22.3 - SW Asia The Northeast


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A look at the middle of the Middle East, focusing on the Gulf War and the Kurds.

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22.3 - SW Asia The Northeast

  1. 1. SW Asia: The Northeast
  2. 2. <ul><li>This includes the countries of Turkey, Iraq, Kuwait, and Iran. </li></ul><ul><li>This area includes a number of different ethnicities. The Middle East is not composed solely of Arabs. There are also Turks, Kurds, Persians, and Assyrians. </li></ul><ul><li>Aside from Arabic, Turkish and Farsi are spoken. </li></ul><ul><li>There are also two different branches of Islam: Sunni and Shia (Shi’ite). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>After Mohammed died, there were other leaders of Islam: the caliphs. Sunnis believe that any good Muslim can be the caliph while Shi’ites believe that only descendants of Mohammed can be so. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>About 83% of Muslims are Sunni, though Shi’ites are the majority in Iran and Iraq. </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Border problems </li></ul><ul><li>One of the problems with this area is that the countries’ borders are somewhat arbitrary. </li></ul><ul><li>Borders typically follow major landforms and ethnic/national groups. </li></ul><ul><li>In the Middle East, however, the lines were drawn by the British when they left. Thus, many groups were lumped together in a country even though they didn’t get along that well and some groups, like the Kurds, didn’t get a country at all. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Kurds </li></ul><ul><li>An ethnicity of people who are settled among Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Armenia. </li></ul>
  5. 6. <ul><li>The Kurds are a strong nation – about 20 million of them -, but lack a state of their own, though they (and some others) often refer to the territory they inhabit as Kurdistan. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In some places, they are largely self-governing and outside the enforcement of the normal authorities. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This fact, and that they sometimes revolt, has caused oppression from those countries. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Turkey, for example, killed thousands in the 1920’s and 1930’s to put down revolts. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 7. <ul><li>In 1988, Iraq attacked the Kurdish town of Halabja with chemical weapons, including Tabun, Sarin, VX, and mustard gases. 5,000 were killed and another 7,000 seriously injured. </li></ul>These are the effects of tyranny.
  7. 8. <ul><li>After the Gulf War in 1991, the Kurds were protected by a U.S. no-fly zone and they became largely autonomous. </li></ul><ul><li>After the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, they nominally became part of the Iraqi government, but there are concerns. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They are Sunni, while the majority is Shi’ite. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Neither the Kurds nor the Iraqis in the south particularly trust each other. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Turkey is worried about the Kurds becoming too independent and revolting again or causing terrorist violence. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 9. <ul><li>Iran-Iraq War </li></ul><ul><li>Lasted from 1980 to 1988 </li></ul><ul><li>There were around 1 million people killed or wounded. </li></ul><ul><li>There were multiple causes for the war, ranging from control of the oil fields to religious and cultural differences as well as global power politics. </li></ul><ul><li>The U.S. actually supported Iraq in the war because Iran, which was vehemently anti-U.S. and had recently held Americans hostage, was seen as the greater threat. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The demands of oil and the Cold War often meant the U.S. would ally itself with unsavory characters. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 11. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld meeting Saddam Hussein in 1983.
  10. 12. <ul><li>The borders and control of the oil fields remained the same when the war was over. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The oil infrastructure, though, took a lot of damage, the economy was wrecked, and both countries were in a lot of debt. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Iraq, for example, owed a lot of money to Kuwait, which is one of the things that prompted Hussein to invade the country. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 13. <ul><li>The Persian Gulf War </li></ul><ul><li>In 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait and occupied the country on the pretext that Kuwait was slant drilling for oil across the Iraqi border. </li></ul><ul><li>Kuwait was quickly conquered by the Iraqis. </li></ul><ul><li>It was up to a U.S.-led coalition of 35 nations to get Iraq out of Kuwait… which it did. </li></ul>
  12. 14. <ul><li>Before land forces invaded, Iraq was bombarded by a massive air campaign. </li></ul>
  13. 16. <ul><li>Victory for the coalition wasn’t a done deal. The Iraqis had 1.2 million ground troops, 5,800 tanks, 5,100 armored vehicles, 3,850 artillery pieces, 750 fighters, and other material. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It turned out, though, that the Iraqi troops just weren’t very good. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>When coalition ground forces invade, many Iraqi units just outright surrender. </li></ul></ul>
  14. 18. <ul><li>Much of the Iraqi forces attempted to escape Kuwait on the main highway connecting Iraq and Kuwait. This became known as the Highway of Death. </li></ul>
  15. 19. <ul><li>Before pulling out, the Iraqis also set many of the Kuwaiti oil wells on fire. </li></ul>