BAGHDAD, Aug. 13 Australia's leader has told Iraq's prime minister that he'll withdraw troops from the coalition if Iraq doesn't approve a draft oil law.That's the idea! I've been pulling for this all along; now all we need is for John Howard to talk George Bush into doing the same thing.
Howard meets with President Bush this week in Sydney.Perfect! The war could be over before the congressional recess.
Well of course I'm kidding about that ... but in all semi-seriousness, UPI actually has some slightly half-decent reporting about the oil law itself, although it -- like all other mainstream media accounts -- skirts the point nicely:
The law, which is highly controversial, is being promoted by the Bush administration as a way toward reconciliation in the highly factionalized country. The thought is if political and other leaders can decide how to compromise on sharing the wealth from Iraq's vast oil reserves, they can also compromise on issues that are leading the country toward fracture and civil war.Right. And it also says the oil companies get 87.5% of the revenue. And the rest will be divvied up according to whatever system comes of the much-ballyhooed "federal / provincial / regional squabble", but that's not the main issue, is it?
The oil law Bush, and now Australian Prime Minister John Howard, are begging for, however, doesn't divvy up the revenue from oil -- that will be handled in a separate revenue-sharing law. The draft oil law actually decides the extent of federalism in exploration, development and production of the third-largest oil reserve in the world, as well as how much access foreign oil companies will have, among other issues that are proving hard to find agreement on between the competing demands of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds.
Well, let's put it this way: It's the main issue in Iraq, where seven eighths of the money is slated to go somewhere else! But in the sleepy living rooms of America (and Australia), the public perception is so warped that people actually buy this utterly ridiculous story of this utterly ridiculous threat.
It's almost as if a gang of thieves broke into your home and trashed it, trashed every other home in the neighborhood too, raped your wife and your daughters, took your sons away to who knows where and did who knows what to them, kept all this up for four years!, and then backed you into a corner and said "If you don't give us all the rest of your money, we're leaving!"
Of course that's not the real story. That's only a glimmer of how absurd the real story is.
The real story is about the Iraqi parliament and the precarious position in which it finds itself, especially with respect to the occupying armies. The armies in effect put the politicians in power, by securing the country so that it could have three democratic elections, the first two having been insufficiently democratic as their results failed to please the occupiers. Don't snicker! This is how democracy works in an occupied country.
Now those politicians are in power and they see the occupiers as protectors. For many reasons, including this self-same belief, the rest of Iraq sees its parliamentarians -- just like everyone else who has been working for the occupiers -- as "traitors", "collaborators" and "spies".
So when the occupying armies threaten to leave, the politicians, instead of thinking "Good! Now perhaps the violence will settle down", tend to think "What will happen to me?" They may see handing over the county's vast natural wealth as preferable to the bullet in the back of the head that most certainly awaits them -- or would, in the absence of the occupying protectors.
They can't afford to see the occupiers leave just yet: they need to get themselves out of the country, safely ensconced someplace nice and friendly, before they can allow that to happen. Now: how to find a nice safe friendly place? Hmmm. You think passing a little bit of legislation might help?
Now you're starting to think like a puppet ... um, I mean, a Parliamentarian.