Pipe Dreams: The Plundering of Iraq's Oil Wealth

Pipe Dreams: The Plundering of Iraq's Oil Wealth

by Erin Banco
Pipe Dreams: The Plundering of Iraq's Oil Wealth

Pipe Dreams: The Plundering of Iraq's Oil Wealth

by Erin Banco


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What happened to Iraq’s oil wealth?

Iraq sits on top of more than 140 billion barrels of oil, making it the owner of the world’s fifth largest reserves. When the United States invaded in 2003, the Bush Administration promised that oil revenue—according to one report, totaling some $700 billion since the invasion, accounting for at least 80 percent of the Iraqi government budget—would be used to win the war and to rebuild and democratize the country. But fifteen years later, those dreams have been shattered. The economy has flat-lined, millions of people are internally displaced, and institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have had to provide billions of dollars to the country every year. Where did all the oil revenue go?

Based on court documents and on exclusive interviews with sources who have investigated energy companies, American, British and Iraqi government officials, and the middlemen between them, reporter Erin Banco traveled to oil-rich Iraqi Kurdistan—an autonomous region that holds, according to the regional government, some 45 billion barrels of crude—to uncover how widespread corruption, tribal cronyism, kickbacks to political parties, and the war with ISIS have contributed to the plundering of Iraq’s oil wealth. The region’s economy and political stability have been on the brink of collapse, and local people are suffering. Pipe Dreams is a cautionary tale that reveals how the dream of an oil-financed, American-style democracy in Iraqi Kurdistan now looks like a completely unrealistic fantasy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780997722949
Publisher: Columbia Global Reports
Publication date: 01/30/2018
Pages: 140
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.30(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Erin Banco is a Middle East reporter, and has been covering armed conflict and human rights violations in the Middle East for six years. She began her career as a freelance reporter in Cairo during the Arab spring. She covered the revolts in the region and the war in Syria. After graduating from Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs, she worked as the Middle East correspondent for International Business Times, breaking stories on the rise of the Islamic State group and on the Free Syrian Army arms program. Banco also traveled to Gaza to cover the war with Israel in the summer of 2014. More recently, Banco began covering the Islamic State group's economy by tracking illicit oil sales in Turkey and Iraq. She is a graduate of the Universityof Wisconsin and lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Introduction Return of the Resource Curse 12

Chapter 1 Capital of the Oil Mirage 22

Chapter 2 The Wizard of Oil 41

Chapter 3 All in the Family 52

Chapter 4 Here Comes the West 59

Chapter 5 Game Changer 74

Chapter 6 Revolving Door 82

Chapter 7 Strange Cargo 89

Chapter 8 The Sufferings of Corruption 97

Chapter 9 The ISIS Oil Grab 103

Chapter 10 The Guardians of the Treasure 111

Conclusion No Place Like Home 116

Acknowledgments 125

Further Reading 127

Notes 131

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