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Oil And Foreign Involvement In Arab Nations

1173 words - 5 pages

The Middle East has been involved in many conflicts for most of its history. These conflicts have been in large part due to, natural resources and foreign involvement. The rich supply of oil in the Middle East has made it a region of interest for many non-Arab countries to support in order to ensure a steady flow of oil. As the importance for oil increased through the industrialization of the world, the need for it became magnified. This need for oil prompted non-Arab countries to become involved in the Middle East by means of financial aid, treaties, weapons, and troops. Many foreign countries have intervened in Middle Eastern conflicts, in order to protect their access to an oil supply for their own nations, causing further conflicts and escalate violence in the region.
The Middle East had been a very prosperous region, but they fell behind in the sciences and technology in the nineteenth century. In the early 1900's, the Ottoman Empire started to decline and was dubbed the "sick man of Europe" (Blackadar 2). This made the Ottoman Empire vulnerable to the attacks from Russia, who took land, and Europeans looking to acquire oil from the area. The Ottoman Empire was destroyed during World I. Russia and Britain were trying to gain control of Iran's resources, fighting each other on Iran's soil, causing the Iranian economy to suffer. In order to maintain and control Iran's resources, Russia and Britain resolved to work together, invading and taking control in Iran. "I am quite clear that it is all important for us that this oil should be available," (Blackadar 5), said Arthur Balfour, telling of the importance of the oil for Britain. Britain and France conspired to divide the remnants of the Ottoman Empire between themselves, by creating the Sykes-Picot Accord. In the same time frame President Woodrow Wilson put together the fourteen point peace plan that encouraged self determination of the region. The Arabs loved this proposal, but it never came through because Britain and France forced a compromise that made Wilson back down from his plan. The Middle East was set on a course of conflict and violence created by World War I and European control and the beginning quest for oil. These early invasions, conflicts and pressures created an atmosphere of tension and violence in the Middle East between outside countries and Arab nations.
During World War II oil played a major role in being the energy source for the war efforts. "The decisive weapons of the conflict... all ran on fuels derived from oil" (Blackadar 6). German troops were blocked from entering Iran by British and Soviet forces who wanted to safeguard the oil supply. This is another example of fighting in the Middle East that does not directly involve the Arab nations; however it does take a toll on their infrastructure, land, and peoples. Fearing that their oil supplies would run out during World War II, the United States become involved in the conflicts in the Middle...

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