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US Vice President Dick Cheney swept into Baghdad on an unannounced visit Monday, looking to highlight security gains and promote elusive political progress days before the war enters its sixth year.
Minutes after he arrived, an explosion rocked central Baghdad, following a roadside bombing that killed a policeman, underscoring the violence that still grips the nation almost five years after the US-led invasion of Iraq.
A senior administration official told reporters accompanying Cheney that the vice president would tell the Iraqis "they need to continue to show some progress" on legislation seen as key to defusing sectarian strife.
Those laws include an oil-revenue sharing measure; a law setting out provincial government powers; and one covering elections that the US official said were expected to take place October 1.
The conflict has claimed nearly 4,000 US lives and cost -- by the Pentagon's conservative estimate -- upwards of 400 billion dollars.
Beyond Iraq, the vice president's mission aimed to help revive the battered peace process and convince Arab allies like Saudi Arabia to do more to help curb regional powerhouse Iran's influence in Iraq.
From the related New York Times link: According to a pool report of comments made by a senior administration official who was flying with Mr. Cheney, the vice president plans, among other things, to push Iraqi officials to pass petroleum legislation that would help bring international oil companies to Iraq.
Yes, revenue sharing is there-essentially in fine print, essentially trivial. The bill is long and complex, it has been years in the making, and its primary purpose is transformational in scope: a radical and wholesale reconstruction-virtual privatization-of the currently nationalized Iraqi oil industry.
If passed, the law will make available to Exxon/Mobil, Chevron/Texaco, BP/Amoco, and Royal Dutch/Shell about 4/5's of the stupendous petroleum reserves in Iraq.
The violence came as Vice President Dick Cheney and Arizona Sen. John McCain made overlapping visits to the capital, touting recent security gains and promising to uphold a long-term military commitment to the country so long as al-Qaida in Iraq is not defeated.
Explosions also struck earlier Monday not far from Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, shortly after Cheney arrived. Helicopter gunships circled central Baghdad, but no other details were immediately available on the cause of the explosions.
Two senior members of the Senate Armed Services Committee have requested a full accounting of how Iraq is spending its soaring oil revenue, amid starkly conflicting estimates of how much the country has invested in rebuilding its broken infrastructure and providing basic services to its citizens.
The request, sent Friday to David M. Walker, the top official at the United States Government Accountability Office, estimates that Iraqi oil revenue could skyrocket above $56 billion in 2008...
Despite the dire need for better health care, more electricity and clean water, a functioning sewage system and other services, the accountability office has previously estimated that Iraq spent only 22 percent of the oil money set aside for reconstruction in 2006. And in January, the office, which is charged with overseeing the Iraqi government’s finances, reported that Iraq had spent a meager 4.4 percent of its 2007 reconstruction budget by August of that year, the most recent figures available at the time.
As a result, the letter from the Armed Services Committee says, “we believe that it has been overwhelmingly U.S. taxpayer money that has funded Iraq reconstruction over the last five years, despite Iraq earning billions of dollars in oil revenue over that time period that have ended up in non-Iraqi banks.”
Originally posted by TeslaandLyne
Nothing seems to help that place.
How much longer until we reach Nam figures in time and lives.