Iraq and the International Oil System: Why America Went to War in the Gulf

Iraq and the International Oil System: Why America Went to War in the Gulf

Iraq and the International Oil System: Why America Went to War in the Gulf

Iraq and the International Oil System: Why America Went to War in the Gulf

Synopsis

Ten years after the end of the Gulf War, the conflict continues with unresolved questions about economic sanctions and Iraq's participation in the oil export system. A specialist in Middle Eastern politics and an intelligence officer, Pelletiere covered the Iran-Iraq War as well as the subsequent Gulf conflict. He argues that Iraq's victory over Iran in 1988 gave the nation the capability of becoming a regional superpower with a strong say in how the Gulf's oil reserves were managed. Because the United States could not tolerate an ultranationalist state with the potential to destabilize the world's economy, war then became inevitable.

Excerpt

The period we have just looked at marks the zenith of cartel power. When this crisis was playing out, forces were already stirring that would bring the great cartel down or at least so immobilize it that, for a time, its fate would be undecided. the forces predominantly developed in Iraq, for, as determined as the Iranian assault on the cartel may have appeared, it was nothing compared to what took place in Iraq. We look first at the 1958 revolution in Iraq. This is the key to understanding Iraqi society, the Ba’th Party and Saddam Hussein. Saddam and the Ba’th are products of that great upheaval.

We also spend a considerable portion of this chapter looking at Abdul Qarim Qasim, who made the revolution and who was, after Mosadeq, the next popular leader to confront the cartel. Finally, we introduce the topic of the 1973 opec revolution, which we further treat in Chapter 5.

1958

The first thing to understand about Iraq’s 1958 revolution is that it was complete; that is, everything that is supposed to go on in a revolution took place in this one. the ancien régime was swept away. Indeed, the royal family was gunned down in the palace yard, and the prime minister, Nuri, literally was torn to bits by the mob.

In place of the monarchy there emerged an entirely new system of rule—the first Iraqi republic. Finally, throughout the early days of the revolution and for a number of years thereafter, popular demonstrations kept up. the popular aspect of the revolt, the hallmark of any true revolution, was marked.

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