Here’s another important read (NY Times). Spotlight on Russia…
Controlling Iraq’s Oil: Not So Easy Russia is a case in point, with something to lose — and gain — at every juncture of an American war on Iraq. The immediate effect is likely to be a steep increase in oil prices, benefiting Russia’s oil-driven economy. Beyond that, Russia’s interests get more complicated.
Iraq still owes Russia from $7 billion to $10 billion for arms purchases during the war with Iran, and Russian oil companies, with their history of cooperation with Iraq, are poised to be major players in any revival of the Iraqi oil industry.
Lukoil, Russia’s biggest oil company, signed a 23-year deal with Iraq five years ago to rehabilitate the country’s southern oil fields, a deal potentially worth billions. At the same time, Russia is worried that an eventual increase in Iraqi oil production could drive prices down