Sowing Crisis: The Cold War and American Dominance in the Middle East
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Acclaimed historian and political commentator Rashid Khalidi presents the compelling case that U.S. and Soviet intervention in the Middle East not only exacerbated civil wars and provoked the breakdown of fragile democracies, but continues to this day to shape global conflict in the region. Examining the strategic interplay of cold war superpowers, Khalidi explains how the momentous events that have occurred over the last two decades—including two Gulf wars, the occupation of Iraq, and the rise of terrorism—can only be understood in light of this chilling legacy.
Arab-Israeli conflict, or than peace between Arabs and Israelis. Partly in consequence of the single-minded concentration of both of the superpowers on besting each other, that conflict came no closer to final resolution for the duration of the Cold War. There were a number of eƒorts toward such a resolution, most of them desultory: a brief single session of a peace conference at Geneva in 1973; three disengagement agreements negotiated by Henry Kissinger, two between Egypt and Israel and one
oil resources, and the projected targeting of the latter by United States strategic planners, were all clear signs of the dawning of a new age of competition for world dominance. They marked an extension into the postwar era of both sides’ newly enhanced strategic concerns and fears regarding what is today called “energy independence,” fears born of their traumatic experiences involving threats to their own oil supplies in World War II. The United States and the Soviet Union were in fact both
ignored by the United States, which was gradually acquiring a dominant position in the region and was determined to monopolize and control peacemaking eƒorts in ways that enhanced American influence and diminished that of the USSR. It did so irrespective of whether that facilitated the achievement of a lasting peace between all the parties concerned. It was argued by some during the latter decades of the Cold War that to be lasting, Middle Eastern peace would have to be comprehensive and involve
need for further rethinking of Cold War history in general, relatively little new research has been done about the central role of this great international rivalry in a number of regional conflicts.11 This follows on a period, from the late 1950s through the early 1990s, when much scholarship in a variety of fields, much of it policy driven and some of it of uneven quality, was devoted to exploring the impact of the Cold War on these regions. The inquiry into regional impacts of the superpower
influence in the region, and to continue to maintain military bases there, which often made them, and by extension the United States, anathema to nationalist public opinion in the Middle East. The United States labored under another related disadvantage by comparison with the USSR: its drive to obtain Middle Eastern bases of its own in order to complete the encirclement of the USSR from the south. This pursuit at times led the United States to fall in with the British, in particular in their