chapter  7
20 Pages

Defending Arabia in the 1980s

It has been more than half a century since oil was first discovered in the Arabian Peninsula, marking the genesis of Gulf security concerns. It will soon be two decades since Britain announced its withdrawal from the Gulf, amid cries that the fledgeling Gulf states could not long stand on their own and that the Soviet Union would rush in to fill the vacuum. It has been more than a decade since the oil price revolution of 1973--4 first focused widespread international attention on the Gulf, raising fears of the vulnerability of Western oil supplies. Finally, it will shortly be a decade since the Iranian revolution and Soviet gains in various states along the Gulfs periphery have forced the United States to re-evaluate its security policy regarding the Gulf. What conclusions about the future of Gulf security can be drawn from the cumulative impacts of these benchmarks in recent Gulf history?