The German advance towards the Persian Gulf

The English perceived William II’s “oriental” policy as a threat to their hegemony in the Indian Ocean. This threat is embodied in the co-operative policy initiated between the Reich, which is industrializing and severely competing with England, and the Ottoman Empire. The military and economic agreements between the German Empire, born in Versailles in 1871, and the old Ottoman Empire, worn out by the Balkan wars and internal corruptions, allow the expanding Germanic industry to acquire ignoring French, English and American protectionism. The cooperation will be concretized by the project of construction of a railway line connecting Berlin to Constantinople, Constantinople to Baghdad and Baghdad to the Persian Gulf. This project, strictly economic, worries the English. Indeed, the emergence of a port in the Persian Gulf, which would fall partially under German control, would imply control by the German-Turkish axis of the Arabian Peninsula, then entirely under Ottoman rule. The Germans and Ottomans would thus pierce a “gap” in the English arch, connecting southern Africa with Perth in Australia. In addition, another weak point of the “arc”, Persia, hostile to the Russians and the English, may tip over into the German-Turkish camp. And this, especially as Germanophilia was making considerable progress in this country at the time. Lord CURZON will be the English politician who will do his utmost to torpedo the consolidation of a German-Turkish-Persian cooperation system.

For the Germanophile British, this German-Turkish collaboration was positive, because, thus, Germany was interposed between the British Empire and Russia, preventing at the same time any frontal collision between the two imperialisms. Turkey, weakened, nicknamed for some decades “the sick man of Europe”, no longer risked, once under the Germanic protection, falling like a ripe fruit in the basket of Russia.

Anglo-German litigation also took place in Africa. England will exchange Heligoland in the North Sea against Zanzibar, proving that the Indian Ocean was more important to him than Europe. This corroborates the theses of Homer LEA. When the Boer War broke out in southern Africa, Britain feared that an alliance between the Boers and the Germans would be forged, an alliance that would turn the whole of Central Africa and South Africa out of its sphere of influence. The hostility to South African independence and Rhodesian independence (from 1961 and 1965) stems from the fear of an autonomous assembly in southern Africa, which would shatter all ties with the Crown and would establish as a German-Dutch-Anglo-Saxon pole as rich and as attractive as the United States. In 1961 and 1965, the fears of England were already useless (the Empire was gradually slipping into oblivion); on the other hand, the United States has every interest in such a pole not being constituted because, pacified, it would attract a European immigration which would no longer enrich the New World.

But let’s go back to the dawn of the century. Offensive, the British diplomacy will force Germany to give up building the Iraqi railway beyond Basra, a locality located a hundred kilometers from the shores of the Persian Gulf. In addition, England imposes its private companies for the exploitation of the river lines on the Tigris and the Euphrates. Germany is allowed to play a role between the Bosphorus and Basra, but this role is limited; he is the one of a junior partner in tow of the British imperial locomotive. The analogy between this pre-1914 British policy and that of the United States today vis-à-vis Europe is similar.

The golden rule of the British strategy on the North Shore of the Indian Ocean can be summarized as follows: Germany must not cross the Port Said / Tehran line and Russia must not extend beyond the Tehran / Kabul line. This English policy is a policy of “containment” before the letter.

Dominating the Indian subcontinent involves dominating a maritime “triangle” whose three peaks are Seychelles, Mauritius and Diego Garcia. Homer LEA drew a remarkable map, showing us the “geostrategic” strengths of the Indian Ocean and the importance of this central “triangle”. Nothing has changed since then and the Americans know it well. The power that will become mistress of the three peaks of this triangle will dominate all the “Middle Sea”, in other words the Indian Ocean. And if, by chance, it was the USSR that came to dominate this “triangle” and to combine this maritime domination with the continental domination that it already exerts in Central Asia and Afghanistan, one can immediately imagine the profit it will be able to draw some.