Saturday, August 15, 2009

Iraq, Sex, Drugs, Rock, Roll and Woodstock

Certain to be one of the best Mark Weaver Shows of the year, the show starts with a wonderful "you were there" reliving of Woodstock 40 years ago today by journalist Julie Klein. But the show stealer is one of the best interviews I have ever done, as New York Stonybrook State University sociology professor Michael Schwartz regales us for an hour and a half on the shocking neo-colonization of Iraq by the U.S. The breadth and depth of Schwartz' knowledge of Iraq is breathtaking, but in a nutshell, the Obama administration is attempting to consolidate and perpetuate a U.S. client government that will implement U.S. economic and foreign policies in Iraq through U.S. civilian administrative control of Iraqi society down to candidate recruitment and funding, the school curriculum and neoliberal privatization policies, all designed to perpetuate a client government in the country "freely" elected by the Iraqis. So far the Iraqis have refused to enact the famous oil law that the U.S., and recently Biden, have pushed to open the oil industry to international oil companies and increase oil production to challenge OPEC and drive down the price of oil to benefit Western economic interests. All other oil rich Middle Eastern countries maintain state control of their oil industries with revenue financing the government. Schwartz expects the U.S. to maintain five "core" bases in Iraq with perhaps 50,000 troops over the long run, despite public rhetoric to the contrary. The military presence will maintain U.S. influence on the government and provide forward basing for U.S. operations against Iran and other Middle Eastern hot spots. He thinks Prime Minister al Maliki will eventually "ask for", under U.S. pressure, for a re-neogitation of the Status of Forces Agreement, whose referendum requirement has already been violated. Watch for a re-negotiation of the SOFA come summer 2011, or sooner if Israel bombs Iran and Obama uses the war as a pretext to maintain U.S. bases in Iraq. This is a show you should revisit in two years, if you can remember that long (make a note) to see how correct our analysis of these things is.

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