Friday, April 22, 2011

Secret memos expose link between oil firms and invasion of Iraq

By Paul Bignell, The Independent, April 19, 2011

A British Army soldier investigates a large fire near Basra's Shuiba refinery Reuters A British Army soldier investigates a large fire near Basra’s Shuiba refinery

Plans to exploit Iraq’s oil reserves were discussed by government ministers and the world’s largest oil companies the year before Britain took a leading role in invading Iraq, government documents show.

Graphic: Iraq’s burgeoning oil industry

The papers, revealed here for the first time, raise new questions over Britain’s involvement in the war, which had divided Tony Blair’s cabinet and was voted through only after his claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

The minutes of a series of meetings between ministers and senior oil executives are at odds with the public denials of self-interest from oil companies and Western governments at the time.

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