The tagline to my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” is:

‘It’s all about Oil’

Certainly in my working lifetime in the 20th Century international oil industry that appeared to be true. But in the new Millenium, the brutal Palestine/Israeli conflict became ever more prominent, and then with 9/11, the Gulf War, the Arab Spring, and the Syrian Civil War, came the rise of Da’esh (ISIS), which seemed to be the ultimate in atavistic and barbaric behaviour.

But in Biblical terms, Da’esh are absolutely within the context of Middle Eastern history. For the past 3,000 years, ever since Abraham(Ibrahim), it has always been the scene of cruel, bloody and brutal conflict. And maybe it always will be, for this is the site of Armageddon.

‘It’s all about Religion’

I have just watched Simon Montefiori’s documentary JERUSALEM that traces the history of this, the most Holy of Cities, from Canaanite paganism, through Judaism, Christianity and Islam. And the number of times it has been besieged, destroyed and rebuilt – all involving unbelievable levels of cruelty and barbarism – is mind boggling.

And after each destruction they rebuilt the city and its temples and shrines over the ruins of the religious sites of the previous occupiers, sometimes using the same stones. In exactly the same way The Holy Bible built on The Torah, and The Holy Qu’ran built on the Old Testament and the New Testament – and is proclaimed as the Final Testament. Yet we are all ‘People of the Book’ – followers of the same one God.

I have to admit that the focus of my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” is very narrow in terms of the religious strife that has riven the Middle East throughout the centuries. To try and correct this I am writing a sequel, GULF II “The Beginning of Sorrows”, based on the Biblical Quotation:

“And ye shall hear of wars, and rumours of wars: see that ye are not troubled, for all these things must come to pass – but the end is not yet. For Nation shall rise against Nation, and Kingdom against Kingdom: and there shall be Famine, and Pestilences, and Earthquakes in divers places. All these are The Beginning of Sorrows.”

In the meantime, if you want insights into the chaos and confusion in the Middle East from Britain’s neglect of its mandates in The Gulf, and the 5 fold increase in crude oil prices that funded the rise of Islam, until the events of 9/11, read my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”. Although it is a work of fiction, it is journalistic because the stories start from real events I witnessed – or were reported to me by reliable sources during my 40 years in The Gulf.

It is written from the points of view of those sources, archetypal expatriates who washed up in the the Arabian/Persian Gulf. They were victims of power-mad politicians’ proxy wars,(The Buraimi Oasis, the Dhofar Campaign, the Viet Nam War), greedy finance house excesses (BCCI, Lonrho, Lloyds of London, IOS etc.) – and in some cases just victims of avaricious Western wives, and out-of-control, drug-crazed teenage children.

You can preview my book on AMAZON’s Kindle Websites for the USA and UK, Germany and Spain, and download it if you have a Kindle.

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False Economy

Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was brutal and oppressive, but provided you steered clear of politics, it was an efficient and functioning society. He was clever enough to provide the general populace with decent jobs, food and education.  And all the Second Gulf War did was to replace that efficient society with an inefficient society that is just as brutal and oppressive. And between the two Gulf Wars the sanctions did not work.

Why anybody with a shred of intelligence believes that economic sanctions against rogue nations achieve their ends (viz. Zimbabwe, Iraq, Iran etc.) is beyond me.

I guess the theory, like most theories, is sound. Make the populace suffer and they will rise against their rulers. Most of us want to live a quiet life and just have a roof over our heads, put food on the table, and educate our kids. We may grumble about prices and taxes – but politics is a bore (Showbusiness for ugly people) and we grin and bear it.  Only when the filthy rich and powerful start grinding our faces in an ever increasing workload and tax burden – and threaten the lives of our children – do we rise up.

But in practice the Iraq sanctions did not cause the populace to rise up in spite of the sufferings including an estimated 300,000 children dying for lack of medicines. And all the “oil for food” program did was create a huge black market in illicit oil vouchers that enriched and corrupted Russian, French and Indonesian  government officials, private American investors – and besmirched the reputation of Swiss independent inspection companies and the UN at the highest level including Kofi Annan and Benan Savan.

The effects of all of these shenanigans are illustrated in the story False Economy in my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”

Poor Captain Bob, ruined by the false economics of so-called free market capitalism, still has enough dignity to gather the tattered shreds of his self-respect and blow the whistle on the oil for food program in spite of the consequences.

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