President Donald Trump on Saturday flippantly suggested to CIA staff that the US might have another chance to invade Iraq and steal the country’s oil wealth.
In unscripted remarks at the CIA headquarters on Saturday, and while introducing Mike Pompeo, his nominee to head the spy agency, Trump said the Islamic State group would have never existed if the US had seized Iraq’s oilfields.
Trump has repeatedly made the erroneous claim, which is contrary to the opinion of most foreign policy experts, on the campaign trail.
Trump said the US should have kept Iraqi oil [Getty]
“Now I said it for economic reasons, but if you think about it, Mike, if we kept the oil, you probably wouldn’t have ISIS because that’s where they made their money in the first place, so we should have kept the oil. But, OK, maybe we’ll have another chance,” Trump said.
Trump’s visit to the CIA headquarters came as part of efforts to mend his relationship with intelligence agencies, which he likened to Nazis only ten days earlier.
The remarks demonstrate a complete disregard to international laws that prohibit stealing another country’s resources.
They also signify a complete insensitivity to the tragic consequences of the invasion of Iraq that was based on cooked up intelligence by the same agency at which Trump was speaking.
However, the remarks should not come as a surprise given the following exchange the new US president had with CNN in 2015.
If we would have taken the oil, you wouldn’t have IS, because IS formed with the power and wealth of that oil. They have among the largest oil reserves in the world. We go in, we spend $3 trillion, we lose thousands and thousands of lives, and then, we get nothing. It used to be to the victor belong the spoils. I always said: Take the oil.
Q: “You said you want to bomb the oil fields in Iraq to take on IS?”
A: “The only way you’re going to beat them is that. You know why they’re rich? Because they have the oil.”
Q: “But I don’t think the government of Iraq would want us to bomb their oil fields.”
A: “There is no government in Iraq. The so-called government in Iraq went to Iran to meet with Iran. Iran is going to take over Iraq. That’s as simple as that. I don’t care about the government of Iraq. They’re totally corrupt. Who cares?”