How the politically connected cut their losses

Found this amusing, re: Iraq & the political status of its oil.  All emphasis mine:

Bush administration officials told Hunt Oil last summer that they did not object to its efforts to reach an oil deal with the Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq, even while the State Department was publicly expressing concern that such contracts could undermine a national Iraqi petroleum law, according to documents obtained by a House committee.

Last fall, after the deal was announced, the State Department said that it had tried to dissuade Hunt Oil from signing the contract with Kurdish regional authorities but that the company had proceeded “regardless of our advice.” Although Hunt Oil’s chief executive has been a major fundraiser for President Bush, the president said he knew nothing about the deal.

Yesterday, however, Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, released documents and e-mails showing that for nearly four months, State and Commerce department officials knew about Hunt Oil’s negotiations and had told company officials that there were no objections. In one note, a Commerce Department official even wished them “a fruitful visit to Kurdistan” and invited them to contact him “in case you need any support.”

That guidance contradicted the administration’s public posture. The Bush administration made an Iraqi national petroleum law, which has still not been adopted, a top priority last year in the hope it would more tightly bind the country’s regions together and open the way for international oil companies to invest in much larger oil fields south of Iraq’s Kurdish region. The State Department said, and continues to assert, that it opposes any contract with a regional Iraqi authority in the absence of a national petroleum law.

The Hunt Oil deal was seen by Kurdish officials as a key victory because the company’s chief executive, Ray L. Hunt, was not only a major backer of Bush but also a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. After the deal was completed, a dozen other foreign firms signed oil contracts with Kurdish authorities.

So the administration lied.  Big Whoop, they always do.

So the CEO of Hunt Oil is a buddy of Bush.  No duh.

What’s the interesting part of this story, you ask?  Simple: the combination of this agreement with Kurdistan and the multiple ones that followed with the public stance of ostensibly keeping Iraq whole show the one area where there was a Plan B.  Since that US-written oil legislation foisted on Iraq has been filing itself under “will be passed when Dr Dre finally releases that damn Detox album”, the oil companies have been preparing themselves in case of a split so they can at least get somethingThey clearly have not given up, but strategically they’re light years ahead of the administration.

BTW: right away after clicking that last link, the article starts with this:

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.

As someone who knows the real motivations behind much of our foreign policy, all I have to say is this: what took so long this time?

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About b-psycho

Left-libertarian blogger & occasional musician.
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