In a speech this weekend, President Donald Trump brought back his campaign talking point of taking Iraq’s oil as a matter of foreign policy, comments which fueled considerable confusion among Iraqi officials, and more than a little annoyance.
Iraqi Prime Minister Hayder Abadi insisted that he “wasn’t clear” what Trump meant, noting that “Iraq’s oil is constitutionally the property of the Iraqis.” Oil is, of course, a massive portion of Iraq’s annual revenue, as its main export, and one of its few meaningful exports.
Trump insisted during the campaign that the US should’ve taken Iraq’s oil as “spoils of war” after the 2003 invasion and occupation, and over the weekend during speech at the CIA, suggested that “maybe you’ll have another chance.”
Asked about Trump’s comments, the White house reiterated the spoils of war idea, insisting that if the US is going into a country they need to “get something out of it for the commitment and sacrifice.” Which is to say, all the oil.
When suggested during the election campaign, it was quickly dismissed as bluster, with many analysts pointing out that there was no real way to take that much oil. That Trump brought it up again after the inauguration, however, suggests he still has something in mind with respect to such a policy.