Few new suggestions have appeared for dealing with the situation in Iraq and none based on an understanding of the causes for the problems. Most suggestions have focused on only the single dimension how many American troops should be in Iraq: more, the same, less, or none. The geography of the country provides a different type of solution that might be acceptable to both Republicans and Democrats, should be welcomed by the military, and satisfies the Iraqi people and leaders.
Remove American troops from Iraqi cities, as requested by the Iraqi people, by Iraqi leaders, by the American military, and now by Donald Rumsfeld. Our soldiers will no longer have the horrendous task of trying to police a people the do not know or understand. The Iraqi people will no longer wake up to the sight of an occupying infidel army on their street.
America reassumes direct responsibility for protecting the Iraqi oil, preventing further sectarian fighting over it and eliminating a primary cause for civil war. We have previously shown benign neglect for the Iraqi oil and passed the responsibility to the British. They outsourced it to a British security company. In 2004 it hired a paramilitary Oil Protection Force controlled by Sunnis. Shiites retaliated by infiltrating the OPF in 2005 and killing began. Further sectarian fighting for the oil can be stopped and high security provided for oil production by redeploying about 20% of American troops to the "Enclave": an isolated, easily defended, desert area next to the Kuwait border and the Persian Gulf that produces 71% of the oil and controls most exports. American soldiers will defend the perimeters of the Enclave, form Quick Reaction Forces, and man a powerful base providing air support throughout Iraq. They will be doing important work suited for their abilities, training, and equipment. We do deserts!
Under strict international scrutiny, all profits are returned to the Iraqi people, paying directly for the army and distributing the rest equally to the 275 constituencies of proportionally elected members of the Iraqi Council of Representatives. Therefore, the oil profits and the resulting power are partitioned fairly among the competing factions (to avoid civil war) without splitting the country (to avoid regional war).
Within the high security of the Enclave, workers from Coalition countries will repair and modernize oil production Natural gas, a by-product of oil production, will once again be readily available for Iraqi use. Oil is exported directly from the Enclave, free from sabotage and theft. Record exports together with current high prices proved profits that when poured back into the country will promote reconstruction and provide a satisfactory standard of living for the Iraqis.
A Solution for Iraq
The midterm election has brought a call for a solution to the problems America is facing in Iraq. The main concern by most Americans is bringing the soldiers back home. Meanwhile, the Administration has been saying we cannot cut and run but must stay the course. Others insist we must increase our commitment. There has been intense debate but all of it has focused on this single dimension: the number of US soldiers in Iraq (>,=,<). Every point along this line has been carefully examined. It is clear now, however, that simply switching to another point does not offer hope for a solution that would even be considered by all parties, let along be acceptable.
The experts have become very skilled at criticizing positions other than their own along this continuum, but they seem to have become blind to solutions that lie off of the line. I believe there are better solutions, but we need to step back and take a broader view if we are to see them. In this case, a solution does not need to be out of the two-dimensional envelop in order to be new: it only has to be off of the one-dimensional line.
This paper describes one such program: the Enclave Solution. It is not staying the course, but it leaves America with a stronger military presence in the area than we have today. It is not cutting and running, but it brings home the vast majority of our soldiers and greatly improves conditions for those remaining in Iraq. It is pragmatic, proposing actions that will work in Iraq rather than what we wish would work. It takes Iraqi culture as it is, rather than crusading to try to make Iraqis act like us. It considers the implications not just for us, or even for both Iraq and America, but for the whole world now and in the future.
The Enclave Solution is a comprehensive program. Some specific actions have been recommended earlier, but the program as a whole is different from anything I have seen being proposed. I hope it will receive a proper consideration, first, as an example that staying and leaving are not the only two options and, second, perhaps as a guide to what really should be done.
B. The Enclave Solution
- 1. Political. The most important criterion for a solution about what America should do concerning the Iraq situation is being acceptable to both Republicans and Democrats. It must provide both parties with those outcomes that they consider most critical. It must maintain a strong military position for America in the area and prevent Iraq from becoming a failed state and a potential breeding ground for terrorists. At the same time it must bring home most of the American forces and prevent our presence and actions helping recruitment by al Qaeda.
- 2. Military.. It must stop improper use of America soldiers. Presently they are being made to be policemen in a place where they do not speak the language, do not understand the culture, and where their very presence as foreign occupiers is an incitement to most of the people. Every cop on the block knows how important it is to know the people, and to command their respect. American troops should be asked to do jobs for which they are suited, capitalizing on their abilities, training, and equipment.
