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Air War - Desert Storm

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An ongoing complication in the formulation of British post-war intentions for “Turkish Arabia” (as the region encompassing most of the Arabian peninsula was known at that time) was that consideration of the problem took place in three different centres: London, Delhi (or Simla) and Cairo. Differences in appreciation of situations between the British government and the government of India were neither new nor remarkable, and had generally been resolved intelligently. The contribution of British officials in Cairo was often at odds with that of Cox Proconsul to the Middle East:Layout 1 26/03/2010 24 15:12 Page 24 PROCONSUL TO THE MIDDLE EAST and his contemporaries in the region of the Persian Gulf.

Of special interest is a paragraph concerning Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud (Ibn Saud): In dealing with Nejd two things cannot be too firmly fixed in the mind: 1) That no distribution of territory, no setting up or recognizing of sovereigns or suzerains over his head, that is not effected with Bin Saud’s concurrence, previously obtained, will last for a month; 2) That Bin Saud is master of the situation. He can give us infinite trouble, and we cannot touch him. It is essential, therefore, to carry him with us in any settlement of Arabian affairs that may be proposed.

Another major consideration was that there was almost certainly a considerable amount of oil in Iraq; as the Royal Navy was rapidly switching from burning coal to burning fuel oil, this was a consideration of very great importance. The intention of Britain to defend its Indian Empire remained a fact which was not to be challenged, bearing in mind that this defence pre-requisited security of communications with India and hence a sustained and secure presence in the Persian Gulf. Then there were early ideas of the importance of substantial British technological innovation and assistance along the lines already proven in parts of India, especially the Punjab, to encourage economic development in the Turkish territories to come under British control.

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