Iraq's oil reserves

The US estimates there are 112 billion barrels of proven oil reserves in Iraq.

At the beginning of the war in Iraq, oil traded for about $30 a barrel. It now trades at $142.

So in 2003, Iraq’s oil was worth $3.36 trillion (About 3 months of US GDP)
In 2008, Iraq’s oil is worth $16.13 trillion (More than 1 year of US GDP of $13.13 trillion. The US accounts for a quarter of total global GDP)

Ireland’s GDP is variously reported around €200 billion a year. It would take Ireland more than 65 years of GDP at current levels to match US GDP for one year. It would take more than 80 years to equal the current value of Iraqi oil.

The war is thought to have cost up to $1 trillion. The US consumes about 21 million barrels of oil a day. At current consumption levels Iraq would provide the US with oil for 5,333 days, or nearly 15 years.

I’m not drawing any conclusions or making any assessment, I just think the figures are interesting.

Embed diary

I am enjoying David Smith’s latest embed diary from Iraq. Today he writes about an entrepreneur, Dr Moayad Hamad, in the Dora district of Baghdad:

Hamad, wearing an expensive watch, and smoking cigarettes despite his old profession, is the new breed of Iraqi entrepreneur. Captain Russell Matthews, Warrior battalion, 10th Mountain Division, told me: “He’s probably not been seen here before. The entrepreneur becomes leader, taking the place of the sheikhs. The sheikhs are trying to find their own in a world that’s changing around them.”

Later I walked with Matthews up what the Americans call “Airplane Road”. Chickens sizzled in flame ovens, smiling couples walked hand-in-hand, shoppers sought fruit or mobile phones or a haircut, and grandmothers pushed children on swings in one of Hamad’s new parks. Remarkably, Baghdad felt a good place to be. But the question that Hamad – and others I spoke to – don’t want to contemplate is what will happen when the Americans leave. “They must stay forever!” said one. Not likely, President Obama. The US is in danger of creating a culture of dependency here.

Debating Iraq’s Transition

Things seem to be going well in Iraq of late. Tom Friedman asks why Rice isn’t not on the diplomatic offensive combined with the military surge. He is hinting at what I suspect – there’s a real chance that the insurgency is simply holding fire until the surge has run its course.

Is she just keeping away from the Iraq mess to save her image, or does she know that the Iraqi politicians will not and cannot seize this moment to reach a grand bargain, because making big public concessions to one another is still extremely dangerous in a country like Iraq. It is an invitation for assassination.

Robert Kaplan meanwhile writes about building tribal loyalties from the ground up, not imposing democracy from the top down.

F.B.I. Says Guards Killed 14 Iraqis Without Cause

Federal agents investigating the Sept. 16 episode in which Blackwater security personnel shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians have found that at least 14 of the shootings were unjustified and violated deadly-force rules in effect for security contractors in Iraq, according to civilian and military officials briefed on the case.

Is it so hard to believe?

Warning: graphic content. This video appeared in the film No End in Sight, and had been going around YouTube for a while.

Rumsfeld gets roasted by Clinton

Rummy needs to resign.

My goodness indeed.

When referring to the number of troops that went into Iraq, Rummy said: “I guess history will make a judgment on that”.

How long do we have to wait before history kicks in? It’s well over three years since the invasion. Can we not at least start to speculate about whether the number of troops was too low? Does Rumsfeld believe history can look back in three, ten, twenty or fifty years from now, and then make a judgment?

I don’t think so.

I think three years is plenty of time to see that the number of troops was too low. By putting things on the long finger and saying ‘history’ will decide, he is simply saying ‘ask me when I am no longer Defence Secretary’.

Abizaid relents

The exchange today at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. [via Steve]

SEN. CARL LEVIN: Do you agree, General, that — with the ambassador from Britain to Iraq that Iraq is sliding towards civil war?

GEN. ABIZAID: I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I’ve seen it, in Baghdad in particular, and that if not stopped, it is possible that Iraq could move towards civil war.

Is there a sudden realisation in Washington that thing’s aren’t really going that well in Iraq?