The sticking point is the status of the private U.S. contractors who seem to have found in Iraq a land flowing with milk and money at a time when the domestic U.S. economy offers few opportunities. According to the Associated Press story published on Yahoo! news,
In one key part of the draft agreement, private U.S. contractors would be subject to Iraqi law, unlike at present . . . . Immunity remains the main point of contention between the two sides in finalizing the agreement. The Iraqis are reluctant to allow U.S. military contractors to have free rein when outside U.S. bases and without any Iraqi legal authority over them.
The rest of the article opines about the effect that the announcement will have on the looming battle between Senators McCain and Obama. The former wants withdrawal only when the situation warrants it, regardless of any timetable; the latter wants withdrawal according to a strict timetable, regardless of the situation.
Ironically (a word that seems to come up more and more frequently during this war and the campaign), there is a way to satisfy everyone. By following the provisions of CESJ's oil proposal to vest every Iraqi citizen with a single lifetime non-transferable fully voting and participating share in the denationalized oil company,
- Terrorists would have the ground cut out from under them by the removal of popular support.
- Iraqi leadership would be assured of a viable, tax paying middle class.
- The Iraqi people would have the power to hold their leadership accountable.
- Foreign contractors would be hired by the Iraqi people, not any government, and subject to local law.
- Oil money would provide the means to finance general development and wean the economy of the country — and, eventually, that of the entire Middle East — off of oil, a necessary change as the world shifts away from fossil fuels and toward renewable alternate energy sources.
- Voters in the U.S. would get to hear debates on substantive issues from the candidates, instead of quibbling concerns and manufactured crises.
These are a few of the benefits that could result from implementation of CESJ's Iraq oil proposal at the earliest possible date.