In an effort to win the lifting of U.N. sanctions, the Iraqi government is reportedly offering attractive oil concessions to three permanent members of the Security Council: Russia, France, and China. The three have been offered contracts to rehabilitate and develop Iraqi oil fields, activities that can occur only after sanctions have been lifted. According to one middle-eastern analyst, "All three countries have been very active in Iraq… [and] the [oil] fields are a clear incentive for them to support" Saddam’s efforts to remove the sanctions. Iraq and Russia have already concluded a wide-ranging accord that will allow Russian firms to develop two massive Iraqi oil fields following the lifting of sanctions. Moscow is also being promised contracts to build a natural gas pipeline running between northern and southern Iraq. (12) Iraq’s debt to Russia is currently estimated at $7 billion.
Russian Army to Call Up Reservists.