn” in Farsi as these Mafia thugs go for regime change in Iran. The Iranian people will at some point realize the same thing once the old Shah people the U.S. reinstalls facilitate PSA’s that will enable U.S. to rape Iran of its oil resources. Blowback doesn’t happen right away, but it will happen.
    http://www.antiwar.com/orig/horton.php?articleid=10595
    Regime Change Is the Reason, Disarmament the Excuse
    An interview with Scott Ritter

    ……Horton: They’ll just make demand on demand on demand until Iran finally refuses something?
    Ritter: That’s correct because their intent is regime change.
    Saddam Hussein, at the end of the day, did everything the International Community wanted him to do. If you reflect on the inspections that transpired between 2002 and March 2003, those inspectors when into Saddam Hussein’s bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, living room and basement – that’s his personal house by the way – not to mention all the other facilities that were out there. There was never an obstruction. Anything they wanted to do, they got. They found nothing that contradicted the CIA’s assertions about [the absence of] hidden WMD capability, and yet at the end of the day, George Bush with a straight face looked the American people in the eye and stated that Saddam has refused the last chance to disarm.
    There is nothing the Iranians could do to make these ideologues happy. They have a policy of regime change, not disarmament.
    Horton: Now let’s talk about some of the incredibly complicated consequences of war against Iran that we get into by carrying out this simplistic policy.
    I interviewed Wayne White, a former State Department intelligence official last week who told me he’s seen plans that are not just for bombing Natanz and Bushehr, a couple of known nuclear sites, but are for wide ranging attacks against the entire Iranian infrastructure, their subs, their ports, their everything.
    Ritter: Well, of course. This dates back to the time of the Clinton administration.
    Reflect back on the 72-hour bombing campaign that we witnessed, Operation Desert Fox, in December 1998. Ostensibly it was done because the Iraqi government had refused access to certain sites for UN inspectors. So the US ordered the inspectors out and bombed Iraq.
    But if one takes a look at the sites that were bombed, a very small percentage of them had anything to do with weapons potential or production capacity. The majority of the sites dealt with Iraq’s military, with their National leadership and their security. These were decapitation strikes. Why? Because the bombing campaign’s aim was not about disarming Iraq, but creating the conditions wherein certain Iraqi generals, that the CIA believed they had on their payroll, could move into a weakened Baghdad and overthrow Saddam Hussein. It was a regime change strike.
    The same mindset is at play today in Iran. We’ve already said – remember what I’m saying – it’s not about disarmament. Disarmament can be negotiated. The Bush administration will never trust the Iranian government. The Iranian government can say and do anything and we [the U.S.] won’t trust them.
    So ultimately, the only measure of verification is to remove the Iranian government from power and replace it with one we trust. So even if we go to war, ostensibly to get rid of a nuclear capability, we will never get rid of it. Why? Because we are bombing the targets we know; the 12 or so nuclear sites that the IAEA has inspected. We have already stated that these are not doing nuclear weapons activity. The (supposed) nuclear weapons are happening at other locations, but we don’t know where they are.
    So what are we going to bomb, the great unknown? No, the only way to get 100% certainty is to remove the regime from power. And so the targets will be targets of decapitation, seeking to eliminate the Iranian leadership, targets of security suppression or neutralization. We will hit the revolutionary guard. We will hit the police. We will hit security services. We will hit the military targets of destabilization. We will hit economic targets to create unrest.
    The goal is to create conditions inside Iran that empower the Iranian people to rise up and remove the theocracy from power. That’s the objective here. That’s what the air strikes are supposed to effect.
    But I’ll tell you this. They’ll have about as much success as Bill Clinton had in 1998. There was no move on Baghdad. There was never a serious effort to get rid of Saddam Hussein. It all collapsed and the same thing will happen if we bomb Iran thinking that the Iranian people are going to rise up and assist us……”

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  7. Pissed Off American says:

