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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"A fascinating and revealing dive into the murky world of oil contracts that shape power and politics in Iraq." — Loveday Morris, The Washington Post Jerusalem bureau chief

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 would be used to rebuild and democratize the country. But fifteen years later, those dreams have been shattered. The Iraqi economy has flatlined, millions of people are internally displaced, and international institutions have had to provide billions of dollars in assistance to the country every year. Where did all the oil revenue go?

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. Based on court documents and on exclusive interviews with sources who have investigated energy companies and their dealings with government officials, 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: 139
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.30(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Erin Banco is an investigative reporter at the Star Ledger and NJ.com, where she focuses on the intersection of money and government. A former fellow at The New York Times and the Middle East correspondent for International Business Times, she has covered armed conflict and human rights violations in the Middle East for years. She is a graduate of Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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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