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On Monday 1st October, author James Barr delivered a talk on Britain and America’s struggle for power in the Middle East.

He described the contest for dominance in the region in two distinct stages. Firstly, he detailed the tensions between Britain and France pre-World War Two in the Middle East: both countries were vying for power in the region to satisfy their imperial interests. However, after the Second World War, America ended their period of isolationism and entered into a struggle with Britain for regional dominance. Mr. Barr discussed how America’s interests in the Middle East were to access the oil in the area and to combat Soviet expansionism, while Britain was vying to create their own zone of influence to connect to the “Jewel of the Empire”- India.

Boys then got the chance to delve into the role of nationalism, religion and even bribery in the region making for a fascinating Q&A to conclude the evening.

Ali Soufraki