An essay on colonization: British exploitation of the Gulf

Published under category: Custom Writing | 2015-02-24 22:10:20 UTC

Context: European foreign colonial policy

Colonization and exploitation of countries is a fundamental topic for history students in university and colleges. Therefore, students will often be given essay assignments on colonization and European foreign policy in the eighteenth and twentieth century. Such custom written papers can be completed on this custom assignment writing service. The custom written paper below discusses the European foreign policy with the Arab world in the time of colonization. The assignment is written in parts. Feel free to ask for such paper or any of the essay on this custom paper writing service. At the turn of the 20th century, Britain was looking to expand its economic power. Having already colonized a huge chunk of Africa, it had an abundance of raw materials and manpower. The only detail remaining was an efficient source of energy. At the time, most industries ran on coal. Majority of the oil Britain got was from the United States. However, this was not an economically friendly strategy. The importance of oil to Britain thus played a very important role in shaping Britain’s foreign policy to the Middle East. It is in this light that Britain signed the Anglo-Persian agreement with Persia, promising to help Persia rehabilitate itself. However, Britain was in no way going to make Persia a British protectorate. With this agreement in place, Britain was slowly seizing control of the world’s most promising oil fields. This was much to the anger of the United States and other nations of the West, who secretly eyed this monopoly. France, wanting the British to support its policies in Europe, gave up part of its oil control in Mosul, and other oil-rich zones in Mesopotamia. In return, it would receive a 25% share of the oil in Mosul. However, the French felt that their interests were being violated. They felt that the British were attempting to deprive them of their oil in Mesopotamia. This led to a strain in the Britain-France relationship. Further violence against Britain was driven by the signing of the Anglo-Persian Agreement. Neither the United States, nor any other European country knew about this agreement when it was signed. This was seen as a sign that Britain was determined to monopolize the Middle East’s promising oil minefields. In the end, Britain’s idea to control the world’s most promising oil fields did not work out. This worked to the advantage of the United States and France. Finally, it became an oil cartel that was shared between Britain, France and the United States oil companies. The Algerian war was fought from 1954 to 1962. It is also known as the war of revolution since it was started by Algeria in a bid to claim their independence from the French rule. The war was started by the National Liberation Front. It started as a civil way. The main conflict was between those who wanted a French Algeria, and those who were championing for a Muslim Algeria. The war turned ugly when France sent troops to fight the Muslim Algerians. Lasting over a period of nine years, the effects of this war were detrimental to Algeria. Worst of all, over 1.5 million deaths were recorded. This was one of the highest death tolls recorded in a civil war. The war was fuelled by the fact that some of the French believed that Algeria was a part of France, and therefore, Algeria had no right to rebel. Actually, to them, Algeria was supposed to be predominantly French. The war altered the Arabs point of view towards the West. After witnessing how cruel the French army could be, they had little respect left for the French, and the West in general. They saw them as people who were cruel, greedy, and thirsty for power. This was in reference to the fact that the French forces killed indiscriminately. They killed Arabs, whether they were members of FNL or not. Moreover, they continued to torture innocent civilians. This fact angered the FNL, and fuelled the intensity of the war. It proved that the West, like it had always been suspected, was composed of heartless men. Men who valued power more than the lives of people. As a result, when the war came to an end and Algeria received its independence; French settlers were killed, or chased away from Algeria. Those who supported the French, or the ideas of the west, were also done away with. Moreover, after the war, the Arabs became very reluctant to engage in trading activities with the west. They viewed the westerners as exploiters. They also did not want any relationship with the west, and fought for the liberation of all Arab countries being colonized by the west. For the Gulf Coast, being a protectorate of the British definitely came with its own effects. For starters, the Gulf was assured of protection by the British army. The British, at that time, had a very stable and feared army. Therefore, for the Gulf Coast to be under Britain’s protection was a very important gesture. However, this was to hide the main intentions of Britain. It invaded the Gulf under the pretense of fighting pirates, whereas its main aim was to find a way to be at the center of the world’s largest store of energy. When it had finally established itself in the Gulf, it controlled trade, since most merchants depended on the Gulf as a very important route for transportation. It also employed the divide-and-rule policy, whereby, it fuelled conflict between the countries surrounding the gulf. As a result, it took advantage of the situation to extend its boundaries and seize more land for themselves (Sabahi, 1990). Britain also used its army to secure strategic areas in the gulf. In the long run, development in the gulf was hampered. The residents of the Gulf, who had been put in office by the British government, were to act only according to the interests of the British government. No transactions whatsoever were to take place without the knowledge of the British government. Moreover, the Gulf was not allowed to conduct business with any other companies except British companies. This led to the Gulf lagging behind economically. Practically, it was like