    Gee, Hillary must be livid. After all, how will she pander herself to AIPAC if we enter into direct talks with Syria and Iran? BTW, with our auto companies losing the global battle for business, I see we are about to purchase a number of armored vehicles from Israel. In addition, Israel is now lobbying Washington for an increase in military aid. It seems they don’t feel we are giving them enough.
    From the AIPAC website….
    http://www.aipac.org/
    Sen. Clinton Calls Iran Threat to United States and Israel
    Senator and presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) told a crowd of more than 1,700 AIPAC supporters that Iran is a danger to the United States and one of Israel’s greatest threats.
    The senator’s remarks took place during AIPAC’s Annual New York Dinner, which included an address by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY). Other guests included presidential candidate John Edwards, former Gov. George Pataki, several House members and at least two dozen state and local officials.
    Sen. Clinton called the Iranian administration “pro-terrorist,” and said Iran’s Holocaust denial places its leadership in company with the most despicable bigots and historical revisionists.

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  8. Frank says:

    Why isn’t Israel invited? Whether they gave their “permission” to the US or not to participate in a long overdue and obviously needed diplomatic move, avoiding having the elephant in the conference room by giving a temporal face to one of the root causes of ME problems, would be nice.

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  9. JB (not the U.N. John Bolton) says:

    Steve –
    May I make a suggestion?
    You wrote, “This writer has reasons to suspect that European Union High Commissioner for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana and National Security Advisor to the Saudi King Prince Bandar bin Sultan have been moving chess pieces in consultation with departing US Ambassador to Iraq and incoming US Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad to make this “neighbors meeting” work.”
    This paragraph, and all similar paragraphs, would be a great deal easier to read if it was reworded along these lines, “This writer has reasons to suspect that Javier Solana, the European Union High Commissioner for Common Foreign and Security Policy, and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, National Security Advisor to the Saudi King, have been moving chess pieces in consultation with Zalmay Khalilzad (the US Ambassador to Iraq and incoming US Ambassador to the United Nations) to make this “neighbors meeting” work.”
    I understand that the common convention is to place a person’s title before the name. But when the titles are extended as they are here the flow of the sentence is seriously disrupted. One winds up going back and forth trying to decide which title goes with which person and who is doing what to whom.
    Thanks,

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  10. tomz says:

    Carefully scripted to fail no doubt.

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  11. liz says:

    I hope this works out better for the Bush Administration that the six party talks with NK> Realizing that has finally maybe worked out now, that only took the better part of six years to establish exactly what we had and Bush tore up PLUS a couple of Nukes. This round table, neighborhood meeting scares me to death. Bush Administration is not competant to represent the American people any longer. I am not sure who they think they represent because well over 3/4’s of Americans feel our country has been invaded from the South without adequate DC response. Has everyone sat back and accepted “press TWO for ENGLISH” which some of these elected elitists voted against english being the official language of America…..
    Give us all a break, keep Dick Cheney out of America and go talk to the people we shoulda talked to a long time ago. Your own mother will tell you honey cures a wound before vinegar…….

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  12. Carroll says:

