Tom Kirkman

Do High Oil Prices Mean More International Conflict?

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I have mixed feelings about this article, but there are some good points made.

Do High Oil Prices Mean More International Conflict?

Jeff Colgan of Brown University has also touched on this topic, finding through his research that oil has fueled—in some way—one quarter to one half of interstate wars since 1973. He also notes that oil-producers are 50 percent more likely to engage in conflict than non-oil producers. Colgan identifies eight, non-mutually exclusive causal mechanisms for how oil fuels international conflict, most of which are implicitly exacerbated by higher prices. They are:

“(1) resource wars, in which states try to acquire oil reserves by force;

(2) petro-aggression, whereby oil insulates aggressive leaders such as Saddam Hussein or Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini from domestic opposition and therefore makes them more willing to engage in risky foreign policy adventurism;

(3) the externalization of civil wars in oil-producing states (“petrostates”);

(4) financing for insurgencies—for instance, Iran funneling oil money to Hezbollah;

(5) conflicts triggered by the prospect of oil-market domination, such as the U.S. war with Iraq over Kuwait in 1991;

(6) clashes over control of oil transit routes, such as shipping lanes and pipelines;

(7) oil-related grievances, whereby the presence of foreign workers in petrostates helps extremist groups such as al-Qaeda recruit locals; and

(8) oil-related obstacles to multilateral cooperation, such as when an importer’s attempt to curry favor with a petrostate prevents multilateral cooperation on security issues.”


Meanwhile, on a related note, the mess over in Syria seems to me to be driven primarily by who will control Syria, to get their gas pipeline from the Middle East to the EU.  Syria is unfortunately squarely in the crosshairs of competing plans for gas pipelines. 

All the nonsense in Western mainstream media about terrorism and such is not the underlying reason for the Syria mess - it's about who will control Syria to allow their gas pipeline to go from the Middle East to the EU, and make a ton of money from their gas pipeline.


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