'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Monday, July 23, 2007

Alissa, Alissa, Didn't Anyone Tell You . . . 

. . . . that the Iraqi oil law is about more than what you described as national reconciliation?

The oil law, which would set up a system for managing and developing Iraq’s oil resources and would have a companion revenue-sharing law that would apportion oil income among the various groups, had been considered the most likely to be passed before the September report to Congress. But by the time the Iraqis return to Parliament in September, it is highly unlikely that they could meet the midmonth deadline in the United States.

“The fact is that the political blocs haven’t reached an agreement,” said Ayad al-Samarrai, one of the leaders of Tawafiq, the largest of the Sunni Arab blocs in Parliament. “What the government is doing can be described as dodging — the governmental bodies have not agreed among themselves,” he said, referring to differences within the Iraqi leadership, which includes Shiites, Sunni Arabs and Kurds, about aspects of the law.

However, there is a growing sense among a number of Iraqi leaders that all of the measures that constitute reconciliation should be handled as a package so that tradeoffs can be made among the political groups. “The Kurds want to approve a certain group of laws, like a national revenue-sharing law” and other provisions, said Haider al-Abadi, a Shiite member of Parliament.

The Sunni Arabs are also interested in addressing the laws as a package, Mr. Samarrai said. “Today we made a suggestion to invite the political blocs to discuss this with the presidency,” he said. They would discuss several laws as a political package and make a deal on all of them once. They include the oil and revenue sharing measure, a new “de-Baathification” law widening access to government jobs to members of Saddam Hussein’s former ruling party, which was dominated by Sunni Arabs, and a law scheduling provincial elections to choose representative governments so that Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds would be equitably represented.

Rather strangely, your article makes no reference to the fact that the law mandates the denationalization of the industry and the profitable, virtually unregulated, participation of transnationals through production sharing agreements. Nor does the article make mention of the opposition of the unions that represent the people who work within it.

Another rather peculiar omission, don't you think? Neglecting to mention the opinion of the people that actually work in the industry? Do you honestly not know these things, or did the editor back in New York slash it out? After all, Bill can be so prissy about these things.

I also couldn't understand why the Shia, the Sunnis and the Kurds are having such difficulty reaching an agreement if the bill is designed to promote reconciliation. Anyway, as you can tell, I am having a lot of difficulty making sense of out of your story. I know that you have dinner plans with Judith and Michael at eight, so maybe you can call or e-mail after you get home, and provide some much needed insight.

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