    Hold the applause on postive steps.
    I wonder how you say “Burn Baby Burn” in Arabic..whatever, it will be an understatement in the ME before long when this gets around. No matter how this is rationalized, sooner or later the Iraqis will realize they have been cheated and know beyond the shadow of a doubt they were invaded for oil and location, not Saddam and democracy. Also with this arrangement our troops and bases will have to stay there forever to protect the deal.
    America has turned into nothing but f**king slezzy mafia thug. We deserve whatever blowback we get in the future.
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IB28Ak01.html
    THE ROVING EYE
    US’s Iraq oil grab is a done deal
    By Pepe Escobar
    ….”On Monday, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s cabinet in Baghdad approved the draft of the new Iraqi oil law. The government regards it as “a major national project”. The key point of the law is that Iraq’s immense oil wealth (115 billion barrels of proven reserves, third in the world after Saudi Arabia and Iran) will be under the iron rule of a fuzzy “Federal Oil and Gas Council” boasting “a panel of oil experts from inside and outside Iraq”. That is, nothing less than predominantly US Big Oil executives.
    The law represents no less than institutionalized raping and pillaging of Iraq’s oil wealth. It represents the death knell of nationalized (from 1972 to 1975) Iraqi resources, now replaced by production sharing agreements (PSAs) – which translate into savage privatization and monster profit rates of up to 75% for (basically US) Big Oil. Sixty-five of Iraq’s roughly 80 oilfields already known will be offered for Big Oil to exploit. As if this were not enough, the law reduces in practice the role of Baghdad to a minimum. Oil wealth, in theory, will be distributed directly to Kurds in the north, Shi’ites in the south and Sunnis in the center. For all practical purposes, Iraq will be partitioned into three statelets. Most of the country’s reserves are in the Shi’ite-dominated south, while the Kurdish north holds the best prospects for future drilling.
    The approval of the draft law by the fractious 275-member Iraqi Parliament, in March, will be a mere formality. Hussain al-Shahristani, Iraq’s oil minister, is beaming. So is dodgy Barnham Salih: a Kurd, committed cheerleader of the US invasion and occupation, then deputy prime minister, big PSA fan, and head of a committee that was debating the law.
    But there was not much to be debated. The law was in essence drafted, behind locked doors, by a US consulting firm hired by the Bush administration and then carefully retouched by Big Oil, the International Monetary Fund, former US deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz’ World Bank, and the United States Agency for International Development. It’s virtually a US law (its original language is English, not Arabic).
    Scandalously, Iraqi public opinion had absolute no knowledge of it – not to mention the overwhelming majority of Parliament members. Were this to be a truly representative Iraqi government, any change to the legislation concerning the highly sensitive question of oil wealth would have to be approved by a popular referendum.
    In real life, Iraq’s vital national interests are in the hands of a small bunch of highly impressionable (or downright corrupt) technocrats. Ministries are no more than political party feuds; the national interest is never considered, only private, ethnic and sectarian interests. Corruption and theft are endemic. Big Oil will profit handsomely – and long-term, 30 years minimum, with fabulous rates of return – from a former developing-world stalwart methodically devastated into failed-state status.
    Get me a PSA on time
    In these past few weeks, US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad has been crucial in mollifying the Kurds. In the end, in practice, the pro-US Kurds will have all the power to sign oil contracts with whatever companies they want. Sunnis will be more dependent on the Oil Ministry in Baghdad. And Shi’ites will be more or less midway between total independence in the south and Baghdad’s dictum (which they control anyway). But the crucial point remains: nobody will sign anything unless the “advisers” at the US-manipulated Federal Oil and Gas Council say so.
    Energy Agency, PSAs apply to only 12% of global oil reserves, in cases where costs are very high and nobody knows what will be found (certainly not the Iraqi case). No big Middle Eastern oil producer works with PSAs. Russia and Venezuela are renegotiating all of them. Bolivia nationalized its gas. Algeria and Indonesia have new rules for future contracts. But Iraq, of course, is not a sovereign country.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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  13. say_what? says:

    Again? A total discounting of Wesley Clark?
    No one has spoken out louder or longer *or with more gravitas* on the gross neglect by this administration when it comes to engaging Iran and Syria. No one.
    Wes was interviewed re: Iran only yesterday in Jeddah by UPI and you can’t find any statements?
    What’s up with that Steve?

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  14. William Jensen says:

    Two thoughts:
    1. When Cheney’s away the mice will play.
    2. Why would anyone believe the Administration is behaving in good faith regarding a “block meeting”. Nonsense. These guys are liars and they are simply doing this to placate the left wing and moderates. There is no way they will make an reasonable effort at a deal. They lied us into a war. They have lied all along. And now I’m suppossed to think they have seen the light? No.

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  15. antiphone says:

    I think the importance of these Senators is vastly overestimated. They’re celebrities who are famous for being famous, they talk a lot and then do nothing. As this becomes more and more apparent the “political junkie” blogs, pundits etc. have come to resemble their counterparts in the entertainment industry, nothing more than paparazzi and gossip columnists.
    I’m not saying ignore politics or don’t vote, but meaningful change in this country is not going to come from these people and contributing money to political campaigns simply plows more cash into the media cesspool. When people start doing things like canceling their cable and defunding the interests that have supported the Bush regime we’ll see change. As it stands we’ve got professional wrestling, fake, fixed and meaningless.

