Thursday, October 25, 2007

Circle this date (in purple, if you like)

Nothing like the endless inanities of the American presidential election process to obliterate actual news. For example, the government (yes, they have one) of the sovereign (yes, it is) country of Iraq served notice that the sublet of the country that the UN Security Council so nicely co-signed for us effectively expires December 31, 2008.

The country should be left broom-swept clean and should not have sustained more than the customary wear-and-tear during the sublet period. Guess we can kiss that security deposit good-bye.
By December 31, 2008, according to Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, the government of Iraq intends to have replaced the existing mandate for a multinational security force with a conventional bilateral security agreement with the United States, an agreement of the sort that Washington has with Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and several other countries in the Middle East.

The Security Council has always paired the annual renewal of its mandate for the multinational force with the renewal of a second mandate for the management of Iraqi oil revenues….

The oil game will be up if and when Iraq announces that this mandate, too, will be terminated at a date certain in favor of resource-development agreements that -- like the envisioned security agreement -- match those of other states in the region.
About those other states in the region -- Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia: they have outlawed foreign control over oil development.

Well now.

On the one hand, Bush and the Neocons could take the expired lease metaphor and run with it. It’s ready-made to be spun into a marketable victory: We liberated the good Iraqi people, brought Saddam to justice, left peacefully when asked, flowers, candies, etc.

What’s more, the Iraq war made the best kind of money there is for Bush/Cheney sponsors -- the kind where the direct physical risks are taken by other people (US troops, Iraqi civilians); the economic costs are subsidized by other people, ie, millions of suckered US taxpayers; yet the enormous profits are taken by, well, them.

On the other hand, to leave Iraq without having denationalized, privatized, and signed away the country’s vast oil resources -- why that would be like driving a stake through Cheney’s half-dead heart. Bush would have no problem leaving his grand vision for the broader Middle East in shambles. He’ll be very happy with a no-decision stat for the war and whatever cushy sinecures his cronies can line up. But an unsatisfied, disgruntled Cheney will always be a danger.

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