American involvement 
in the Middle East since 1945

Merci !

Classe(s) : Tle ES - Tle L - Tle S | Thème(s) : The Middle East : a conflictual area
Corpus Corpus 1
American involvement
in the Middle East since 1945




> timelines and maps, p. IV-V

American involvement in the Middle East increased substantially by 1945. Why has anti-Americanism risen in most of the Middle Eastern countries since then?

1 The beginning of the American influence in the 1950s

A Two aims: accessing to oil and stopping communism

 By the end of World War II, the USA had come to consider the Middle East as one of the most strategic areas in the world. Its first main goal was access to Gulf oil.

 In the Cold War context, the USA tried to prevent the Soviet Union’s influence from growing in the area by supporting anti-communist regimes. It was the “Eisenhower doctrine” (1957). In 1955, they also created a defensive organization with Turkey, Iraq, Great Britain, Pakistan and Iran, called “Baghdad Pact”  (>cards7 & 8).

B Covert operations

 The USA chose to intervene indirectly. They funded parties that would favour their interests.

 In 1951, Mohammad Mossadegh became the Prime Minister of Iran. He decided to nationalize the Iranian oil industry. The CIA covertly* funnelled* one million dollar to be used in the fall of Mossadegh. In August 1953, the Prime Minister was overthrown and the Shah, the former leader of Iran, was returned.

2 The role of the USA in the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts

A An Israeli ally

 The creation of Israel in 1948 destabilized the region. The USA first tried to stop the conflict between Arab countries and Israel. But, in order to prevent pro-Soviet governments in Arab countries, it chose to support Israel in July 1967 during the Six-Day War.

 In October 1973, Egyptian and Syrian troops launched a surprise attack on Israel (the Yom Kippur War). The Nixon administration ordered a huge airlift of supplies to Israel. 

 In retaliation*, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), comprising a majority of Arab countries, decided to cut off all shipments of oil to the USA.

B A peace-maker

 At the end of the 1970s, the USA chose a diplomatic way to solve the conflict. The Carter presidency helped to start negotiations between Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. These talks began with the Camp David agreements (September 1978) and became a formal peace treaty in March 1979.

 New negotiations secretly started in 1991 in Oslo, Norway. The Oslo Accords were officially signed in Washington DC on September 13th, 1993, between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

3 The rise of anti-Americanism

A The First Iraq War (1991)

 At the end of the Cold War (1990), President George Bush Sr. aspired to create a “New World Order”.

 In 1991, he declared war on Iraq, which had invaded Kuwait. 34 nations led by the USA expelled* Iraqi troops from Kuwait.

B Terrorism

 American involvement caused the rise of a deep anti-Americanism among Middle Eastern societies. In 2001, the 9/11 attacks(>card9) were considered as an answer to the presence of the USA in the Middle East. Osama bin Laden, leader of an Islamist organization called al-Qaeda, declared a holy war against the USA.

 Consequently, in 2001, the USA started a military campaign in Afghanistan against the Taliban and al-Qaeda ruling this country. In 2003, it engaged a new war in Iraq, claiming that Saddam ­Hussein owned weapons of mass destruction. The American troops settled in Iraq didn’t withdraw until between 2009 and 2011.

  • covertly = secrètement
  • retaliation = représailles
  • to funnel = faire passer
  • to expel = expulser