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  16. Carroll says:

    Interesting. If the EU commissioner is one of the forces behind putting this together then I would take the intent as actually hoping to accomplish something…now if Cheney could be stranded somewhere with no communications, the get together might produce something.
    Why does Biden refer to “decentralizing Iraq” every time he opens his mouth?

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  17. Donna Z says:

    I’ve noticed several posts about the obvious neglect to mention Wes Clark. Since Hagel’s not officially running, it can’t be that difference. Of course Hagel is not a progressive in any way, may be it’s that. I admit that I’m mystified by the failing to note that it is Wes Clark who has been all over the subject of a diplomatic approach to Iran.
    Thankfully, Wes understands the power of people and has given us some great tools at stopiranwar.com. He’s also given us the message too. I know that I personally talked to my congressman about changing the policy in the region. Others have gone to their representatives too. It wasn’t Biden or Hagel that inspired us. We will continue to press for change every way we can.
    Nevertheless, I remain curious as to why the person who has carried the torch on changing our Iranian policy is so blatantly ignored.
    Okay Steve, this is your blog, one I truly appreciate, and I accept your take on this, but I don’t have to agree.

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  18. gq says:

    If I had time, I’d like to make a histogram on the number of posts between Hagel love fests. The way it’s been the last several weeks it’s practically every other post. I don’t hate Hagel or anything, but…

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  19. gq says:

    Steve, this is nothing new for Wesley Clark who has been advising this for what seems like eternity. Richardson has also been calling for dialogue. In fact, his exploratory committee website even has a petition that, unfortunately, didn’t get much attention.

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  20. Uppity Gal says:

    A must-read about Condi going too far:– http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/022707A.shtml
    Posted by epv at February 27, 2007 09:24 PM
    Excellent! Thank you for posting that link. When I heard Keith last night, I immediately went to the MSNBC website and grabbed the link to his transcript. I sent it out via email right away. i’ve been passing it along, and posting it in lots of places today.
    A silly point, yes, but can we all hit the General Electric-owned web site when we cite Keith’s commentary? I know- it’s a small thing, but trust me when I say the collective effort and residual effect of passing on that link WILL show up fast in the site’s logs.
    in other words, I know for a fact that hot action (read: eyeballs paying attention, “unique visitors” to said page, and associated unique URL string being sent through servers) will get the attention of the corporate media whores. Especially the managerial/”editor” types.
    I know- it’s small. Probably all I can manage at the end of the day, but passing things far and wide along the “Internets” as Der Leader would say, creates a noticable path. Not as important as also dropping a note (and better yet a phone call) to the Congress Critters offices, but just a tech geek’s contribution. thanks.
    oh yeah – I would use this link (and so should you, if you are so inclined)
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17351284/

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  21. JT says:

    A coincidence that breakthroughs happen when Richard Cheney is elsewhere? Really?
    As heard in certain church basements, there are no coincidences in these rooms.
    All war creates is grief and pain.
    Are we willing to admit there may be another possibility? Are we ready? Fight on brothers and sisters….

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  22. Jack Ballard says:

    It looks like a bit of good news.
    A rare comodity with the Bush folks.
    To me, one of the most dangerous developements is in the Afgan border area of Pakistan. If the Afgan war spills over into Pakistan we may find that we need Iran more than they need us.
    A bad position to be in.
    Jack

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  23. susan says:

    somebody famous once said: “jaw-jaw is better than war-war.”

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  24. susan says:

    somebody famous once said: “talk-talk is better than war-war.”

