Adonis Diaries

Amine Rihani: A Pragmatic activist Writer

Posted on: April 11, 2009

Amine Rihani: A Pragmatic activist Writer (April 10, 2009)

 

Amine Rihany is a well learned, educated, activist, and pragmatic author born in Lebanon. He wrote many wonderful books and I read most of them.

Rihani had published in the New York Times since 1901; he was one of the founders of the “Association of Writers” (Al Rabitat al Kalamiah) of the Lebanese immigrants living in Boston. This association included Jubran Khalil Jubran, Michael Nouaimeh and Michael Nakhleh.

Amine Rihany was an undaunted and avid traveler and published books on his travels. He visited North Africa, the Arabic Peninsula of Yamen, Hijaz, Najd, and Kuweit and became close friends and counselors to many monarchs and leaders such as Abdalah bin Seoud, El Huseiny, al Sabbah and others.

Rihani published “The Heart of Lebanon” (Calb Loubnan) and dedicated to Charles Korm; he recounts in the minute details his trips within Lebanon in Mount Lebanon, from the Cedars, to the districts of Jubeil, Kesrowan, Faraya, Metn, Chouf, Jezzine, Marjeyoun, the south and Jabal Amel.

           

Amine Rihani is of Lebanese origin from the village of Frikeh close of my hometown of Beit-Chabab in the Metn district. He became a US citizen and lived in the USA for many decades. He died of a bicycle accident in Frikeh in 1940.  The family of Rihany established a museum in his honor.

           

Rihany was in frequent correspondence with US Presidents such as Franklin Roosevelt till 1908, Congressmen, and with the US Foreign Affairs to whom he sent reports on his various trips and conditions of the countries he visited.  Apparently, the US had no formal central intelligence services (CIA) until after the Second World War.

Before the First World War and the early part of the 20th century, the USA had no major vested interest in the Middle East, a region controlled and administered by the colonial powers of Britain and France. The US missionaries had instituted a university in Beirut around 1866, several schools and managed to convert a few Lebanese to Protestantism.  The USA had a policy of isolationism and non interference when it had no vested interests in a region.  For example, the US invaded Cuba and the Philippines and replaced the Spanish colonial power.

           

The US got interested in the Middle East in the twenties when Britain discovered vast deposits of oil in Iran, Iraq, and the Arabic Gulf. Britain had secured many treaties with Kuweit, Bahrein, and the Sultan of Najd for exclusive oil explorations.

Frank Holm, the British officer from New Zealand, managed to secure many contracts for oil explorations and Amine Rihany was part owner and counselor for his job of communicating and convincing the Arab leaders into signing these contracts in Saudi Arabia and Kuweit. 

The US Foreign Affairs started to exercise pressures on Britain to have shares in the multinational oil companies.  For example, the Turkish Oil Company had to re-distribute shares and thus, Britain/Iran got 23.75%, Dutch Shell 23.75%, France 23.75%, the US Jersey Standard and Socony 23.75%, and the mediator Kaloust Gulbankian 5%. The multinational company was renamed Iraq Petrolium Company (IPC).  Holm/Rihany secured another contract from the prince of Bahrein and sold it to the US Standard Oil and registered the company in Canada in 1928 to circumvent the British restriction treaties.

           

In 1931, King Abdel Aziz Al Seoud has conquered Hijjaz and signed a contract with Standard Oil of California (later named ARAMCO) for oil explorations.  Amin Rihany had a role in the negotiations.  Rihany played a role in securing the contract of exploration in Kuwait for the benefit of the US Pennsylvania Gulf Oil in 1934 after many political struggles between the US and Britain.

The tangible facts prove that Amin Rihany meant for the US to strategically transplant Britain and France in the Middle East.  At the time, the Palestinians were confronting the Zionist movement that planned to establish a State in Palestine and Britain had mandate over Palestine, Iraq, and Jordan.

The British Empire had permitted thousands of Jews to settle in Palestine and to establish colonies.  France and Britain aborted a nascent Arab State in Syria and Lebanon and another one in Iraq for the purpose of controlling directly this strategic region in oil and trade with Europe. 

Thus, France and Britain confiscated the political will of the people for independence and allowed the promise of Britain Foreign Affair Balfour in 1917 to establishing a Zionist state in Palestine.

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adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

April 2009
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