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The United States and Iraq since 1979

Hegemony, Oil and War

Steven Hurst

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This book represents the first comprehensive overview of the US-Iraqi relationship since 1979 and the first attempt to place the 2003 American invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq in that wider historical context.

Using a modified version of World Systems Theory, the book places American policy toward Iraq at the centre of a number of dynamics, including America's dominant role in managing the world capitalist system, the fundamental importance of Persian Gulf oil to that system, and long-term change in the American political system.

It argues that American policy towards Iraq since 1979 has been shaped above all by the importance of Persian Gulf oil to the world economy and the consequent need to restore America's position as regional hegemon and guarantor of the global oil supply, which had been destabilized by the Iranian revolution.

It also emphasizes the role of American domestic politics and above all the 'conservative ascendancy' which brought George W. Bush to the presidency, as a critical factor in explaining the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Key Features

  • Provides a comprehensive analysis of US-Iraqi relations from 1979
  • Demonstrates that the second Iraq War is a result of a longer historical process and not just the product of 9/11 and the War on Terror
  • Deepens understanding of the underlying factors of US policy towards the Persian Gulf, and its oil
  • Uses World Systems Theory to analyse US foreign policy

Contents

Introduction
1. Towards a New Relationship, 1979-1984
2. From a Tilt to an Embrace, 1984-1989
3. The Persian Gulf War, 1990-1991
4. Dual Containment, 1992-2000
5. A Second War for Hegemony, 2001-3
6. Things Fall Apart, 2003-8
Conclusions: American Hegemony after the Iraq War
Bibliography.

About the Author

Steven Hurst is a Reader in Politics at Manchester Metropolitan University. He has written three previous books on American foreign policy: The Foreign Policy of the Bush Administration: In Search of a New World Order (Cassell, 1999), Cold War US Foreign Policy: Key Perspectives (EUP, 2005) and The United States and Iraq since 1979 (EUP, 2009).

Reviews

Steven Hurst has written a first-rate and very readable book. This is an authoritative and comprehensive explanation of the most important and controversial foreign policy adventure that the United States has embarked upon in the post-Cold War era. Hurst manages to confidently tell this complex and multifaceted story without resorting to polemics, moralising or simplistic generalisations.
- Dr Toby Dodge, Senior Consulting Fellow for the Middle East, International Institute for Strategic Studies, London