Since no one else has mentioned it, it is worth noting that the first Dune book, published 1965, was inspired by the formation of OPEC in 1960.

By the 1960s America and the Soviet Union had been battling for influence for decades when the locals decided to take control of production of the world's most traded commodity: oil. And there are a hell of a lot of sand dunes in the Middle East.

The parallels aren't exact (don't ask me who the Bene Gesserit are in international relations) but they are certainly intentional: Frank Herbert had already written "The Dragon in the Sea" about a world war over oil resources; and Muad'Dib is suspiciously close to Mahdi, the messiah figure of Islamic tradition.