- 3. Peace in and around Iraq.. It must recognize that Iraq is really three countries, or more. Much of the trouble in Iraq today is caused by the factions fighting over national resources (particularly the oil and the money from it) and institutions (e.g., the army) that would once again allow one faction to dominate the others. The solution must remove these potential prizes from contention between the factions in order to avoid civil war. Instead, it must partition power to the factions. At the same time, however, Iraq must be maintained as a single entity in order to avoid chaos and war between the countries in the region.
- 4. Acceptable to Iraqis.. To the average Iraqi, the face of the American soldier outside the door is not that of a liberator; it is the face of an invader. We are an occupying army, and like all occupying armies throughout history, we are hated. An acceptable solution must remove this most critical source of pain, fear, and subjugation from the Iraqi people. It must consider their other grievances including the widespread lack of electricity, gas, and water. It must also attend to what the elected Iraqi leaders are demanding.
- 5. Culturally appropriate.. The solution must promote a better means for influencing behavior. The administration has used in Iraq what might be called the Cowboy Approach. We pull our six-shooters on the people and tell them to do what we want or else. The Cowboy Approach may have worked among the rugged individualists in the Wild West. Iraq, however, is an ancient culture with every person being part of an intricate web of relatives and associates. Long ago it developed a successful deterrent to the Cowboy Approach: revenge, vendetta. An Iraqi facing a gun might say, "If you shoot me, my relatives and associates will torture and kill you and your entire family." We could try to change the culture to one like ours in which personal revenge is illegal, but we are unlikely to succeed in the near future. We are more likely to succeed if we changed our own approach to one that traditionally has been used in Iraq: we pay leaders for their cooperation and support. The leaders then use part of the money to pay the next echelon of people for their help and loyalty; and these people in turn pay the next layer for their work and allegiance. Etc., down the line. In this manner, the State has traditionally been the main employer in Iraq.
- 6. Economically successful.. The solution should bring Iraqi oil flowing properly to markets. Iraqis are addicted to petrodollars. Long term plans might try to change the situation. But if we want a solution that is going to succeed now, the solution must satisfy the dependence and make proper use of it. Iraq has missed out on most of the high profits from the current increase in oil prices because lack of security and obsolete equipment has greatly limited production. Given proper security, the fields could be modernized and oil revenues increased to record levels. The huge profits could restore Iraqis to a reasonable standard of living. In turn, restoring the Iraqi oil fields will help stabilize the international oil market, with advantages to consumers in Peoria and in Peking.
Prime Minister Maliki said he told President Bush that Coalition forces must be removed from the Iraqi cities. The Health Minister of Iraq made the same demand along with his estimate of 150,000 civilian casualties. This is quite reasonable. The mere sight of American soldiers is painful to the Iraqi people. For every story we hear of soldiers treating civilians badly, the Iraqis hear ten. They do not understand the soldiers. They do not trust the soldiers not to start shooting arbitrarily. They fear they might be sent to prison, and they have seen the pictures from our prisons. The sight of our troops is the symbol associated with occupation and the current fighting, and there is at least the hopeful wish heard from the Iraqi people that if the foreign troops were not in the neighborhood, we Iraqis could solve our own problems.
The Administration should announce that it intends complying with the wishes of the Iraqi leaders and the Iraqi people. American soldiers will be redeployed out of the urban areas beginning at a specified early date. This action will be celebrated in Iraq as a victory for the present government, which should itself be beneficial for stability.
As many troops as possible should be redeployed to an "Enclave" in southeast Iraq next to the Kuwait border (Fig. 1). This requires rapid construction at the Enclave, establishing border security and facilities inside for a powerful US military base.
The Enclave contains about 2% of the total area of Iraq. To provide the same level of security to the Enclave as in the entire country might indeed only require 2% of the number of troops, i.e., about 3000 soldiers instead of 141,000 now in Iraq. The goal, however, is to establish a very high level of security. Probably less than 15,000 would be sufficient. This is consistent with military estimates that a troop strength 3 to 5 time higher than Rumsfeld committed would have been sufficient to establish adequate security throughout Iraq.
American soldiers in the Iraqi cities today are having difficulty telling the good guys from the bad guys.
To secure the perimeters of the Enclave, they will have to tell the difference between an insurgent and a rock. That is doable!
Redeployment begins almost immediately, removing soldiers from outlying urban posts into the Enclave. The pace is initially slow for each post, but then when the number of soldiers is approaching the critical limit needed to defend that post, there will be a final move when all of the remaining soldiers are redeployed at one time.
