the little prince isn't happy:
bush is so done out with al-maliki's obstreperous stance on restrictions on us troops and his demand for a withdrawal timetable that he sharply warned al-maliki that without a [status of forces agreement] he would have to pull out us troops by jan. 1, 2009. (us troops operating in iraq with no agreed legal framework would be constantly open to murder and other serious legal charges).
well, well, well ... so much for "staying the course", that whole "stand-up-stand-down" thing and "conditions on the ground".
y'see, the whole point of the game was to take home two prizes: exclusive western oil contracts and permanent military bases to guarantee them. and it was clear that the prince was simply going to keep playing, and keep changing the rules, as long as the prizes were in front of him.
so, as playtime winds down, inexorably, with no prizes actually in hand, does the prince really think that taking his toys home in a huff is going to impress the other kids, who've already told him they don't want to play anymore and who've already heard his mamma calling?
the oil majors are largely giving up on negotiating short-term contracts with the iraqi oil ministry. the contracts aren't that lucrative, and were just seen as ways of establishing a relationship, but the oil ministry played hard ball and so they could not come to terms.
come january, dubya's not gonna have much to show for his tenure in the oval office but for a tragicomedy entitled "how i ginned up an unjust war, alienated the world, castrated the constitution and only got this lousy t-shirt."
looks like the iraqis are seriously feeling their oats these days, and aren't giving anyone any candies or flowers:
iraq will sign a $1.2 bn. service contract with china, for work on a small field that produces 90,000 barrels a day (iraq produces on the order of 2.4 million barrels a day). the deal declines to offer china a share in profits, confining it to fees paid for work done. that the iraqi oil ministry is playing this kind of hard ball has caused several western oil majors to pull out of talks on such short term contracts, which are not very profitable and are mainly undertaking to make good relations with the host country.