Oil lies at the heart of Iraqi politics. Yet in the eight years since the bombs began to fall on Baghdad it has been a taboo subject. In Greg Muttitt's gripping and far-reaching investigation we are taken behind the scenes of the occupation to answer one of the war's most pressing questions: what is happening to Iraq's oil?
In public the USA and Britain strenuously deny any self-interest. In private, however, they tell a different story. Drawing on hundreds of unreleased government documents and extensive interviews with senior American, British and Iraqi officials and oilmen, Fuel on the Fire reveals how the occupying powers have sought to return Iraq's oil industry to multinational companies - for the first time since it was nationalised in the early 1970s.
But America and Britain failed to take into account the determination of the Iraqis themselves - of civil society groups as well as senior oil experts - to keep production in the public sector. The attempts to impose a Western oil agenda regardless have dragged the country into ever deeper violence and continue to shape not just Iraq but the future of energy supplies and Anglo-American military strategy.
Fuel on the Fire is vital to our understanding of the war in Iraq and its consequences. It documents the clash between cultures and strategic interests. It reverberates with echoes of our imperial past and of our tragic failure to learn the lessons of history.