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U.S., U.K. Waged War on Iraq Because of Oil, Blair Adviser
By James Kirkup
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
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
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.