Thursday, July 07, 2016

No Blood for Oil

Tony Blair stated that the theory that the Iraq invasion had "something to do with oil" was a "conspiracy theory"… "Let me first deal with the conspiracy theory that this is somehow to do with oil...The very reason why we are taking the action that we are taking is nothing to do with oil or any of the other conspiracy theories put forward." Another lie. The US and British governments fought bitterly over control of Iraq’s oil following the toppling of Saddam Hussein, the Chilcot papers show.

Sir David Manning, foreign policy adviser to Tony Blair, told Condoleezza Rice, the US national security adviser, in Washington on 9 December 2002 that Britain still wanted more of the spoils.
“It would be inappropriate for HMG [Her Majesty’s government] to enter into discussions about any future carve-up of the Iraqi oil industry,” he said. “Nonetheless it is essential that our [British] companies are given access to a level playing field in this and other sectors.”

UK government officials called in a team from BP for a briefing about the prospects for the Iraq energy sector on 23 January 2003, two months before the invasion, which ended in May. Later that year, the British oil company started a technical review of the Rumaila field, the second largest in the world. By 2009 BP had won a service contract to raise production on the field, which has 20bn barrels of recoverable oil. A note between two British civil servants on 6 September 2004, headed “Energy strategy for Iraq”, highlighted that the UK was to take advantage of Iraq, which has some of the world’s largest oil reserves. It said: “Iraq’s energy sector development to be complemented by the increasing involvement of UK firms, leading to sustained investment over the next five to 10 years and substantial business for the UK.”

Edward Chaplin, the British ambassador in occupied Iraq, talked of raising “BP and Shell’s interests” when he held discussions with Iraq’s interim prime minister, Ayad Allawi, on 13 December 2004.

A civil service briefing note in late 2003 for Geoff Hoon – then the UK defence secretary – before talks with his US counterpart, Donald Rumsfeld, discusses the need for “Level playing field: big contracts to rebuild Iraq. Putting UK lives on line. Expect level playing field for UK business in oil and other areas.”

Sir Jeremy Greenstock, UK ambassador to the United Nations, identified budgeting and oil as the two clearest examples of issues on which the UK was not consulted by the US-run coalition provisional authority put in to run Iraq. “We did not see anything whatsoever in the oil sector; they [the CPA] kept that very closely American, because they wanted to run the oil sector,” he told the Chilcot inquiry.


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