While writing my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” I had many “meaningful discussions” with my editor Ed Plaisance (we are much too good friends to argue) because I insisted that politics in The Arabian/Persian Gulf – and the Mid-East generally – is all about Oil.
I insisted that the tag-line for the book reads:
“It’s all about oil. If there was no oil the only expatriates in The Gulf would be a few archaelogists and biblical scholars . . . OIL is the new Great Game, a game made serious by millions of petrodollars – and blood.”
Given the complexity of the politics, tribal loyalties and religious biogotry of that region I must confess even I began to think that my analysis was simplistic. But I have been saved by reading that Bradley Manning (he of the massive Wikileaks fiasco) came to exactly the same conclusion. He says that mid-East politics is all about oil – and he was better placed and has a lot more information than me.
It is a fact that when American troops arrived in Baghdad to depose Saddam they imediately, as a priority, threw a tight cordon around the Ministry of Petroleum while leaving the Ministry of Antiquities and their museums and priceless artifacts from the dawn of our civilization completely unprotected. The antiquities were of course heavily looted.
Whatever happened to those out-of-date 2D seismic tapes from the MinPet that loosely defined Iraq’s proven and potential oil reserves?
It is now known that Iraq has enormous potential reserves – maybe rivaling Saudi Arabia – if they can overcome the tribal and religious divides. Unfortunately for the central government most of the oil potential lies in the Shia South and the Kurdish North.
And ironically, for all the trillions of dollars and young soldiers’ lives that America threw into replacing Saddam with a neo-democratic government they have little involvment in the development of the Iraq oil industry. Contracts have been awarded to a wide ranging number of oil companies from Russia, China, Korea, Malaysia etc.
International Oil is the new Great Game. A game made serious by trillions of petrodollars = and the unending flow of blood. Think ISIS.
If you want insights into The West’s relationship with the Middle East and its complexity from the weird and wonderfull perspective of the expatriates who wash up there, preview my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” at:
and download it if you have a Kindle.
Or if you prefer a real book you can order the paperback edition from:
The ISBN number is 978-1908147097
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