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[casi] On PUK intentions...

Dear List,

I hope the following article will show what the real
intentions of the PUK really are. It will also explain
why I understood the concept of "occupation" in the
way I did.

Isn't it now clear that whole issue of Kirkuk being
"Kurdish" revolves around oil, which is not Talabani's
alone to give to foreign companies?

Talabani is not only replacing Arab "occupation" by US
"occupation" (to use Alaxender's terms, or rather the
real autor's terms), he is now giving away Iraq's
national oil wealth to foreign companies 31 years
after it managed to rescue it from the hands of the
same companies.

Now the real objectives of the war are becoming more
and more apparent. And the real reasons for Talabani's
opposition to Saddam's regime are also clear. But we
are still being misled to believe that the issue is
about right and wrong; about Kurdish rights and about
morality. This doesn't leave any doubt about the real
face of Talabani, no matter what his apologists try to
tell us.


Kurds go it alone with international oil deals
Local authorities ignore US administration and seek to
lure major companies with generous contracts

Andrew Buncombe in Washington
18 May 2003

Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq are offering
hugely lucrative oil deals to European and American
companies without consulting either the US
administration in Baghdad or any other Iraqi groups.
The move threatens to raise new problems over the
future ownership of Iraq's vast oil reserves.

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), which controls
the Sulaymaniyah region as part of the regional
government of Kurdish Iraq, has in recent weeks
started seeking investment from international
companies interested in oil exploration and

While most companies appear wary of getting involved
in deals with the regional authorities in the absence
of a settled  and internationally approved 
government in Baghdad, the proposed deals represent a
challenge to the US-led occupying force. Some have
even suggested the proposals may be an effort by the
PUK to present any new government in Baghdad with a
fait accompli.

Samples of the proposed "production-sharing
agreements" seen by The Independent on Sunday reveal
that the PUK authorities are offering investors an
attractive deal. The initial share of profits would be
split 60:40 in favour of the oil company, dropping to
around 50:50 once a specified level of production is
reached. "They are extremely favourable terms," said
Gordon Barrows, of the Barrows Company, a US-based
publisher of international oil laws and contracts and
the company that obtained the contract.

The future of Iraq's oil reserves, which some
predictions place at up to 112 billion barrels with
more to come, is one of the most contentious issues
facing the US and Britain as they seek to rebuild Iraq
in the aftermath of the ousting of Saddam Hussein.
While both Washington and London denied that oil was a
factor in their decision to go to war, many of their
critics, including most Iraqis, believe that a wish to
secure the world's second largest supplies played a
large part in shaping the decision to opt for military
action. Washington is keen to use Iraq's oil wealth to
at least partly pay for the country's rebuilding.

There are few major companies that would not wish to
secure deals to develop Iraq's oil reserves, and Mr
Barrows said he believed the PUK had proposed the
deals to most major firms. Britain's two largest
companies, BP and Royal Dutch Shell, have both
expressed an interest in doing deals when a government
has been established in Baghdad.

"We have always said we would be interested in the
prospect of investing in Iraq, but that would be when
there is a stable, long-term administration there,"
said David Nicholas, a spokesman for BP. Both he and a
spokesman for Shell denied that they had been in talks
with the PUK.

For its part, the PUK admits that it has been offering
the deals. It started sounding out interest last July
for production in the Taqtaq area north of Kirkuk, but
found no takers. Since the US-led occupation of Iraq
the PUK has been offering the deals once again, hoping
to increase production in the area, which some sources
suggest is only producing 5,000 barrels a day.

Mohammed Ismail, director of the PUK's office in
Washington, said: "It is true [that we are offering
contracts]. I don't know the names of the companies

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