Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:53AM
US Vice President Mike Pence (R) shakes hands with Rex Tillerson (L) as President Donald Trump (2R) kisses Tillerson
US Vice President Mike Pence (R) shakes hands with Rex Tillerson (L) as President Donald Trump (2R) kisses Tillerson

Despite remarks by Defense Secretary James Mattis, US presence in Iraq is aimed at “stealing oil,” an analyst says.

Gordon Duff, senior editor at Veterans Today, made the statement while commenting on Monday remarks by Mattis ahead of an unannounced visit to the war-ravaged country.

In an apparent attempt to distance himself from recent remarks by President Donald Trump regarding Iraq and its oil, the Pentagon chief, who was en route to Iraq, asserted that Americans are “not in Iraq to seize” oil.

In the course of one year after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the US “stole 40 percent of Iraq’s oil that was sent out thought the Kirkuk pipeline to the Mediterranean port, south of Seyhan, Turkey,” Duff told Press TV.

“And it was loaded on the tankers owned by, well oddly enough, mostly Exxon corporation.”

The former ExxonMobil CEO, Rex Tillerson, currently serves as Trump’s state department secretary.

“Those tankers would be loaded, supertankers one after another, with Iraqi oil that was never paid for and then again we have the issue of ISIS (Daesh) and their 12,000 trucks that the US never saw.”

This AFP file photo taken on October 19, 2016 shows a man taking a selfie in front of a fire from oil that has been set ablaze south of Mosul.

“The oil trade is still going on,” asserted the Ohio-based commentator. “That oil [is] being shipped into Turkey, where it’s processed for the Turkey market or it’s put in the same Seyhan pipeline.”

The stolen oil is also being sold at a “highly discounted price” to ExxonMobil, “and that would be Rex Tillerson.”

Duff noted that Mattis himself “knows all about this.”

There remains the question, he asked, “why does he [Mattis] say this?”

“We are not there in Iraq to steal oil? Or we’re not there to steal oil anymore? Or perhaps we are there to stop stealing oil because the US is still stealing oil from Iraq?”

In March 2003, the US and Britain invaded Iraq in blatant violation of international law, over Iraq's “weapons of mass destruction,” but no such weapons were ever discovered in the country.

Commenting on Iraq in a speech to CIA staff on January 21, Trump said, "We should have kept the oil. But okay. Maybe you'll have another chance."

Later he clarified his saying, by stating that the US “should have taken the oil. You wouldn't have ISIS (Daesh) if we took the oil."