MR editorial, Dec. 2002

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Mon Nov 10 00:26:25 MST 2003

At 1:29 PM -0500 11/9/03, dmschanoes wrote:
>And let's get to the economic argument-- Iraq could raise production
>to 3 million--6million-- 10million barrels a day?  What would be the
>impact of that?  Well, look back to '98 when Iraq produced about 2.4
>billion barrels a day- and the price collapsed to 10-$12/barrel.  If
>that's what the US wanted-- then the thing to have done was remove
>the sanctions, let the price of oil drop, then invade Iraq with
>"privatization" demands to purchase access to the oil fields--
>something the US has pursued in the past, an continues to pursue now

Before 9.11.01, the sanctions on Iraq were eroding, the Iraqi
government successfully scoring remarkable diplomatic victories:

*****   Iraq Chipping Away at Sanctions
By Edith M. Lederer
Associated Press
November 14, 2000

With help from Russia, France and the Arab world, Iraq has ended a de
facto air travel embargo. Now it's chipping away at 10-year-old U.N.
economic sanctions and seeking more control over its oil riches.

Baghdad's high-profile campaign to end its long diplomatic isolation
appears to be gaining momentum. Long-closed borders with Jordan and
Saudi Arabia are opening up to U.N.-approved goods. Dozens of
businessmen, officials, scientists, artists and athletes have
traveled to Iraq for the first time since its 1990 invasion of
Kuwait. Baghdad demanded -- and is getting -- payment for oil sales
in euros instead U.S. dollars, the hated currency of an enemy state.
"They've stuck a little bit more of a wedge in the door to get it
open," said Terence Taylor, assistant director of the International
Institute for Strategic Studies in London.

The response from the United States, which is publicly committed to
ousting strongman Saddam Hussein, has been muted -- something
diplomats and analysts have attributed to a lack of desire in the
Clinton administration to create an Iraq crisis during the
presidential campaign. But they don't expect changes in the wake of
the election. That's mainly because Washington's hard-line strategy
to isolate and punish Iraq has almost no support at the United
Nations and has been undermined by events on the ground, said David
Malone, president of the International Peace Academy, a New York
think tank. . . .

<>   *****

The US government faced a conundrum: one one hand, the US government
didn't have enough economic and diplomatic powers to stop even Arab
states, much less France and Russia, from breaking the US-imposed
sanctions; on the other hand, as long as the Baath Party remained in
power, the US government had no way of lifting its own economic
sanctions on Iraq without having the policy change perceived as a US
defeat and a victory for the last remaining bastion of Arab
nationalism -- a self-inflicted political blow against the
credibility of the might of the US Empire; keeping its own economic
sanctions on Iraq in order to avoid a self-inflicted political wound,
at the same time as letting one state after another break ranks with
the US and trade with Iraq, would have caused the US-imposed
sanctions on Iraq to eventually mutate into a self-imposed economic
disadvantage for US corporations.

Then, the execrable 9.11 terrorists attacked the World Trade Center
and the Pentagon, presenting an unprecedented political opportunity
for the Bush regime to "solve" the aforementioned politico-economic
conundrum militarily.

However, military might alone -- even the armed forces of the
mightiest empire in world history -- can never solve a genuine
politico-economic difficulty.  The invasion and occupation of Iraq
are turning out to be more than what the Bush regime thought it
bargained for.

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