Great Britain, the United States, and the Security of the Middle East: The Formation of the Baghdad Pact

University dissertation from Lund University Press, P.O. Box 141, S-221 01 Lund, Sweden

Abstract: Anglo-American post-Second World War relations in the Middle East included cases of close cooperation and conflict. An example of the former was the Pentagon Talks in 1947 when an American statement pointed out the general objective of maintaining the security of the Middle East by retaining the British political, economic, and strategic position in areas supported by the United States. An example of conflict was the 1956 Suez Crisis when the United States extracted itself completely from the British policy. The formation of the Baghdad Pact resulted primarily from postwar British and American fears of Soviet expansion into the Middle East. In the Anglo-American conception, the Middle East was a crucial area because of its extensive oil deposits and its strategic geographic location with communication links for the navy and aviation lines. Further, several military bases made the area important as a staging post for military attacks against the Soviet Union. The United States took the initiative to the Northern Tier policy, to create a defense barrier along the southern border of the Soviet Union, and this policy later resulted in the Baghdad Pact. This study addresses Anglo-American relations in relation to the Northern Tier policy and the formulation phase of the Baghdad Pact from 1953 to 1955. The Pact became a multilateral regional security organization that eventually included as members Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Britain and, although not formally as a member, but closely attached to it, the United States. The formation of the Baghdad Pact included both cases of Anglo-American disagreement and dispute, for instance concerning their respective positions in Iraq and because of conflicting policy objectives toward the Middle East. Despite these cases of rivalry, the interests in containment of the Soviet Union made collaboration the typical characteristic of the Anglo-American relationship.

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