Thursday, March 15, 2007

Kucinich Asks For Amendment To Supplemental That Would Eliminate Privatization of Iraqi Oil

Ohio Democratic congressman Dennis Kucinich's congressional website posted the following press release.

Kucinich Asks For Amendment To Supplemental That Would Eliminate Privatization of Iraqi Oil

Washington, Mar 14 - WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 14) — Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) unveiled an amendment he plans to offer to the supplemental — scheduled to be on the floor next Thursday — that would force Congress to reconsider the consequences of including the Administration’s benchmark on passage of the hydrocarbon law, which would privatize the nationalized oil system currently in place and open Iraqi oil fields to foreign oil companies.

The law will grant foreign companies “national treatment,” thereby stripping both private and public Iraqi companies of any preferential treatment in the process of awarding contracts.

“The United States should not be requiring Iraq to open their oil fields to private foreign companies as a condition of ending our occupation. The Administration’s strong push to enact a hydrocarbon law has little to do with the needs of the Iraqi people,” Kucinich said.

“Instead it is a concerted effort to ensure that American oil companies are granted access to Iraqi oil fields. By adopting this benchmark in the supplemental, and requiring the enactment of this law by the Iraqi government, Democrats will be instrumental in privatizing Iraqi oil.”

In a letter Kucinich sent Monday to House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-WI), he wrote: “I urge you to reconsider the ramifications of including the Administration’s benchmark on passage of the oil law. This benchmark and the law currently being considered by the Iraqi government run contrary to the best interests of the Iraqi people and should not be supported by Democrats.”

“We must remove this benchmark from the supplemental and work to ensure any hydrocarbon law put in place is truly the best interests of all Iraqi people.”

A March 13, op-ed article in The New York Times by Antonia Juhasz, an analyst at the Institute for Policy Studies, who has written extensively on the economic aspects of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, states:
“In March 2001, the National Energy Policy Development Group, which included executives of America’s largest energy companies, recommended that the United States government support initiatives by Middle Eastern countries ‘to open up areas of their energy sectors to foreign investment.’ One invasion and a great deal of political engineering by the Bush administration later, this is exactly what the proposed Iraq oil law would achieve. It does so to the benefit of the companies, but to the great detriment of Iraq’s economy, democracy and sovereignty. Since the invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration has been aggressive in shepherding the oil law toward passage.”

Kucinich raised the issue with his colleagues in the Democratic Caucus meeting yesterday. He intends to offer the amendment on the floor of the House next week, whether or not it is made in order by the Rules Committee.

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