OIL: Iraq's Stormy Petrol

In biblical times when the country was called Mesopotamia, the name became almost a synonym for a rich and fertile land, blessed by nature. Now the place is called Iraq. It is an oven-hot, barren landscape with a population of 9,750,000 and only one significant natural resource: oil. But today's energy-hungry technology has made Iraq's expansive oilfields the focus for half the world's attention.

Two weeks ago, in response to that attention, Iraq's zealously left-wing government nationalized some of the Western-owned oilfields. In the capital city of Baghdad, crowds cheered the militancy...

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