Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The missing link

Fascinating story in today's Wall Street Journal (subs. req'd) --

Influential former Pentagon official Richard Perle has been exploring going into the oil business in Iraq and Kazakhstan, according to people with knowledge of the matter and documents outlining possible deals.

Mr. Perle, one of a group of security experts who began pushing the case for toppling Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein about a decade ago, has been discussing a possible deal with officials of northern Iraq's Kurdistan regional government, including its Washington envoy, according to these people and the documents.

It would involve a tract called K18, near the Kurdish city of Erbil, according to documents describing the plan. A consortium founded by Turkish company AK Group International is seeking rights to drill there, the documents say. Potential backers include two Turkish companies as well as Kazakhstan, according to individuals involved.

Above, one man not mentioned in the story, Dick Cheney with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Cheney's links to Kazakhstan go back to his 1990s days with Halliburton. Nazarbayev, whose democratic credentials are dubious, has been a favourite of the White House for quite a while.

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