The primary mission of the soldiers in the Enclave is simply to defend the Enclave, the oil fields, and the oil production machinery from attempts by sectarian insurgents to take it over for the exclusive benefit of one of the three factions, or by terrorists to destroy production capacity. The methods of the insurgents and terrorists often had an advantage over ours in urban guerrilla warfare. As demonstrated in Desert Storm and the opening phase of the current Iraqi war, however, the high technology of the American military gives us a strong advantage when fighting in open desert country.
Fig. 1 The Enclave
American forces would be redeployed away from Baghdad and the other cities to this sparsely inhabited area in southwest Iraq. The northern border is the newly restored lake Hawr al Hammar. The south border is Kuwait and the Persian Gulf, so there are no vulnerable supply lines. The Enclave contains about 3500 sq miles (9000 km2), i.e., about 2% of the total area
Another mission is to protect the Iraqi oil fields from foreign attacks. It is possible that in a civil war, Iran might send in its army to take over the fields on behalf of the Shiite faction. Less likely, the Sunni majority in the Arab world might send in forces to protect the rights of the Iraqi Sunnis to the oil. For this mission, a powerful air force base will be needed in the Enclave. This base will naturally be less vulnerable than aircraft carriers but at the same time able to deliver a stronger attack. A response can be made much more rapidly from the Enclave than from distant land bases.
The third type of mission will be control of the air space over Iraq and prevention of major military operations by one faction against another. The street to street policing will be the responsibilities of the Iraqis themselves with their traditional methods. But if one faction obtains tries to launch a large scale attack against the home territory of another, and especially if they try using tanks and heavy equipment, our control of the air could be help to remove the threat. This would be a major deterrent to full scale civil war.
Most of the area of the Enclave is sparsely populated (Fig. 2). There is one town, the deep water port of Umm Qasr. It has a population of 1500. The large city of al Basrah with over a million inhabitants is outside of the Enclave. The small town of Az Zabayr is specifically excluded from the Enclave by a deviation in the borderline in order to avoid heavily inhabited areas. It appears that most of the people who once lived in the Enclave have already moved out. The land in the north around the lake Hawr al Hammar had been inhabited by a minority group called Marsh Arabs. Most of them moved out when Saddam Hussein drained the swamps. Nearly all agriculture in the north also stopped. The lake has now been re-established, and some of the Marsh Arabs have returned but mainly to the area out of the Enclave, to the north of the lake. Satellite photographs suggest that the few inhabited areas on the east of the Enclave have already been cleared, probably as part of the previous efforts to provide security for the oil fields. Those people still living in the Enclave will gradually be moved out, probably to Basrah, with good compensation paid for lost properties. A complex of tent prisons called "Bucca Camp" has been established by the Coalition near Umm Qasr. A reporter, Kathy Kelly, described the area as "remote and desolate". The camp holds about 5000 POWs and TCN (Third Country Nationals) under the control of 1200 MPs from the 18th Military Police Brigade and Task Force 134. The port facilities at Umm Qasr are managed by SSA Marine.
The borders of the Enclave are relatively easy to defend. The southern border of the Enclave is Kuwait and the Persia Gulf. The northern border is the 20 mile wide lake, Hawr al Hammar. Both are relative secure. An additional section on the northeast has most of its border provided by the large Shaat al Arab river. The eastern border is the Shaat al Basrah Canal from the exit of Hawr al Hammar, at Basrah International Airport, south to a deep water bay from the Persian Gulf; a large area of land beyond this eastern border is under water during the wet season. A no-mans land, at least 10 miles wide in most places to preclude mortar fire, will exist next to the borders. Only the western border and a small segment in the northeast are on land. The western border of about 70 miles is in barren uninhabited desert, making automatic detection of insurgents possible. The only part of the western border needing intensive watching is in the north where the motorway and railroad cross into the Enclave.
Most of the land in the Enclave is desert, flat in the east, rolling in the west. Seasonal lakes are common in the north and along the Kuwait border. There are two relatively small areas of cultivation, in the center of the north and near Az Zabayr.
Despite its desolation, the Enclave has a rather good transportation infrastructure. Several small airports as well as Basrah International Airport are in the Enclave. A four-lane highway crosses the north end, and good roads extend down to Umm Qasr. A railroad also crosses the north and extends to the port. Umm Qasr was the "first liberated Iraqi city", taken on March 21, 2003, as being critical for the invasion. Major improvements in the port began in Jan., 2004. The bay has now been dredged and Umm Qasr operates as a deep water port.
