Pump It Up: The Development of Iraq's Oil Reserves

Nabil al-Jurani / AP

Walking the line
Iraqi police patrol a vulnerable oil pipeline feeding a southern refinery

In the spring of 2003, more than a million people marched through the streets of cities across Europe and the U.S. to rail against U.S. plans to invade Iraq and oust Saddam Hussein. Amid the chants for peace was an angry accusation: the war was merely a grab by Western companies for Iraq's vast oil reserves.

Nearly seven years on — and after more than 4,600 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed — Iraq's natural resources are only now emerging as spoils of war. As U.S. troops prepare...