Why Putin Has the U.N. over a Barrel

SERGEI GUNEYEV for TIME

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Cynics may believe that George W. Bush's desire for regime change in Iraq is ultimately meant to serve the interests of his petro-cronies. If so, U.S. oil companies will have to get in line: Saddam Hussein has recently cut a slew of generous deals with Asian and European concerns, giving them first crack at Iraq's 112 billion barrels of known oil — worth at least $3 trillion at today's prices — as well as unexplored fields. Non-U.S. firms have over 30 deals with Iraq waiting to take effect when sanctions are lifted; France's TotalFinaElf, Spain's Repsol, and Italy's Eni all have...

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