Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Iraq war, officially lost

Nobody ever wins a war, but I'm not sure a war has been lost as many times as the war in Iraq has.
  • WMD - no comment. Intelligence lost, Bush lost.
  • Human Rights - Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and subsequent revelation of extraordinary rendition network. Civil liberties lost, Bush lost.
  • Democracy - patriot act, increased police powers, sedition legislation. Multiple democracies, Bush, Blair and Australia fair, lost.
  • Money - the one that matters most to men of war;

THE Bush Administration has scaled back its ambitions to rebuild Iraq after the devastation wrought by war and dictatorship and does not intend to seek more funds for reconstruction.

The decision signals the winding down of an $US18.4 billion ($25.1 billion) rebuilding effort (read more).

Many many dollars lost. The war for oil is failing, rebuilding Iraq costs too much. The damage dealt to Iraq by war and sanction is low priority. Securing oil (and a broader consumer base by default) is the goal and when money is tight all the trimmings are stripped away - exposing war's end aim. At this rate, it is likely the oil will eventually be lost as well. In just a few more years alternative fuels will probably be taken more seriously, when it dawns that developing alternative fuels probably costs less then war and that the market for pepsi and tim tams in the ME is hurt when the customer base is half dead.

A middle case scenario

The US will pull out of the ME badly burned and humiliated, and Saudi Arabia will be left sitting on cut-price oil fields when alternative fuels gain a marketable foothold. For a while ME oil tycoons might survive by establishing an ME market independent from the global one, ME environmental green damage will continue under internal pressure where external pressure left off. "Terrorism" as we now know it, a form of vengeance, will shift. "Terrorists" will become experienced mercenaries for hire, selling their experience. No longer required to quell western interests in the oil stakes "terrorists" will hire themselves out to parties with a greater vested interest in industrial sabotage then in civil unrest. The subway threat will ease in far western cities and the roadside IEDs ease in middle eastern cities. Industrial espionage will increase, especially where competitive alternative fuels are concerned. The world will reject war, like the world did post 1918 and 1945 and in the 1960-70's and in February 2003, and it will be a few decades before anyone decides to try it out again, which might happen if some desperado thinks he can swing it.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, at home. While Dow Jones bombs out on the Aus stock exchange (more loss attributed to the Iraq war) BHP and Woodside petroleum have profited. BHP has oil lots sewn up along the Iraq/Iran border between Basrah and Ammarah, including Missan and Al Hafaya (appears the marshlands are due only a short respite between regimes, no sooner have the marshes been re-irrigated then oil enterprises pop up). Woodside signed a deal in November 2004 with the Iraq Oil Ministry for oil and gas projects in Kurdistan, Northern Iraq and was posting "record" Aus stock prices by December 2005. It seems that those companies that are profiting in Iraq are doing so in regions less hard-hit. Ie, where there is less war there is more profit and where there is more war there is loss (BHP originally sunk when war broke out in march 2003 but appears to have "bounced back" by brokering deals in the relatively low-conflict south-east). Newcrest's fortunes also seem tied to Iraq, though how directly depends on my doing more searching and my lunch break is over now so I have to go.

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