there is no reconstruction...,
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mubarak, running a dirty election?...,
oil for fantasy art:
Reuters runs a corrected report detailing their sudden discovery of something I learned from the US Embassy a long ass time ago, and heftily adds:
While U.S. Navy ships were patrolling the Gulf in February 2003, making a show of boarding and searching leaky dhows and small ships, they turned a blind eye to tankers carrying some $54 million of Iraqi oil on Jordan's behalf, the report said.
A total of 7.7 million barrels of oil was smuggled through the Khor al-Amaya oil terminal in at least seven shipments in February and March 2003, it said.
The sales were arranged by a businessman in Jordan named "Mr Shaheen" who told an Iraqi official he had "the Pentagon in one pocket and the CIA in the other." He was acting for Jordan, a close U.S. ally.
The oil was bought at a heavily discounted price of around $7 a barrel, the report said. If it had been sold at fair market value within the oil-for-food program it could have earned some $200 million to buy humanitarian goods.
The 1,000 page report showed shipping records from a tanker that lifted the oil, including voyage instructions for the ship's captain saying the U.S. Navy was "already aware about your passage and itinerary."
More details on Volcker's final report around here and here, like "while the U.S. and the UK held up 5,000 contracts over 'dual-use,' no contract that the OIP experts flagged for potential pricing irregularities was blocked by the 661 Committee", "despite at least 70 cases were reported to the 661 Committee about potential overpricing between 2000-2001." Good rotten fun.
Again: we never really stopped supporting Saddam, we were patting his regime on the back as late as March 2003. Our first Gulf War was a dog and pony show, we helped him suppress the 1991 rebellions, and maintained a sanctions regime that targetted the population while we were allowing the massive oil smuggling of the regime to continue for a decade and a half, allowing him to buy illustrious fantasy art. While we did help Iraqi Kurds we were helping Turkey eviscirate their families over the border at the same time, just another crazy mix up! The oil for food program was insufficient and underfunded at best, and nevertheless made the population dependent on the tyrant, preserving his rule. Even now we're withholding evidence - after the invasion we allowed much of it get looted/burned - regarding many of his crimes, not least because it would implicate US officials.
We invaded in 2003, to be a little presumptious, because sanctions were "eroding", as I recall Powell describing it, and if they eroded sufficiently the regime would have caved in and you'd have either a major failed oil state or more likely a new Iraqi government that, finally free from the bogeyman of our own making and from the mechanisms of control devised after the Gulf War, could act independently of the US.
Iraqi liberation was imminent and we had to prevent that.