A worker checks the valves at Al-Sheiba oil refinery in Basra, Iraq, January 26, 2016. REUTERS/Essam Al-Sudani
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No one knows how seriously to take President Donald Trump's threat to seize Iraq's oil.Trump has said he was opposed to the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein's dictatorship.While Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has accepted U.S. help to retake Daesh-held territory in his country, he has repeatedly asserted Iraqi sovereignty.Taking the oil would require a permanent U.S. occupation, or at least until Iraq's 140 billion barrels of crude run out, and a large presence of American soldiers to guard sometimes isolated oil fields and infrastructure. Such a mission would be highly unpopular with Iraqis, whose hearts and minds the U.S. is still trying to win to defeat groups such as Daesh and Al-Qaeda.However unrealistic Trump's suggestion, intelligence officials believe more has to be done to cut off Daesh oil revenues.The U.S. Treasury Department estimated that Daesh raked in $500 million from oil and gas sales in 2015 .
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