Columbia DC | Pipe Dreams: The Plundering of Iraq

Arlington, VA
PIPE DREAMS: The Plundering of Iraq’s Oil Wealth tells the story of how political infighting, tribal cronyism, Western meddling, widespread corruption and the war with ISIS has coalesced to squander that vast oil wealth, leaving ordinary citizens poorer and more despondent than they were under Saddam Hussein. Author Erin Banco focuses her reporting on oil corruption in Iraqi Kurdistan, which aspired to gain more autonomy from Baghdad through oil sales. She explains how oil did flow, but little of it reached ordinary Kurds. Instead, the Kurdish political elite created a system of pay-to-play contracts and kickbacks with international oil companies that enriched themselves while everyone else remained mired in a financial crisis.