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By Greg Muttitt
The departure of the last U.S. troops from Iraq at the end of 2011 left a broken country and a host of unanswered questions. What was the war really about? Why and how did the occupation drag on for nearly nine years, while most Iraqis, Britons, and Americans desperately wanted it to end? And why did the troops have to leave?
Now, in a gripping account of the war that dominated US and UK foreign policy over the last decade, investigative journalist Greg Muttitt takes us behind the scenes to answer some of these questions and reveals the previously untold story of the oil politics that played out through the occupation of Iraq.
Drawing upon hundreds of unreleased government documents and extensive interviews with senior American, British, and Iraqi officials, Muttitt exposes the plans and preparations that were in place to shape policies in favor of American and British energy interests. We follow him through a labyrinth of clandestine meetings, reneged promises, and abuses of power; we also see how Iraqis struggled for their own say in their future, in spite of their dysfunctional government and rising levels of violence. Through their stories, we begin to see a very different Iraq from the one our politicians have told us about.
In light of the Arab revolutions, the war in Libya, and renewed threats against Iran, Fuel on the Fire provides a vital guide to the lessons from Iraq and of the global consequences of our persistent oil addiction.
Fuel on the Fire is published in the UK by Random House (Bodley Head / Vintage).
Greg Muttitt was previously co-director of campaigning charity Platform, which exposes and fights the environmental and human impacts of the oil industry.
Since the Iraq war started in 2003, Greg has investigated the hidden plans for the future of the country’s oil. This work took him to meetings where the US and UK government officials lobbied Iraqi decision-makers, and to meetings where Iraqi oil ministry teams discussed their future oil policy with western companies. He met some of the oil executives who hoped to benefit from transforming Iraq’s oil industry, and the government officials and advisers they worked with. Greg also got hold of hundreds of unreleased British and American government documents, which described their plans and actions to reshape Iraq’s oil industry.
But Greg also talked to ordinary Iraqis, and a few politicians, about what they wanted to happen to their oil. He attended Iraq’s first anti-privatisation conference in Basra, and the meeting in Amman at which Iraq’s trade unions decided they would fight the oil law the US was pushing. He made many Iraqi friends, and came to know some of Iraq’s foremost oil experts. These experiences gave him a very different perspective from what we read in the papers.
Greg lives in London and Amsterdam with his wife Rosemary.