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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Iraq: New U.S. Base - Wasit

by Sarah Meyer
Index Research
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MAP: AL BADRAH, IRAQ (click to enlarge)

Reuters (10 September 2007) had a headline: US to build military base on Iraq-Iran border.

“The base, which the military describes as a "life support area", will be set up near the headquarters of the Department of Border Enforcement in Badrah, in the central province of Wasit.”

“The province, currently the theatre of a massive US-led military crackdown targeting Shiite militiamen allegedly involved in weapons smuggling, shares a 200 kilometre (125 mile) border with Iran.”


Hassan Jumaa Awad, Iraqi union leader, was recently travelling to raise awareness of the US attempts to grab Iraq’s oil. Among the interesting points that he raised: “There is a newly discovered field in Wasit province in central Iraq with the potential to fill millions of barrels of oil. Under the law this new field will be given over to multinationals.”

Iraq revenue watch (pdf file) notes: “This field lies in the two provinces of Baghdad and Salaheddin, and probably extends southward within the province of Wasit.1 Hence, it should be jointly managed by the provinces of both Baghdad and Salaheddin, and perhaps that of Wasit too. … initial production has averaged 20,000 barrels per day from its Baghdad section compared with a potential production of about 120,000 barrels daily.”


Problem? Perhaps. In 2006, the Iraqi Oil Ministry announced, it will revise a contract signed with a Chinese company to develop an oil well in Wasit province. In June ’07, according to the Middle East Times, the Iraqi leaders were “beginning a weeklong China visit” and were “hinting at reigniting a Saddam-era oil deal, though such a move is clouded by Iraq's stalled oil law." The US and Britain are exerting maximum pressure on the Iraqi government to pass such a law.

Meanwhile, Washington is ignoring such niggling inconveniences. Walter Pincus wrote (10.09, Washington Post) that the "United States has decided that Iraq needs a U.S.-funded expert who will be responsible "to review draft [Iraq] subsoil laws and draft subsoil regulations to ensure their compliance with international legal standards" and share his or her conclusions with U.S. agencies "or with Iraqi authorities." This a long-term prospect. 'The proposal says the contract will run from the date of the award through July 31, 2008, and has two 12-month extension options through July 31, 2010. During that time period, the contract lawyer is expected to spend no less than 360 hours (45 days equivalent full time) on Iraq oil matters. Commerce said it would take into consideration the contractor's teaching and research commitments when setting dates for finishing projects." Apparently, the U.S. Department of Commerce had been, since 21 August,"seeking an international legal adviser who is fluent in Arabic 'to provide expert input, when requested' to 'U.S. government agencies or to Iraqi authorities as they draft the laws and regulations that will govern Iraq's oil and gas sector.' " Iraq officials would be able "to access the expertise of [US] world-class professors and practitioners; they will also attend technical workshops which will address Iraq-specific legal and tax issues.'

The US has another reason to draw swords with Iran - the Iraq / Iran pipeline plan.

Well, of course, we cannot expect the U.S. to build a new base without a connection to oil, can we? So nevermind the bogeyman, Iran . IT’S ABOUT OIL.



[1] map, Burzurgan, Wasit: oil


The 'proxy war': UK troops are sent to Iranian border (13.09.07. K. Sengupta, Independent - British soldiers return to action as tensions between US and Iran grow)

Brown faces domestic pressure over 'proxy war'
(13.09.07. Independent) Gordon Brown faces anger over the deployment of UK troops to Iraq's border with Iran and warnings that the strategy could drag Britain into confrontation with Tehran. [maybe that's the deal?]

Proxy war could soon turn to direct conflict, analysts warn. (15.09.07, J. Borger, I Black: Guardian). This story focuses on the "US strikes predicted in Iran." ... "If a smoking gun is found in terms of Iranian interference in Iraq , the US will retaliate on a tactical level." Now, what about the American occupation of Iraq - is that not ""interference"? And while this article mentions the Wasid base, there is no mention of the nearby oil find.

Move troops to Iran border, Brown told
16.09.07. Telegraph. General David Petraeus will press Gordon Brown to increase the number of British troops patrolling the Iraqi border with Iran when he meets the Prime Minister this week. The US commander in Iraq wants Britain to move a significant proportion of the 5,000 troops garrisoned at Basra airport to cut off the smuggling of Iranian weapons to Shia militias… Petraeus would use the meeting to brief Mr Brown on how Iran is stepping up the supply of weapons and the training of insurgents. [ it is natural for Iran to support Iraq – they are part of Middle East, both have oil, both in serous trouble with US. what is NOT natural is for US / UK occupying forces from western countries, to be ‘on their patch’ Should the trooops refuse service in Iraq.?

Media Slow Off the Line

War Inches Closer to Iran
26.09.07. ABC. Manufacturing Consent for War . U.S. Soldiers Create Military Base on Iraq-Iran Border to Halt Weapons Smuggling From Iran. [ no mention of oil nearby? no map? Also: Raw Story (28.09.07).

Cat Amongst the Pidgeons Dept.

China begins work on $900 million power plant and agrees to develop oil field in southern Iraq
16.08.08. Salah al-Rubaai, Azzaman/uruknet. The Chinese firm, Shanghai, has started constructing a major thermal power plant in the southern Province of Wasit, the Ministry of electricity said. / Electricity Minister Kareem Waheed attended the laying down of the foundation stone for the plant, the largest ever project a foreign firm begins constructing in Iraq since the 2003 U.S. invasion.


Sarah Meyer is a researcher living in the UK. She is on the BRussels Tribunal Advisory Committee

The url to Iraq: new U.S. Base, Wasit is :
Shorter url is:

This article will also be appearing on the BRussels Tribunal website .



Iraq Oil Reality vs the NY Times

Iraq Oil: The Vultures are Waiting (03.09.07, Index Research: a full resource history of Iraq oil).

PNAC: Part I - Blueprint for Imperialism

PNAC: Part II - "Special Interests" - The Persian Gulf (Updated to 17/08/07)

US Bases in Iraq: Part I: Baghdad (updated 13/08/07)

US/UK Bases in Iraq, Part II. The South (updated 09/09/07)

IRAQ: Green Zone Blowback: Index Timeline(updated 10.09.07)


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