Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Money's Thicker Than Blood

Bush: We stand with Iraq
Newsday Washington Bureau
June 13, 2006

THURMONT, Md. -- Convening his war council here yesterday, President George W. Bush avoided pledging any new financial aid to Iraq but instead urged Iraq's neighbors to share the burden and Iraqis to tap into their oil wealth.

"The message to the Iraqi government is that we stand with you," Bush said at Camp David, pledging to stay in Iraq until the fractured nation could "govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself."
Why is this newsworthy?

After alienating Iraq's neighbors, like Iran, or Syria, does bush seriously think that we're going to see a lot of money flowing into Iraq now? Even Saudi Arabia, which you would think owes us a few favors, is going to be hesitant to help make good on the $13 billion dollars pledged to rebuilding Iraq that regional governments made many years ago. You know, that whole "Wahhabist vs. Shi'ite" thing...

More telling than this is this quote from the article:
Bush sidestepped a question about whether last week's killing of terror chief Abu Musab al-Zarqawi would hasten the departure of 132,000 U.S. troops - a question aides insisted wasn't even formally debated here.
While scrupulously avoiding mentioning any new commitments of funding (the US this year alone has nearly exhausted $18 billion earmarked for rebuilding, which is why Bush is hat-in-hand), Bush made it clear that troops, American blood, would remain in harm's way.
Bush yesterday urged the fledgling Iraqi government to find ways to increase Iraq's oil production, still lagging at pre-war levels, and divide up the revenue "in a fair way" for projects to benefit the nation.

"My own view is that the government ought to use the oil as a way to unite the country, ... so the people have faith in central government," Bush said.
Which of course, would be great, except that divvying up the oil revenues has been one of the, if not the major sticking point in forming a new government and has seen that government, elected months ago, stagger to filling even key security posts. Remember, Shi'ites don't trust Sunnis, Sunnis don't trust Shi'ites, and no one really trusts the Kurds.

You'll recall that Paul Wolfowitz, the long-departed war hawk, claimed before the war that it would cost $87 billion dollars and that we would be repaid out of Iraq oil revenues (which of course was precisely the wrong thing to say as it raised the spectre of war-for-oil).

Bush has now reiterated that point, but it seems an unlikely goal: oil is what divides this country. Further, surrounding nations like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are unlikely to assist in bringing a competitor up to speed, particularly one with such an entrenched Shi'ite population.

This was has been bungled since the beginning. The good news is, its only mismanaged now.

, ,