So when it comes to the current situation in Kurdistan – or Northern Iraq, call it what you like – you’d be a sucker if you truly believed that the US are going to bomb the shit out of ISIS – or the Islamic State, or the Caliphate, call it what you like too – out of the goodness of their hearts to save the persecuted Christians or Yazidis (a bunch who believe that God created the world and placed it under the care of seven “holy beings”, the holy boss dog being the”Peacock Angel”) who’ve fled to the mountains under threat of death from the Islamic mad boys. Notwithstanding the somewhat dubious moral notion of killing a bunch of strangers to save another bunch of strangers lives, the reality is that coming to the rescue of the followers of a Jewish carpenter who rose from the dead and the devotees of the Peacock Angel ain’t what this game is all about.
No brother, it’s about the oil. It’s always about the oil.
You see, Kurdistan has shitloads of the stuff – they’re absolutely swimming in it, because not only do they hold one-third of the total Iraqi oil treasure chest, their reserves are in fact the ninth largest in the world. But under the Iraqi constitution (written by the American invaders) the Kurdish oil is owned by the Iraq state, with the Kurds getting a 17.5% rake of the profits from the sale both of the third of Iraq’s oil that bubbles up where they live and the two-thirds that bubbles up elsewhere across the country. This fact that the Kurds own a third of the country’s oil but only get a sixth of the profits causes them no small amount of angst, you can imagine they are not too happy about that, hence the ongoing civil battle for an independent Kurdistan.
Problem number two is that the Kurds reckon that the central government have been ripping them off for years by systematically underpaying them for their share of the booty. So they came up with a simple solution – they built their own pipeline direct to the Turkish border and then straight across Turkey all the way to the Mediterranean. And they built it with $10 billion dollars of investment funds from Big Oil – you know, those nice American and European companies like Exxon Mobil and Shell and BP and Chevron and Genel Energy. The ones that own half the world and cause most of our wars. Construction of the pipeline was completed last year. And didn’t the Iraqis scream blue murder, claiming the Kurds were dirty rotten thieves who were stealing their oil. Back in Saddam’s day they would have just bombed the living shit out of them with chemical weapons, but since the Yanks came and went they don’t do that anymore (or so they say).
Problem three is that multi-billion dollar oil pipelines aren’t built for their looks, and in January the Kurds began pumping oil like crazy through the line to Turkey. The IRAQ government responded by withholding the Kurds share of the country’s oil loot – a lazy $20 billion – so the Kurds, in order to keep the cheques from bouncing, in May sold a million barrels of oil to the Turks, grossing a tick over $100 million.
Then in June, when the ISIS crew were getting all the headlines as they surged toward Baghdad, the Kurds, the clever bastards, quickly and efficiently sent their military into an area called Kirkuk and took the joint without firing a single shot, because Iraq’s miserable excuse for an army were otherwise engaged running away from extremist Muslims with guts and guns. In doing so they not only increased the area under Kurdish control by 40%, but gee whiz, they suddenly found themselves creaming $100 million a day for the next ten thousand million days because that’s how much the million barrels a day theKirkuk oil fields pump from their ten billion barrel reserve is sold for when you pump it through your Turkish pipeline and sell it on the open market.
The Iraqis again squealed like stuck pigs and applied to their own Supreme Court for an injunction to prevent the Kurds selling the oil. The application was based on the Oil Minister’s interpretation that the US written Iraq Constitutionrendered it illegal for any region (think states in Australia) to sell the oil from their area directly to the market. It’s a pretty fair interpretation given that Article 1 of the Constitution says that The Republic of Iraq is a single federal, independent and fully sovereign state and the 111th Article makes it pretty clear that Oil and Gas are owned by all the people of Iraq in all the regions and governorates, but the Supreme Court disagreed, saying that the “contrary to the applicable legal contexts in Iraq.” and threw out the government’s claim. What ‘contrary to the applicable legal contexts’ means is that , thereby lightening the single sovereign nation’s income by three hundred and sixty-five times $100 million annually, and three hundred and sixty-six in each leap year. Which, given that the neo-con Yanks not only got rid of any form of government taxation when they wrote the Iraqi constitution, but at the stroke of a pen made tax illegal, presents a major problem for a country trying to rebuild after war.
So where’s the open market for the million barrels a day? Which dirty, rotten bastard is buying the stolen oil that’s not stolen because the American judicial puppets say so?
That’s where the plot thickens, because there’s a dirty great oil tanker named United Kalavrvta, that left a Turkish port at about exactly the same time it takes to load a boat with a million barrels of oil after the first million Kirkuk barrels arrived from Kurdistan. And guess where the great big tub is sitting right now? Would you believe me if I told you just off the coast of the place where the supreme commander of the invasion of Iraq, our old mate George W, keeps his ranch. Yep, you guessed it, there’s $100 million of Kurdish/Iraqi black gold sitting right off the coast of Texas, USA, as we speak. It’s sitting there, rather than coming in to port, because as the ship approached Texas, Baghdad acted on a threat to sue anyone who buys Kurdish oil, and preemptively filed a civil suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, and federal magistrate judge named Nancy Johnson -previous service 25 years as a Republican congresswoman – issued an order to seize the boat, then said her order couldn’t be enforced unless the ship enters Texan waters. The judge urged that the legal issue be heard and determined in the Iraqi courts, a prospect that the Iraq government would not be too keen on given the Supreme Court’s earlier ruling.
The oil was destined for an outfit named LyondellBassell, a giant chemical and plastics company owned by another outfit called Access Industries, a private industry group headed by a Russian born Jewish billionaire named Len Blavatnik. Access Industries, via their subsidiary Clal Industries, also own a large chunk of many of Israel’s leading industries, including the sole manufacturer of concrete (used of course to build the Gaza wall) and in the owns Warner Music, home to most of the world’s leading acts. Other assets held by the group include Boomerang Tube, maker coincidentally (or not) of pipe for pipelines; UC RUSAL, the worlds largest aluminium producer; and EP Energy, one of North America’s leading domestic oil and natural gas producers. Blavatnik claims that he bought oil legitimately from a trader and had no knowledge of its origin. Given that he himself owns an oil company and is pretty well-versed in all things thick, black and wet, we say that’s highly unlikely.
The judge’s ruling only applies in the Texan jurisdiction, so there’s 51 other states of the US where the oil could still be landed, or there’s Mexico just down the way. And if that million barrels lands then the dream of a single sovereign Iraq is fucked, as the floodgates to buy the Kurdish oil are opened and the Iraq economy is drained of hundreds of billions of dollars which, instead of washing through Baghdad to rebuild the war-ravaged country, will flow instead directly to Kurdistan (which wasn’t damaged at all during the US invasion) and their partners in Big Oil.
Which a cynic might say was the plan all the way along.