Iraqi Oil: Black gold…

For more than a century now, our industrialized world has been mainly relying on this resource to run its economy, develop and expand. For this reason, production sites have become crucial strategic hubs. For this reason, countries like Iraq remains at the chore of a strategic region. As early as 1960, Baghdad is the capital the founding members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. In it, Iraq was a heavyweight, holding a large chink of the proven reserves of crude oil. The benefits of this production were used to quickly improve the country’s infrastructure, making Iraq one of the most developed countries in the region in only a few decades. Well spent ressources can bring a country from poverty to abundance in a short period of time. In this sense, the oil is a black gold, an unmatched source of wealth. But it has setbacks. The Netherlands made this bitter experience in the past: the increase in the economic development of a specific sector (for example natural resources) can lead to a decline in other sectors (like the manufacturing sector or agriculture). This phenomenon is now commonly referred to as the Dutch disease. But it is not what affects Iraq the most.

… or Devil’s blood?

Oil and other critical resources have led to several conflicts across the world. The invasion of Iraq by an international coalition in 2003 is widely considered to have been an imperialist operation to take control of the oil reserve of an independent country. The lust over Iraq’s resources have created more chaos and despair in comparison to all the development it could fund. Today, oil is more often referred to as a curse rather than a blessing. local and international actors compete to control its production and exportation. The developmentalist policies that were the cornerstone of Iraq since its independence have led to corrupt politicians and non-state actors resorting to any means to benefit from oil at the expense of the public. Iraq’s chaotic administration has been incapable of reconstructing the country and ensuring a fair redistribution of the benefits of its annuity.

In its special file on oil in Iraq, The Red Line chose to highlight some important aspects of this vital sector. In our first publication which came out today, our director of publication chose to give voice to March Eichinger French whistleblower who has worked extensively in Iraq and recently published a book exposing collusion between Iraqi actors and ISIS militants to export the terrorist’s oil out of Iraq via Turkey while using the services of a French logistics company. Our second publication, scheduled on January 6th, is an analysis of the causes and consequences of the enduring disagreement between Erbil and Baghdad regarding the oil versus salaries accords as stipulated by the Iraqi constitution. Our third publication which will be aired on the 8th of January, will bring us to the Garmian area of Iraqi Kurdistan, where local chieftains compete to control the profits of oil while international companies struggle to make their business profitable amid a security crisis in the area, Finally, our fourth article, scheduled for publication on the 10th of January, dwells on the catastrophic effects of the oil and gas industry in the Basra province where innumerous cases of cancers are reportedly caused by unregulated industries.