America Gets Control Of The Gulf

On 4 July 1954, the US Embassy in Tehran held its traditional Independence Day party. Charles Hamilton, a senior executive of Gulf Oil, recollected the scene in which the American Ambassador 'and his gracious lady' were 'charming hosts to a gathering of some 2,000 persons of all nationalities and walks of life -statesmen, diplomats, princes, government officials, officers of the various armed services and the consortium group'. According to Hamilton, it was a gala occasion in a very friendly...

America And The House Of Saud

In the early 1920s, a tribal ruler of the province of Nejd in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsular, Abd al-Aziz Ibn Saud, began a series of small local wars intended to take control of the Arabian Peninsular and in particular the two holy places, Mecca and Medina. It was also his firm intention to reinstate Wahhabism, the puritanical and ascetic brand of Islam for which his forefathers had fought and died.16 By 1930 he had defeated Britain's former allies, the Hashemites of the Hejaz, made...

The Oilfields Of The Gulf

In a flicker of time, great civilisations rose and fell in the lands bordering the Gulf and some of the oil leaked to the surface where it turned into bitumen. Occasionally, the strange black substance oozing from the Mesopotamian lands ignited, providing inspiration for Zoroastrian fire-worshippers. The Summerians of Ur set decorative stone squares in it. The Babylonians used it to strengthen their walls and Alexander the Great, in a spirit of inquiry, burned a slave with it to further explore...

The Motorisation Of America

The motorisation of American cities, which was carried out in a number of discrete stages between 1925 and 1960, is conventionally explained by US economists and historians as the consequence of sovereign consumers exercising their freedom of choice. As one former presidential science adviser put it, 'Society decided it wanted the automobile, and it bought the automobile.'8 As Americans got richer, so the argument goes, their personal preference for the private motor car over the public...

Middle East Oil Not So Secure After

Although Americans generally felt secure in their control of Middle East oil during the 1950s and early 1960s, a few US defence experts began to question the political stability of the area. In 1963, the Rand Corporation published the first detailed study on the security of Middle East oil supplies, as part of a programme of research being carried out for the US Air Force.9 The study noted that 'twice in the past decade there has been a major disruption of the flow of Middle East oil to the...