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From The Socialist newspaper, 2 July 2008

Big oil returns to Iraq

OVER FIVE years since the US invasion of Iraq four of the world's biggest oil companies have signed agreements for repair and technical support in major oilfields in Iraq.

Chris Newby

Contrary to the myth peddled by George Bush, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown et al, this recent announcement confirms what the Socialist Party has consistently argued. Namely, that one of the major reasons for the US-led war and occupation of Iraq has been for the major oil companies to get their hands on Iraq's nationalised oil wealth.

Even Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the US Federal Reserve, said last year: "Everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil."

The four companies - BP, Shell, Exxon Mobil and Total - will make 250 million each from this agreement, small money for these oil giants. But they all have their eyes on the bigger prize of the potential ownership and control of Iraq's vast oil and gas wealth.

These agreements put them in prime position to achieve that, putting them first in the queue in the race to gain control of this oil wealth. Iraq's oil reserves, estimated at 115 billion barrels, are second only to Saudi Arabia in the Middle East and the gas reserves are estimated at 112 trillion cubic feet. These companies are no doubt licking their lips at the thought of the vast profits they could make from all of this.

These four companies were all previously co-owners of the Iraq Petroleum company (once the Turkish petroleum company) formed in 1912 by oil companies eager to grab the profits from the natural resources in parts of the Ottoman Empire. In 1931 an agreement was signed with Iraq giving the company complete control over the oil fields in Mosul.

However, in 1972 Saddam Hussein nationalised the oil industry and no doubt ever since, these companies have been looking for any opportunity to get their greedy hands back on this vast source of wealth.

The Socialist Party consistently argues for genuine democratic public ownership and control of Iraq's natural resources, to be used for the benefit of all Iraqis.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 2 July 2008:

Hands off our NHS!

Feature: 60 years of the NHS


Socialist Party campaigns

Local government strike action: Workers say: 'enough is enough!'

Fight Labour's welfare privatisation

91% of pay deals are below inflation

Workers united against pay freeze


Socialist Party news and analysis

Education - class segregation grows

Boris Johnson reveals his real policies

Royals down to their last crown?

Union support for demo to stop BNP 'festival'


National Shop Stewards Network

National Shop Stewards Network: Rebuilding trade union strength


Campaign for a New Workers Party

Campaign for a New Workers' Party


Obituary

Obituary: Terry Fields


Socialist Party LGBT

LGBT London Pride: No to homophobia


International socialist news and analysis

Mugabe clique tightens its grip on Zimbabwe

Big oil returns to Iraq

Poland: Thousands join 'hands off the Labour Code' demo


Socialist Party workplace news

PCS shows action gets results

Visteon workers win 5%

For a fighting, democratic Usdaw

Tube cleaners in pay strike

Victory for Belfast Airport shop stewards

East London street cleaners fight privatised employer


 

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Related links:

Iraq:

triangleIraq - a brutal legacy of imperialist intervention

triangleSuleimani's assassination - Middle East thrown into turmoil

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triangleAssange arrest: US and allied governments seeking revenge for exposing dirty wars

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triangleDrone attacks on Saudi Arabia: Tensions ratcheted up

triangleOil firms spend $1bn fighting climate laws: 'Green New Deal' needs socialist policies

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