Why We Can't Just "Take the Oil"
It’s gone from barroom chatter to a refrain of the Republican Party presidential candidate Donald Trump — the notion that the U.S. can and should claim Iraq’s oil as our own. Now, in a story run first by The Daily Beast and later picked up by the NY Times, U.S. security and counter-terrorism expert Bruce Riedel has explained exactly why the U.S. should not go down this road and what it would mean if we did.
Riedel paints a dystopian picture of the future: an “open-ended occupation, which would polarize America more than ever” and “reinvigorate the global jihad.” He reasons that to take control of Iraq’s oil, the city of Basra and its surrounding infrastructure would have to be seized, and since the province has millions of Shia Arabs who would most definitely oppose our continued presence, “a permanent American military presence will be necessary.” The Basra resistance would receive additional support from Baghdad and Tehran, and things would only get worse from there.
“America ‘taking the oil’ would destroy immediately the coalition fighting the Islamic State and eviscerate the struggle against al Qaeda as well,” Riedel writes. “Both terrorist groups would argue they had been right all along: America only wanted Islam’s oil. The two rivals might reunite. Recruitment of extremist fighters would skyrocket.”
Riedel closes by saying, “Taking the oil is the most dangerous and irresponsible of all the Republican nominee’s policy proposals.” How do you feel about it? For the full editorial, read “Trump’s ‘Take the Oil’ Madness.” The Daily Beast. Sept. 12, 2016.