2003 May 17 Saturday
Iraq Occupation Officials Put Off Self-Rule, Ban Top Baathists

The US occupation forces in Iraq have banned top Baath party officials from serving in the new Iraqi government.

IN A drastic policy volte-face the United States ordered the elimination of all Baathist influence in Iraq yesterday, banning up to 30,000 senior party members from any job in a future administration.

New top US administrator Paul Bremer seems to be determined to assert firmer control.

U.S. officials said the shift was accelerated by the newly installed civilian reconstruction chief, L. Paul Bremer III, to demonstrate that a U.S. occupation struggling to deliver order and material improvements to Iraqis will not tolerate Baathist resistance and is serious about remaking the country.

The US has also decided to delay plans to turn over the administration of Iraq to an Iraqi civilian administration.

BAGHDAD, Iraq, May 16 In an abrupt reversal, the United States and Britain have indefinitely put off their plan to allow Iraqi opposition forces to form a national assembly and an interim government by the end of the month.

These are both needed moves. The United States faces an up-hill battle to create the conditions that will lead to an even partially liberal secular democracy in Iraq.

Update: Philip J. Carroll, US adviser to the Iraqi Ministry of Oil suggests Iraq should not be a member of OPEC.

BAGHDAD, May 16 -- The U.S. executive selected by the Pentagon to advise Iraq's Ministry of Oil suggested today that the country might best be served by exporting as much oil as it can and disregarding quotas set by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Free of OPEC quota constraints, Iraq could potentially be producing 12 million barrels a day within a decade.

The average cost of bringing a barrel of oil out of the ground in the U.S. is about $10. In Saudi Arabia, it's about $2.50. And in Iraq, it's less than $1, according to Fadhil Chalabi, executive director of the Center for Global Energy Studies in London and former Under Secretary of Oil in Iraq.

To put that in perspective Iraq averaged 2.45 million barrels a day output in 2001.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Iraq's average daily output last year was 2.45 million barrels a day, with about 2 million barrels a day legally exported under the U.N. program and the rest used domestically.

The more oil Iraq produces the cheaper oil will be for the whole world. Also, the lower prices would decrease revenue for Saudi Arabia and partially defund the export of Wahhabism. Still, a more thorough solution is needed for the problem of Saudi oil money going to spread of one of the most hostile forms of Islam. A revolution in Saudi Arabia followed by a break-up of Saudi Arabia would allow the oil revenue to be owned by a Shia Muslim state created out of the oil area western Saudi Arabia where Shias are a majority. This would cut off a huge source of cash for the Wahhabis.

Update II: Jonathan Foreman reports that US soldiers in Baghdad fear there will be an intifada in Baghdad if the US occupation officials do not get their act together.

These soldiers see the reservoir of Iraqi goodwill draining away while bureaucrats take their time holding meetings and making plans as if time were somehow not an issue. They fear that their successors here will face an intifada in the summer if power, water, medicine, gasoline and food don't start reaching Iraqi civilians.

"We ain't helping these people" says Sgt. Johnny Perdue of the 4/64 Scouts. It's just so f----ing frustrating. ORHA say they're doing it. Well, they're not doing it in the places we go."

"I'm no bleeding heart" says Sgt. Leon "Pete" Peters (who had more than his share of kills during the fighting south of the city). "I'll pull the trigger quick as anyone. But this place is going to go crazy if we don't find a way to help these people . . . I've been here for more than 30 days and I've yet to see a single yellow humanitarian food package."

The on-going debacle of America's half-hearted attempt at colonial rule of Iraq continues to unfold without enough attention in the press or in blog land. The hawks who supported the war have a moral obligation to push for better post-war management of Iraq. If we all hadn't pushed for the war in the first place the war wouldn't have happened.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 May 17 03:41 AM  Reconstruction and Reformation


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