Fig. 2 Population density
Only a few thousand Iraqi currently live in the Enclave area. Most is uninhabited desert. The figure here is from 2002; much of the population in the eastern part of the Enclave has since left. Google Earth shows most buildings in the Enclave area nearest to Basrah having been destroyed.
2. Oil fields
The Enclave contains the supergiant Rumaila oil field, plus the Rachi, Suba, Ratawi, Luhais, Tuba, Nahrumr (Majr Omar), West Qurnah, and Zubair fields (Fig. 3). The Majnoon supergiant field just north of the Enclave should probably be protected as well.
Together these ten fields have 71% of the total Iraqi available oil production (1,800,000 of 2,520,000 barrels per day) and also 71% of the known reserves (61,360,000,000 of 86,630,000,000 barrels). The only major field not included is the Kirkuk field (570,000 barrels per day) in the northeast. The network of oil pipelines are also largely controllable from within the Enclave.
Fig. 3 Oil fields and pipelines on aerial view of the Enclave area
There are several routes for export of Iraqi oil but all were closed during the period of sanctions except the one north through Turkey (Fig. 4). The primary one now is southeast down the Al Faw peninsula to an underwater pipeline out to the Mina Al Bakr terminal for oil tankers. Most pipelines in Iraq are above ground and difficult to defend. The one to Mina Al Bakr is more secure because it is buried. Drawn maps state that they show only its approximate location. It is not difficult, however, to trace most parts in Google Earth satellite maps. Indeed many parts are easily spotted because of the black oil spills along the way. There appears to be another buried pipeline completely within the Enclave, going to from the Zubair field southeast to the port of Umm Qasr, although. Large scale filling of tankers can be seen at Umm Qasr.
Fig. 4 Oil fields and pipelines for Iraq
3. Supply lines
A basic rule of military engagement over the ages has been that the advantage lies to the opponent with the shorter, less vulnerable supply lines. Just ask Napoleon on his retreat from Moscow.
American troops in Baghdad are at a disadvantage. Most of their supplies have to be transported half the length of the country, along unsecured highways with a high risk of mines and bombs. The long convoys of trucks to Baghdad have a high susceptibility to the classic technique used successfully when the enemy is forced into a long single file: immobilize the head of the column, then the tail, and then destroying the inside pieces one by one. Our only defense has been air support, but weather conditions can block it.
Deployment to the Enclave, however, reverses the situation, giving American troops shorter, more secure supply lines than the enemy enjoys. Umm Qasr is a secure deep water port within the Enclave. Provided we maintain naval control over the Persian Gulf, all supplies for the American forces can be delivered directly, with no passage outside of the Enclave. Supplies can also come overland directly from Kuwait.
One must also consider worst cases. There is always the possibility that the balance of power will turn badly against us in the future. The Enclave situated next to the Kuwait border and the Persian Gulf is probably the best spot to be in Iraq if one has to retreat.
C. Three countries in one
The Newsweek correspondent in Baghdad, Michael Hastings, attended Bush's recent visit to Vietnam, and filed a very perceptive article, "Clean Slate", about the differences between Iraq and Vietnam; differences he says that will probably prevent an easy American withdrawal this time. The first difference, of course, was the oil, providing Iraqis with something to fight over. The second difference is that Iraq is really three countries, whereas Vietnam although divided in half was a rather natural single entity.
Historically, there was no Iraq. In Ottoman days the area was ruled in three parts, from Mosul, Baghdad, and Basrah, roughly corresponding to the Kurdish, Sunni, and Shiite factions currently fighting. When the British took control, they put the three together, calling it Iraq, and placing the strongest faction, the Sunnis, in power to administer the new country.
Reports vary as to the amount of animosity between the factions prior to the present war. Some Iraqis talked about living side by side with the other faction, even intermarrying with them. On the other hand, the Sunni domination of the Shia during the Saddam period and the atrocities committed against the Shia created hostility on the part of the Shia and, worse, created in the Sunni a feeling that they were superior and destined to rule the Shia. In any case, what has happened between the factions during the occupation has assured that there is great hostility between them today.
The dependence upon petrodollars supports the hostility. If instead Iraq was full of profitable farms scattered throughout the country, you could divide it into three pieces, and each piece would automatically be getting the means for supporting its share of the population. The oil, however, is not evenly spread. Most of it is in the territory of the Marsh Arab minority, within Shiite territory. The Kurds have a fair share, but the Sunnis have very little oil. Traditionally, the person in Iraq getting the money from the sale of the oil could run the country. In effect, he could buy the country. This was a major factor in Saddam Hussein's rule.
