| Author: U.S. will stay in Iraq until oil addiction ends
-- Until the West frees itself of its dependency on oil, a presence in
the Middle East will continue, the author of a book on Iraq's history
Edwin Black, who spoke at Dawson Auditorium at Adrian College, is promoting his new book, "Banking on Baghdad: Inside Iraq's 7,000-Year History of War, Profit and Conflict."
When asked if the U.S. can succeed in Iraq, he said, "The short answer is 'No.' "
Edwin Black addresses Adrian College faculty and students as well as
community members on Wednesday at Dawson Auditorium about his new book,
"Banking on Baghdad." -- Telegram photo by Sandy Miller
Black said Iraq has only two attractions to the West: geography and geology.
is a true, tragic story of what they have inflicted or have had
inflicted upon them," he told the audience. "Nothing has changed in the
violence in that land in the last 7,000 years."
summarized contents of the book, tracing the region's history from the
tribal regions up through the geopolitical creation of the Middle East,
and on to today, as the United States struggles to help bring democracy
to a carved-out country that calls Americans infidels.
Black's research concludes that the people of Iraq don't want America's form of government.
"We should understand that the people of Iraq don't need democracy," he said.
they wanted it, they don't need a permission slip from the U.S. They
could bring it themselves. We went into their face to impose ourselves
Because of our growing dependence on the oil, the
country of Iraq was created by western interests after World War I by
combining three tribal regions, Black said. Petroleum had not even been
detected in the region until the mid-19th century, even then, the
European powers set up the situation as it is now, and it will not
stabilize until we leave, he added.
"We will get out in five to
10 years, once we get off the oil," he commented. "We are running out
of oil. Oil is not replenishable. When the world no longer has the
prize of oil to fight over, the people in the Middle East will be able
to solve their problems."
Black pinpointed the date when Islamic
Jihad began. It was July 24, 1920, when the League of Nations issued
its decree following months of backstabbing negotiations.
would get Iraq and Palestine, the Jewish people would get their
homeland, the French would get Syria, and the Arabs got zip," he said.
explained that the Arab tribes had been led to believe that if they
threw off the yoke of the Ottoman Empire, they would have a place at
the peace table next to Britain and France. Instead, Black said,
everybody was double dealing.
Under the League of Nations
ruling, Britain would get the oil fields in Iraq and a pipeline through
Palestine. France would get a pipeline through Syria.
call that day 'The Year of the Catastrophe,' the year the Arabs lost
everything," he said. "They wanted national structure. They didn't want
Palestine, but would welcome a Zionist state. They didn't want Iraq.
They wanted Syria."
Black noted that the major oil companies
already have started their work on developing alternative energy
sources. But it remains to be seen how soon they will be put into
"The question is, will we be dragged kicking and
screaming toward this end?" he said. "It will need a complete leapfrog
into alternative, clean and efficient energy sources."
"Banking on Baghdad"
is available online at www.edwinblack.com. Black has also written two
other books, "IBM and the Holocaust," which detailed that company's
dealings with the Nazis, and "War Against the Weak," which looks at
philanthropy and the way some treat those who need help.