Sunday, January 07, 2007

World Bank Okay with BLOOD FOR OIL

"Publicly, the standoff seemed to allow both men to save face. But quietly, in a visit to N'Djamena in July, Wolfowitz and Deby came to a new agreement. This accord allowed for most of the oil revenue to be spent on Chad’s “administration” and “security,” and all money earmarked for a future generations fund to be eliminated. Essentially, this new agreement meant Deby could invest the entire revenue from Chad’s oil fields into bullets and guns. In the stroke of a pen, with no press to herald the change, all of the years of posturing by Bank officials and efforts by civil society groups for development proceeds from the oil revenue had been reduced to a cynical deal: give us the oil, and do with your revenue what you will.

"Some argued an exception should be made to the bank accord. Sudanese Janjaweed, on a killing spree in Darfur, were threatening Chad’s stability. Chad needed to protect itself. Perhaps. Or was it that Deby was simply solidifying his iron-fisted control over a country with little public support, while hiding behind the self-righteous banner of self-defense? Would this violence have ever erupted if the oil had not begun to flow in Chad? It may never be entirely clear. But, one year later, indisputable is the fact that World Bank money intended for poverty alleviation is instead being used to buy bullets and guns to fight in one of the most brutal battles being fought in the world today.

"It is also painfully clear, as the blood spills on both sides of the Chad border, that the consortium of international oil companies and their allies at the World Bank are being careful to make sure nothing stops a drop of oil from flowing to global markets.

"A fragile peace agreement brokered between Chad and Sudan on December 24 seems to be holding—for the moment. Regardless, those of us who pay taxes support the World Bank, and are thereby helping finance Idriss Deby’s brutal regime. Thanks to the World Bank, we may have plenty of oil in our tanks, but we also have blood on our hands.

From via Angry Arab Newservice

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