Crude Designs: The Rip-Off of Iraq?s Oil Wealth – UN Security Council – Global Policy Forum: “1. The Ultimate Prize: Anglo-American interests in Gulf oil

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The UK and US have long had their eyes on the massive energy resources of Iraq and the Gulf. In 1918 Sir Maurice Hankey, Britain?s First Secretary of the War Cabinet wrote:

?Oil in the next war will occupy the place of coal in the present war, or at least a parallel place to coal. The only big potential supply that we can get under British control is the Persian [now Iran] and Mesopotamian [now Iraq] supply? Control over these oil supplies becomes a first class British war aim.?(1)

After World War II both the US and UK identified the importance of Middle Eastern oil. British officials believed that the area was ?a vital prize for any power interested in world influence or domination?(2), while their US counterparts saw the oil resources of Saudi Arabia as a ?stupendous source of strategic power and one of the greatest material prizes in world history?(3).


With over 60% of the world?s oil reserves,(4) their interest in the Gulf region is unsurprising. Iraq alone has the third largest oil reserves on the planet ? accounting for 10% of the world total. Iraq is also reckoned to have the world?s largest unexplored potential, primarily in the Western Desert. On top of its 115 billion barrels of proven reserves, Iraq is estimated to have between 100 and 200 billion barrels of further possible (as yet undiscovered) reserves. Furthermore, not only are Iraqi and Gulf reserves huge, they are mostly onshore, in favourable reservoir structures, and extractable at extremely low cost.

Since the nationalisation of the major oil industries of the Middle East in the 1970s, Gulf reserv”


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