19 April 2007

Iraq: It Really Is About Oil--Just Not The Way You Might Think

Keeping the price of oil high is very important to countries such as Russia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. The biggest thing such countries fear, is a major new source of sweet crude--because that would drop the price of oil, and directly hurt their bottom lines.
A new report estimates that Iraq's oil reserves could be up to 116 billion barrels, ranking them third largest in the world and much larger than previously thought, said IHS Inc. Thursday, a consultancy group which has compiled the Iraq Atlas, the first detailed report on the country's oil reserves and production since the start of the U.S.-led invasion.

The report estimates that there could be another 100 billion barrels of oil and a large amount of gas in the Western Desert of Iraq, IHS said in a statement Thursday. The Iraq Atlas will be released by IHS on May 9.

"Most of Iraq's oil production comes from the south of Iraq and is exported via the Persian Gulf because of repeated sabotage attacks on facilities in the north," said Mohamed Zine, IHS regional manager for the Middle East, in a statement. As a result, current production capacity is two million barrels of oil per day.

"However, the Iraq Atlas estimates indicate that given a stable political and civil environment, Iraq has the potential to produce four million barrels a day in the near term if necessary investments are made in repairing and modernizing facilities," Zine said.

Peace in Iraq is not in the best interests of Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other corrupt oil-dependent governments. Iraqi peace would mean the Iraqis could sell their oil, and that would drop the world oil price. It is relatively inexpensive for the Iranian theocracy--for now--to sponsor terrorism in Iraq, and help prevent the widespread development of Iraqi oil fields. It is likewise inexpensive for Russia to act as a quasi-superpower patron of Iran, in discouraging the US from dealing firmly with Iranian mischief-makers. After all, it is in the perceived interests of the Russian mafiacracy--living high on profits of nationalised oil--to keep as much Iraqi oil off the market as possible.

The US has not laid claim to Iraqi oil, in spite of all the leftist and islamist conspiracy mongering. Instead, the US would apparently like nothing better than for Iraqis to establish an orderly rule of law, and sell Iraqi oil for the benefit of Iraqis.

Peak oil disciples likewise might very well worry that peace in Iraq would mean that their theories are less credible--and the "peak" might be pushed back significantly.

All in all, there are very many powerful people in the world who feel threatened by peace in Iraq--and I have not even mentioned the US Congressional members who have invested so heavily in a defeat in Iraq. Nor have I mentioned the many journalists and academics in North America and Europe who pray daily to any god they may believe in for the US to suffer defeat in Iraq.

It seems that those who actually wish for peace in Iraq may be in the minority, worldwide. That bodes ill for US President Bush's wish to export democracy to that part of the world.

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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