Petroleum Palaces per Potomac Policies


The premise of our title is that the present wealth of Arabia's rulers derives from the need to maintain the American national, political, commercial and strategic interests in the Middle East's extremely rich oil production.  You will find out how, in order to achieve and preserve this complex and dynamic relation, our government began with FDR's agreement to protect King Saud; provided great military help to defeat the Nazi invasion; supported the establishment of Israel;  organized clandestine searches for oil fields;  negotiated with Egyptian nationalist, Gamal Nasser;  interfered in the  frequent Middle East wars; forged numerous flexible Major Power alliances;  assisted or survived terrorist conspiracies; and much more geographical and historical knowledge. 

After the fall of the Ottoman Empire during the First World War, Great Britain sought to establish itself as the dominant imperial power in the Middle East.  Yet its regional empire did not endure the hard fought battles, over-expansion and vast expenses of the Second World War.  We usually assume that Arab Nationalism brought about the end of British designs in the Middle East. 

In this fascinating SDG, based on the recently published Lords of the Desert by British historian James Barr, we will learn a fresh story which arrives at vastly different conclusions. Drawing on our research and newly declassified archives we bring to life little-known episodes of secret diplomacy and daring spycraft which contend convincingly that the USA was the driving force behind the British exit.

Though the two nations were strong allies America was drawn to the region for reasons of commerce and ideology.  So it quickly found itself at odds with the British over many significant issues, from who should control Saudi Arabia's oil to who should supervise the Suez Canal.  Exploiting and encouraging widespread  opposition to the UK , the US intrigued it way to power.  Consequently, it very soon was forced to  face the same sort of determined local resistance and animosities, that had entangled and weakened its predecessor. 

Essentially, this absorbing and deeply researched history will lead us to understand the roots of America's current immersion and costly investment,  in the modern version of the age-old battle, for supremacy in this crucial part of the world. 

Weekly Topics

Wk. 1.   Introduction, Beginning of the End, Old Imperialistic Order  [pp. 1 - 36]

Wk. 2.   Heading for Trouble, Sheep's Eyes  [37 - 63]

Wk. 3.   Pretty Tough Nut, The Jewish Problem   [64 - 94]

Wk. 4,   Fight for Palestine, Eggs in One Basket   [95 - 127]

Wk. 5.   Exploring Wilder Areas, Going Fifty-Fifty   [128 - 153]

Wk. 6.   An Unfortunate Turn, Second Fiddle   [154 - 182]

Wk. 7.   Plotting Mosaddeq's Downfall, Man in the Arena   [183 - 209]

Wk. 8    Gift of a Gun,  Baghdad Pact   [213 - 234]

Wk. 9.   Overreach,  Ditching Nasser   [235 - 262]

Wk. 10.  Sort of Jenkins' Ear,  Suez Miscalculation   [263 - 293]

Wk. 11.  Failed Coups,  Year of Revolutions   [294 - 318]

Wk. 12.  Rebels on the Jebel,  Iraq and Kuwait   [321 - 346]

Wk. 13.  Pandora's Box,  Secret War   [347 - 376]

Wk. 14.  Falling Out,  Epilogue, Acknowledgements   [377 - 400] 


a)  Core Book:   LORDS OF THE DESERT,  The Battle Between the United States and Great Britain for Supremacy in the Modern Middle East,  by JAMES BARR,  Copyright 2018, Basic/Hachette Books.

b)   Readily available articles and references on the Internet and Web-sites.

c)   Considered reliable publications on Wikipedia and local libraries.