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The deal just taking shape between Iraq's Oil Ministry and four Western oil companies raises critical questions about the nature of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq -- questions that should certainly be addressed by presidential candidates and seriously discussed in the United States, and of course in occupied Iraq, where it appears that the population has little if any role in determining the future of its country.
Negotiations are under way for Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP -- the original partners decades ago in the Iraq Petroleum Company, now joined by Chevron and other smaller oil companies -- to renew the oil concession they lost to nationalization during the years when the oil producers took over their own resources. The no-bid contracts, apparently written by the oil corporations with the help of U.S. officials, prevailed over offers from more than 40 other companies, including companies in China, India and Russia.