America wants Iraq’s last drop of oil

Khalid Issa Taha   في الثلاثاء 09 سبتمبر 2008

America has ignored Iraq’s human capital in favour of chasing after its oil reserves. The US government dreams of controlling the flow of oil from Iraq and using this power to influence the running of the world’s economy in its favour. If America can pull off this coup it will slow down the growth of the Chinese and Indian economies and ensure the US remains the world’s only superpower for a little longer.

The American obsession with oil has been at the heart of all the serious mistakes it has made in Iraq. Instead of engaging with those Iraqis and Americans who have a sincere interest in building up civil society and a stable, democratic government the US administration gave jobs – and millions of dollars – to people who only wanted to advance their careers and make money. The route to advancement lay through unquestioning support for President Bush.

I have witnessed personally the Americans’ ‘oil blindness’. For several years my colleague, the lawyer Victor Rustow, has organised a group of around 240 highly skilled Iraqi professionals. All these people are willing to help rebuild Iraq but their ideas and suggestions have been overlooked or dismissed. If Paul Bremer had taken advice from such people appalling misjudgements like the dissolution of the Iraqi army might have been avoided.

When will the Americans learn that it is not possible to build a society, or a world, solely on oil? Recently alarming rumours have surfaced that the official figures for oil exports for Iraq are gross underestimates. In reality far more oil is being extracted from the country, siphoned off to support the US economy. If this is the case we can only assume that the US government is using what is in effect stolen oil to bribe the American people into thinking that the invasion of Iraq was a good idea all along.

The irresponsible pursuit of oil has lead to chaos in Iraq and lies in America. How do these results help to create a safer, more secure world? I fear things will not improve until the Americans learn to see Iraq as a country, not a petrol pump. When they finally reach this stage they will realise that Iraq’s greatest strength is its human talent and ingenuity, not oil. Let us hope the curse of ‘oil blindness’ lifts very soon.

London 09.09.2008


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