U.S. President Donald Trump raised the possibility of raiding Iraq’s oil reserves as payment for the lives and treasure lost during the U.S. occupation of the country, Axios reported Sunday, citing unnamed sources.
Trump asked Iraq’s former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in March 2017 about what is being done with respect to the country’s oil fields. He also noted that the U.S. had spent more than 10 years in the Iraq with little to show for its effort other than lost lives and trillions of dollars wasted.
“It was a very run-of-the-mill, low-key, meeting in general,” one source who was supposedly in the room during the conversation told reporters. “And then right at the end, Trump says something to the effect of, he gets a little smirk on his face and he says, ‘So what are we going to do about the oil?'”
Al-Abadi was apparently prepared for the question, according to the source.
The former Iraqi prime minister “said something like, ‘Well, you know Mr. President, we work very closely with a lot of American companies and American energy companies have interests in our country,'” the source said. “He was smirking. And the president just kind of tapped his hand on the table as if to say ‘I had to ask.'”
Trump floated the idea of taking Iraq’s oil during the 2016 presidential campaign.
“And, I said, keep the oil,” Trump said during a Republican presidential debate in 2015. “And we should have kept the oil, believe me. We should have kept the oil.” He has never elaborated on the legality of taking a defeated country’s natural resources, which would violate the Geneva Convention.
Axios’ report comes as Trump continues pressuring Middle Eastern countries with rich oil reserves to ramp up oil production. The Department of Justice (DOJ) is reviewing legislation that would authorize the U.S. attorney general to sue the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries for artificially raising oil and gas prices. (RELATED: Skyrocketing Oil Production In Texas Causing Headaches For OPEC)
A strong U.S. oil and gas industry has also taken advantage of OPEC’s recent cutbacks by filling the gap in the international market left by OPEC’s lower production.
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