During the 2003 invasion of Iraq the Oil Ministry in Baghdad was the only government building occupied by the U.S. forces. The others were set afire and looted. Many interpreted this to mean that the Americans were only interested in Iraq’s natural resources. In fact, the offices were taken for military not political reasons.
In April 2003 elements of the 1st Marine Division entered the Iraqi capital from the east. One of their missions was to reach the Sports Ministry, which used to be run by Uday Hussein to find incriminating evidence against the regime. When they arrived, the building was on fire, and the heat was so intense they couldn’t enter. That led the Marines to move onto their next objective, which was the Oil Ministry. The ministry had a twelve foot high wall, several guard towers, and the building itself was nine stories high, the tallest structure around. The Baathists had planned to set the building on fire, but the Americans arrived before they could do so. On January 23, the Defense Ministry issued orders for all government buildings in Baghdad to be looted and burned if the city were to fall. The Marines decided to stay at the ministry since it was a virtual fort giving them protection for their forces as well as a view over the surrounding area. They were later relieved by the 3rd Infantry Division. That was the reason why the Oil Ministry was occupied during the invasion and was not pillaged like other government offices in the city. It was not due to an order from Washington, but rather a decision made at the moment by the Marines on the ground.
Vogler Gary, Iraq and the Politics of Oil, An Insider’s Perspective, Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 2017