The Oil Cringe of the West (Paperback)
This, the second volume of JB Kelly's essays and reviews, covers the oil crisis of the 1970's -a period which first alerted the Western world not only to the deep-seated animosity and contempt with which it is held by the Arab world, but also the duplicity and double-dealing in which Arabs, especially the Saudis, routinely engage when dealing with Western leaders. America's feeble response during this challenge undoubtedly confirmed in the minds of Arab leaders that the Western world is essentially weak and can easily be manipulated. As JBK pointed out, there were 'substantial grounds for believing that the motive behind the excessive prices now being charged for Middle-Eastern oil is political and religious rather than economic, and is designed to redress the balance between the Islamic countries of the Middle East and Western Europe, which has been tilted in favour of the latter for two centuries or more.' It was summed up by the exclamation from one Arab oil state official in December 1973: "It is our revenge for Poitiers " (a reference to Charles Martel's defeat of the Arab armies in France in 732). It is clear from his letters to the newspapers and monthly political, that JBK was becoming increasingly concerned in the 1970's by the deleterious effects that the steady haemorrhaging of Western wealth to the East, through extortionate oil price rises by OPEC as a form of Danegeld, was having on the fabric of Western civilization. He was the first commentator to highlight the fact that Islam was wielding the oil weapon by way of revenge against Western Christendom and that this had been made possible by Britain's craven abdication of her responsibilities by withdrawing from the Gulf in 1971, and thus relinquishing some control over the supply of the black lifeblood of the industrialised world. Kelly is especially critical of the 'twin pillars' strategy initiated by Henry Kissinger in which America relied on the goodwill of Iran (under the Shah) and the Saudis to maintain stability in the Middle East while selling them enormous amounts of advanced weaponry in order to repatriate at least some of the tremendous wealth being transferred to the Muslim world because of an accident of geology. Kelly also discusses other topics such as the Lebanese civil war and the efforts of various publications to marginalize both his work and that of other like-minded scholars such as Eli Kedourie. This volume shows JB Kelly at his combative best.