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[casi] War on Iraq Because of Oil, Blair Adviser Says

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A bit late, and obvious - but worth noting:[1]

U.S., U.K. Waged War on Iraq Because of Oil, Blair Adviser Says

London, May 1 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. and U.K. went to war against Iraq
because of the Middle East country's oil reserves, an adviser to British Prime
Minister Tony Blair said.

Sir Jonathan Porritt, head of the Sustainable Development Commission, which
advises Blair's government on ecological issues, said the prospect of winning
access to Iraqi oil was ``a very large factor'' in the allies' decision to
attack Iraq in March.

``I don't think the war would have happened if Iraq didn't have the
second-largest oil reserves in the world,'' Porritt said in a Sky News
television interview.

Opponents of the war, including some members of Blair's Labour Party, have
said that the conflict was aimed at securing Iraqi reserves to benefit Western
economies and oil companies. U.S. and U.K. leaders have repeatedly rejected
that, saying the war began because Iraq held illegal weapons and threatened
other countries.

Blair has said he wants Iraqi oil revenues to be held in a United Nations-run
trust fund and spent on rebuilding Iraq. Secretary of State Colin Powell said
yesterday the U.S. may encourage Iraq to set up an oil revenue-sharing system
that would distribute some proceeds from what he called the ``marvelous
treasure'' to Iraqi citizens.

Oil production in Iraq was halted before the U.S.-led attack that toppled
President Saddam Hussein. According to UN data, the nation is losing about $55
million a day in oil revenue as the U.S., the European Union and the Iraqi
people debate postwar reconstruction plans.

Porritt's commission was set up in 2000 to advise the U.K. government on
making economic and business activity compatible with environmental-protection
policies. The body reports directly to Blair.

This isn't the first time Porritt has criticized the U.K. government. In
October 2000, he said Blair and his ministers had failed to fulfill election
promises on ecological issues.

Last Updated: May 1, 2003 06:39 EDT

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