Daily Revolt

October 18, 2007

Putin: U.S. Wants Iraq's Oil

The world is on to you, Mr.Bush:
President Vladimir Putin, in his latest jab at Washington, suggested Thursday that the U.S. military campaign in Iraq was a "pointless" battle against the Iraqi people, aimed in part at seizing the country's oil reserves.

The Russian leader was responding to one of dozens of questions from the public in an annual televised Q&A session, his sixth since taking office in 2000. The event broadcast live on state-controlled TV channels and radio stations consisted largely of people from around the country quizzing Mr. Putin mainly on such bread-and-butter issues as pensions, public workers' salaries and school funding.

[...]"I know that some politicians play with such ideas in their heads. This, in my view, is the sort of political erotica that might satisfy a person but hardly leads to a positive result," Mr. Putin responded. "The best example of that are the events in Iraq -- a small country that can hardly defend itself and which possesses huge oil reserves. And we see what's going on there. They've learned to shoot there, but they are not managing to bring order."

"One can wipe off a political map some tyrannical regime … but it's absolutely pointless to fight with a people," he said. "Russia, thank God, isn't Iraq. It has enough strength and power to defend itself and its interests, both on its territory and in other parts of the world."

Mr. Putin went on to say he believes one of the U.S. "goals is to establish control of the country's oil reserves," and that a concrete date must be set for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Unless such a date is set, he added in an echo of some U.S. war critics, "the Iraqi leadership, feeling [safe] under the reliable American umbrella, will not hurry to develop its own armed and law enforcement forces."

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