Questions about Iraq

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After reading this, from the NYT:

The administration is sending Hellfire missiles and surveillance drones to help Iraqi forces and has stepped up efforts to persuade the Senate to permit the lease and sale of Apache attack helicopters. Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the Democratic chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, has held up the Apaches while demanding that they not be used against civilians and that Mr. Maliki take steps to stop Iran from supplying Syria’s military through Iraqi airspace.

…a bunch of questions, some of which are chimerical, others, necessary but never mentioned.

What’s the private military contractor presence (read: mercenaries) in Iraq?  What’s the reaction from the American Embassy in Iraq (the largest in the world), and what role does it play in the country?  Does the US support Kurdistan separation?  Would that fit the imperial model of divide and conquer?  Could the Greg Palast Theory — just like in the 1920′s when Great Britain controlled oil markets and kept Iraq oil offline, it is US strategy to keep Iraq oil offline until the product is more needed — be true (for the record, I really doubt this)?  How much violence will it take to subdue the population into producing like Saudi Arabia?  Who will get the oil out of the ground, at what rates, and whose banks will the profits flow to?  When, if ever, will that happen?

Keeping in mind that:

1) Iraq has the largest untapped sweet crude oil reserves in the world.

2) The era of cheap oil is over.  Cheap oil still exists (in certain places, like Libya and Iraq), it should just be thought of as extremely profitable oil.  Oil’s price base is now set with offshore and tight oil plays needing an $80 barrel price base.  Iraq’s sweet crude is still where the prize lies.

The year was…

1924, and how much things have changed.

From the 1924 Progressive Party Platform:

“We denounce the mercenary system of foreign policy under recent administrations in the interests of financial imperialists, oil monopolists, and international bankers, which has, at times, degraded our State Department from its high service as a strong and kindly intermediary of defenseless governments to a trading outpost for those interests and concession-seekers engaged in the exploitations of weaker nations, as contrary to the will of the American people, destructive of domestic development, and provocative of war.”