Archive article from The Socialist Issue 300
'The Authority' Will Control Iraqi Oil
'WE WON. Stuff you!' That's what the US administration's proposals to the United Nations (UN) on running post-Saddam Iraq amount to.
George Bush and Tony Blair's invasion and occupation of Iraq was a 'war for oil', so it comes as no surprise that a new US/UK body - The Authority - will decide how the Iraqi oil revenues will be spent. Currently, the UN (which is dominated by the big powers) controls Iraq's oil under its sanctions regime.
Russia and France, still smarting after Bush brushed aside their protests against the war, say sanctions cannot be lifted until UN weapons inspectors declare Iraq 'free of weapons of mass destruction'. However, the 'facts on the ground' ie the US occupation of Iraq, means that their objections will come to nothing and that US energy corporations will be free to run Iraq's oil industry (at a handsome profit).
BUT EXTRACTING Iraq's oil has run into a problem - democracy! Some 300 oil workers in Basra demonstrated at the city's refinery demanding the election of its managers.
With US backing, the southern Iraq oil fields are being run by Major Mark Tilley of the Royal Engineers. Tilley has appointed former members of Saddam's Baath party to run the refinery.
Reclining on a sofa in the plush office of the plant's former manager, he responded to the protesters' demands saying: "I've got a refinery to run and I can't change the management now."
In case readers are confused, the war was fought for regime change and democracy.
JUST HOURS before US Secretary of State Colin Powell was due to arrive in Saudi Arabia, suicide bombers attacked four western and US sites in the country, killing 34 people and wounding around 200.
The finger of blame is being pointed at al-Qa'ida. Whoever is responsible, these attacks underline the point that the socialist has consistently made; the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have not been the prelude to a new stable global order. Instead, they have made the world a far more dangerous place, fuelling terrorism internationally.
"I'm a US official - get me out of here"
THE US occupation of Iraq is in danger of turning into a farce. After only a few weeks in his job as Iraqi 'civil dictator', retired general Jay Garner is being replaced by Paul Bremer who will report directly to US defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
The health minister, appointed by the US, has resigned because of the dire crisis facing hospitals and the whole health sector. And the Iraqi police chief, who US forces were initially happy to work with, has had to be sacked because of his high-ranking position in Saddam's repressive regime.
As if this wasn't enough, Barbara Bodine, supposedly responsible for 'sorting out' Baghdad has been recalled by the US. In the Iraqi capital looting and arson are still rife, rubbish lies uncollected in the streets and water and electricity are in short supply. While the US plays 'musical ministers', it is ordinary Iraqis who suffer as usual.
WHAT DO you give Tony Blair, the PM who ignored the opposition of the British public to the war on Iraq? The Joe Stalin prize for democracy? The George Bush brown nose award?
Well, nearly. In fact it's the Ellis Island Medal of Honour for international leadership. Tony Blair will receive the medal this month - for services to the US - making him the only non-US person to be given it. He is also expected to be awarded the US Congressional Gold Medal.
The New Labour lap dog won't be at the awards ceremony but instead is rumoured to be sending a video showing him jumping through hoops on the White House lawns and catching in his teeth a pretzel thrown by George Bush.