If you go through the history of world politics and international relationships, you will notice that ‘oil’, or for better understanding, availability of petroleum resources of some countries have always been the triggering factor behind many of the global wars. Many conflicts have originated and major wars over oil have been fought since the World War I. As oil has been considered as one of the main factors of economic development of a country and as petroleum resources are not plenty in every country so it is very much inevitable that clashes would arise among the countries regarding the transportation, consumption, distribution and regulation of this ‘liquid gold’ and so has happened. So in this article, we are going to discuss about some major historical wars, which are fought over oil, and for convenience, we have arranged them chronologically. So, readers lets jump into the war field.
Wars Fought Over Oil
1. The Chaco War (1932-1935): This war was fought between Bolivia and Paraguay. The question was who would have control over the northern part of Gran Chaco region that was thought to be rich in oil resources. It is one of the worst wars, fought during the 20th century. Both of the country faced severe obstacles, Bolivia faced major trade problems, etc. at the end Paraguay got control over two third of the disputed territories according to the Peace Treaties.
2. Japan – United States War (1941-1945): Japan did not produce much petroleum but its large industry, huge army and navy required constant and sufficient flow of oil and Japan was almost 80 % dependent on U.S.A for oil. But when the then American president Roosevelt imposed a ban on the trade functions of Japan on export of oil and many more things it was devastating for the economy of Japan. And on December 7, 1941 Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and American naval fleet. The attack was so immense that as a consequence America declared the World War II. And that changed the total political scenario of the world.
3. The Biafra War or Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970): In this war, control over oil production acted as the pivotal strategic role. In this war, within a very short span of time The Federal Military Government enclosed Biafra by capturing the total coastal oil facilities and the city of Port Harcourt. This war was so severe that after two and half years of the war, two million civilian died only out of hunger. Starvation and diseases.
4. Iraq War (2003-2011): There are many more wars which were fought in between this long span of 1970 to 2000 like the Iran –Iraq war 91980-1988), Gulf War (1990-1991), etc. After that one of the most important wars was this war of Iraq. This war started in 2003 when US invaded Iraq. The invasion agenda collapsed the Government of Saddam Husain. This conflict continued for more than seven years and 100,000 to 600,000 Iraqi people were killed. The United Stated officially quit Iraq in 2011 but then again in 2014 they ended up starting new rivalry and many civil wars in much amplitude even continue today.
5. War between Sudan and South Sudan: This war started in 2012. Briefly this war is known as Heglig Crisis. The conflict started between the countries of Sudan and South Sudan over the oil resource of South Sudan’s Unity and Sudan’s South Kordofan. South Sudan imbued and occupied the border town named Heglig. After some time they were pushed back by the Sudanese army. On 26th September a treaty was signed on the border and resource usage issues and most of the conflict aspects were resolved.
6. Russian military involvement in Ukraine (2014-present): One of the biggest conflicts of this time is this conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The Ukraine crisis is all about great power oil rivalry and gas pipeline conflict. Russia and United States, both of them are up to Ukraine as both the powers are triggered by the desire to get a geostrategically important country so that they can have immense control over crucial pipeline routes under their influence.
7. The war of Syria: We can say that the main reason behind the Syria war is control over oil. US military is intervening by arming and giving training to the free Syrian Army so that they can overthrow President Assad whose regime is using chemical weapon on the Syrian people but here the motivation is not to train them properly. US military is just ensuring the Kirkuk-Banias pipeline of oil to come back to profitable status. So has the press secretary of Obama said. He said that their foreign policy is that which would be best for American interests.
So, these were some of the terrible wars, which were fought over oil. Some of them are still continuing and oil is such a big issue for every country’s development that war over this thing will be continuing to brew in the future times as well.