Will Iran attack Iraq for its oil

Jack Kelly:

It wasn't all about oil. But if it hadn't been for the oil, there probably wouldn't have been a war.

I speak not of the current conflict in Iraq, but of the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, which led to each subsequent conflict, including the big one looming on the horizon.

Most of the oil in both Iraq and Iran comes from either side of the Shatt al Arab, a tidal river formed by the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates, which flows 120 miles southeast into the Persian Gulf, and which forms much of the border between Iraq and Iran.

About two thirds of Iraq's oil comes from the fields north of Basra.

About 90 percent of Iran's oil comes from the province of Khuzestan, on its side of the Shatt al Arab.

The Iran-Iraq war began in September, 1980, when Saddam Hussein tried to seize Khuzestan, where a large majority of the people are ethnically Arab. The war, which lasted until July, 1988, swiftly degenerated into a bloody stalemate in which upwards of a million people (mostly Iranians) were killed or wounded.

More important to Saddam Hussein -- who has a pretty cavalier attitude about other peoples' lives -- the war cost tens of billions of dollars.

It was primarily money that caused Saddam to invade Kuwait in August, 1990. Iraq and Kuwait share the Rumaila oil field, which Saddam wanted all to himself. And if Saddam took over Kuwait, he wouldn't have to repay the $14 billion the Kuwaitis loaned him to help finance his war with Iran.


So why the history lesson? On Christmas day, the National Academy of Sciences issued a report which indicates Iranian oil production is about to plunge.


The effect on Iran would be catastrophic. Thanks to mismanagement by the mullahs, and corruption on a scale so vast as to make even an Iraqi blush, Iran's economy is already a basket case. According to the CIA World Factbook, more than 40 percent of Iran's people live in poverty; the unemployment rate is 11 percent (more than double that for people under 30), and the rate of inflation tops 13 percent. Oil exports are just about Iran's only source of foreign exchange.


... it's more likely Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will seek a Saddamite solution. When Saddam Hussein invaded Khuzestan in 1980, he didn't say he was doing it for the oil. He was asserting Iraq's historic territorial claims to the region, and acting to protect the Arabs in the province from Persian oppression. Or so he said.

And if Iran should take aggressive action against its oil rich neighbors, it will, ostensibly, be to protect Shia minorities from oppression by Sunni overlords. Or so Mr. Ahmadinejad will say.

This was suggested by ReliaPundit in a comment on an earlier post about the National Academy of Sciences's report. It is a reasonable hypothesis. The time frame on Iran's nukes would put the bomb in their hands about the same time the oil runs out. There is also no reason to believe the mad mullahs would be content with just the Iraqi oil fields when you consider their long term objectives of ruling the world.


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