Subject: One-Page Gulf History 


From: David Morgan, President of VANA 

1600-1914: OTTOMAN TURK EMPIRE, what is now Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, 
Israel & Kuwait, were part of the Turkish Empire. The opening of the Suez
canal by the British & French in 1869 and Germany's Berlin to Baghdad 
railroad in 1903 challenged the backward 300-year-old Empire; but these 
European empire builders soon fell to fighting each other in the:

1914-1918: GREAT WAR or WORLD WAR I: when the Turkish Empire, allied to 
Germany, was attacked by the British: 
1. from bases in Egypt to protect the Suez Canal;  
2. in Mesopotamia (Iraq) to protect oil supplies there, and in Persia, 
on which the British navy depended following its conversion from  
coal to oil in 1913; 
3. in the Sinaii & N. Arabia where a guerilla war was organized in the 
desert by a British officer, Lawrence of Arabia. He helped the tribes to 
unite to expel the Turks and then build an Arab nation, but:

1919: following the defeat of Germany & her ally Turkey, Britain &
France carved up Turkey's Arab empire;  Britain took the E. part &
created Iraq, Kuwait & Jordan, and Palestine was offered to the Jews
(by Balfour); France took the NW corner and created Syria and
Lebanon; Arabia to the South was considered useless desert, its vast
oil potential still unknown. 

1919-1956: BRITISH & FRENCH EMPIRES: in Iraq, British, French &
American oil Companies took valuable oil fields, secured by
Britain's army & RAF, whose job it was to `pacify' the country: 
"The Arab and Kurd now know what real bombing means in casualties
and damage; they know that within 45 minutes a full-sized village
can be practically wiped out and a third of its inhabitants killed
or injured", Arthur "Bomber" Harris reported after an RAF bombing
raid in 1924 [the man whose statue now stands in Whitehall by the
Cenotaph for his vigorous promotion of the mass-murder in WWII in
Hamburg, Dresden...].  France in Syria favoured the Christian
minority on the coast, but were strongly resisted by the 80% Moslem
population; Arab rebellions in 1925-6 were crushed by the French
using artillery, tanks & a/c against Damascus; Palestine saw major
Arab-Jewish clashes in '29 & '37, as Jewish immigration grew
inexorably under confused British policy. 

1939-1956: WORLD WAR II weakens Britain & France; 1946, French
troops leave Syria & Lebanon, but Britain maintains a strong hold on
the Suez Canal and Gulf oil with major bases; but after the Suez
Crisis ('56), when Nasser of Egypt nationalized the Canal & the
conspiracy by France, Britain & Israel to attack Egypt failed
through lack of U.S. support, Britain largely withdrew her military
from the Middle East. 

1956-PRESENT: U.S. EMPIRE; growing U.S. oil assets in the Gulf had
been protected by British force since 1919, but in the 50's the
U.S.A. began to take over; in 1951 Dr. Mossadegh was elected to
power in Iran and nationalized the the highly profitable British oil
industry;  Mossadegh was overthrown in '53 in a coup engineered by
the CIA (run by Norman Schwarzkopf Sr.); Shah Pahlevi, backed by
U.S. power, ruled until 1979, while Iran became the main U.S. Cold
War base in the Gulf; under the U.S. puppet Shah, "Iran had the
highest rate of death penalties in the world, no valid system of
civilian courts & a history of torture which is beyond belief."(M.
Ennals, Sec.Gen. Amnesty Int).  1958:Iraq's pro-western government
is ousted by army under Kassim and the oil industry is nationalized.
1961: Kuwait, an oil rich sheikdom protected by the British, who
drew its borders, is given independence by the British. 1968: Saddam
Hussein seizes power in Iraq.  1979, Jan 16: Shah flees from Iran
after defeat by the one power that he & the U.S.A. could not crush,
the Moslem Mullahs led by Ayatollah Khomeini. 1979, Nov 4: U.S.
Embassy in Teheran in its 22 acre grounds is seized and 46 hostages
taken--no U.S./British base in Gulf for first time in 65 years. 1980
Sept 22: IRAQ attacks IRAN with the support of the U.S.A., Britain &
the USSR; over one million were killed in this war, with no U.N.
action.  1988 Aug: Ceasefire, patrolled by the U.N. (including
Canadian) troops.  1990 Aug 2: Iraq seizes Kuwait; Aug 6, major U.S.
troop move to the Gulf.  1991 Jan 16: Desert Storm-- US/British
forces return to the Gulf.