BP and Shell’s “strategic interest” in Iraq invasion exposed

On 6th February 2003, Tony Blair said:

“Let me just deal with the oil thing because… the oil conspiracy theory is honestly one of the most absurd when you analyse it. The fact is that, if the oil that Iraq has were our concern, I mean we could probably cut a deal with Saddam tomorrow in relation to the oil. It’s not the oil that is the issue, it is the weapons…”

However, given the complete absence of WMDs, the true purpose of the Iraq invasion has never been officially explained. But now, with over 1,000 documents obtained under Freedom of Information by Greg Muttitt, a part of the truth has at last been exposed.

We now know, for instance, that at least five meetings were held between civil servants, ministers and BP and Shell in late 2002, and an article in today’s Independent also reveals that:

Five months before the March 2003 invasion, Baroness Symons, then the Trade Minister, told BP that the Government believed British energy firms should be given a share of Iraq’s enormous oil and gas reserves as a reward for Tony Blair’s military commitment to US plans for regime change.

The papers show that Lady Symons agreed to lobby the Bush administration on BP’s behalf because the oil giant feared it was being “locked out” of deals that Washington was quietly striking with US, French and Russian governments and their energy firms.

Minutes of a meeting with BP, Shell and BG (formerly British Gas) on 31 October 2002 read: “Baroness Symons agreed that it would be difficult to justify British companies losing out in Iraq in that way if the UK had itself been a conspicuous supporter of the US government throughout the crisis.”

Greg Muttitt, the author of “Fuel on the Fire”, which is due to be published next week, said:

“Before the war, the Government went to great lengths to insist it had no interest in Iraq’s oil. These documents provide the evidence that give the lie to those claims.

“We see that oil was in fact one of the Government’s most important strategic considerations, and it secretly colluded with oil companies to give them access to that huge prize.”

Click here to read the full article “Secret memos expose link between oil firms and invasion of Iraq” by Paul Bignell, published in The Independent on Tuesday 19th April.

Click here to read reviews of “Fuel on the Fire: Oil and Politics in Occupied Iraq” by Greg Muttitt

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