Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Location: Maine, United States

Sunday, December 12, 2004

The Oil Belongs to the People

Friday I picked up a book in the library that I had tried to read earlier this year but didn't finish. The book is called The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power, written by Daniel Yergin, copyright 1991 and 1992. Although a long book, nearly 800 pages of text, it is written in a flowing and very readable English.
This morning I was reading in Chapters 11 and 12 covering the first three decades of the 20th Century. Chapter 12, titled "The Fight for New Production," starts out with a discussion of the exploitation of Mexican oil pioneered by Sir Weetman Pearson, also known as Lord Cowdray. His first major Mexican strikes began in 1910 while Mexico was under the control of President Porfirio Díaz. Díaz's overthrow in 1911 led to a revolution that affected the oil industry.
The question arose about who in Mexico owned the resources under the ground. Did those resources, including oil, belong to the government or did they belong to the landowners? Under Díaz they belonged to the landowners who contracted mainly with foreigners to exploit the resources. The revolutionaries wanted to nationalize the oil resources.
When I read this, I couldn't help but think back on what George W. Bush has been telling us about the oil in Iraq. Over and over again he has told us that Iraq's oil belongs to the people of Iraq. If I am not mistaken, hadn't Saddam Hussein nationalized Iraq's oil resources? So the question that arose in my mind this morning was this. What effect has the US-led "liberation" of Iraq had on the ownership laws of Iraq's oil resources? Who now owns the rights to Iraq's oil and who is now profiting from the exploitation? Are the Iraqi people that President Bush spoke of repeatedly in this context all of the Iraqi people, the nation of Iraq, or are they a small minority of now-wealthy resource owners? And is the real effect and purpose of this war to liberate foreign investors, primarily American oil and investment tycoons, to capitalize on Iraq's resources by changing the laws of Iraq that govern ownership rights to those resources?
All I have are questions. Does anyone have the answers?

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