Not surprising, decisions about the division of oil revenues were of foremost concern in the formation of a central government but could not be resolved. The constitution states that the current oil production is the property of the Iraqi people, as a whole, but then there are statements implying that new oil deposits developed in the future are not general property but rather belong to the individual province.
This is a pivotal period in Iraqi history. The Constitution may well be just a piece of paper, and actually possession may in fact confer ownership. If one faction does manage to secure the oil for itself alone, their people for many generations will have lives of leisure, opulence, and power, while the other two factions will fall to poverty and subservience for as long as the oil lasts. Winner takes all. With a prize like that, faction leaders can justify a bit of bloodshed today.
Of course, it would be nice if all three factions shared the oil, the profits from the oil, and the power of the central government, and the might of the Iraqi army. Realistically, however, none of them trusts the others to be nice or to play fair. The stakes are just too high.
No Sunni will allow himself to be ruled by a Shiite. No Shiite will ever again submit to the leadership of a Sunni. And no Kurd will allow either of the other two factions to control him. Each is willing to fight a civil war to prevent being dominated by another faction.
The only way to prevent full scale civil war, therefore, is to partition the power.
On the other hand, at the beginning of the invasion, the American administration promised the world, and particularly its NATO ally, Turkey, that Iraq would not be partitioned. There would be no independent Kurdistan provoking problems from the Kurds in Turkey. Iran and Syria both have stated they oppose partition, saying that the chaos and refuges would cause them difficulties. Probably the most important reason to keep the factions together is to prevent war between the countries in the region. For example, if the newly elected President of Shiite Iraq called upon the Shia in Iran to help them in a war against the new Kurdistan, or the new Sunni Iraq, the leaders of Iran would have difficulty not answering the call.
Iraq must be maintained as a single entity, therefore, to avoid regional war.
Confederation has been seen as the solution to this dilemma. There are, however, two problems. Confederation requires a central government that is independent of the factions and sufficiently powerful to avoid being taking over by any one faction. Power in Iraq, however, is provided by membership in a faction. No Iraqi independent of factions is powerful enough to survive for long on a national scale.
The second problem is that confederation divides power geographically. Provinces are geographical creations with areas and borders. The factions are not, however, perfectly divided geographically. Some provinces do contain mainly one faction, but other provinces are mixed. No Sunni wants to have a Shia provincial governor above him.
D. Power partition in a unified Iraq
The Enclave Solution is to use the dependence upon petrodollars to partition the power in Iraq, but not the country itself.
All profits from the sale of Iraqi oil are returned to the Iraqi people. Use whatever accounting means and/or controls are needed to assure that America does not steal a single cent. The United Nations, for example, could take responsibility to prevent the embezzlement of oil profits. Personally, I think would be good to have the United Nations given such a position of importance in order to restore some of the significance it lost with the Administration's unilateral decision to launch a pre-emptive attack on Iraq.
An important and distinctive feature of the solution is that the profits are not given just to the executive central government of Iraq but instead divided and given proportionally to the leaders of all factions.
The traditional means of establishing power in Iraq has been to buy it with petrodollars. It may seem like corruption to us to have leaders, rather than collecting tax revenue and contributions from the people, to be distributing money to the people in order to buy their loyalty and votes. Indeed, Iraq was just listed as the most corrupt country on earth. We should notice, however, that it is not too different from having a multinational company pay for your labor and loyalty. In any case, our task is not to change the ethical standards of Iraq. We should try not to be crusaders.
Power in Iraq follows the flow of petrodollars. Whoever pays you is your leader, and whoever pays your leader is his leader and your super-leader. Since the money goes into Iraq divided according to factions, and is expected to flow along sectarian lines, no Sunni will have a Shiite above him, no Shiite will have a Sunni above him, and no Kurd will have either as a leader. That was the recipe for avoiding civil war: the recipe for peace.
Furthermore, the flow of petrodollars is not restricted by geographical borders. The petrodollars from the Sunni leader will flow to Sunnis throughout the country. (This might be compared to the money from General Motors flowing to workers throughout America.) Consequently, the problem from geographical mixing of the factions is avoided.
Although the power in Iraq will be partitioned, the country itself will remain a single sovereign state. It will be confederated, but united not by a strong central government so much as by the unified oil production of the Enclave. There will be no country of Shiite Iraq calling for support from Iran, nor a Sunni Iraq State asking Syria to protect its interests. Turkey will not be bothered by a country of Kurdistan. That, in turn, was the recipe for avoiding regional war.
