Oil concessions represent in the Soviet view the foundation of the entire edifice of Western political influence in the Middle East, of all military bases and aggressive blocs. If this foundation cracks, Soviet writers have argued, the entire structure would begin to totter and then come tumbling down.1 They refer, in more prosaic language, to the undisputed fact that Western influence in the Middle East is based inter alia on the activities of a number of major oil companies, which supply between 50 and 6o% (up to 8o%, including Libya and Algeria) of the requirements of Western Europe in oil, and that, on the other hand, an enormous part of the national income of the oil-producing countries (88% of the export earnings in Iran, 92% in Iraq, 93% in Saudi Arabia) is derived from this same source. These are impressive figures, but there is an asymmetry between the position of the Middle East oil-producers and the European consumers: while OECD Europe was in the nineteen-sixties the only customer for Arab oil, Arab oil was not the only source of energy for OECD Europe.