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  25. epv says:

    The gullibility of the main-stream-media toadies is astounding, while the credulousness of the American people is pathetic.
    Bush & Rice have a very long and sordid track-record of lying to the American people. Why should we believe that this new ploy is anything more than an attempt to dupe the American people?
    * What are Bush & Rice’s real motives?
    * What are Bush & Rice’s real intentions?
    * Why do we continue to permit Bush & Rice to lie (like Rice’s insane rant on FOX “Faux” News last Sunday)?
    A must-read about Condi going too far:– http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/022707A.shtml

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  26. erichwwk says:

    Sorry, I have a totally different take.
    from the NYT: http://tinyurl.com/22gofd
    “Secretary Rice and her deputies have, for several months now, pointed to an international conference on Iraq that was established after the American invasion as an available channel to talk to Iran and Syria. Administration officials were working with the United Nations and the Iraqi government last fall to set up the next meeting of the conference, which is sometimes called the International Compact on Iraq. But American officials put off the meeting in part to pressure the Iraqi government to pass the oil law, administration officials said. The Iraqi government approved a draft of the law on Monday.”
    For those that have not been following the shenanigans around the attempt to cede control of Iraqi oil to US Corporations (usually buried in discussions about how oil revenue is to be distributed) one overview (from the folks recently interviewed by Amy on Democracy Now is at:
    http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IB28Ak02.html
    (how I wish html markup was enabled on comments)… sigh
    What we have here is a simple case of blackmail- the peace process was not going to go forward until the Iraqi puppet government got back in lin and first allowed US oil corporations (ala Halliburton) to write their own oil contracts (a quorum is 3 entities, the US Corporation seats on the Federal Oil and Gas Council are sufficient.

    Big Oil in, stability out under new Iraqi law
    By Antonia Juhasz and Raed Jarrar
    While debate rages in the United States about the military in Iraq, an equally important decision is being made inside Iraq – the future of its oil. A draft Iraqi law proposes to open the country’s currently nationalized oil system to foreign corporate control. But emblematic of the flawed promotion of “democracy” by the administration of US President George W Bush, this new law is news to most Iraqi politicians.
    A leaked copy of the proposed hydrocarbon law appeared on the Internet at the same time that it was introduced to the Iraqi
    Council of Ministers (cabinet). The law is expected to go to the Iraqi Council of Representatives within weeks. Yet the Internet version was the first look that most members of Iraq’s Parliament had of the new law.
    Many Iraqi oil experts, such as Fouad al-Ameer, who was responsible for the leak, think this law is not an urgent item on the country’s agenda. Other observers and analysis share Ameer’s views and believe the Bush administration, foreign oil companies and the International Monetary Fund are rushing the Iraqi government to pass the law.
    Not every aspect of the law is harmful to Iraq. However, the current language favors the interests of foreign oil corporations over the economic security and development of Iraq. The law’s key negative components harm Iraq’s national sovereignty, financial security, territorial integrity and democracy.
    National sovereignty and financial security
    The new oil law gives foreign corporations access to almost every sector of Iraq’s oil and natural-gas industry. This includes service contracts on existing fields that are already being developed and that are managed and operated by the Iraqi National Oil Co (INOC).
    For fields that have already been discovered, but not yet developed, the proposed law stipulates that INOC will have to be a partner on these contracts. But for as-yet-undiscovered fields, neither INOC nor private Iraqi companies receive preference in new exploration and development. Foreign companies have full access to these contracts.
    The exploration and production contracts give firms exclusive control of fields for up to 35 years, including contracts that guarantee profits for 25 years. A foreign company, if hired, is not required to partner with an Iraqi company or reinvest any of its money in the Iraqi economy. It’s not obligated to hire Iraqi workers, train Iraqi workers or transfer technology.
    The current law remains silent on the type of contracts that the Iraqi government can use. The law establishes a new Iraqi Federal Oil and Gas Council with ultimate decision-making authority over the types of contracts that will be employed. This council will include, among others, “executive managers from important related petroleum companies”. Thus it is possible that foreign oil-company executives could sit on the council. It would be unprecedented for a sovereign country to have, for instance, an executive of ExxonMobil on the board of its key oil-and-gas decision-making body.
    The law also does not appear to restrict foreign corporate executives from making decisions on their own contracts. Nor does there appear to be a “quorum” requirement. Thus if only five members of the Federal Oil and Gas Council met – one from ExxonMobil, Shell, ChevronTexaco and two Iraqis – the foreign company representatives would apparently be permitted to approve contacts for themselves.
    Under the proposed law, the council has the ultimate power and authority to approve and rewrite any contract using whichever model it prefers if a “two-thirds majority of the members in attendance” agree. Early drafts of the bill, and the proposed model by the US, advocate very unfair, and unconventional for Iraq, models such as production sharing agreements (PSAs), which would set long-term contracts with unfair conditions that may lead to the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars of the Iraqi oil money as profits to foreign companies.”
    Pretty much what happened in Vietnam. As soon as the offshore oil surveys were done so they would fall in Chevrons hands, the war could be concluded.
    The Saudi’s role in this: Sign the oil rights law or we will increase funding of the Sunni insurgents. Good old fashioned shakedown.
    “By 2010 we will need [a further] 50 million barrels a day. The Middle East, with two-thirds of the oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize lies.” – US Vice President Dick Cheney, then Halliburton chief executive officer, London, autumn 1999
    If you control the Iraqi oil, you are halfway there to controlling the world oil,” says Dr. Faleh Al-Khayat, director general for planning at the Iraqi Oil Ministry. “And with your substantial hold on the Saudi fields, then you are in complete control of oil supplies for a long time to come.”
    Sorry for not having the quotes from the oil minister, explaining what a bad deal this is, and how explosive this issue will be when the populace understands what happened.

