Here’s a fun little story that, like so much with this Administration, provides at least as many questions as it does answers. Anyway, I think that if I was sneaking around doing stuff that GWB really does not approve of I would not be having glamorous parties in the luxurious mansion home of a big time Republican, with a guest list that includes many of the top names from the group of co-conspirators that brought us the Iraq War.
Two top Kurdish leaders are a long way from the mountains of northern Iraq this week.
On Monday night, Omer Fattah Hussain was the toast of a dinner held at the 10,000-square-foot McLean mansion of Ed Rogers, a Reagan White House political director and current chairman of the lobbying firm Barbour Griffith & Rogers. In an opulent living room just off an art-filled entryway with a curved double stairway, the deputy prime minister of the Iraqi Kurds’ autonomous region mingled with such luminaries as former assistant secretary of defense Richard Perle, former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby and former White House press secretary Tony Snow.
Today, Hussain travels to Houston with Ashti Abdullah Hawrami, the Kurdish regional oil minister, to woo an even more important audience: U.S. oil companies.
After more than a year of political deadlock in Iraq over a national petroleum law, the Kurdistan Regional Government unanimously adopted its own petroleum legislation in August. In the past month, it has signed a dozen oil exploration contracts and hopes that foreign firms will ultimately invest $10 billion in the oil sector and bring 1 million barrels a day of new oil production from the Kurdish region over the next five years.
“Everyone is lining up . . . saying ‘I want a piece of this action,’ ” said Hawrami, who hopes to complete negotiations on two more deals in Houston.
Hawrami said the contracts posed no conflict with Iraq’s federal constitution. The Iraqi central government, however, is irate over the Kurdish contracts — and the State Department isn’t happy either. The Bush administration has been striving mightily over the past year to get a national petroleum law approved before international firms jump in.
What does this say about the well known aspirations of the Kurds for their own nation? They certainly seem intent on becoming real players in oil, and are not exhibiting any plans to share the wealth with their fellow Iraqis. Where Iraq goes from here is anyone’s guess, of course, but reconciliation and national unity may well not be high priorities for the Kurds.
And then there is the whole subject of Kurdish boasts that they will someday unite to form their own country in all of the lands that they label as Greater Kurdistan. Dead set against this are no less than the countries of Turkey and Iran, both of whom state they will use military force to prevent such an outcome. Not to mention the fact that both countries are currently actively fighting their own Kurdish separatist movements.
Does BUSHCO have something special up its sleeve on this one? Or is it content just to keep things stirred up over in a part of the world where the existence of chaos has already earned BUSHCO members incalculable wealth?