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Overview of the Middle East


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Brief overview of Middle Eastern history (with direct impacts on the Cold War and USA's War on Terror).

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Overview of the Middle East

  2. 2. • It is the cradle of civilization. Much of our plant and animal domestication had its start in the Middle East. • Has been the center of world trade ever since there has been a world trade. • Important role in developing and spreading modern science, mathematics, and architecture. ANCIENT BACKGROUND
  3. 3. • The Middle East has been part of numerous empires. • WHY? • Location • Resources • Holy Land • The Middle East is the birthplace of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. All three groups have desired to control his region at one time or another. THE CONQUERED
  4. 4. • Groups are scattered across the Middle East. • Many rivalries between the groups in the Middle East based on previous politics created by past conquests. • Conflicting land claims in the Middle East, with groups having legitimate claims on the same patches of land. IMPACT
  5. 5. The next few slides will have a bunch of vocab words that pertain to what we will be studying the next few weeks. VOCAB
  6. 6. 1. The right for a people to rule their own country as they see fit. 2. The right of a country to remain independent without threat of being invaded and conquered by outside nations. SOVEREIGNTY
  7. 7. • A country with well defined and accepted borders. • USA, Canada, Mexico STATE
  8. 8. • Groups that identify with each other based on common languages, history, ethnicity, and or/ religion NATION
  9. 9. • A country that has it’s boundaries drawn based on nationalities. Example: Iran NATION STATE
  10. 10. • When a stronger country comes in to aid a weaker one with it’s internal and/or external affairs? • Ex: Germany helping Austria with Russia before WWI. • Ex: USA helping the Shah in Iran INTERVENTION
  11. 11. • When Country A creates a coalition of countries with the intent of isolating Country B from the world community. CONTAINMENT
  12. 12. • An alliance COALITION
  13. 13. Pride in your people and/or country. NATIONALISM
  14. 14. • When the government seizes assets of private citizens and/or foreign investors. Usually refers to the control of natural resources, infrastructure, and wealth. NATIONALIZE
  15. 15. • Belief that actions can create a chain reaction of events. • Specifically directed towards the spread of political philosophies and/or social movements to neighbors. DOMINO THEORY
  16. 16. Following the conclusions of World War One and Two, European countries began pulling out of the Middle East. They attempted to set boundaries the best they could. Capitalism and puppet governments replaced imperialism. Far cheaper and far more profitable. Regional politics began to immediately come into play in the new independent countries. SELF-RULE
  17. 17. • Two historically influential regions are: • Persia: present day Iran • Arabia: present day Saudi Arabia • Language, culture, religion, previous empires, etc … INFLUENCES
  18. 18. • Two major religious groups in the Muslim world • Sunni • Shiite • Their differences are subtle. RELIGIOUS INFLUENCES
  19. 19. • Shiites are located mainly in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon • Ayatollah seen as an acceptable leader of Islam • Very conservative group SHIITES
  20. 20. • “lost their leadership” after the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the 1920’s • Ottoman Empire seen as the last Caliph • Seen as more liberal and more tolerant of the West. • Western is a term that refers to any nation or culture group that has historical ties to Greek, Italian, or British institutions or schools of thought. SUNNI
  21. 21. Cold War Middle East Ever hear of the Cold War? Yeah, it was a big deal in the Middle East. After World War Two, the British and the French began pulling out of the Middle East and leaving behind authoritarian regimes that were “pro-them”. This would allow them to continue making massive profits off of their former colonies natural resources. It also guaranteed that the Soviet Union wouldn’t be able to replace Western nations as they pulled out. IT’S GETTING COLD IN HERE …
  22. 22. Many Middle Eastern countries were freed of colonial rule but now they were saddled with awful business contracts with Western companies. Regimes made the deals though because they received massive payoffs for doing it. While this was great for Western companies and the oligarchies they colluded with, it was awful for the people in those countries. Poverty became a norm. COLD WAR 2
  23. 23. European pull outs coincided with the rise of Nationalism in the Middle East. To put it simply. The people were tired of seeing their countries wealth flowing into the pockets of foreigners and the few who helped those foreigners get rich. They wanted to see that wealth flow into their pockets too! Military coups and revolutions begin toppling the systems the West put into place. Some attempted to replace those regimes with democratic forms of government. RISE OF NATIONALISM
  24. 24. • To regain the wealth of the country – many of these revolutionaries would nationalize their countries. • This made the revolutionaries appear like they were socialists. • In reality – they were just taking back control of their countries resources and booting out the people who sold them out to foreign powers. • They also tended to seize power in non-legitimate and violent ways (like coups). REVOLUTIONS
  25. 25. The USA and USSR will compete for influence in the Middle East. The ME is ripe for the taking because they’ve just be set free by European Empires. USA becomes defender of the Western World. European countries to beat up to do it (thanks WWII). We are losing Asia and Latin America to the commies and we are worried we’ll lose the Middle East too. When Iran gets cozy with the USSR in 1979 – we get extreme. COLD WAR USA
  26. 26. In non-Cold War situations, the USA should have been against authoritarian regimes and supported democratic movements in the Middle East. However, globally every democratic movement turned into a socialist movement. This is automatic alliance with the USSR and against the USA. We can’t support democratic movements out of fear they’ll turn commy and or anti-West. IDENTITY CRISIS
  27. 27. • Authoritarian regimes were pro-West and more open to doing business with the West. • The revolutionaries weren’t willing to play ball with the West because they knew the deals were bad for the people. • As a result, we’d side with the authoritarian regimes and prevent democracies from becoming established in the Middle East. TWISTED
  28. 28. The USA is not super popular in the Middle East because we backed so many dictatorial regimes. We no longer support the regimes, and they are being ousted by the Arab Spring. Tricky thing is the new guys taking over, don’t trust us because we’ve been helping their enemies since 1979! COLD WAR IMPACT