Because of oil...
Otherwise they're just another bunch of repressive fundie religious nutcases. The war was supposed to restore American access to the oil.
A friend works for GE Power Gen, and had to go over there to diagnose a steam turbine that fragged itself. They fought having a woman look at their equipment (fnarr!) tooth and nail, but since she's the expert, there wasn't much choice. They still gave her crap, but since she was fixing their turbine that was having a several-million-dollar-a-day downtime, she was able to shove it back in their faces.
Muslims, Christians, I hate the lot of 'em. We need a sniper rifle icon, but the grenade will do.