Wednesday, June 6, 2007
As the U.S. Discusses Staying in Iraq for 50+ Years, the Bush Administration and Congressional Democrats Push for Iraq to Open its Oil Fields
As the U.S. Discusses Staying in Iraq for 50+ Years, the Bush Administration and Congressional Democrats Push for Iraq to Open its Oil Fields to Foreign Oil Companies
With Amy Goodman
Interview with Antonia Juhasz
"AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to Iraq. As the Iraqi parliament moves closer to a final vote on a controversial oil law, local opposition is growing. This week, oil workers in southern Iraq announced a strike to oppose the law and demand better wages. More than 600 workers are taking part, affecting two major pipelines. The workers want to be a part of the negotiation process from which they've been excluded. Critics say the law will expose Iraq's oil to major privatization and foreign takeover.
My next guest has written extensively about the economic side of the US occupation of Iraq. Antonia Juhasz is a Tarbell Fellow at Oil Change International. She is the author of the book, The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time, which has just come out in paperback......
ANTONIA JUHASZ: Well, the strike is critical. It’s been a long time building. There had been some negotiations between the strike leaders and Prime Minister al-Maliki. There are a number of demands, basic working conditions, wages, as you say, but also a seat at the table and opposition to the attempt to turn over Iraq's oil to foreign oil corporations and the -- as more knowledge has been brought to Iraq, it’s been very difficult for Iraqis to even learn what this oil law was about, just like it’s been difficult here. As more information has spread, the opposition has spread, as well, and now the workers have taken the situation into their own hands and struck.....
AMY GOODMAN: And if they don't pass this law?
ANTONIA JUHASZ: If they don't pass the law, it’s a big strike at the heart of the agenda. I would say that the game wouldn't be over, and the fact that the administration is talking publicly about this Korea policy, the idea that the United States would maintain some sort of military presence similar to the US presence, quote/unquote, "keeping the peace between South and North Korea," that’s a permanent military engagement, which could last as long as fifty years. The thirty-year contracts, the length, the extended length of the occupation, leads me to believe that this is the idea that the administration wants to pursue......."