October 28, 2007

The Ungrateful Nouri, Revisited

Our very own King Midas, George W. Bush, seems to have struck again. Nouri al-Maliki wants to break up with us. Well, what else is new? I keep thinking that international relations seem increasingly inseparable from the intimately personal, and one of America's big problems (far from the only one) is that the President of this country is a snotty little brat that no one likes, and we keep paying the price for that. We all knew snotty little brats when we were growing up. They engendered an emotional push/pull reaction in us, if you'll recall; on one hand, they were so irritating that you felt a compulsion to attack and revile them at every opportunity. Yet on the other, you just wanted to avoid the vexation of their presence at all costs. Now, with a snotty little brat as President, we're forced on almost a daily basis to endure the sight and sound of the Brat-in-Chief, with his whining, unhappy complaints about Congressional intransigence, or that cheap shot he took at Louisiana's governor when he did his big photo-op at the California wildfires. There, see, he did it to me again; I don't even want to think about him, yet here I am going through a riposte in my mind to that gratuitous whack he took at Governor Blanco, who in fact wrote the Brat days before Katrina hit to warn him that the state's resources were inadequate. And, hey Bush, what about...? Oh never mind. You see how this goes. This is the pull part of the pendulum swing. Bush's utter indifference to the catastrophes he casually brings about as he careens through the world drives so many of us nuts.

Probably even Nouri al-Maliki. You know, while George was hoisting that megaphone back at Phillips Academy and gaily encouraging his fellow privileged children to give it the old siss-boom-bah, Nouri, four years younger than Bush, was an Iraqi Shiite living in a Sunni-dominated world. Nouri, however, was not a push-over for tyranny. During those years when Bush was drinking his way through life, getting busted on a DUI in Connecticut (1976), contriving admission to the Harvard Business School and "earning" an MBA (1977), and then running a series of oil companies into the ground (Arbusto, Harken Energy, early 1980's), Nouri's anti-Sunni activities for the Dawa Party in Iraq earned him a death sentence from none other than Saddam Hussein. So that by 1980, Nouri left Iraq for the relative safety of first Iran and then Syria. There he became a director of jihadist operations against the Saddam regime. Nouri, in other words, knows something about mounting a guerrilla campaign against a superior force. You need guile, cunning and, above all, an indomitable spirit.

Nouri also knows that he has not come across with the one thing that the Brat came to Iraq to get: those 300 billion barrels of oil which are inconveniently located beneath Iraq's sands. As the saying goes, what's our oil doing in their desert? And Nouri: where the flock is the oil law prominently featured in our list of benchmarks we've put together for you as a to-do list? Huh? In fact, Nouri, all the other benchmarks are simply camouflage for this one. It's what we call The Single Benchmark Theory. It's the reason the Democratic leadership lies to the American people like crazy about "not having the votes" to end the war. They're not going to be the ones to pull the plug on the Great Game of horking Iraq's oil after we've blown through about 600 billion bucks (which we don't have), 4,000 lives, and many amputated, blind, brain-damaged and permanently insane soldiers. You're getting to be a pain in the ass, Nouri!

It gets worse. Nouri has now announced, through his foreign minister, that as of December 31, 2008, the United Nations multi-national security mandate, the regime which "legitimizes" our squatting in Iraq, will not be renewed. This change will create a free-for-all as far as development of all that sweet light crude is concerned. Any other nation, China, France, even (gulp) Iran can contract with the "sovereign" Iraq for a piece of the action. Ever wonder why Bush didn't raise a peep about Hunt Oil, whose owner sits on Bush's Foreign Policy Board, cadging a side-deal with the Kurds for their oil? Even though it undermines the "revenue sharing" regime of the mythical "oil law," that may be as good as it gets for American petroleum cartels.

Note the timing: December 31, 2008. Right at the point where Bush can't do anything about it anymore. Does that seem a little...vindictive? The kind of payback for the class brat that you used to, you know, dream about?

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