The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Former US Diplomat Got Stake in Iraqi Oil


The New York Times reports today: "Peter W. Galbraith, an influential former American ambassador, is a powerful voice on Iraq who helped shape the views of policy makers like Joseph R. Biden Jr. and John Kerry. In the summer of 2005, he was also an adviser to the Kurdish regional government as Iraq wrote its Constitution -- tough and sensitive talks not least because of issues like how Iraq would divide its vast oil wealth.

"Now Mr. Galbraith, 58, son of the renowned economist John Kenneth Galbraith, stands to earn perhaps a hundred million or more dollars as a result of his closeness to the Kurds, his relations with a Norwegian oil company and constitutional provisions he helped the Kurds extract."

The story broke in the Norwegian press a month ago. On Oct. 10 Visser wrote the piece "While He Was Influencing the Shape of the Iraqi Constitution, Peter Galbraith Held Stakes in an Oilfield in Dahuk."

Today Visser wrote the piece "Galbraith Was Paid by DNO When He Sat in on Sensitive Constitutional Drafting Sessions in 2005."

Executive director of Global Policy Forum, Paul said today: "Galbraith, a former U.S. diplomat and Congressional staffer, was working from 2003 to 2004 to prevent a strong central government from emerging in Iraq, the kind of government that might prevent big foreign oil companies from returning to control the country's resources. Now we know that under the guise of sympathy for the Kurds, he had another very personal goal -- millions in personal profit from an oil deal that a Norwegian company struck with the Kurdish regional government." (Galbraith wrote a book titled The End of Iraq.)

Paul added: "This story is about one person's greed, but it's symbolic of the central and corrupting effect of oil on all Iraq policy. The smaller companies were getting the early contracts in the Kurdish area, but the big game was the major companies' efforts to control the supergiant fields in the south under very favorable terms.

"It's a fascinating window into the race to control the future world energy system, at a time when oil is clearly running out."

Paul has written several pieces about oil including "Oil in Iraq: The Heart of the Crisis," featured on the Global Policy Forum's "Oil in Iraq" webpage.

Also see, by Glenn Greenwald, "The Sleazy Advocacy of a Leading 'Liberal Hawk': Peter Galbraith's vast, undisclosed financial interests in the policies he spent years advocating as an 'expert.'"

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