The Black Gold Spies

Book: Les espions de l’or noir (The Black Gold Spies), Gilles Munier (Editions Koutoubia – Groupe Alphée-Editplus)

Is oil ‘the master of this world’ ? It is, but how did this happen? From rivalries for the control of the route to India to the emergence of the United States as a world power, Britain and America succeeded in expanding their influence over the whole of Central Asia, Caucasus and the Middle East. In doing so, they seized control of the world’s major oil-fields.

By returning to the origins of the ‘Great Game’ and the oil rush, Gilles Munier tells the story of the ‘black gold’ spies and the curse that fell upon the countries possessing oil wealth. He describes the secret agents working for the various powers involved – Napoleon I, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Adolph Hitler, the irregular troops of the Stern Gang (Mossad’s predecessors) and the CIA, whose activities either preceded or accompanied the greatest massacres of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Among the cast, we find the famous: Lawrence of Arabia, Gertrude Bell, St. John Philby and Kermit Roosevelt. But we also discover lesser known characters such as Sidney Reilly, William Shakespear, Wilhelm Wassmus, Marguerite d’Andurain, John Eppler and Conrad Kilian. Going futher back in time, we discover Lady Stanhope, the Knight of Lascaris, William Palgrave, Arthur Conolly and David Urquhart.

“They say money has no smell, but oil is here to remind us that it does”, wrote Pierre MacOrlan. Gilles Munier adds that “in the Middle East and in the Caucasus, it smells of blood”.

Munier, who has witnessed first-hand various Middle Eastern conflicts, shows that these tragedies have very little to do with the introduction of democracy and the protection of human rights. As with the war in Afghanistan and the future wars in Iran or in Darfur, these armed struggles are the result of covert operations to control the oil fields.

Translated from French



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