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Fuel on the Fire: Oil and Politics in Occupied Iraqby Greg Muttitt
Synopses & Reviews
The departure of the last U.S. troops from Iraq at the end of 2011 left a broken country and a host of unanswered questions. What was the war really about? Why and how did the occupation drag on for nearly nine years, while most Iraqis, Britons, and Americans desperately wanted it to end? And why did the troops have to leave?
Now, in a gripping account of the war that dominated U.S. foreign policy over the last decade, investigative journalist Greg Muttitt takes us behind the scenes to answer some of these questions and reveals the heretofore-untold story of the oil politics that played out through the occupation of Iraq. Drawing upon hundreds of unreleased government documents and extensive interviews with senior American, British, and Iraqi officials, Muttitt exposes the plans and preparations that were in place to shape policies in favor of American and British energy interests. We follow him through a labyrinth of clandestine meetings, reneged promises, and abuses of power; we also see how Iraqis struggled for their own say in their future, in spite of their dysfunctional government and rising levels of violence. Through their stories, we begin to see a very different Iraq from the one our politicians have told us about.
In light of the Arab revolutions, the war in Libya, and renewed threats against Iran, Fuel on the Fire provides a vital guide to the lessons from Iraq and of the global consequences of Americas persistent oil addiction.
"In this provocative study, journalist and activist Muttitt, former co-director of the London advocacy group Platform and policy director for the antipoverty organization War on Want, weaves a narrative of 'how the struggles for control of Iraq's oil shaped events during the occupation.' Drawing on U.S. and U.K. government documents obtained under Freedom of Information statutes and interviews with government officials and 'ordinary Iraqis,' the author claims that U.S. efforts in Iraq were tailored to 'help the oil companies' at the expense of Iraqis. To that end, he charges that U.S. policy sowed the seeds of sectarianism among Iraqis — an 'alien sectarian politics and discourse' that the 'Iraqis quickly rejected.' Muttitt goes to great length to show that U.S. officials tried to shape a new oil law that favored international companies, although most Iraqis wanted to keep control of the country's oil in the public sector. He also insinuates that Centcom Commander Adm. William Fallon resorted to strong-arm tactics to force Iraqi acquiescence. Whatever its merits and intentions, the American effort to secure an oil law failed. After repeated questioning of U.S. motives, Muttitt concludes that political psychology, not conspiracy, explains the U.S. approach: officials genuinely believed that what is good for America is good for Iraq. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
In Fuel on the Fire, investigative journalist Greg Muttitt reveals what the press never told us, delivering the heretofore-untold story of oil politics run rampant in the war ravaged streets of Iraq, and giving us a brilliant, comprehensive account” (New Internationalist).
Drawing upon hundreds of unreleased government documents and extensive interviews with senior American, British, and Iraqi officials, Muttitt exposes the plans and preparations that were in place to shape policies in favor of American and British energy interests. We follow him behind the scenes through a labyrinth of clandestine meetings, reneged promises, and shocking abuses of power as corporations and governments attempt to wrest control of the Iraqi oil industry and return it to multinational companies. Although the Iraqi people have stymied these efforts in a stirring display of democratic action, the machinations to impose a Western oil agenda have already incurred a steep price in the countrys politically dysfunctional government and rising levels of violence.
First published to high acclaim in the UK, the U.S. edition features major new material, including analysis of the Wikileaks cables and a new chapter on Libya and how lessons from Iraq could influence state-building there. Fuel on the Fire is a revelation crucial to our understanding of the war in Iraq, politics in the Middle East, and the nature of the governments we empower.
About the Author
Greg Muttitt is the campaigns and policy director for the anti-poverty organization War on Want. His articles have appeared in publications such as the Guardian, the Financial Times, and the Independent and on the BBC. He lives in Oxfordshire, England.
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