One solution to the Iraqi tragedy would be for the Bush administration to give up its quest for the country's oil, with no preconditions. This is not going to happen, which is why there can be no firm timeline for a complete US withdrawal. A new Iraqi oil law being drafted will open the industry to foreigners, and US troops will be needed to defend Big Oil's investment
By Pepe Escobar
"....Once again, it's the oil. The Bush-Cheney system by all accounts went to Iraq to grab those fabulous reserves. The only way for an overall solution to the Iraqi tragedy would be for the Bush administration to give up the oil - with no preconditions, turning the US into an honest broker. Realpolitik practitioners know this is not going to happen.Instead, the ISG is explicitly in favor of privatizing Iraq's oil industry - to the benefit of Anglo-American Big Oil - after the impending passage of a new oil law that was initially scheduled to be passed this month by the Iraqi Parliament.
For Big Oil, the new oil law is the holiest of holies: once the exploitation of Iraq's fabulous resources is in the bag, "security" is just a minor detail. Enter the ISG's much-hyped provision of US troops remaining in Iraq until an unclear date to protect not the Iraqi population, but Big Oil's supreme interests. This is really what ISG co-head James Baker means by "responsible transition"......
The Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group implemented by the Pentagon is regarded by Sunnis and quite a few Shi'ites as being the mastermind of some of the car bombings, assassinations, sabotage, kidnappings and attacks on mosques fueling the civil war. The "Salvador option" has developed into the "Iraqification option". US-trained death squads in Iraq are not much different from the death squads in El Salvador during the 1980s - subordinated to the same "divide and rule" tactics. This is the "civil war" dirty secret: let the Arabs kill one another with the US posing as "victims". ....
....Iraqi Shi'ites fear that the White House now wants a new Saddam. They should not worry (or should they?): the only man with certified street power in Baghdad to become a new Saddam is Muqtada, which for the US is anathema. What Shi'ite politicians - SCIRI and Da'wa - want most of all is for the US to help them take out the Sunni Arab guerrillas as well as al-Qaeda in Iraq. In his recent visit to Washington, Hakim was explicit: no US withdrawal. Instead, full speed ahead against the Sunni Arab guerrillas, but not against the Shi'ite militias (especially his own). Muqtada, an Iraqi nationalist (and not an Iranian puppet), in this case would disagree, because he views the Sunni Arabs as alegitimate resistance force (with preconditions: in a recent sermon in Kufa, Muqtada stressed that Sunnis must not kill Shi'ites, must not join al-Qaeda, and must rebuild the Askariyah Shrine in Samarra).
Muqtada strikes back
The crucial development in the next few weeks is Muqtada's fine-tuning of a stunning Shi'ite counterpunch to demolish once and for all the US-created pro-sectarian strategy: a nationalist, pan-Islamist, anti-occupation coalition of the Sadrists and the neo-Ba'athists, plus any other religious or secular anti-occupation group.
Transcending the Sunni/Shi'ite divide, this would preempt any threat of all-out civil war - not to mention decide the fierce Shi'ite family feud between Hakim and Muqtada in the Sadrists' favor. No wonder US Senator John McCain wants to "take out" Muqtada as much as the Pentagon does......
....The neo-conservative hallucination of a puppet Iraqi regime as the centerpiece of a US-driven Greater Middle East - loads of cheap oil, Israel-friendly, anti-Iran - may have been derailed by a Mesopotamian sandstorm. But even with the defeat of the occupation, the US - or "the snake", as Muqtada defines it - still is not going anywhere. The "snake" will redeploy. Sunni Arab US ally/client regimes fear that a US withdrawal would lead to a whole new regional ball game tilting toward pro-Iran or pro-al-Qaeda regimes.
Not even a long-drawn civil war - Arabs killing one another - may save Bush and Cheney. And Iraq won't succumb to "divide and rule" and break up - because its identity as the eastern flank of the Arab nation is a geopolitical fact. So the real tragedy is how much longer millions of Iraqis caught in the crossfire will be paying with their own blood for the United States' cataclysmic folly. "