The Middle East: Mousetrapped in Iraq

At a midnight press conference in Baghdad's Defense Ministry, Iraq's "sole leader,'' Major General Abdul Karim Kassem.

last week threw down the boldest chal lenge to Western oilmen since Iran's Mohammed Mossadegh expropriated the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. in 1951. Kassem's move : the establishment of a government-owned company to produce and market Iraqi oil.

Ever since he seized power in 1958. Kassem has been playing a cat-and-mouse game with the Iraq Petroleum Co., the international consortium that since 1942 has held exclusive oil exploration rights for virtually all of Iraq and has...

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