Mattis Assures Iraqis: US Not Here to Seize Your Oil

Americans "Have Generally Paid for Our Gas and Oil All Along"

by Jason Ditz, February 20, 2017

Visiting top Iraqi officials today, Defense Secretary James Mattis appeared dismissive of the idea that Iraq’s oil was at risk from the US occupation forces, insisting Americans “have generally paid for our gas and oil all along and I’m sure that we will continue to do so in the future.”

This isn’t some idle concern the Iraqis made up, however. Rather, this concern stems from President Trump’s repeated campaign suggestions to “take all the oil” from Iraq, followed by a comment at CIA headquarters faulting past governments for not stealing Iraq’s oil, and suggesting “maybe you’ll have another chance.”

In not addressing the fact that what he’s saying is in stark contrast with Trump’s stated position, Mattis’ assurances are likely to be taken with a grain of salt by Iraqis, who will continue to have to hope that the logistical impossibility of just “taking” 112 billion barrels of proven reserves out of the ground as a matter of presidential policy.

This is another policy matter on which Mattis is publicly disagreeing with the president, as the two had also disagreed on the torture ban, and Mattis had also downplayed the need for more military forces in the Middle East to “confront Iran.”

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