China’s Iraq imports exceed nearly 1.5 million barrels a day, which is more than half the oil Iraq produces in a day. The American-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003 has led to China’s vastly increased interest in Iraq, which is now one world’s top oil producers.
Denise Natali, a Middle East expert at the National Defense University in Washington, explains how the China / Iraq oil relationship developed:
“The Chinese are the biggest beneficiary of this post-Saddam oil boom in Iraq. They need energy, and they want to get into the market.”
Michael Makovsky, a former Defense Department official, says Chinese state-owned companies poured more than $2 billion a year and hundreds of workers into Iraq, beating out United States companies by underbidding for contracts:
“We lost out. The Chinese had nothing to do with the war, but from an economic standpoint they are benefiting from it, and our Fifth Fleet and air forces are helping to assure their supply.”
“I’m not knocking China; I’m knocking our leadership. We spend $1.5 trillion, we lose thousands of lives, we destroy a country, but China is in there taking out all the oil, and we’re getting nothing. I’ve said it a thousand times . . . we shouldn’t have been there, but if we’re there, take the oil . . . Well guess what? China is taking the oil but they didn’t have to fight. … To me, that’s a scandal that is unbelievable.”
With the China, Iraq oil boom not benefiting the United States, what do you think President Obama should do?