Smoking guns... aborting the dreams of a swindler

Well, the WP has finally tracked down the most terrible threat ever to be faced by the American Republic. Yes, I’m talking of the truly awesome WMD capacity nursed, like a snake nurses its kittens, by Saddam the Monster. They have a picture of the reason we went to war on their site, here.

Is it scary or what? One wonders if the paper got an ultra security clearance to publish these two extremely dangerous and war-worthy diagrams. Perhaps they can be waved in the air when our POTUS addresses Congress for the annual round-up.

In other Iraqi news today...

The WSJ is fronting an important story about Iraq’s oil industry, today. After extensively pondering how to get away with it, the U.S. is apparently backing away from privatizing Iraq’s oil.

“U.S. advisers and Iraqi oil officials, now studying how to organize Iraq's vast but dilapidated oil industry, are leaning heavily toward recommending the formation of a large state-run petroleum company. If adopted, the move could sharply curtail the role of international oil corporations for years.

'Officials of the U.S.-led occupation have been pushing liberalization in most parts of the Iraqi economy. But in the politically sensitive oil sector, occupation advisers say they strongly support establishing a state-owned company similar to those in neighboring Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.”
here are some interesting sub-themes about the swindler – Chalabi – the Pentagon’s point man in Iraq -- who has “championed a much firmer free-market line,” and will probably be unhappy at the thought of having this opportunity for his brand of corruption being taken out of his hands. Chalabi’s dream of being Iraq’s Mussolini has been rudely handled by reality since the fall of Baghdad. But who needs Mussolini when you have the Russian oligarchs? Obviously, the man’s licked his lips over that kind of money. His theft of some millions in Jordan pales by comparison.

“In an interview this fall, Mr. Chalabi chided U.S. occupation officials. "They won't act in any way to give the impression that they came to Iraq for oil," he said. "This is a correct policy, of course, but this delays us."

"Mr. Bahr al-Uloum, the interim oil minister, appears to share views similar to Mr. Chalabi's. The son of another prominent Governing Council member, Mr. Bahr al-Uloum is a New Mexico-educated petroleum engineer. He has aggressively courted foreign oil companies and publicly backed privatization of oil-related businesses such as refineries and pipelines. He also has recently purged a number of the senior oil technocrats who are counseling a more conservative approach.””

Chip Cummins, whose byline is on this piece, ends with some speculation as to the replacement of al-Uloum if the state run oil company idea goes through.

Well... this reminds us of our frequent reference to the combinations that are possible in Iraq. If you will remember, we pointed out that Bush's betting on privatization, democracy by appointment of the Americans, and thinning down the troops was improbable -- the improbability compounded by each conjunction. We will have to review the combinations pretty soon. So far, the Shi'ite response to Hussein's capture has been much less intense than we expected.

What's up with that?