No War for Oil: U.S. Dependency and the Middle East, by Ivan Eland, 2011

            Ivan Eland’s No War for Oil attempts to dispel popular American perceptions about the relationship between global oil politics, the American economy, and the military power of the United States. Employing an empirical methodology to his political and economic analysis, Eland contrasts the potent imaginations of American politicians and the populace with facts about oil markets and U.S. oil dependency on the Middle East. After carefully examining a set of 11 “myths” about oil and its political economy, No War for Oil concludes that the United States commits a great fallacy by spending wildly to promote “stability” across the Middle East when the Gulf’s supposed dominance in oil is only a phantom understanding of global oil production. In sum, the book details exactly how wrong American oil policies have been for decades—at the cost of much money and much blood.

For Scholars

            No War for Oil is an important read for researching the political economy of oil and an essential read for scholars working on American oil politics. The work may also be useful for scholars working to prescribe policy solutions to current and future American foreign policy dilemmas in the Middle East and the Gulf region particularly. No War for Oil also reflects on the future political landscape for oil producers worldwide, and may thus be useful for those attempting to shape the political economy of those states in coming decades. Finally, the book comments on economic sanctioning as a means of achieving political ends and is therefore helpful for scholars examining the 1990s Iraqi oil embargoes and the current sanctions regime against Iran.

Primary Research Applications


  •  Political economy of oil
  • United States foreign policy
  • Political economy of the Middle East
  • Civil-military relations
  • Rentier states
  • Efficacy of sanctioning regimes
  • Power projection

Further reading in the Oman Library (among other texts):


  • Engaging the Muslim World, by Juan Ricardo Cole, 2009
  • Iran in the 21st Century: Politics, Economics, and Conflict, by Homa Katouzian and Hossein Shahidi, 2008
  • The King’s Messenger: Prince Bandar bin Sultan and America’s Tangled Relationship with Saudi Arabia, by David Ottoway, 2008
  • Reform in the Middle East Oil Monarchies, by Anoushiravan Ehteshami and Steven Wright, 2008
  • Blood of the Earth: The Battle for the World’s Vanishing Oil Resources, by Dilip Hiro, 2007
  • Discovery!: The Search for Arabian Oil, by Wallace Stegner, 2007
  • Oil and Democracy in Iraq, by Robert Springborg, 2007
  • Oil Titans: National Oil Companies in the Middle East, by Valerie Marcel and John Mitchell, 2006
  • United Nations Observations on the Oil for Food Program and Iraq’s Food Security, by Joseph Christoff, 2004
  • Arab Nationalism, Oil, and the Political Economy of Dependency, by Abbas Alnasrawi, 1991