Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil by Peter Maass

By Peter Maass

The catastrophic oil spill within the Gulf of Mexico has introduced new cognizance to the massive expenditures of our oil dependence. during this attractive and revealing publication, Peter Maass examines the social, political, and environmental influence of petroleum at the international locations that produce it.

Every unsatisfied oil-producing country is sad in its personal manner, yet all are touched via the “resource curse”—the energy of oil to exacerbate present difficulties and create new ones. Peter Maass provides a brilliant portrait of the stricken global oil has created. From Saudi Arabia to Equatorial Guinea, from Venezuela to Iraq, the tales of rebels, royalty, middlemen, environmentalists, indigenous activists, and CEOs—all deftly and sensitively presented—come jointly during this startling and crucial account of the implications of our habit to oil.

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Extra info for Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil

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Some are conventional (missiles and artillery) but many other means are unconventional and include torture, assassination, blackmail, terror, and nonlethal weapons. Combining these characteristics with the material, legal, and moral dimensions of asymmetry suggests four kinds of asymmetric Torture, Assassination, and Blackmail in Asymmetric Conflict 15 conflict: guerrilla wars and insurgencies, wars of intervention, the war on international terror, and proxy guerrilla wars. Guerrilla Wars and Insurgencies These are the classic asymmetric wars that Merom and ArreguinToft describe and include nationalist insurgencies by a nonstate group fighting against its own government and wars of national liberation fought by small guerrilla armies against a large, well-armed, and technologically superior occupying force.

Nevertheless, hard questions about criminality arise when guerrillas condone terrorism (Chapter 7). Do they, too, deserve a fighting chance? Some do because not all nonstate combatants are terrorists. Proxy guerrilla organizations using sophisticated weapons against military targets may harm civilians but cause damage that is only “collateral” and indirect. Many, but not all, Hezbollah attacks on Israeli civilians in 2006, for example, were proximate to military targets. 21 Even CAR guerrilla organizations that accept terrorism, the Palestinian Fatah, for example, garner firm respect for their right to a fighting chance.

There, the distinction between combatants and noncombatants turns on the simple notion of bearing arms, wearing uniforms, belonging to a military organization, and abiding by the rules of war. These conditions, spelled out clearly in Article 4 of the 3rd 1949 Geneva Convention, define combatant status. While Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions (1977) kept this framework, it made room for a significant exception that allows guerrillas to shed their uniforms when they fight an army of occupation.

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