Myths, Empire and the Middle East
The great historian Howard Zinn always reminded us of the importance of knowing history, not the imagined and fabricated past but what actually happened. Without that knowledge we are putty in the hands of manipulators and prevaricators. Powerful states have incentives to invent history and they have varied instruments at their disposal to achieve their ends. Few areas in the world are as deeply contested as the Middle East with its strategic location astride Europe and Asia and its unparalleled oil and natural gas reserves. Britain primarily, and France to a lesser extent were heavily involved in the geographical shaping of the Middle East. Their imperial decisions reverberate to the present. Today the U.S. is the hegemon in the Middle East, can anyone say imperial power?, blanketing the region with its armed camps and naval and air bases.
Richard Becker is a writer and commentator on Middle East affairs and has visited the region on numerous occasions. He is the author of Palestine, Israel and the U.S. Empire.