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Trump’s ‘Take the Oil’ Madness

  • The world order based on the principle that seizing territory by force of arms is inadmissible would collapse.
  • None of our Western allies would support taking the oil.
  • If the Republican candidate followed through on his frequent calls to take Iraq’s oil, we’d be looking at hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops back in the Middle East.
  • Iran fought an eight-year war to prevent Saddam Hussein from taking its oil.
  • Republican Party presidential nominee Donald Trump has said repeatedly the United States should take Iraq’s oil as the spoils of war.

If the Republican candidate followed through on his frequent calls to take Iraq’s oil, we’d be looking at hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops back in the Middle East.

@LOLGOP: Trump was so opposed to the Iraq War that the second day in office he casually suggested he may reinvade Iraq.

But Trump never says what “taking the oil” of Iraq really means: an endless occupation army in the Persian Gulf surrounded by enemies, without allies, and isolated hopelessly from the Islamic world. It would have to be an open-ended occupation, which would polarize America more than ever. It would reinvigorate the global jihad, and it would disgrace our fundamental values as a nation.

Iraq’s oil is distributed across the country with deposits in the north and south, but the largest quantity is in the south in and around Basra province. Since Trump says he opposed the Iraq war he would not want to take all of Iraq. So the less costly approach would be to seize Basra and the oil infrastructure around it. Last week he said he would “leave a certain group behind” to hold the oil wealth for America. That group would have to be the United States military.

Basra sits immediately next to Iran, which controls the eastern side of the Shatt al Arab waterway, which is Iraq’s only outlet to the sea. Tehran would certainly back the Shia resistance in Basra, as it did when the British occupied the province after the 2003 invasion. For the British army it was a painful, expensive, and thankless mission.

Iran might be careful to avoid provoking all-out war with Trump by a too-overt backing of the resistance, but it would be well positioned to cause constant frictions and difficulties for the occupation forces and for oil extraction. Iran’s own oil is next door in its Khuzistan province. Iran fought an eight-year war to prevent Saddam Hussein from taking its oil. It would certainly revisit its decision to put off getting the bomb.

All the oil-exporting countries of the region would oppose the takeover since they’d obviously be thinking they might be next. They could embargo oil exports to create a global oil crisis, but that would hurt Europe, China and India more than America. They would complain to the United Nations but the veto would make that a useless gesture.

They could support resistance to the American occupation. Trump could then just take more oil. Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province and Qatar would be obvious targets. A large takeover like this would give Washington control of the global energy system. It would also mean more territory and people under an occupation force numbering into the many hundreds of thousands of American men and women.

This is not the first time the idea of taking the Arabs’ oil has surfaced in the U.S. In 1973-1974, after Saudi Arabia’s King Faisal imposed an oil embargo on America for supporting Israel in the 1973 war, the idea of seizing the kingdom’s oil fields was openly discussed in the nation’s foreign policy think tanks. If President Richard Nixon had ordered a takeover, Faisal undoubtedly would have called for a jihad to defend Islam’s birthplace. His brother King Salman would do the same today.

Trump’s ‘Take the Oil’ Madness