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  27. km4 says:

    repost of above…
    Steve Clemons lists the same ole blowhards that like to take other people’s ideas and spin them as their own ( i.e. Hagel and Biden ) but of course forgets about critical thinkers and doer’s like Wes Clark who was right about Iraq and is right about Iran before all the others.
    1/23/07
    http://securingamerica.com/node/2163
    GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: I do believe that the United States, as the most powerful country in the world, should always talk to adversaries. I’m not saying take the military option off the table – it’s an option, but it’s a lot better for everybody in the region if we don’t have to use the military option.
    Sean Hannity: But do you…I agree with that, but do you really believe there’s even a smidgen of hope that the Holocaust denier, that the guy that threatens the US and Israel, do you really believe this madman is somebody that ultimately can be persuaded?
    GENERAL WESLEY CLARK:: Well I don’t think he’s the only…Sean, he’s not the only guy in Iran. I mean there are a lot of people in Iran who are…who really want to see a change in the situation in the region. We’ve got to reach around Ahmedinejad one way or another. We’ve got to show a different vision for the region. We’ve got to help those in Iran who want a different vision in the region come forward. That’s our obligation as the most powerful country in the world.
    Sean Hannity: I think the single best security we will have against Iran is to have the biggest, strongest, toughest military and the means to back it up. Let me ask you this, sir. You said, you said…
    GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well you know the military is the last resort.
    Sean Hannity: I agree. You said
    GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: If we could change people’s mind without using the military, we’ll all be a lot more secure.
    Sean Hannity: I don’t believe you can change the mind of a madman like Ahmedinejad. I think that’s false hope.
    GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: I don’t think he’s the only guy in charge, Sean.
    Sean Hannity: Well I think it’s false hope and naïve.
    GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: I think you’re making the same mistake we made with Saddam. I think you’re trying to personalize a country around a single person.
    Sean Hannity: I’m not. I’m not, but he’s their leader.
    GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: and that was the mistake in Iraq.
    Sean Hannity: He’s their voice.
    GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: He is one voice in Iran. That’s all.
    Sean Hannity: If we could do anything, we ought to be working very hard with alternative voices in Iran and hope that the emerging, shifting, changing demographics and the desire…the…the inclination of the human soul takes over
    GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Sure.
    Sean Hannity: and foster the freedom movement there. I think it would be a far better plan than
    GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: but to do that, you have to talk to Iran.
    Sean Hannity: than any hope in Ahmedinejad. But you said talk to Iran.
    GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: We’re going to have an embassy. We’re going to have to have relationships with them.
    Sean Hannity: That’s right.
    GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: That’s what this administration won’t do and that’s what it needs to do.

