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This article elaborates on the potential oil-related benefits to the United States of regime change in Iraq, especially as they might have appeared prior to the final decision to go to war in late 2002 and early 2003. It first describes the importance of Persian Gulf oil to world oil markets. It then discusses the nature of the threat posed by Iraq under Saddam Hussein to the other oil-producing states in the region. In a third section, it identifies the constraints that had hobbled Iraqi oil production and the potential benefits of removing those constraints. The conclusion considers the implications for U.S. policy in Iraq.


Originally published in

Duffield, John S. “Oil and the Iraq War: How the United States Could Have Expected to Benefit, and Might Still,” Middle East Review of International Affairs 9, no. 2 (June 2005): 109-41.

Posted with the permission of the publisher.