Corporate oil giants scramble to plunder Iraq’s energy reserves

When Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki finally sent the so-called “oil law” to be passed by the parliament in July, George Bush phoned to congratulate him personally. Maliki’s failure to push the legislation through had been a source of growing frustration and anger in Washington for more than a year. The law was needed to legitimise one of the main aims of the illegal US invasion of Iraq—to allow foreign corporations to assume control over the country’s state-owned energy resources on the most lucrative of terms.

Bush’s congratulations—made on behalf of the major oil corporations and their share-holders—were premature however. The rival Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish factions of the Iraqi ruling elite have still not agreed on the legislation due to their bitter and increasingly intractable differences over how to divide the revenues that would flow to the Baghdad government. Five months after the law was sent for ratification, it is still tied up in debates within a parliamentary committee, with few indications as to when, or in what form, it will to be passed.