The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

And now, about that Iraqi oil …

with 2 comments

“How come?” one might wonder. “How come so much of the Middle East is poor when so much oil has been sold to the whole world?” Some go on to theorize that Arabs and Persians are simply inept or corrupt. Others lay the blame at the feet of Islam, and suggest that “Christian nations” more fairly distribute wealth.

But the truth is that western nations (read here USA and UK) have succeeded in diverting oil profits from those countries for a hundred years. And it’s about to happen again.

If you read A brief history of Iran-US relations, part 1: Constitution to Khatami, you’ll recall that eighty or ninety percent of Iranian oil profits during the first half of the 20th century ended up in Britain. When Iran grew into a fairly elected democracy and offered the UK and the USA a 50-50 split, the West responded with a devastating boycott of the Iranian economy, followed by the 1953 CIA-led coup deposing the Prime Minister and installing a corrupt puppet dictatorship. It wasn’t democracy or freedom for which the US brought down Iranian government.

And now, American control of Iraqi oil is on the table. The US is pushing hard for the Iraqi Parliament to pass an oil bill that will allow control and profits from much of Iraqi oil reserves to come under direct control of western oil corporations for the next thirty years.

That isn’t right. In recent history, it’s been utterly corrupt. For the richest to get richer at the expense of poor nations is a national disgrace, and it is the single largest cause of our national security crisis. This is why they hate us.

If you’re an American, last month you paid the highest gasoline prices of your lifetime. Simultaneously, American oil barons lined their pockets with the largest profits in history. If they suck money from their own countrymen, you can bet their scruples will be few overseas. will offer a petition read by Sunni, Shiite, and Kurd leaders to the Iraqi Parliament, urging law-makers to fairly distribute oil profits to the Iraqi people, and to resist US pressure to hand them over to western oil companies. I have signed the petition, and I encourage you to, as well. Click here for details. 12,000 have signed; 100,000 are sought.

We are at war in large part because American and British governments have followed rapacious economic policies toward the Middle East. For America to set an example of international decency—and, more pragmatically, for America to have any hope of future security—the US government will have to be pressured into square dealing.

I urge you to press against wealth and power on behalf of the people of Iraq.

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Written by Monte

May 22, 2007 at 1:57 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Many thanks for your comment and kind words, Servant! How right you are – we’ve not lived within our [energy] means for a long time, and there is much to do. I live in Iowa, where – believe it or not – very little of our food is locally grown! I think today I’ll write my check to my local vegetable co-op!


    May 23, 2007 at 1:20 pm

  2. Outstanding history of events, Monte. Thank you for putting it so clearly and succinctly.

    While we’re on the subject lets ask whose oil is it in Alaska. Whose oil is it? I like to think of that as a strategic reserve for well after we reach the far side of the peek oil curve in 10 or 15 years. In twenty years at the current rate of consumption – all the world’s sweet crude will be gone and the only thing that will be left will be residual seep from existing fields which will require higher cost extraction methods to recover it. We will quickly see the law of diminishing returns in action.

    We need to start planning now, because literally everything we do depends upon fuel consumption, from raising crops to processing food and transporting it. At some point we will have to say fossil fuel is reserved for tractors and critical transportion. Everyone else will have to get on a bus or a bicycle.

    Let us hope by then that we’ve thought out urban planning scenarios where it is no longer necessary to live in the suburbs and drive two hours round trip each day.

    There are so many things we need to start planning for now, because when the real fuel shortages really come – remember the gas lines in the 70’s? – it will be too late to start planning.


    May 22, 2007 at 6:32 pm

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