Friday, May 11, 2007

What's Oil Got to Do With It?

From Saturday's New York Times story "Cheney, on Carrier, Sends Warning to Iran"
Vice President Dick Cheney used the deck of an American aircraft carrier just 150 miles off Iran’s coast as the backdrop yesterday to warn that the United States was prepared to use its naval power to keep Tehran from disrupting oil routes...

Oil seemed to be on Mr. Cheney’s mind yesterday when he told 3,500 to 4,000 members of the Stennis’s crew that Iran would not be permitted to choke off oil shipments.
A 2nd Times piece, "Billions in Oil Missing in Iraq, U.S. Study Finds" reports that hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil "is unaccounted for and could have been siphoned off through corruption or smuggling." The report reinforces suspicion that corruption in the oil sector is likely financing some of the insurgency.

Of course, a resurgent oil industry, we were told, would finance the reconstruction of the energy sector and Iraq as a whole. It hasn't turned out that way.
Adding together both civilian and military financing, the report concludes that the United States has spent $5.1 billion of the $7.4 billion in American taxpayer money set aside to rebuild the Iraqi electricity and oil sectors. The United States has also spent $3.8 billion of Iraqi money on those sectors, the report says.
Despite that investment, less electricity is being produced that before the invasion, and neither oil "exports nor production have met American goals and have also declined since last year, the report says."

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