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February 20, 2007

Well, Well, Well… What Might This Be About?

Sunni-Oil

(click for full size)

“It’s phenomenal standing here,” General Allen said. “What this does is it gives Anbar and the Sunnis an economic future different from phosphate and cement,” he said, referring to products of some of the aging factories in the area….“This gives them a future and a hope,” he said. Nearby, a few pieces of laundry flapped in front of one of the only structures in sight, a cinder-block shack probably belonging to a shepherd.

– From “Iraqi Sunni Lands Show New Oil and Gas Promise.” NYT.  2/19/07

Man, this just keeps getting better (in a fantastical sense.)

Checking this week’s “Department of Wishful Thinking,” we started out on Saturday with the prounouncement that the surge was having a substantial effect.  Only two days later, however, we got the report of a dramatic insurgent attack on a U.S. base just outside Baghdad.

Even more heightened, though, was yesterday’s miracle announcement that, suddenly, based on newly discovered data, the Sunni’s are as rich in oil as the Kurd’s and the Shiite’s!  (Really, what an amazing coincidence — just when the U.S. was jumping through hula hoops trying to get Iraqi’s to pass national oil-sharing legislation.)

As a veracity booster, however, I’ve got some questions about the accompanying photo.  (For symbolic value, it just doesn’t get better.)  Not only do the well’s flanges and valves form the shape of cross (making it that much easier for the Crusaders to make out in a sand storm), but the two guys guarding the spot — what with the resurgence of the Iraqi Army, and all — happen to be a couple of our boys.

More curious, still, is the sense the American soldier is preparing to fire into the well.  … Sorry, but any possible meaning there is even beyond me.



(image: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images, for The New York Times.  Karabila.  February 18, 2007. nytimes.com)

  • http://ruinsofempire.blogspot.com/ Rafael

    All those valves, a lot of things that can be opened, all the things that can go wrong.

  • Pedro

    I guess that whatever they will be getting from those valves, it will be faith-based…

  • ummabdulla

    I don’t know much about oil drilling, but this article just leaves me with a lot of questions.
    “The analysis, still little known outside a small circle of specialists, is important enough that on Friday, Brig. Gen. John R. Allen… made the long trip into the desert to visit the blue wellhead.”
    But what is this blue wellhead? Is it an old one from some old exploratory drilling? What they’re talking about is potential, so it’s not an actual oil field that they’re using, is it? He made the long trip into the desert for a photo op with what?
    And I didn’t think they had tools that could tell them precisely where oil is and how much there is, do they? I’ve heard the experts’ predictions about oil reserves in Saudi and Kuwait; they seem to be best guesses, and contradict each other.
    Raed in the Middle has an English translation of a leaked copy of the new Iraqi oil law. He says:
    “…this catastrophic law that will facilitate the further looting of Iraqi oil, and will achieve nothing other than increasing the levels of violence and anger in Iraq… In addition to the financial aspects of this law, it can be considered the funding tool for splitting Iraq into three states…”
    (By the way, Michael, you put the date for the article as 1/19/07, instead of 2/19/07.)

  • Roger Q Callaway

    Most likely this is a dry hole. An explanation for the above-ground structure is that there is some natural gas that has been shut in, or worse some hydrogen sulfide. Probably it’s sitting there waiting for a theif to incinerate himself trying to steal it.
    roger

  • Whiplash

    Oil that is. Black gold, Texas tea. Everyone knows you shoot into the ground to locate the oil.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/monumentalbuilder/ monumentalbuilder

    Funny thing, looked to me like the guy in the background was praying to it.

  • http://www.angryflower.com/bobsqu.gif Punctual Pete

    I will let Bob the Angry Flower do the talking:
    http://www.angryflower.com/bobsqu.gif

  • Neal

    Let’s see, Saddam was a Sunni, he put Sunni’s in the most powerful positions in the counrty, Sunni’s were generally first in line. But for some unknown reason he didn’t pursue oil development in Sunni areas. Does that pass the smell test?
    Note how the valves and fittings get smaller and smaller. The expectations for Iraq are likewise diminishing. The pipe splits like one Iraq into three branches, Shiite, Sunni and Kurd spigots- all heading in separate directions, much diminished.

  • http://justbetweenstrangers.blogspot.com/ acm

    I don’t think he’s about to shoot into the well — I think he’s just standing over there and was checking his gun as the photograph was taken. that’s not an aiming position.

  • http://peopleofthepavement.blogspot.com C.JoDI

    I hate to be Grammar guy, but it’s ‘Sunnis’, ‘Shiites’ and ‘Iraqis’. Just because a word ends in a vowel doesn’t mean that you need an apostrophe to make it plural.

  • http://molly.douthett.net lowly grunt

    I thought it was a totem pole.
    I guess I was right.

  • mugatea

    That looks like a water well. The blue color, concrete slabs, and it’s height makes it look like it’s there to fill tankers up as they drive tru from either direction. Looks like water below.
    It’s a stupid design on someone’s part, a private contractor most likely. Why not just put a target symbol on it instead? A bullseye would create less interest. The poor design puts the supply and it’s guards in greater jeopardy.
    Taunting is so uncool.
    El stupido gringos.

