Bush wants war within weeks...with Blair in tow
A GRUBBY carve-up of Iraq's vast oil reserves lies behind George Bush and Tony Blair's rhetoric about the moral case for war. A headline in last week's Financial Times said it all: 'Putin Drives Hard Bargain With US Over Iraq's Oil'. Putin is not alone in horse trading with the US over the spoils from any attack on Iraq.
'It's pretty straightforward,' says former CIA director R James Woolsey. 'France and Russia have oil companies and interests in Iraq. They should be told that if they are of assistance in moving Iraq toward decent government, we'll do the best we can to ensure that the new government and US companies work closely with them.'
Russia's biggest oil company, Lukoil, has a $4 billion stake in Iraq's West Kurna oilfield. Other Russian oil firms have similar investments. 'These deals could become worthless if Moscow tries to thwart US aims,' says the Financial Times.
'Asked whether oil was at the top of Moscow's agenda in negotiations with the US, Lukoil chief Mr Alekparov said, 'Yes, of course'.' French oil company TotalFinaElf has major stakes in Iraq, and hopes to get its hands on the Majnoon oilfield. China's National Petroleum Corporation has signed a deal for access to Iraq's North Rumailah oilfield.
US and British firms are drooling over Iraq's oil. 'Iraq possesses huge reserves of oil, reserves I'd love Chevron to have access to,' says Chevron boss Kenneth T Derr. US vice-president and oil millionaire Dick Cheney wrote the US National Energy Report, which talks of the US's 'global vulnerability to disruption' of oil supplies and fears 'adversaries' getting 'undue potential influence'.
The US wants to control Iraq's oil. Other powers want a slice of it before giving UN blessing to war.