Author Archive

Sir David King

Professor Sir David King is the Foreign & Commonwealth Office's Special Representative for Climate Change. Sir King is the Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford.

At the end of the 19th Century, Lord Curzon, the then British Viceroy of India, described Iran and its Arab neighbours as “pieces on a chessboard upon which is being played out a game for the domination of the world”. The geostrategic importance of the Middle East, with its immense oil wealth, has shaped the policies of colonial empires, secured the longevity of autocratic regimes and given rise to religious elites. The ‘game of chess’, as described by Lord Curzon, promises great riches and influence for the players involved, but has often come at a huge cost for the majority of the Arab people. Indeed, oil wealth, so narrowly shared between the region’s ruling minorities, has historically presented a barrier …