E. Oil production
The US government stated before invading that "protecting the oil fields is a priority in the event of a war." It should remain a priority today in the event of civil war.
Many Europeans have assumed that America invaded Iraq to get its oil. This fits their image of the United States being run by greedy, wealthy businessmen who only care about the bottom line. What has happened in Iraq, however, does not support this view. If anything, America is guilty of not caring enough about the Iraqi oil.
America did not assume responsibility itself for protecting oil fields and pipelines. Instead it acted as if the oil was unimportant and passed the responsibility on:
First, protecting the oil was generally handed over to the British. Probably the justification was that the British were centered in the province Basrah which includes most of the oil production.
The British military out-sourced the job to a British security company, called Olive Group.
Olive Group in 2004 handed the work over to a paramilitary group called the Oil Protection Force (OPF) under the command of Lt Col Mazin Yousif, formerly in Saddam Hussein's army. He hired 4500 men, most of whom also had served in Saddam's army.
There apparently were no objections from the Americans. Perhaps the nonchalance is just a show, for the sake of critics in Europe and elsewhere, proving that we did not go to Iraq for the oil. That is not, however, very likely. Most Americans and particularly this Administration do not really care what European intellectuals think of them. Bush cared about whipping Saddam. Bush cared about getting a victory in the Middle East over al Qaeda and the forces of evil, which they naturally assumed meant Iraq. Bush cared a lot about getting votes back in the US of A. But he did not care enough about the oil to bother having our own soldiers protecting it.
It is ironic that America disbanded Saddam's army and made sure that they were not hired for work that was of little value to the Sunnis in their competition with the other factions, but the key to winning that competition, the oil, was casually given to the Sunnis. Bush apparently did not even notice.
The Shiites noticed, however, as shown in a report on July 29, 2006, by Paul Salopek in the Chicago Tribune. Yousif and his Oil Protection Force were still in charge:
"This must be a joke!" snapped Mazin Yousif, peering out from the back seat of his SUV at a sandbagged OPF checkpoint. "Impossible!" Strange new faces were appearing at the checkpoints. They were the bearded members of local Shiite parties and their violent militias. [Yousif's] oil army was being infiltrated. In places like Rumailah, Iraq's boggling oil wealth was falling prey to sectarian greed...Victims of Sunni-Shiite violence were being dumped, at the rate of five or six bodies a day, into the dry canals of Basra."
The task of protecting the oil is not easy, with over 8500 km of pipeline, most of it above ground and exposed. Even considering the difficulty, however, the OPF have done a surprisingly poor job. The insurgents seem to know exactly the times and places where they can attack in order to hurt production. Production levels today are half a million barrels a day lower than before the war. Indeed, one could question if Yousif and his paramilitaries were more intent upon keeping control of the oil fields for their Sunni faction than in exporting oil for money that will be going to the Shiite dominated central government.
The sectarian war over the oil has already started. It started the minute the British handed responsibility over to Sunni paramilitaries. There is a disturbing parallel here with the events prior to 1932 when the British, primarily in Basrah, handed over responsibility for the country to the Sunnis.
Meanwhile, despite the constitution saying the oil belongs to all Iraqis, the Kurds are already talking to international oil companies about production in Kurdish territory. There are rumors that Shia leaders are doing the same. The Americans may not have been interested in the oil, but the Iraqi factions know the key for their success.
A study was conducted by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. The Unclassified Summary of SIGIR's Review of Efforts to Increase Iraq's Capability to Protect Its Energy Infrastructure was published September 27, 2006. It begins:
"Iraq cannot prosper without the uninterrupted export of oil... A number of factors, including insurgent attacks, an aging and poorly maintained infrastructure, criminal activity, and lack of rapid repair capability have combined to hold down Iraq's oil exports. To achieve overall victory in Iraq, the current Administrations strategy includes protection of key infrastructure nodes and increasing the Iraqi government's capability to protect its key energy infrastructure."
The report concludes:
The Iraqi government has much to do if it is to implement U.S. Proposals as well as proposals put forth by its ministries. Progress in acting on them has been slow...
In other words, 1) the oil production must be protected; 2) the Iraqi central government cannot currently do so; 3) hiring sectarian Iraqi paramilitaries has not worked. The obvious conclusion is that America must take personal responsibility for protecting the oil.
NOTE: The diary proved to be longer than Scoop can handle. I have thus opened a new diary with Part II.