• 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.
• The Middle East has been part of numerous empires.
• 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.
• 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.
The next few slides will have a bunch of vocab words that pertain to what we
will be studying the next few weeks.
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.
• A country with well defined and accepted
• USA, Canada, Mexico
• Groups that identify with each other based on
common languages, history, ethnicity, and or/
• A country that has it’s boundaries drawn
based on nationalities.
• When a stronger country comes in to aid a
weaker one with it’s internal and/or external
• Ex: Germany helping Austria with Russia
• Ex: USA helping the Shah in Iran
• When Country A creates a coalition of
countries with the intent of isolating Country
B from the world community.
Pride in your people and/or country.
• When the government seizes assets of private
citizens and/or foreign investors. Usually
refers to the control of natural
resources, infrastructure, and wealth.
• Belief that actions can create a chain reaction
• Specifically directed towards the spread of
political philosophies and/or social movements
Following the conclusions of World War One and
Two, European countries began pulling out of the Middle
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.
• Two historically influential regions are:
• Persia: present day Iran
• Arabia: present day Saudi Arabia
• Language, culture, religion, previous empires, etc …
• Two major religious groups in the Muslim world
• Their differences are subtle.
• Shiites are located mainly in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon
• Ayatollah seen as an acceptable leader of Islam
• Very conservative group
• “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.
Cold War Middle East
Ever hear of the Cold War? Yeah, it was a big deal in the
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 …
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
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
European pull outs coincided with the rise of Nationalism in the
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
• To regain the wealth of the country – many of these
revolutionaries would nationalize their countries.
• This made the revolutionaries appear like they were
• 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).
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
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.
• 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
• As a result, we’d side with the authoritarian regimes
and prevent democracies from becoming established
in the Middle East.
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
COLD WAR IMPACT