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The Oil Wars MythPetroleum and the Causes of International Conflict$
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Emily Meierding

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501748288

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501748288.001.0001

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Red Herrings

Red Herrings

The Chaco and Iran–Iraq Wars

(p.81) 5 Red Herrings
The Oil Wars Myth

Emily Meierding

Cornell University Press

This chapter investigates two prominent red herrings: the Chaco War from 1932 to 1935 and the Iran–Iraq War from 1980 to 1988. It explains that the two red herring conflicts were widely assumed to have been oil driven. It also mentions Bolivia and Paraguay that purportedly fought over the Chaco Boreal's prospective petroleum endowments, as well as Iraqi president Saddam Hussein who supposedly invaded Iran in order to seize its oil-rich Khuzestan Province. The chapter points out that in the Chaco War, Bolivia and Paraguay knew that the contested territory did not contain oil resources, while in the Iran–Iraq War, Saddam's territorial ambitions were limited to small areas along the states' bilateral boundary. It emphasizes how the Chaco War and Iran–Iraq War were not fought to grab petroleum resources.

Keywords:   red herrings, Chaco War, Iran–Iraq War, Chaco Boreal, Saddam Hussein, petroleum resources

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