As the price of oil futures surged yesterday as investors worried about Iraqi oil output after a key pipeline was bombed near Basra, with impeccable timing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez once again took a diplomatic swipe at his old enemy the US.

Chavez argued that the American invasion of Iraq is partly to blame for rising oil prices.

Oil producing countries are not to be held responsible for the surge in oil prices, but the United States is “partially to blame” for it, Chavez told a press conference during a visit to Recife in northeastern Brazil.

Wasn’t the invasion meant to bring down prices?