  • readytoblowagasket

    Finders keepers, losers weepers.
    Also known as “adverse possession.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finders_keepers
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adverse_possession
    The finders are the Americans, obviously. A detail the author of the Times article scrupulously omits by his deft use of misleading generalizations in the second paragraph:
    “Huge petroleum deposits have *long been known* in Iraq’s Kurdish north and Shiite south. But now, *Iraq* has substantially increased *its estimates* of the amount of oil and natural gas in deposits on Sunni lands after quietly paying *foreign oil companies* tens of millions of dollars over the past two years to re-examine old seismic data across the country and retrain Iraqi petroleum engineers.”
    Wow, that’s interesting. Where did “Iraq” get *tens of millions* of dollars over the last two years to quietly pay foreign oil companies?
    Not surprisingly, the author also misidentifies the unambiguous cross shape as a “pillar.”
    Excellent job of obfuscation and manipulation, James Glanz of New York Times! (I mean, except for the “pillar.” That was a stretch.)

  • tina

    When I see this picture, I’m reminded of the old William Jennings Bryan speech, the one about how we shouldn’t crucify mankind upon a cross of gold. Looks like this generation will manage to crucify mankind upon a cross of oil.

  • http://theheretik.us/ The Heretik

    Nicely framed.

  • jtfromBC

    blue angels/blue balls/blue bible/blue book/blue chips/blue cross/blue pages/blue pill/blue streak/blue moon or :
    Another virtual MSM presentation, a blue banana tree.
    BPS RESEARCH DIGEST: Why it’s so hard to find a blue banana

  • Neal

    Thanks Grammar guy, perhaps you didn’t notice that I spelled “country” wrong in my entry also. Just trying to be helpful.

  • http://www.woodka.com donna

    Like the Sunnis will fall for that. And how mad are the Iraqis going to be if their legislators actually pass the oil agreement and screw all the Iraqis out of billions in revenue?
    This really isn’t going to end “well”.

  • see you

    donna : if true, this is another reason for the iraqi people to be mad. it´s a must read :
    Riverbend : Maliki’s Reaction…/The rape of Sabrine
    Baghdad Burning Tuesday, February 20, 2007 http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/

  • jtfromBC

    The rape of Sabrine
    I watched this tape (03.54) earlier today it was removed three hours after Riverbend posted.
    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=The+rape+of+Sabrine&search=Search

  • jtfromBC

    Latest update on rape investigation;
    “Al Jazeera, meanwhile, phoned the family of the woman and her husband said no investigation committee had contacted them so far.”
    http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/073F2178-6F72-4F20-BF6E-B57BBF39E43C.htm

  • Patrick

    For the real story read the leaked/translated Iraq Oil Law. This law legalizes PSAs (production sharing agreements) in Iraq. Iraq will be the only country in the middle east with such contracts privatizing Iraqi oil and giving foreign companies exorbitant rates of profit that may reach to more than three fourth of the general revenue. Iraqi’s need every Dinar that comes from oil sales. It’s their oil not EXXONMobile or BushCo.’s
    In addition to the financial aspects of this law, it can be considered the funding tool for splitting Iraq into three states. It undermines the central government (now failed as seen in Bush’s eye) of Moqtada al-Sadr and distributes oil revenues directly to the three regions, which sets the foundations for what western oil concerns have been trying to achieve in terms of establishing three independent states since shortly after the occupations was deemed failed over two years ago. Privatizing Iraq’s oil and splitting Iraq into three regions are just two negative features of this 29 page law.
    The story of potential oil/gas reserves in Sunni territory is pure/timely propaganda to diffuse the rape of Iraqi oil resources by western concerns as dictated by the new Oil Law.
    http://www.al-ghad.org/2007/02/14/exclusive-the-official-draft-of-the-oil-and-gas-law-of-the-iraq-republic-15-jan-2007/

  • Ali

    Looks like a “christmas tree”, a well head, from a producing well, useful to control the flow of a “eruptive” well, or to control gas or water injection application on a none-producing well…

  • MonsieurGonzo

    Just a mind-blowing image on so many levels, BAGman ~ that the NYT layout editors could even put this up next to (any) article about IRAQ without once breaking the fourth wall to even mention the (i daresay) overt symbolism(s) of this thing, is remarkable, even of itself.
    so many, so many visceral reactions! i suppose my first impulse was this thing is as some kind of Christian worship thing like, you know the john Carpenter cult film, They Live? where the guy puts on his “magic sunglasses” and it enables him to see reality and he looks at a dollar bill and it’s revealed as a blank piece of paper with the words: This Is Your God.
    Then i’m thinking, “no ~ this is like, some kinda ‘burial site’ and this perverse crucifix thing is an epitaph-marker for the perverse invasion and occupation of IRAQ : what will surely be called by everyone but US, The American War.
    that soldier (right) is me, man… an’ i’m lookin’ down in that fuckin’ hole, man; an’ i’m lookin’ down in to that abyss ~ that hell-hole; that place i don’t wanna go; that ride outta the F.O.B. that i didn’t wanna take; that place where i told my mama an’ my wife an’ myself, i’m not gonna go there, man. No way, not me… oh shit! shit! what am i doing here?
    AAAUUUUGGGGHHHHHH!!! oh, Jesus! Jesus! Exxon-Mobil oil… is people!

  • http://www.bartcop.com bartcopfan

    Well, Ali beat me to it, but yeah, that’s a “Christmas Tree”, atop an oil or natural gas wellhead.

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