In a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing last month, State Department
Iraq Coordinator David Satterfield revealed the Declaration of Principles
proposals have now been divided into a binding Status of Forces Agreement (on
military involvement) and a nonbinding Strategic Framework Agreement (on
economic and diplomatic relations). Neither would be submitted for the consent
Thanks to Bremer's alterations of Iraqi law during the first year of the US
occupation, American companies are now allowed to buy out 100 percent of Iraqi businesses, instead of partnering with them. Bremer's orders also eliminated Iraq's high taxes on corporations, exchanging them for a 15 percent "flat tax." They abolished the practice of giving preference to Iraqi companies - in contracting out reconstruction work, for example - and erased a requirement to hire Iraqi workers.
Previously, Iraqi banks were closed to foreign ownership. Now, not only can foreign banks operate in Iraq, they can take over private Iraqi banks as well.
Bremer reworked Iraq's trademark and copyright laws, eliminated trade barriers and afforded foreign businesses the option of circumventing Iraq's legal system and taking any disputes to international tribunals.
The November version of the Bush-Maliki agreement suggested a commitment to
"facilitating and encouraging the flow of foreign investments to Iraq,
especially American investments, to contribute to the reconstruction and
rebuilding of Iraq."
According to James A. Paul, executive director of the Global Policy Forum, the "flow of foreign investments to Iraq" wouldn't manifest as generously as it sounds: The deal would primarily translate into "US/UK oil company control."
Last week's assault on Basra was "part of an effort to defeat the 'nationalists' in Iraq and consolidate a pro-US political regime that will go ahead with the oil deals," Paul told Truthout.
Just before fighting erupted in Basra, the Iraqi presidential council approved the "provincial law," which clears the way for elections - potentially allowing nationalist leaders who oppose US oil interests to come to power. Maliki's Basra attack, says Paul, represents a failed attempt to quash that possibility..
Wow... this means that our soldiers are fighting to keep Iraq as a US "possession", not a sovereign nation. Our enemies are no longer called "terrorists". Now that the deed is done, or almost done, we can call them what they really are: "nationalists". We are fighting to keep control of Iraq, especially its oil. And according to the article, this is not the idea of Big Oil corporations, but Bush/Cheney's idea. Of course, Big Oil stands to profit, but Bush's idea was to keep America richer, on oil, maintain the status quo.
The Iraqis, however, have quite a different agenda, and with what little rudiments of democracy they have now in place, they are fighting the US oil-grab with all they've got.
"The Parliament has remained steadfastly opposed and, in spite of periodic
predictions that parliamentary agreement is 'near,' they have not acted," he
said. "There have even been rumors that the companies have offered $5 million to
each parliamentarian who votes 'yes,' a rumor that seems to me to be probably
based in reality, yet even with such blandishments the Parliament has not
"I hope things would change under a Democratic administration. But the
fact that neither Clinton nor Obama has put forward an immediate withdrawal plan
is worrisome. It doesn't give me confidence that they would abandon the oil
policies the Bush administration has pursued."