an extension of Britain, unable to make any economic or political decisions on its own. After much pressure from other European countries, coupled with the Anglo-Persian agreement going sour, the British finally withdrew from the gulf in 1971. Unfortunately, none of the countries, which had been eyeing the gulf, were able to establish themselves in the vacuum left by the British government. The United States was busy fighting in Vietnam, whereas most of the European countries were still stamping their authority in their African colonies. As a result, with no influence from outside, the politics of the Gulf turned local. The strongest nation in the region would therefore determine the political landscape of the region. In this case, the strongest nation emerged to be Iran. Iran moved swiftly to claim more territory. To the surprise of many, it did this without a lot of military confrontation. With time, it started growing into a powerhouse in the Middle East. It claimed the Bahrain Island as part of its territorial expansion mission. However, initial conflicts it previously had with Saudi Arabia were ignited again. Their maritime conflict got heated up. Fortunately, the conflict was not confrontational, and was solved amicably by Britain’s suggested diplomacy method. Having not left a solid organizational structure in the Gulf Coast, the region was slowly succumbing to this (Mottale, 2001). The lack of well-defined territorial boundaries also proved to be a very complicated source of conflict. Boundaries in the region were not well defined. Consequently, conflict emerged as to where the territorial boundaries could be placed. With Iran wanting to expand territory, conflict increased. With time, Britain was reduced from being a power house in the gulf coast region, to being a conflict resolver. Nonetheless, the effects of its departure were certainly being felt. The conception of the United Arab Emirates began after the signing of the Union Accord between the then rulers of Dubai, and Abu Dhabi (Zahlan & Owen, 1998). Economic adversity continued to pile pressure on Britain to withdraw from the Gulf Coast. Its economy was taking a nosedive, and it did not have enough resources to continue financing and managing the affairs of the Gulf. Following its announcement that it would be ending all political affairs with the Gulf in 1968, it officially withdrew in 1971. This sudden withdrawal exposed the soft underbelly of the Gulf’s security system. After more than 150 years of being under the British rule, the Gulf nations desired freedom. They had to protect themselves from the many other powerful countries that were eyeing the Gulf’s rich supply of oil (King, 2008). This led to the formation of the United Arab Emirates, in a bid to safeguard the Gulf’s oil resources. It initially consisted of seven Trucial states, governed by a common constitution, which they drafted. The main objective of this union was to first and foremost, champion for the common good of all the member states. The oil reserves were to be protected from any outside interference. Most importantly, the formation of the United Arab Emirates led to political stability in the region. Foreign policy In the modern world, unity is what keeps countries going. At this point in time, no man is an island. This means that no single country can survive in its own. Interdependence is paramount. We have examples of economic organizations between countries, for example, the European Union, African Union, Common Market for East and Southern Africa, among others. These unions help to push for the common agenda of countries in the same region. Furthermore, they help to exponentially increase the bargaining power of countries. It is only in the Middle East, that these unions are not common. The formation of the United Arab Emirates is a good example of how unity can develop a region. When the seven Trucial states merged, their combined trading power was increased (Sherbiny & Tessler, 1976). They had a higher bargain when it came to the trading of oil. The fact that they have the largest oil reserves in the world, also worked to their advantage. The region remains one of the most developed and peaceful regions in the world. Other Arab countries in the region need to follow suit. Iran, for example, has been a victim of political unrest for a long time, with many nations plotting to scavenge on its oil. This has made Iran stagnate in development. A country that was once a powerful nation in the East is slowly being drawn to the sidelines. If a union was to be formed in the Middle East, the area would develop very quickly, helping some countries to regain their lost glory. However, with the common present trend of every country fighting for itself, progress is being greatly hampered. The only alternative would be to come together for the common good of the region. This would also help to enhance peace in the region, since countries would be responsible for one another. It is worth to note that the present situation of turmoil in the Arab countries was not created by any external sources. On the contrary, this situation was created by the Arabs themselves. The West and other countries only came in to fan the flame (Foley, 2010). The tension in the region was created by political, social, economic, and cultural inequities. Some countries were developing at a higher rate than others were. The United Arab Emirates, for example, became the envy of the region. Some countries were also seeking to enlarge their territory, at the expense of other countries. Iran for example, caused distress in the region by wanting to enlarge its territorial boundaries, at the expense of weaker and smaller nations (Foley, 2010). Moreover, the countries along the Gulf Coast were seen to be allied to the West. This angered some countries, Iran, for example. They saw the allies as further polarizing the region. They used the present tension in the region to their advantage. However, great potential still exists in the Arab countries. If only they can come together, they will be a power to reckon with in the world. ORDER PLAGIARISM FREE PAPER


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