The New York Times is reporting that “Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power.”
These are no bid contracts. However the most disingenuous part of the article is the following:
While the current contracts are unrelated to the companies’ previous work in Iraq, in a twist of corporate history for some of the world’s largest companies, all four oil majors that had lost their concessions in Iraq are now back.
Really? You think that awarding no bid contracts to corporations in countries that are currently occupying Iraq is mere coincidence? Corporations that have direct ties to people now in power?
As Stephen Kinzer’s book “Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq” shows, the vast majority of American interventions follow this pattern.
In a certain sense, separating politics and economics is a lie. The slightly archaic but holistic term political economy represents a proper quantum of study. The study of one, without the other, impoverishes the understanding of both, since the two topics are intimately related. Clausewitz said “war is a continuation of politics by other means” although apparently the obvious interpretation of this statement is not what Clausewitz meant. However, the obvious interpretation appears true, so I would go one step further: war is a continuation of economics by other means.
Oil as a commodity isn’t the sole reason we invaded Iraq. Understanding how the political and economic factors inter-relate provides the proper basis for its comprehension.
Iraq is an imperial project. As Chalmers Johnson argues, we can have a Republic or we can have an Empire, we can’t have both. Right now, we are on the road to empire.