WHAT DOES LEFT REALLY MEAN IN 2005? -- Arab Oil & World Politics - Part 2
Yet what is called the Left, almost invariably --with exceptions few and far between-- claims that the West, particularly America, is hostile to Arabs, wants to control their oil to the detriment of the Arabs, is supportive of Israel, even blindly supportive of Israel, or even controlled by Israel in some of the more paranoid versions of the argument, which verge on the Nazi-like claims that Jews control the world. For example, a high-ranking member of the British Labour Party made such a bizarre, paranoid claim. Pat Buchanan, a so-called conservative American, also makes similar claims from time to time.
This argument is ridiculous whether made by "right"or "left" (as if the notion of a right-to-left political spectrum had any meaning anymore). Indeed, the Saudi-US relationship goes way back to the early days of oil exploration in Arabia (ca. 1930). A high point in this relationship was Franklin Roosevelt's meeting with King Abdul-Aziz ibn Saud on a US naval destroyer anchored in the Red Sea in 1945 on his way home from the Yalta conference. Reporting to Congress about his trip, FDR said:
"On the way back from the Crimea I made arrangements to meet personally King Farouk of Egypt, Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, and King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia. Our conversations had to do with matters of common interest. They will be of great mutual advantage because they gave us an opportunity of meeting and talking face to face, and of exchanging views in personal conversation instead of formal correspondence.
Of the problems of Arabia, I learned more about that whole problem, the Moslem problem, the Jewish problem, by talking with Ibn Saud for five minutes than I could have learned in exchange of two or three dozen letters. [source: Ben D Zevin (ed.), Nothing to Fear: The Selected Addresses of Franklin D Roosevelt 1932-1945 (World Publg. Co. 1946; Foreword by Harry Hopkins; reprint: New York: Popular Library, 1961) p 461.]In other words, FDR learned about the Jewish problem not from Jews or Jewish historians, but from the king of Saudi Arabia. Indeed, the king's views, as expressed to FDR, were extremely hostile to Jews in general and Zionists in the Land of Israel in particular. But most of the Left, including the so-called "ultra-left," do not talk about this historical reality, nor do they take it into account when they talk about Arab-Israeli issues. They overlook the fact that the oil-rich Arab kings and sheiks generously contribute to the mass murder activities of Fatah, Hamas, etc. They also overlook the huge capital investments by Arab states and individuals in Western countries, in corporations, real estate, bonds, etc. If the "Left" does acknowledge the immense revenues from oil of certain Arab states, then they do not take this income reasonably into account when they talk about the Israeli-Arab conflict. Offenders in this regard are George Galloway, Noam Chomsky, and most of the "hard Left" in Europe, and in the USA as well. The Left is not a body that reasonably or scientifically understands today's world, but is more an agency shaping public opinion or an immensely deluded --and dangerous-- segment of public opinion.
The previous post showed how the Foreign Tax Credit Law [circa 1920] was first used in 1951 to surreptitiously enrich the Saudi royals. The book by Odell states that a similar system was adopted by Britain to help Arab royals and the British oil industry. The report by the French parliamentary investigating commission, below [in French], says that France did likewise.
UPDATING to 19 July 2007 - go to link
For more about the economics and the politics of oil, as well as of the history of oil's development from a world-historical-political viewpoint, see the following works, among others:
Tariq Ali, London Review of Books, 19 July 2007 - hit link. Tariq Ali is a notorious Marxistoid of Pakistani background. He was once a star theorist of so-called Third World struggles. However, this review of two new books on Saudi Arabia is informative. The LRB is an Establishment pubilcation.
John Blair, Control of Oil
Ovid Demaris, Dirty Business (New York: Harper's Mag Press, 1974)
Robert Engler, The Politics of Oil
Shlomo Erel, Petroleum: The Phenomenon of a Modern Panic (Jerusalem: Orion-Jerusalem Academic Press, 1975)
Douglas J Feith, "The Oil Weapon Demystified," Policy Review #15 (Winter 1981)
P H Frankel, Mattei: Oil and Power Politics (London: Faber & Faber, 1966)
Peter Odell, Oil and World Power (Penguin 1970)
James Ridgeway, New Energy (Boston: Beacon Press, 1975)
Zionist Organization of America, "On Foreign Tax Credits to International Oil Companies," Resolution at the 83rd National Convention, Pittsburgh, April-May 1983
Commission d'Enquete Parlementaire, Rapport de la, "Sur les Societes Petrolieres Operant en France" (1974-1975: Paris: Maison d'Edition 10/18, 1974)
Daniel Durand, La Politique Petroliere Internationale (Paris: PUF, 4eme ed., 1978)
L Mihailovitch et J-J Pluchart, Les Compagnies Petrolieres Internationales (Paris: PUF, 1981)
S Normand et J Acker, La Route du Petrole au Moyen Orient (Paris: Horizons de France, 1956)