I TOLD YOU SO!

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia died recently. But before he died a former US Ambassador to Riyadh took the opportunity to thank him for not saying “I told you so”.

While successive US governments pushed for (and violently forced) democracy and free market capitalism in THE GULF and the Middle East, (and now face the chaos of the aftermath of the Arab Spring revolutions) – the Saudis valued social stability and slow evolutionary change above everything else and have come through unscathed and stronger than ever.

Egypt is now a spent force only kept alive by billions of Saudi dollars; and Iraq and Syria are fragmented by bloody sectarian and tribal battles to the death. This leaves Saudi, with the support of the UAE, the dominant regional player representing Sunni Islam in opposition to Iran/Hezbollah as the aggressive proponent of Shia Islam. But Saudi Arabia and the UAE have more oil – and more money.

As I have always said the Middle East is all about oil – and the fabulous wealth it brings.

I hate to say “I told you so” – but I told you so in my plays and in my book of short stories based on 40 years experience in the oil patch in The Arabian and Persian Gulf.

My first play EXPATRIA written 20 years ago loosely based on my experiences in the Iranian oilfields had a background in the CIA’s deposing of the legitimate democratic government of Mossedeq and replacing him with the despicable and corrupt Shah and his cronies. And the story TRIBAL WEAVING in my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” had a similar theme.

My second play THE GULF written 16 years ago and loosely based on my experiences in the Emirates of Qatar, Dubai and Sharjah concerned the rise of fundemantal Islam in response to America’s naïve? Cynical? Brute force and ignorant? exploitation of cheap oil from The Gulf. It ended with the beheading of an American. And this was long before the grisly beheading of Daniel Pearle and others.

I TOLD YOU SO!

Unfortunately, my plays never got produced – although THE GULF came close with a rehearsed reading at the Soho Theatre in London. But I think that they are important enough, and still contemporary enough to warrnt publication and I am trying to put together a Kindle edition.

In the meantime, if you want insights into The West’s relationship with the Middle East and its complexity from the perspective of the weird and wonderful oilfield trash, expatriate characters who washed up there in the oil patch from 1960 to 2001, preview my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” at:

www.amazon.com/author/mikerichards

and download it if you have a Kindle.

Or if you prefer a real book you can order the paperback edition from:

www.thebookdepository.co.uk

The ISBN number is 978-1908147097

They offer free delivery worldwide.

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