The Middle East possesses almost
two-thirds of the world's known oil reserves. Control over the flow of
oil by U.S. and British companies gave Washington strategic power over
Europe, Japan and the developing world. The U.S. State Department
declared that Middle Eastern oil was ...
"... a stupendous source of strategic power ... one of the greatest
prizes in world history." 
Washington came to think of the oil fields in the Middle East as its own
private reserves. 
What are you up to?
Exploring to see if there are any vital American interests under your
In 1958, U.S. and British oil companies were startled when the King of
Iraq was overthrown. The new leader, a nationalist military officer
named Abdel Karim Qasim, demanded changes in the sweetheart deals the
monarchy had made with the oil companies. He also helped form OPEC, the
cartel of oil producing countries.
CIA: Besides, the guy was consorting with communists!
In 1963, the CIA collaborated with the Baath Party to murder Qasim and
overthrow his government. The Ba'ath Party was also nationalist but at
least it was anti-communist. It systematically kkilled its Leftist
opponents and the CIA was happy to help.
CIA: These Ba'ath guys are efficient. We give them lists of suspected
communists and they get the job done! 
Among the CIA's collaborators ijn the 1963 coup was a young military
officer named Saddam Hussein, who later emerged as the top leader in
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