Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Iraq Study Group Report’s as close at it gets silver bullet

The Iraq Study Group Report’s perhaps most important yet least discussed recommendation is “redistributing a portion of oil revenues directly to the population on a per capita basis” as it has “the potential to give all Iraqi citizens a stake in the nation’s chief natural resource” which could only foster a national identity and help stimulate the search for normality. Besides, given that the price of gas in Iraq is so low that you can fill your tank with less than two dollars, which of course is the source of much corruption, the sharing in the additional revenues that a price increase of gas would generate provides the political support for such difficult but necessary action.

We were told not to expect any silver bullet from the Report but in my opinion this revenue sharing program is a close to one as it gets. Implementing such a program in a transparent way, with the help of the World Bank, could also have far-reaching consequences for fighting all the other oil curses around the world.