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Baghdad a Long Way from Meeting Benchmarks

Posted on Jun 13, 2007

The Iraqi government appears unlikely to pass three key proposals that the U.S. has laid out as benchmarks for continuing support. Even so, it seems unlikely that redistributing Iraq’s oil wealth, as one proposal mandates, or giving more power to the Iraqi president would do much to bring security and opportunity to the Iraqi people.

New York Times:

And even if one or two of the proposals are approved—the oil law appears the most likely, officials said—doubts are spreading about whether the current benchmarks can ever halt the cycle of violence gripping Iraq’s communities.

For the handful of party leaders with the power to make deals, the promise of compromise now carries less allure than the possibility for domination. Long-suppressed Shiites and Kurds now see total victory within their grasp. Previous American benchmarks like elections have failed to bring peace and, after four years of unfulfilled promises, bloodshed and sprawling chaos, once wary glances have become cold, unblinking stares.

The same forces of entropy and obstinacy have also severed links between the party leaders and their constituencies. In Shiite areas of southern Iraq, Sunni areas of the west and for Kurds in the north, Iraq’s central government has become increasingly irrelevant as competing groups within each faction maneuver at the local level for control of public money and jobs. In many cases, especially through mosques, Iran and other foreign powers often provide more institutional support than Baghdad.

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By Druthers, June 14, 2007 at 1:29 am Link to this comment
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It is evident, it is not “benchmarks” that are needed.  Why not a good old-fashioned roadmap?

It is now enough to change the name, pollution = clean skies, no child left behind = dismantling the public education system.

All roads lead to Rome - Forward March.

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By DennisD, June 13, 2007 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment
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Benchmarks, we don’t need no f**king benchmarks. Does anyone believe this farce of a government can meet any benchmarks (I mean either ours or Iraq’s at this point). The only benchmark that matters is how much money is left for these scumbags to steal.

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By cyrena, June 13, 2007 at 11:52 am Link to this comment

Well Hank, this hydrocarbon law is actually key to it all, and you’re right, nobody ever says anything about it in the press. Or, when they do, it’s framed into the discourse as some benefit for the Iraqis. It doesn’t say that this hydrocarbon law (and it was drawn up by US corporations beginning way back at the beginning of the occupation) is really a huge grab of those natural resources.

In short, the backbone of the law/contract are these alleged PSA’s (or profit sharing agreements) It allows the multinationals to come in, privatize nearly ALL of the existing oil fields, (I think they are leaving the Iraqis about 8% of their total fields to them.) For the rest, the multinationals will pay the Iraqis an approximate 20 cents on the dollar (as profit) but they don’t even get that until they have used their measly share to rebuild their own country.

The contracts do NOT require that the multinationals hire local Iraqi people, and they already have boatloads of cheap labor from South Asia and other areas to do the work. They also are not required to pay the Iraqis any taxes on all the oil that they grab and export. And, the list goes on. The law also has like a 30 year term, so if the Iraqis pass this “benchmark”, it would effectively destroy what’s left of their nation’s economy, as their society in general.

It was always about the OIL, and little else. There is some information on it on Kucinich’s site, but Antonia Juhasv has done quite a bit of work on this, beginning quite some time back. You can check her out at

There are also several other mentions of it on Democracy Now, and other independent media. I have some other links if anybody wants to check it out. But the bottom line is that it is a really bad deal for the Iraqis, which is why only the handful of Maliki’s thugs in the Iraqi government have signed it. Those at the top, who have been selected as partners in crime by Cheney long ago. The rest of the Iraqi people are fighting it strongly, because THEY have ALWAYS known that the U.S. invaded them to steal their oil. They aren’t stupid.

So, as long as we are there in a military presence, and they see us building walls around them, in order to protect the oil infrastructure, and to get to the oil. THAT’S what they see, and it’s what they’ve been watching for over 5 years now. I’m relatively sure in my speculation, that it’s for that reason only, that any civil strife broke out to begin with. This was not a country at war with itself until we destroyed it by the invasion and subsequent occupation. The hydrocarbon law that the US keeps trying to jam down their throats is like the top kicker for them.

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By Hammo, June 13, 2007 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

The invasion and occupation of Iraq were reportedly planned amidst the twisting of intelligence and efforts at deception and manipulation of the American people, the press and the Congress.

Over the last few years, Americans have figured out what happened, why and who the players were in these questionable activities.

Once again, the American people have been underestimated.

Food for thought on this in the article . . .

“‘Dumbing down’ of Americans may not be working: More intelligence emerges”

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By Hank Van den Berg, June 13, 2007 at 9:28 am Link to this comment
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Isn’t it interesting how this article gives only a brief mention to the oil law, and then focuses on the Constitution and de-Baathification.  Why does the press never provide any information on the details of the proposed oil law?
I recommend trying to find information on the contents of the draft oil law.  Yu will find this very difficult, which is rather amazing given the importance of this law.  There is an extended description of the draft of the law available on Dennis Kucinich’s website, and Democracy Now! has discussed it.
From the information available, the draft of the law effectively requires that the oil industry be privatized at very favorable terms to the international oil companies.  There are just a couple of lines on distribution of revenues (nothing specific about equal sharing), and there are 33 pages, yes 33 pages, of detail on how the oil reserves and assets are to be privatized!  With this law as a benchmark, it seems that we did indeed invade Iraq for the oil.  Why do you suppose that the press has not pursued this issue?

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