[Marxism] Franklin Lamb : "Waiting for the endgame in Libya"

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Aug 23 13:15:15 MDT 2011

On 8/23/2011 3:04 PM, Joseph Catron wrote:
> I think you missed this (fairly obvious) part of the Cockburn article:
> "For if Gaddafi proved too weak to stay in power, this does not mean that
> the rebels have overwhelming strength. They were saved from defeat last
> March by Nato aircraft striking at Gaddafi's armour as it advanced on
> Benghazi. They are entering Tripoli now only because they have received
> tactical air support from Nato."
> The man who just effectively won the war against Qaddafi is Gen. Carter F.
> Ham, USA.

I understand that NATO made it possible for Qaddafi to be 
overthrown but I reject the idea that men like Muktar al-Akhdar, 
who was profiled in a Washington Post article that I forwarded 
earlier, are its willing servant. The Shi'ites in Iraq also came 
to power largely because of American military power but they have 
gone their own merry way.

Speaking of Cockburn:


In 2008 Obama campaigned on pledges of withdrawal from Iraq and 
escalation in Afghanistan. Addressing cadets at West Point 
military academy on August 2, 2010, he said that the war in Iraq 
had been won: "This is what success looks like."

It's a bizarre definition of success. The Shia-dominated 
government of Iraq is backed by America's demon of the hour, Iran. 
If this really was a "war for oil," it scarcely went well for the 
United States. Run your eye down the list of contracts the Iraqi 
government awarded in June and December 2009. Prominent is 
Russia's Lukoil, which, in partnership with Norway's Statoil, won 
the rights to West Qurna Phase Two, a 12.9 billion–barrel 
super-giant oilfield. Other successful bidders for fixed-term 
contracts included Russia's Gazprom and Malaysia's Petronas.

Only two US-based oil companies came away with contracts: 
ExxonMobil partnered with Royal Dutch Shell on a contract for West 
Qurna Phase One (8.7 billion barrels in reserves); and Occidental 
shares a contract in the Zubair field (4 billion barrels), in 
company with Italy's ENI and South Korea's Kogas. The huge Rumaila 
field (17 billion barrels) yielded a contract for BP and the China 
National Petroleum Company, and Royal Dutch Shell split the 12.6 
billion–barrel Majnoon field with Petronas, 60-40.

So either the all-powerful US government was unable to fix the 
auctions to its liking, or the all-powerful US-based oil companies 
mostly decided the profit margins weren't sufficiently tempting. 
Either way, "the war for oil" doesn't look in very good shape.

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