According To The CIA World Fact Book Iraq as of February 2006 Iraq has the fourth largest proven oil reserves in the world with 112,500,000,000 barrels. Click here. Only Saudi Arabia with 262,700,000,000 barrels; Canada with 178,900,000,000 barrels and Iran with 133,300,000,000 barrels have more oil. Of course Canada’s oil is in tar sands and very hard to extract while the Middle Eastern oil is not and is also not as contaminated with impurities. These facts makes Mid-East oil less costly to raise and refine. Also approximately ninety percent of Iraq has not been explored so no one knows exactly how much oil is there so it may be sitting on the the worlds greatest unproven reserves.
Iraq has never developed its oil fields to anywhere near their peak productivity because of the hostility,instability and the the apparent irrationality of Saddam Hussein. In fact he has excluded American, British and Dutch oil companies from developing Iraq’s oil capacity. These companies are the logical ones with the resources and technical expertise to do so. The French and Russians, Iraq’s chief arms suppliers before Gulf War II, had had some limited access to the Iraqi oil fields. However all oil companies have been reluctant to invest in Iraq because of the lack of law and order there. Iraq was a socialist state under Saddam Hussein and had a long history of instability due to the aggressions of Hussein against Iran and Kuwait along with his continual threats against all the other countries on Iraq’s borders and ethnic groups within its borders. No major oil company with the resources would commit to develop Iraq’s oil without the assurance that the safety of their investment would be subject to the rule of law and the only law in Iraq was the mercurial, unstable Hussein
It is a well-known fact, agreed upon by most experts, that the world will suffer and oil shortfall sometime in the next twenty years. Meaning that at some point the amount of oil produced per day will be less than the amount needed for consumption. Click here. (click here)
However if the Iraqi oil fields were brought to their full production capability that day would be put further into the future and the industrialized democracies would have time to develop and alternate source of energy.
If production rates do not meet consumption demands then the price of oil will either skyrocket in the market system we have now or there would have to be a rationing system. Either way some societies would have to do with less oil and the things it powers like factories, vehicles, electrical plants, hospitals, life saving medical equipment and heating. In short most things that make an advanced society livable.
So when Richard Cheney met with executives from the largest oil companies at the White House shortly after assuming office in 2001 what do you think was topic A for discussion? North Slope oil? Small potatoes because there is not much of it. Environmental protection? An irritant. Drilling on federal land? No, most it has all ready been explored and no big fields are out there.
The most likely topic was what would it take for the huge Iraqi oil fields to be explored and developed. The answer: regime change in Iraq and replacement of Saddam Hussein with a government we could do business with. That is why we are in Iraq. Libya was also a contestant for regime change but it has only a third of the reserves of Iraq. Iran has slightly larger reserves than Iraq but it also has eighty million people to deal with. Both these countries were developing their oil capacity in a rational manner anyway.
We had found out how weak Iraq was militarily in Gulf War I and the consensus in the government was that it would be a short neat war and the Iraqi people would be waiting to receive us. Then we only had to set up a western style democracy and the oil companies could buy the oil concessions they needed to keep world oil production and prices in line with demand.
The rest is history: war with Iraq over nonexistent weapons of mass destruction and the resultant debacle of the insurgency when the Sunni dominated bureaucracy that ran the country, but supported and benefited from Saddam Hussein was disenfranchised.
That’s why Bush is giving speeches weekly if not daily on how we must spread democracy to Iraq when he means we must install a government in Iraq that is stable and we can do business with like we do in Saudi Arabia. Failure to win in Iraq means the beginning of the end of the industrialized democracies.
If You Liked The Matrix Trilogy Or The Batman Series You Will Probably Like This. Simple Stuff For Simple Minds? Maybe.
This movie is based on a graphic novel by Alan Moore. The screenplay was written by the Wachowski brothers and the film was directed by James Mc Teigue. Natalie Portman plays Evey Hammond a low level employee of a TV station. Hugo Weaving is V, a Zorro like terrorist fighting against a Nazi like autocracy and Stephen Rea plays Police Inspector Finch who investigates V and in doing so finds out the rationale for V’s vendetta.
The movie is done in a semi documentary style reminiscent of Costa Garvas or those who have followed him. The story alludes to Guy Fawkes a Catholic dissident who resisted and paid with his life in 1605 when the English Monarchy decided to establish the Church of England in place of the Roman Catholic Church for reasons of regal convenience. William Shakespeare and his parents were forced to leave the Roman Catholic Church and join the Church of England at the time. At the present time in England Fawkes’s execution is a celebrated holiday. Thus there is a rich history to be drawn on for this picture but wasn’t.
The theme of the movie is that unjust totalitarian governments are to be resisted by all means even terrorism. That’s fine but as one would expect in a movie based on a property owned by DC Comics all the social, moral and political points are in black and white although the movie is shot in color naturally. The media build up for this mediocre movie was monumental.
Natalie Portman is a young woman who is living in a not so distant England of the future. It is a dystopian place, at least on the political level since it is an authoritarian dictatorship, which persecutes gays, artists, free thinkers, those who have faith in another religion other than the state’s and other non-conformists. It has a Gestapo like thought police to enforce conformity.
John Hurt plays Adam Sutler, the Chairman, who in the first part of the picture is only seen delivering diatribes to his henchmen and underlings via video a la Adolph Hitler. V is a victim of a medical experiment conducted on dissidents that killed many but which he survived and vowed to avenge his dead compatriots and bring down the regime by all means available. This includes blowing up the Old Bailey and Parliament both symbols of justice and democracy in the real world outside this film. If you read this far you are probably are aware that there are not a lot of new ideas in this film. Needless to say this is not a subtle picture or even a rationale one. There are no shades of gray. It was really made to play to the Batman crowd but it is not technically as well done as the Batman franchise. As a comic book movie it is okay, but as a serious discussion of the morality of terrorism it is not. Why Natalie Portman Stephen Rea and John Hurt want to be in this movie is anyone’s guess unless they want to secure a place in the Wachowski Brothers constituency. I feel sorry for George Orwell who is probably resting uneasily in his grave over this film. In fact if celebrated movie makers like the Wachowski Brothers wanted to adopt anything along political lines they could have chosen something like Animal Farm or Darkness At Noon which may even be in the public domain because neither they or Alan Moore are deep political thinkers. That said the acting was well done especially Stephen Rea. Natalie Portman was good although she has been better. John Hurt was playing a caricature so he didn’t have much acting to do as did Hugo Weaving who had to play V behind a Guy Fawkes mask with a cape and a high crowned, broad brimmed hat. By now you must get the picture. Simple stuff for simple minds, yes but it also raises the issue of if terroism is ever justified. In an age where the civilized world increasingly faces asymetric warfare by guerillas or terrorists if not both then a movie that raises the public consciencnous of the problem is worth seeing.