Oil and the Wars: Fuel and Force

Wars inevitably involve oil. Oil does not inevitably involve war.

The World Today
4 minute READ

John V. Mitchell

Former Associate Fellow, Environment and Society Programme

This proposition holds for the ‘war against terrorism’ which the US declared immediately after September 11, the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians and the twenty year-old war within Afghanistan. It is also true in the perpetual war of the poor against their condition in a world where the US is the most powerful nation.

It is difficult to find objective language to describe the present surge in violence between Israel and the Palestinians. Is it part of the fifty-year long struggle for territory and mutual independence? In the past, this led to conventional war which neighbouring Arab countries joined, and to the oil embargo of 1973. The embargo failed to change the course of the war, and has never been tried again. But the shock and confusion it caused is embedded in memories and archives to which journalists and politicians turn through neglect of better, more recent analysis.

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