Amplify’d from bnreview.barnesandnoble.com
Here are two facts that might jolt your perception of current tensions in the Middle East. The first is that the empire which, at its height, had more Muslim subjects than any other empire ever – counting as subjects over one in three of the world’s Muslims – was the British Empire.
The second fact is that at the end of the First World War, Britain had more than a million soldiers in the Middle East, and in the years immediately following it cut up the map of the region into the shape it bears today, creating entirely new countries in the process and putting its nominees and clients into power in them.
in 1911 Winston Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty, in charge of Britain’s mighty Royal Navy, the vast police-force of the empire.
Years of strikes by well-organised militant miners in the coal-fields of Britain had made Churchill worried that the far-flung fleets and therefore the empire itself could be held to ransom by – name of malediction! – socialists.
He therefore ordered the navy to switch from coal-fired to oil-fired engines.
That obliged Britain to help itself to parts of the world with oil wells: Persia was the first port of call, soon to be followed by British-created Iraq.
And how about a fourth fact: that imperial Britain never allowed any hostile power to threaten the approaches to its priceless milch-cow of India.Read more at bnreview.barnesandnoble.com
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