USA Planned to destroy Middle East by Keep Soviets out
This scorched-earth strategy should come as no surprise to anyone. If the Soviets had invaded Western Europe during the Cold War, the United States would almost certainly, if not certainly, have used nuclear weapons to stop them. If Washington can turn Germany and France into radioactive sand, it can certainly turn the Arabian sands into glass.
If Soviet tanks had invaded the Persian Gulf in the late 1940s, the United States and Britain would have been prepared.
Destroy the oil fields. It's possible that nuclear weapons will be detonated.
According to writer Steve Everly, declassified documents show that Anglo-Americans were so pessimistic about their chances of defending the Middle East in the early days of the Cold War that they resolved to destroy the oil fields rather than allow them to fall into Soviet hands.
In an article published in Politico, Everly describes how in 1948, as the Soviets were blockading Berlin, the Truman administration approved a plan in which American and British oil companies, such as (Arabian-American Oil Company) and the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (an ancestor of today’s BP) would cooperate in the destruction of their own oil facilities. A Central Intelligence Agency operative told British oil-company representatives "how their production operations in those countries would in effect be transformed into a paramilitary force, trained and ready to execute the CIA’s plan in the event of a Soviet invasion," Everly writes.
The goal of the American plan "was to keep the Soviets from tapping Saudi Arabia’s oil and refined fuels for up to a year in the event of an invasion," according to Everly. "The plan would unfold in phases, starting with destruction of fuel stockpiles and disabling Aramco’s refinery. Selective demolitions would destroy key refinery components difficult for the Russians to replace. This would leave much of the refinery intact, making it easier for Aramco to resume production after the Soviets were ousted."
American oil companies provided the CIA with technical advice, while covert CIA agents were embedded in Aramco. The plan remained in effect through the Eisenhower and into the Kennedy years. However, by the advent of the Eisenhower administration in 1953, the oil companies on both sides of the Atlantic were having second thoughts, fearful of economic losses and what would happen if the Arab nations in question discovered their potential fate.
No one should be surprised by this scorched-earth plan. Had the Soviets invaded Western Europe during the Cold War, the U.S. would quite possibly—if not probably—have unleashed nuclear weapons to stop them. If Washington could turn Germany and France into radioactive rubble, then it could the Arabian sands into glass.
The oil field plan was rooted in the pessimism of the early Cold War, when Communism seemed on the offensive in places like Berlin and Korea, and no one could be sure if even Western Europe could be held. If the situation was that bad, then what hope could there be of mustering enough troops to keep Russian soldiers from dipping their toes in the Persian Gulf?
What is also interesting is how the specter—or more likely the bogeyman—of Soviet conquest of the oil fields persisted. In the late 1970s, the Carter administration created the Rapid Deployment forces to forestall any Soviet moves into the Persian Gulf. especially after Moscow's invasion of Afghanistan. How American paratroopers and light infantry would have fared against Soviet tank columns is debatable, but there looms an even larger question: Was America prepared in the 1970s and 1980s to use nuclear weapons on Saudi Arabia or Iran, solely to keep the oil out of Russian hands?