Monday, May 31, 2004

After grilling some burgers and feasting on the first good canteloupe of the season, the General is back to blogging. This was the first article that caught my eye tonight:
Iraqi crude oil sales since last year's U.S.-led invasion have hit more than $10 billion, the U.S.-led authority governing Iraq said on Monday.

The Coalition Provisional Authority had deposited a total of $10.004 billion in its Development Fund for Iraq as of last Thursday, it said in an Internet posting.
This bit of news brings to light once again the importance of the Development Fund for Iraq (sic) in the future wrangling over a new UN Security Council resolution for Iraq.

Recall that the Development Fund for Iraq was set up by UNSC Resolution 1483 (2003) which largely replaced the UN Oil for Food Program, itself discontinued in November. The DFI is designed to be the Treasury of The New IraqTM, concentrating in it not only all of Iraq's oil and natural gas revenues, but also all revenues frozen by Western governments after 1990, US Congressional grants, and the like. According to 1483, the aim of the Fund is to provide for
the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people, for the economic reconstruction and repair of Iraq�s infrastructure, for the continued disarmament of Iraq, and for the costs of Iraqi civilian administration, and for other purposes benefiting the people of Iraq
It's a multibillion dollar pot of gold well worth having your hands on.

From the text of the latest draft resolution cooked up in Washington and London, it appears the same masters are going to be running the show regardless of any details about "sovereignty".
The Security Council . . . Notes that upon dissolution of the Coalition Provisional Authority that funds in the Development Fund for Iraq shall be disbursed at the direction of the Interim Government of Iraq and its successors, and decides that the Development Fond for Iraq shall be utilized in a transparent manner and through the Iraqi budget including to satisfy outstanding obligations against the Development Fund for Iraq, that the arrangements for depositing of proceeds from export sales of petroleum, petroleum products, and natural gas and its products established in paragraph 20 of resolution 1483 (2003) shall continue to apply, that the International Advisory and Monitoring Board referred to in resolution 1483 (2003) shall continue its activities in monitoring the Development Fund for Iraq and shall include as an additional member a duly qualified representative of the sovereign government of Iraq and that the provisions above shall be reviewed no later than 12 months from the date of this resolution or at the request of the Transitional Government of Iraq, and that appropriate arrangements shall be made for the continuation of deposits of the proceeds referred to in paragraph 21 of resolution 1483 (2003);
Clearly the draft US/UK resolution continues to dramatically limit the sovereignty of the new post-June 30 "sovereign" Iraqi government by continuing to internationalize the country's treasury including all the revenue from the only viable export sector the country has. Counterpunch has called the DFI "The Corporate Slush Fund for Iraq", and Christian Aid dubbed it "a financial black hole". While DFI funds will be disbursed by the new interim government after June 30, they will still be disbursed to (primarily US) corporations reconstructing Iraq. They are supposed to be disbursed under the watchful eye of the extant International Advisory and Monitoring Board -- led by the IMF and the World Bank -- but that may not be terribly reassuring. Finally, the DFI will continue to be the means by which Iraqi oil money is funneled to Kuwait in the form of "reparations" dating back to the 1990-91 Gulf War; that is what "paragraph 21 of resolution 1483" is all about.

Formally we all know that after June 30 the interim Iraqi government will be sovereign; if they ask US and UK troops to leave, we are told they will leave. If you believe that one, you'll probably believe the interim Iraqi government also has control over the Iraqi treasury, too. And by the way, I have this bridge in Brooklyn . . .

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