last night that any attack on Iraq is geared to oil.
A senior US defence
official admitted the US had secret plans to protect the
country's oilfields from Saddam Hussein's revenge.
He added that
military planners had "crafted strategies that will
allow us to secure and protect those fields as rapidly
reports show Saddam is plotting to damage or destroy
oilfields if his country is attacked.
Iraqi forces set
fire to Kuwaiti oilfields while retreating during the
1991 Gulf War, causing an economic and environmental
The Mirror revealed
this week that the task of seizing the fields will go to
British troops to squash suggestions of a US "oil
But, it emerged
yesterday, US energy giant ExxonMobil is already in
"pole position" in the race for Iraq's liquid gold.
analysts at Deutsche Bank recommend buying ExxonMobil
shares despite worldwide uncertainty on the stock
Their advice is
contained in a 35-page internal document leaked to the
Last night, Friends
of the Earth said: "Oil, oil, oil...that's what this is
all about. America wants to get its hands on as much of
the stuff as possible - and Iraq has the second biggest
reserves in the world."
experts in London, Edinburgh and New York believe
ExxonMobil is ideally positioned to get new reserves
after Saddam is toppled.
Their report notes:
"Exxon Mobil's status as the largest US oil company
gives it major weight with the US government. The
company may find itself in pole position in
Yesterday the bank
admitted their report was "very sensitive", saying:
"This was for our clients and not for the media."
Texas-based ExxonMobil and other American oil companies
are already reported to have had talks with the US
administration about how to rebuild the Iraqi oil
industry. Oil chiefs say there is a desperate need to
find another 80million barrels a day to meet demand.
Iraqi's assets have
been estimated at 112billion barrels, about a tenth of
known reserves and second only to Saudi Arabia.
UN experts are
preparing to report to the Security Council in New York
on Monday on their search for weapons of mass
destruction in Iraq.
Atomic Energy Agency will give a "quite satisfactory"
B-grade for co-operation, despite the need for
improvement. Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei will tell
the Council that Saddam's government has provided good
access to inspectors.
But he will also
say the Iraqis "need to help themselves by coming
forward with evidence rather than waiting for the
inspectors to sniff it out" and ask for more time.
official said the US was now considering extending
inspections in an effort to ward off criticism it is
rushing into war.
President Bush will
use his State of the Union speech on Tuesday to prepare
Americans for conflict, the White House said.
But he is not
expected to declare war or issue an ultimatum. A
spokesman said: "He will talk about the direct threat
Iraq poses due to WMD. It's a speech to continue to
educate the public."
As tension mounted
around the world, 122 Democrats in the House of
Representatives signed a letter urging Bush to give UN
weapons inspectors a chance to complete their work
before any strike.
In New York, 100
law professors warned Bush he could be prosecuted for
war crimes if military tactics violated international
worldwide were told to be ready to quit their countries
at short notice yesterday.
Department did not confirm the move was linked to war
with Iraq. A spokesman said: "We're reminding people to
take appropriate precautions.'
It was also
revealed every police officer in Britain will be issued
with guidance on dealing with suicide bombers.