Alternet's Joshua Holland has written a very informative two part article that chronicles the long-planned grab for Iraq's oil resources. The second part of the article casts some light on what has been happening in the Iraqi parliament over the past few weeks and perhaps why the US media has been ramping up the invective against Shi'ite Iraqi nationalist Muqtada al-Sadr. Holland cites a BBC article reporting on the passage of a new law that would give greater autonomy to the regions and weaken the central government. Al-Sadr's group and the two biggest Sunni groups (a nationalist political alliance is the worst nightmare for the US and Big Oil) boycotted the vote, which the US may have felt was necessary to cement support of the SCIRI Shi'a faction and the main Kurdish parties for the soon to be introduced hydrocarbon law.
Holland thinks Big Oil's plans are on the verge of going awry..
It's possible that the administration and its partners badly overplayed their hand. Iraq's new government stands on the verge of a complete meltdown, faced with a crisis of legitimacy based largely on the fact that it is seen as collaborating with American forces. Overwhelming majorities of Iraqis of every sect believe the United States is an occupier, not a liberator, and is convinced that it intends to stay in Iraq permanently.
..and it seems like al-Sadr is the biggest fly in their soup right now. If you Google "Sadr" and "hydrocarbon law," however, don't expect to find many articles from the US mainstream press reporting on what could be one of the more important developments in US economic history in the past 50 years. There is no shortage of news articles, though, in which al-Sadr is labeled as an "extremist" and the leader of the "most dangerous" militia, who needs to be "brought under control." The timing is rather obvious, isn't it? The US considers Arab nationalists enemies, whether it is Saddam, Assad or al-Sadr, because one can't be a nationalist and a reliable lapdog at the same time.