Mattis in Iraq: Not Here to Seize Anybody’s Oil

James Mattis arrives at Baghdad International Airport, Iraq, on Feb. 20.James Mattis arrives at Baghdad International Airport, Iraq, on Feb. 20.

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis told Iraqis the United States has no plans to take the country’s oil during an unannounced stop in Baghdad on Monday morning, despite President Donald Trump making repeated comments that the country’s oil should have been seized during the US invasion in 2003.

Mattis, the highest ranking member of the Trump administration to visit Iraq since the inauguration, told reporters on Monday that while the mission for the United States in Iraq has not changed—though it might—he felt he could get a better idea of the situation by putting his feet on the ground there, UPI reported.

“We’re going to make certain that we have good shared situational awareness of what we face as we work together, fight alongside each other to destroy IS,” Mattis told reporters before leaving for the trip.

“All of us ... in America have generally paid for our gas and oil all along and I’m sure we will continue to do so in the future. We’re not in Iraq to seize anybody’s oil.”

The US defense secretary also sought to reassure Iraqis and others who work with the US military, such as translators, they will not have a problem traveling to and from the United States, regardless of the status of an executive order on immigration, telling them the issue will be worked out,

Mattis plans to talk to Iraqi officials and American military commanders to get a sense of the situation for US trainers and Special Operations forces on the ground there.

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