Iraq has opened bidding for fee-based development contracts for some hydrocarbon (oil and/or natural gas) fields. The fee-based system is designed to assure Iraqis that the oil remains Iraqi oil, and that government doesn't -- either by corrupt design or incompetent mistake -- sign away Iraq's mineral rights to foreign profiteers.
A thoughtful person looking at the fee-based system (the no-bid development contracts offered in earlier deals were also fee-based) might wonder what it is that the foreigners bought with their big investment in blood and treasure, if they aren't simply taking the oil by force. I mean, a major complaint about the foreign invader was supposedly that its purpose was to rape the local resources, right?
Look for regional propagandists to fail to notice that the United States does not claim to own and has not taken a barrel of oil in or out of Iraq.
Since the purpose of American activity hasn't been oil (that was easy enough to buy regardless what tyrant claimed local power), as demonstrated by the absence of any activity to remove oil (other than by private parties doing the bidding of the Iraqi government under a fee-based contract), one wonders: what was the purpose? And that is a question curious enough to merit its own post. Later.