By Luis Martinez
Columbia University Press, 202 pages, $50.00
Why do some oil countries turn violent against their own people, and neighbors, while others just use their petro-dollars to install fear in their neighbors, and throw their weight on the international arena? In this book, Luis Martinez attempts to explore the reasons, situations, and particular circumstances that led three nations down the path of violence against their own citizens and their neighbors. With the recent turmoil in most of these countries it is interesting to get the back story. It’s a back story that many people do not know. At one point these three countries were upheld as model Arab countries. The new wave of Arab petro-socialism is that the leaders of the countries used the money to build their armies both for internal and external use.
The historical setting is interesting and enlightening, but with the recent and rapid changes, this book already feels a little dated. The author attempts to incorporate modern elements into his narrative and it just dates it even further since the reader will know the outcome in Libya at the time of this publication the outcome in Libya was unknown. While this provides an interesting subtext, it will not help readers understand the modern region.
Reviewed by Kevin Winter