IRAQI DEMOCRACY DEPENDS AS MUCH ON MAKING SURE THAT THE OIL BELONGS TO THE PEOPLE AS WRITING A CONSTITUTION
No. It is not a new idea. But it is a most important one and this time it came from an Iraqi oil official named Mussab Hassan Al Dujaili and it was published in the financial times.
The main task of Iraq's newly elected assembly will be to draft a constitution, to be approved by Iraqis later this year. Ownership of Iraq's oil resources - and how to distribute oil revenue to the Iraqi people - is one of the most important issues that the new parliament and constitution need to take into account. It is therefore worth reminding members of the new assembly that oil leads to dictatorship, and that the monopolisation of oil revenues by previous Iraqi governments was the root cause of tyranny, war and the fragmentation of Iraq's territory and people.
Take the most virtuous of governments, brought to power by democratic means, and give it huge oil revenues. I bet that within three years this same government will be just as corrupt as any authoritarian regime in the developing world, because a politician who can finance his economic and social policies, his police force and an army with natural resources no longer needs to raise taxes or listen to the people.
He is absolutely right and not alone. Just read Gordon O. F. Johnson's presentation to the Heritage Foundation.
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