Oil not Ideology Has Driven Western Engagement with the Middle East since 1920

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Other than physical engagement, the West has also interfered with the Middle East by taking strategic decisions related to the Israeli-Palestinian and Arab-Israeli conflicts. The occurrences of these interferences have always been when the West’s oil interests are concerned, such as keeping a good image in front of Saudi Arabia which is a key supplier of oil. In addition to this, the West has always stated that the reason for their interference was because they did not approve of the ideology of the Middle East. However, according to recent findings, there is a chance that America might not be that dependent on the Middle East for oil.

Oil has remained an important necessity for Western countries ever since it was discovered that oil was a much better alternative as an energy source to coal. Moreover, ever since oil was discovered in ample amounts in the Middle East, the West has been involved in many Middle East issues that concerned its commercial interests. This interference has been forced many times, such as during Britain and France’s control of the Suez Canal and the role of American and British secret services in overthrowing the Shah to gain control of Iran’s oil. On the other hand, the West has also claimed there to be a difference in the ideology of the Middle East and the West and has used this excuse to engage with the Middle East. However, there is a possibility that the West is not entirely dependent on the Middle East for oil because of a recent oil boom in America and because of positive transformations in oil production.

The significance of oil for the West developed immediately before World War I started when Britain decided to shift to oil as its primary source of energy to be used for the war. Coal was then being used as the main energy source which was used to power Britain’s ships.