The US and the Middle East

Who I am
Joel Fulleda

Author and references


  • USA and Mediterranean
  • US and oil
  • On the first Gulf War


The Paris Conference (1919), the Treaty of Sevrès (1920) and the establishment of protectorates / mandates (semi-colonies) over the Arab territories to which independence had been promised, provoked in the Arab world a feeling of hostility towards France and especially England.

The Arabs of the HIGIAZ had given themselves a monarchy and, thanks to England, could also rule in IRAK and TRANSJORDAN (over foreign populations), but without British military support their government would have been very fragile. In all other British colonial regimes in MO there was no real revolt, as the disparity of military forces in the field was too great.

Only in EGYPT did Arab nationalists manage to wrest relative independence from England (relative because England reserved the right to intervene to protect the country from "any aggression or direct or indirect interference" and to protect Christian, Jewish minorities and foreigners).

The capital of SYRIA, Damascus, rose up against France in 1925-26, but the French bombed the city, crushing the resistance. Conversely, the US, which had not compromised itself with the European powers in the sacking of the Turkish Empire, had the opportunity to take advantage of the situation.

USA and Mediterranean

The relationship of the USA with the Mediterranean began at least in 1776, when the merchants of Boston, Philadelphia and other North American ports began to trade with countries around the Mediterranean under the protection of the English flag. The protection was necessary because the African ports of Tangier (near the Strait of Gibraltar), Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli were the bases of fast fleets of Turkish pirates who plundered any commercial vessel that was not protected by a treaty, under which who he wanted to sail peacefully for the Mediterranean and had to pay a tax to the pirates (this situation continued until the French conquest of Algeria in 1830).

When the US gained definitive independence from the British (their first Constitution is from 1787), England thought that American merchants and shipowners had to protect themselves from Turkish pirates. And so the American ships began to be looted.

The US reacted to this situation in two ways: first they tried to involve France, England, Russia and the Netherlands in a war against the states of Sept. Africa; then - seeing that these countries had no interest in waging war - they decided to intervene autonomously, in a military way. The result was that the threat of piracy in the Mediterranean was greatly reduced.

Thus it was that the Americans also began to penetrate into the hinterland of Africa and the Near East. At the beginning they did it also using the Protestant missionaries who founded a network of schools especially in EGYPT and SYRIA. Even today in Beirut, in LEBANON, there is an American university.

The success of these schools was enormous, so much so that even the Arab bourgeoisie sent their children there to study (certainly not to make them become Christians). Success was also due to the fact that many of these missionaries were excellent doctors. It is no coincidence that about twenty delegates from the various Arab countries who participated in the founding of the UN in 1945 had trained in these schools.

US and oil

After the entry of the missionaries, the oil industrialists came forward in MO. The US oil industry was born in 1859 in Pennsylvania (think of Rockefeller, founder of the Standard Oil Company, which owned 80% of all American oil). At the beginning of the twentieth century, the USA already held the primacy of the world's largest oil producer (the fields were in Texas, Arizona, California ... and the USA also controlled the production of Mexico and Venezuela).

Nevertheless, the USA also tried to penetrate MO, where the oil was of better quality and easier to extract, being very abundant. Except that the road was blocked: both by the Germans, who were allies of the Turks, before and during the XNUMXst GM; both by the Anglo-French, who had divided the Turkish Empire after the XNUMXst GM

The doors were opened only in 1928. The USA became part of the IRAK PETROLEUM COMPANY, managed by the Anglo-French, under these conditions: 1) to exploit oil only with mutual consent, 2) to exploit it without competing on the territories of the former -Turkish Empire.

The Anglo-French had made up their minds to accept American involvement because they would not be the ones to provide the most capital for research, plants, etc. And so within a few years the Americans put into operation the richest fields in the world, those of SAUDI ARABIA (the first were discovered in 1938).

With GM II, the Western Euro powers were no longer able to oppose the US. In fact, in 1946 the end of the Agreement signed in 1928 was officially recognized. The USA practically controlled 42% of the oil reserves of the entire Middle East region. They also managed to replace England in IRAN, with the support of the Iranian government.

SAUDI ARABIA agreed to enter into trade treaties with the US because the US was the only Westerner in MO who did not have a colonial past. Moreover, the USA at the Paris Conference had asked for the independence of the Arab countries. The USSR could also be contacted, but officially proclaimed atheism was a major obstacle to negotiations with the Arabs.

In 1943 Washington and Riyadh made a Joint Declaration that the defense of SAUDI ARABIA is "vital" to the defense of the US. The US did not need Arab oil, because when they began to discover and exploit it they were already the world's top exporters. Except that with Arab oil they were able to become importers, limiting the exploitation of their own resources. By making them believe that they absolutely need Arab oil, they have reserved the possibility of interfering in the region when and how they want (currently they are present against IRAK because they are called by SAUDI ARABIA).

Of course, by allying itself with the US, SAUDI ARABIA always hopes to become the leading state of the Arab world. Indeed, its influence today is very considerable among OPEC countries and other organizations in the Arab world. But this influence is great thanks to US support: which has led to a renunciation of the ideals of Arab solidarity.

Those ideals instead of in EGYPT, SYRIA and IRAK (to remain in the MO) led to the overthrow of the regimes that had compromised themselves with the West. The three countries in fact came closer to the USSR: EGYPT, from the beginning of the 50s to the beginning of the 70s, in an anti-English function, then became pro-American; the IRAK, from the end of the 50s to the end of the 70s (then relations worsened with Sadam Hussein); Syria, from the beginning of the 60s to the present day.

For fear that this influence of socialist ideas would also affect its own country, SAUDI ARABIA has formed a very strong alliance with the USA, and this despite the fact that since 1948 the USA has protected a clearly anti-Arab state, such as that of Israel. .

On the first Gulf War

The reasons of the IRAK: a state can have all the reasons of this world, but it cannot invade another state just because it is right. The reason, in this case, becomes a pretext. (The Falklands example, which is the most recent, should have taught.)

- The whole world knows the problem of IRAK: it does not have an adequate outlet in the Persian Gulf, so it is forced to export its oil through the pipelines that pass through Turkey-Syria… on the one hand, and Arabia on the other. Which comes to cost him very dearly. Saddam's government has tried to get the proper outlet with eight years of war against IRAN (but peace has sanctioned the previous borders); now it has done so by occupying Kuwait.

The sudden attack on Kuwait also started from the need to meet the countless debts incurred precisely because of that war; not to mention those debts incurred in the purchase of war material ($ 50 billion).

- What could be the reasons for the IRAK? The main reason is that the Western powers (France, England and the USA), since they started their colonialism and neo-colonialism in the Middle East, have been concerned only with doing their own interests.

- Major problems in the Middle East: Palestinian question, Lebanese question, Golan Heights in Syria, West Bank-Gaza, Kurdistan, Iraq-Kuwait ...

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