Barack Obama, desperate to serve U.S. imperialists for four more years, is spinning their worsening predicaments as his personal triumphs. “As promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year....After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over,” Obama boasted on October 21.
But there’s no way U.S. rulers will not protect Exxon Mobil’s $50 billion investment in Iraq’s oil fields. Thirty-nine bases there still remain in U.S. hands. Furthermore, “The U.S. embassy in Baghdad already houses thousands of…officials and troops and contains 21 buildings in a space over 100 acres….The State Department is looking to spend upwards of $30 billion on Iraq over the next five years — around one-fourth of the Department’s…global operations budget” (Huffington Post, 9/26).
Meanwhile, Iraq’s Maliki regime is revoking the U.S. license to kill there. “The issue of immunity for U.S. troops appears to have been the key factor in the Obama administration’s decision to withdraw…. Iraqis...did not want to grant it because of high-profile killings of civilians....The U.S. said for any troops to remain in Iraq, they’d have to be granted full immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts” (National Public Radio, 10/24/11).
Guarding Exxon’s Oil Wells Means Boots on the Ground
But not all the GIs will be home for the holidays. Many will be part of the Obama administration’s plans “to bolster the American military presence in the Persian Gulf,” including “new combat forces in Kuwait able to respond to a collapse of security in Iraq or a military confrontation with Iran” (NY Times, 10/30; see box this page). Obama’s threat to reinvade Iraq contradicts his peace pronouncement.
The U.S.-led war for the Middle East’s vast energy resources remains far from settled. When they invaded in 2003, U.S. rulers envisioned six million barrels of crude gushing daily from Iraqi wells by 2006. Last year, they upped the potential bonanza to 12 million barrels per day. But persistent violence keeps actual flow around 2.9 million; on October 27, bombs killed 32 people in Baghdad. Exxon Mobil just invested $50 billion to boost production from Iraq’s massive West Qurna field. Expect a quick return of U.S. forces if violence menaces that project.