Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A new oil policy.

While a few months ago we were hearing calls from inside the former government for giving a big role for Russian investments in Iraq's oil, now we're hearing a new and different tone; one that calls for opening the door for investments from countries that "stood with Iraq".

Nori al-Maliki also said during a meeting with the S. Korean ambassador that he appreciated the humanitarian role of the Korean troops in Erbil and called for reactivating the Iraqi-Korean cooperation committee to give it a bigger role in Iraq's reconstruction.

This new orientation is going to apparently gain more momentum; the new oil minister Hussein al-Shahristani said in a press conference that it is very likely for British oil companies to win big contracts in Iraq and said that there are many oil companies that are willing to bring capital and new technology to Iraq's oil sector and "our policy for signing contracts with such companies will be based on securing bigger revenues for the Iraqi people".

The interesting point here is that there's an obvious change in speech, from using the language of we're-a-rich-country-and-can-do-anything to "we do not have the sufficient local capital to improve this sector thus we need foreign investment" as al-Shahristani said.

I think these are encouragingly positive statements and they indicate that democracy is working in the right way, slowly though. But apparently the competition among politicians to prove competence and win trust in addition to the lessons learned from the previous stage is pushing the new leaders to pick a new course with less emotional speech-making and more pragmatic thinking.
Officials now realize that they did not inherit their seats from their fathers and that there are other people waiting for them to make the slightest mistake to expose them and discredit them.

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