The United States and the Middle East: A Search for New Perspectives

By Hooshang Amirahmadi | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
The United States and the Middle East:
A Search For New Perspectives

Hooshang Amirahmadi

The Middle East remains the most turbulent of all world regions, a fact reflected in Iraq's recent annexation of Kuwait and the subsequent United States—led war against Iraq. Other potentially explosive conditions include the fragile cease-fire between Iran and Iraq, the unrest caused by the revival of political Islam, the dormant civil war in Lebanon, the Palestinian uprising in the West Bank and Gaza, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the continued foreign interference in the internal affairs of the region. The far-reaching implications of a Middle East in crisis become clearer when one recalls that the region is the most important source of the world's energy supply and is strategically critical for world peace and economic prosperity. It contains such important waterways as the Persian Gulf and the Suez Canal, is adjacent to a disintegrating Soviet Union, and occupies a central position between the three continents of Europe, Africa, and Asia.

For a variety of historical, ideological, economic, and diplomatic reasons, Americans have been particularly influenced by the regional and international consequences of the crises and events in the Middle East. In recent years, the critical nature of the U.S.‐ Middle East relations have been highlighted by such events as the United States—led war in the Persian Gulf, the hostage drama, highjackings, the Iran-Contra affair, the explosion of the U.S. Marines' headquarters in Lebanon, the "Tanker War" in the Persian Gulf, Iraq's attack on the USS Stark (during which thirty-seven

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