This war ain’t gonna pay for itself, nosirree…

Forget everything you heard out of Washington in ’03.

No, on second thought–remember it. And throw it back in the faces of all the wingnuts who repeated this bullcrap to you. The war in Iraq is going to be a money pit. And trust the media of Old Europe–in this case, Germany–to get the story right where the US media is falling on its ass:

Two-and-a-half years after the US invasion of Iraq, the country’s oil industry is still in disarray. An official of the Oil Ministry in Baghdad told ISN Security Watch, on condition of anonymity: "We do not know the exact quantity of oil we are exporting, we do not exactly know the prices we are selling it for, and we do not know where the oil revenue is going to."

According to Baghdad press reports, export revenues are still not sufficient to cover the Iraqi state budget. The government is forced to take loans from international banks to cover its running expenses.

Although the US invested around US$1.3 billion in the rehabilitation of oil plants damaged by lack of maintenance during 13 years of UN sanctions, the daily output of approximately 1.3 million barrels remains far below Iraq’s pre-war production level of 2.5 million barrels.

The production goal for December 2004 of 3 million barrels per day, set by the US and the Iraqi government, cannot be reached in the near future, according to experts within the Iraqi Oil Ministry who talked to ISN Security Watch.

The Iraqi government looks set to lose US$8 billion a year in potential oil revenue, due to the poor current state of the oil industry.

One of the reasons for the decline of the industry is a lack of progress in the reconstruction effort, due to serious managerial deficiencies.

For instance Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) was awarded a US$225 million contract, without a tender, to rehabilitate the Qarmat Ali Water Plant in southern Iraq, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

This, of course, comes as no surprise to anyone who’s been seriously paying attention. Neither does the fact that profiteers–Halliburton, and of course the banks–are making out like bandits from all this, and they’re the only ones that will. This, in spite of the fact that Halliburton is clearly inept:

In Kurdistan, KBR signed a US$70 million contract to rehabilitate part of the pipeline system. According to the Los Angeles Times, KBR was only able to fulfill half of the contract. A couple of million barrels that had already been pumped could not be transported, and had to be re-injected into the ground — a practice that engineers regard as harmful to oilfields.

Did you catch that, kiddies? “KBR was only able to fulfill half of the contract”, and “a couple of million barrels had to be re-injected into the ground”.

THIS is the wonderful private sector that can do everything so much better than state-run industry? What a joke. Sounds to me like Halliburton has barely come up in the world from the time when it was in the business of transporting “sailboat fuel” on empty flatbed trucks.

But wait…it gets worse:

Iraq’s oil exports hit their lowest level since the war, according to figures released on Monday, heightening a sense of crisis as fuel supplies grow scarce and political leaders struggle to form a government.

Iraq exported 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil in December, a senior official said — less than any month since exports resumed in mid-2003 after the U.S. invasion and about half the level seen during sanctions under Saddam Hussein.

Sabotage is damaging plants and blocking investment, keeping exports at a fraction of targets officials say should be met if Iraq’s vast reserves are to provide its people with the prosperity that might draw the sting of civil conflict.

The oil official was speaking after Oil Minister Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum announced his resignation in opposition to fuel price rises imposed last month as part of an aid deal with the International Monetary Fund that demands big cuts in subsidies.

The price rises have been unpopular among Iraqis, already struggling with poor basic public services and appalling violence on their streets.

Again, take careful notes here, people. The oil minister quit because he didn’t like the so-called “aid deal” (really, an agreement not to press charges after the entire country was mugged) laid out by the IMF.

Now, I’m not gonna bore you with a long, dry history of how the IMF screws troubled countries out of an honest living and a real shot at democracy; instead, I’m going to leave you with a link to a previous entry I’ve blogged here on the “Iraqicazo”, as Oil Wars has dubbed it, and a little serenade courtesy of Bruce Cockburn:

Padded with power here they come

International loan sharks backed by the guns

Of market hungry military profiteers

Whose word is a swamp and whose brow is smeared

With the blood of the poor

Who rob life of its quality

Who render rage a necessity

By turning countries into labour camps

Modern slavers in drag as champions of freedom

Sinister cynical instrument

Who makes the gun into a sacrament —

The only response to the deification

Of tyranny by so-called “developed” nations’

Idolatry of ideology

North South East West

Kill the best and buy the rest

It’s just spend a buck to make a buck

You don’t really give a flying fuck

About the people in misery

IMF dirty MF

Takes away everything it can get

Always making certain that there’s one thing left

Keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

See the paid-off local bottom feeders

Passing themselves off as leaders

Kiss the ladies shake hands with the fellows

Open for business like a cheap bordello

And they call it democracy

And they call it democracy

And they call it democracy

And they call it democracy

See the loaded eyes of the children too

Trying to make the best of it the way kids do

One day you’re going to rise from your habitual feast

To find yourself staring down the throat of the beast

They call the revolution

IMF dirty MF

Takes away everything it can get

Always making certain that there’s one thing left

Keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

And they call it Democracy…

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2 Responses to This war ain’t gonna pay for itself, nosirree…

  1. Derek Dyck says:

    Sorry, Sabina, that I missed your name when I was listing off those who had come to the defense of Mary MacElveen after the attack on her by Aaron Schoeffler. I thought I had covered all the responses, but I had missed yours.
    As a fellow Canadian and political ally, I support the views you expresssed in your Vheadline piece.

  2. Bina says:

    Hey, Derek, glad to see you commenting here regularly. Got my first abusive posting, which I was more than happy to delete as it would have contributed nothing to this debate. It was in response to this thread.

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