Iraq: November 15, 2000

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Iraq continues to take advantage of high oil prices by threatening to stop shipping its oil. This is done in various forms, the latest one being a demand that the oil companies handling Iraqi oil shipments pay a 50 percent surcharge to an account not controlled by the UN. The oil companies can't do this, as they would be prosecuted by their own governments for violating UN sanctions. If Iraq stops shipping oil, it would have at least a temporary effect on oil prices (they would go up.) Given Iraq's past performance, they would play with oil prices for political purposes even without UN sanctions. 

 

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