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Invading countries to seize their natural resources is illegal under the Geneva conventions. That means the huge task of rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure - including its oil infrastructure - is the financial responsibility of Iraq's invaders. They should be forced to pay reparations, just as Saddam Hussein's regime paid $9bn to Kuwait in reparations for its 1990 invasion. Instead, Iraq is being forced to sell 75% of its national patrimony to pay the bills for its own illegal invasion and occupation.
It started with no-bid service contracts announced for Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Shell, BP and Total (they have yet to be signed but are still on course). Paying multinationals for their technical expertise is not unusual in itself. What is odd is that such contracts almost invariably go to oil service companies - not to the oil majors, whose work is exploring, producing and owning carbon wealth. The contracts only make sense in the context of reports that the oil majors have insisted on the right of first refusal on subsequent contracts handed out to manage and produce Iraq's oilfields. In other words, other companies will be free to bid on those future contracts, but these companies will win.