    Reply

  28. km4 says:

    Steve Clemons lists the same ole blowhards that do not steal other people’s ideas and don’t know what critical thinking means ( i.e. Hagel and Biden ) but of course forgets about Wes Clark who was right about Iraq and is right about Iran before all the others.
    1/23/07
    http://securingamerica.com/node/2163
    GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: I do believe that the United States, as the most powerful country in the world, should always talk to adversaries. I’m not saying take the military option off the table – it’s an option, but it’s a lot better for everybody in the region if we don’t have to use the military option.
    Sean Hannity: But do you…I agree with that, but do you really believe there’s even a smidgen of hope that the Holocaust denier, that the guy that threatens the US and Israel, do you really believe this madman is somebody that ultimately can be persuaded?
    GENERAL WESLEY CLARK:: Well I don’t think he’s the only…Sean, he’s not the only guy in Iran. I mean there are a lot of people in Iran who are…who really want to see a change in the situation in the region. We’ve got to reach around Ahmedinejad one way or another. We’ve got to show a different vision for the region. We’ve got to help those in Iran who want a different vision in the region come forward. That’s our obligation as the most powerful country in the world.
    Sean Hannity: I think the single best security we will have against Iran is to have the biggest, strongest, toughest military and the means to back it up. Let me ask you this, sir. You said, you said…
    GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well you know the military is the last resort.
    Sean Hannity: I agree. You said
    GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: If we could change people’s mind without using the military, we’ll all be a lot more secure.
    Sean Hannity: I don’t believe you can change the mind of a madman like Ahmedinejad. I think that’s false hope.
    GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: I don’t think he’s the only guy in charge, Sean.
    Sean Hannity: Well I think it’s false hope and naïve.
    GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: I think you’re making the same mistake we made with Saddam. I think you’re trying to personalize a country around a single person.
    Sean Hannity: I’m not. I’m not, but he’s their leader.
    GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: and that was the mistake in Iraq.
    Sean Hannity: He’s their voice.
    GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: He is one voice in Iran. That’s all.
    Sean Hannity: If we could do anything, we ought to be working very hard with alternative voices in Iran and hope that the emerging, shifting, changing demographics and the desire…the…the inclination of the human soul takes over
    GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Sure.
    Sean Hannity: and foster the freedom movement there. I think it would be a far better plan than
    GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: but to do that, you have to talk to Iran.
    Sean Hannity: than any hope in Ahmedinejad. But you said talk to Iran.
    GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: We’re going to have an embassy. We’re going to have to have relationships with them.
    Sean Hannity: That’s right.
    GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: That’s what this administration won’t do and that’s what it needs to do.

    Reply

  29. Mike says:

    We are still waiting for an honest commitment to diplomacy on the American side. Iran has indicated repeatedly it is willing to engage in a fair-handed, constructive dialogue (as opposed to being “humiliated” by having to give up their legal right to manufacture uranium for peaceful purposes before even entering into talks). Now we are waiting to see whether the U.S. will drop this precondition, and instead find ways to ensure that the international community gets to have full investigations into all Iran’s nuclear facilities in return for dropping Iran from the “terrorist” list and dropping sanctions.
    If the U.S. makes no substantive offer at this dialogue, it will have been a waste of time.

    Reply

  30. beth says:

    Talking’s good. Much better than bombing. Simple.

    Reply

  31. Zathras says:

    Well, maybe. Diplomacy is possible given intent and ability, and Khalilzad has both. His problem with upper echelons is that he must preserve, at least for now, the appearance that what looks like an about-face to people who follow these things closely can plausibly be called something else — a regional initiative led by Iraq, a response to Iranian or Syrian overtures, anything.
    But as Steve suggests, in the era of the co-Presidency decisions in Washington will get made by the last person to have George Bush’s ear, usually the Vice President. And since Cheney will not be in Southwest Asia forever steps toward a regional conference might lead to something, or lead nowhere. Most changes of course in foreign policy during any administration occur because everyone understands that they are what the President wants. Right now all we have is tentative movement in a direction that some of his subordinates, plus some foreign governments, favor.

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