Analysis: Exxon enters the political fray

With a landmark visit to Baghdad, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson has likely inaugurated a new era of engagement in the turbulent politics of Iraq.
ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson (third from left) meets with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (third from right) and other senior Iraqi officials in Baghdad on Jan. 21, 2013. (Photo credit: prime minister's office)

For more than a year ExxonMobil has been at the nexus of Iraq's major oil policy disputes, but the super-major has kept its distance from the political fights that have swirled around its deal-making – until now.

CEO Rex Tillerson, the powerful leader of the world's most profitable oil company, has begun a new level of direct engagement with Iraq, signaling that Exxon may be adopting a more proactive approach to navigating political waves that have grown more perilous since the company signed six controversial contracts with the KRG in October 2011.

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