With fighting in Basra between the Iranian-aligned Shi'ite government (who we're backing) and Mookie Sadr's less-Iranian-aligned Shi'ite militia (who we're fighting), I've got a dumb question that I should know the answer to but I don't:
Who's pocketing Iraq's oil money these days?
About 2 million barrels a day are pumped in the Basra province, so that's roughly $200 million dollars per day or $73 billion per year. That's a lot. Who gets it?
The cover story "Oil for War" by Robert Bryce in the American Conservative says:
"As A.F. Alhajji, energy economist and professor at Ohio Northern University, has said, “whoever controls Iraq’s oil, controls Iraq.” For the last five years, it’s never been exactly clear who controls Iraq’s oil."
I presume that's what the Shiite vs. Shiite fighting in Basra is over, right? I mean, $73 billion per year -- that's a lot of money. Can you imagine what Cortez would have done for $73 billion per year? (Indeed, the U.S. is lucky that some military genius hasn't emerged out of the chaos in Iraq over the last five years, the way the wars of the French Revolution shook things up enough for Bonaparte to appear.)
The Bush Administration has done a tremendous job of boosting Iraq's oil revenues. Unfortunately, that has come about not by boosting production, which is up only modestly, but by seeing the world price of oil more than triple since the invasion.
By the way, the U.S. military is spending almost $1,000,000,000 per week on fuel for Iraq, with most of that going to pay for the 5,500 tanker trucks that deliver fuel to our 3-mpg armor-plated Hummers. We're spending $42 to deliver each gallon of gas to the boys in the field. That's almost the kind of fuel economics you saw with a Saturn V moon rocket.