About Oil

Jim Holt says, in a quite nice piece published in the London Review of Books (the title seems to suggest that the ultimate rationale for the war in Iraq may be oil), that the use of the word ‘fiasco’ should be revised here:

“On the assumption that the Bush-Cheney strategy is oil-centred, the tactics — dissolving the army, de-Baathification, a final “surge” that has hastened internal migration — could scarcely have been more effective. The costs — a few billion dollars a month plus a few dozen American fatalities (a figure which will probably diminish, and which is in any case comparable to the number of US motorcyclists killed because of repealed helmet laws) — are negligible compared to $30 trillion in oil wealth, assured American geopolitical supremacy and cheap gas for voters. In terms of realpolitik, the invasion of Iraq is not a fiasco; it is a resounding success.” (from Jim Holt, “It’s the Oil”, London Review of Books, October 18 2007)

Well, just after saying that, the author puts forward a skeptical note which is reasonable sharing: such kind of secret, ambitious plans are generally expected to go wrong. Oh, but the Hunt Oil Company deal in Kurdistan seems to go steady — only with just a bit of trouble, though (the provincial government in Kurdistan skipped the Iraqi oil law negotiations and signed directly a separate contract with the Dallas-based company). Meanwhile, the Kurdish second front (Iran) might get some nice help. In return, perhaps.

(Err… and meanwhile Jack Miles wrote a piece titled “Endgame for Iraqi Oil?”.)


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