The Global Scramble For Black Gold

Who thought it was about freedom and democracy…

March 30, 2007
The Global Scramble for Black Gold
Oil and the Empire


The oil men of the Bush administration are trying to set up one of the biggest swindles in history–the great Iraq oil robbery.

The cabinet of the new Iraqi government–under pressure from the U.S. occupiers who put them in power–approved a law that would undo Iraq’s nationalized system and give Western oil giants unparalleled access to the country’s vast reserves.

The oil companies would be guaranteed super-profits–on a scale unknown anywhere else in the Middle East–for a period of 20 to 35 years from oil pumped out of two-thirds or more of Iraq’s oilfields. Meanwhile, Iraqis would continue to endure poverty and the devastation of war while sitting atop what is estimated to be the third-largest supply of the world’s most sought-after resource.

The great Iraq oil robbery isn’t a done deal. Even if the law is finalized by May as expected, the major oil companies say they won’t have anything to do with production in Iraq until “security” is established–and that would mean a success for the occupiers and their Iraqi puppets that the U.S. hasn’t been able to achieve over the past four years since the invasion.

Still, the law underlines the importance of the scramble for oil to the U.S. empire–no matter how much George Bush and his administration deny it with claims about spreading “democracy” and making the world safe from terrorism.

The U.S. government’s thirst for oil isn’t only about profits–and still less about securing supplies of a commodity that ordinary Americans depend on–but is also about power. In a world in which the economic and military might of nations depends significantly on access to oil, more control for the U.S. means less control for its rivals.

These dual calculations–securing access for its own needs and controlling the access of others–have been central to the history of oil and the U.S. empire, from the end of the 19th century, to the start of the 21st.
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Clare Swinney

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