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Fuel on the Fire: Oil and Politics in Occupied Iraq [Paperback]

Greg Muttitt
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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Fuel on the Fire: Oil and Politics in Occupied Iraq Fuel on the Fire: Oil and Politics in Occupied Iraq 4.6 out of 5 stars (11)
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Book Description

21 April 2011

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.

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Fuel on the Fire: Oil and Politics in Occupied Iraq + The Oil Road: Journeys from the Caspian Sea to the City of London
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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Bodley Head (21 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847921116
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847921116
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 568,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Since the invasion of Iraq Greg Muttitt has kept his eye firmly fixed on the prize: Iraq's vast oil wealth. His tireless investigations have produced nothing short of a secret history of the war. As the demand for freedom sweeps the Middle East, it is also an important reminder that democracy without economic sovereignty is a hollow victory." (Naomi Klein, author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine)

"A cracking read. This book lifts the lid on what many suspected - the West's need to grab Iraq's gigantic oil reserves was the main driver of the Bush-Blair war agenda. A compelling read, brilliantly researched, revealing how the oilmen colluded with politicians trying to outwit a determined Iraqi people traumatised in the aftermath of the invasion." (David Hencke, former Westminster correspondent, the Guardian)

"Greg Muttitt has done a great service with this painstakingly researched, timely book. Armed with a great depth of knowledge of oil, modern Iraq, and international politics, he reveals an untold and largely unknown facet of the occupation of Iraq, giving us a picture that is that is illuminating, informative and objective. On a subject where truth was the first casualty, this book is the closest to that truth." (Tareq Y. Ismael, Professor of Political Science, University of Calgary)

"Iraqi civil society voices ...resound with dignity in this brilliant, comprehensive account" (New Internationalist)

Book Description

A revelatory account of how oil has shaped politics and worsened violence in occupied Iraq.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authoritative, balanced and accessible 23 July 2011
This is an authoritative, readable account of the war in Iraq, focusing on the all-important oil industry.

The analysis is backed up with impressive original research and first-hand accounts of the author's time in Iraq spent with a colourful cast including oil executives, Iraqi oil workers and ministers.

Muttit resists the temptation to portray any of the actors as entirely good or bad, choosing instead to dig deeper into their motivations and incentives. He does this with a rare mixture of hard-headed logic and humility.

This is the best account I've read of the war and the Iraqi people's struggle to rebuild their nation. I'd recommend it to anyone interested in this fascinating subject.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real fuel for the fire 25 May 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A brilliantly written and thoroughly researched booked exposing the true objectives of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. We all knew it was about oil all along so there are no great revelations in that respect. What we haven't seen (until now) is evidence of what Blair described as an "absurd conspiracy theory". This book delves into the history of Iraq's oil and the West's determination to control it. This is an important book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insights and all-round Myth-dispeller! 23 May 2011
Fuel on the Fire is a great all rounder, not only does it get its hands dirty in respect to the political (international and natoinal) grand scheme of things, but it dispels a lot of the myths about Iraqis themselves. Sectarians? How, when every other Iraqi has some grandmother or even spouse from another sect! Lack of technical expertise? The Iraqi oil techs weren't engineers, they were craftsmen. They cobbled together a relatively decent oil sector when they had little investment and sanctions placed across the industry.

Altogether this is a marvellous book, giving not just an account of the tyranny associated with the war in Iraq, but also the hope springing out from a home grown civil movement.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By rose
The book is incredibly accessable which is one of its many star points.
First: The prose is easy and set out in a way that engages the reader detailing key events and people whilst always seeking to put across the perspectives of those most affected by the Western Occupation - ie. the Iraqis themselves.

Secondly, it sets out the prelude to the conflict, the historical backdrop of UK and US oil interests going beyond recent history and details the politics surrounding oil for both the West and for Iraq. This in itself is something much of the media and reporting fails to go into.

Thirdly, it gives an account of the political manoevering of governments, oil executives and the thought processes behind this. As well as demonstrating the manipulation that entailed the Iraq government's capitualtion to Western interests.

Finally, it enables the reader to learn more about the Iraqi population in terms of their resistance, both civil and military which sits throughout recent and past history. No longer is the Iraqi population spoken off as numbers, statistics, impersonal entities, victims and terrorist cells such as is often done in the Western media. They are portrayed as neither victims nor aggressors, but as the intelligent, resilient and capable people that they are whilst also understanding the logic behind the broader actions of various political and social groupings in the country.

This was a fantastic read. For anyone who would like to learn about the conflict but wasn't sure where to start amidst the thousands of reports and articles that have been produced, or for those who want to read about the power plays behind the conflict this is definitely a book worth reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "war for oil" explained 2 Aug 2012
Fuel On The Fire lays bare how the Iraq war was indeed a war for oil, and what that means exactly.

It's a deeply moving read though, and it's more about people really than grande strategy and geopolitics. We journey with Iraqi engineers, trade unionists and politicians through the war and occupation, the drawing up of new laws, and the sectarian violence. As an earlier commenter wrote, the author doesn't rush to judgement or paint anyone as all good or bad.

Highly recommended reading!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
On the back there’s a quote from The Independent, “Set to turn our understanding of the war on its head”. That would only be true if you were gullible enough to believe the lies that the mainstream media, including The Independent, have been telling us. It has confirmed my understanding of the war and what it was about.
What continues to surprise and disturb me is the greed, the malice, the arrogance and the total lack of human decency of our political and corporate leaders. They don’t care how many people are killed, tortured, maimed, or blown to bits, or how many starve, or see their children starve, provided they get to increase their already bloated bank accounts.
These men, and they are mostly men, look civilised, they dress well, they speak well, they walk the corridors of power, they inhabit luxury hotels, but they are heartless psychopathic killers, and they are our real enemies.
The quote from The Independent also reminds me of the complicity of the mainstream media in the murder, torture, etc. If the press did its job, our governments and the corporations would not be able to get away with their crimes against humanity.
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