The Middle East FINAL PAPER - The Middle East Political...

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The Middle East: Political Gridlock and American Intervention By: Victor T. Wong 06/09/08 HIST 290 Professor Shaun Lopez
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The United States’ involvement in the Middle East, especially after 9/11, has thoroughly consumed our nation’s news and media. It affects our political policies, our preferences towards political candidates and for many, the political party that they associate themselves with. Our nation’s involvement in the Middle East, however, is rooted all the way back towards the 19 th century when missionaries traveled to the region for evangelical reasons. Although there is often a negative portrayal of the relationship between the United States and Middle Eastern countries, the situation was not always as complicated as it was now. In fact, America was seen in admiration and was considered by most, “the city on top of the hill”. In comparison to the European colonial rule that had a firm grip on the Middle East, the United States was a trusted and liked country to start off with. However, as American involvement within the politics of the
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region increased, many key events led our nation down a path of conflict, animosity, and a development of a wide-spread anti-American public opinion in the Middle East. Through an examination of America’s intervention in Middle Eastern affairs in the last century coupled with conflicts within the region itself, specifically the Israeli Palestinian Conflict and the 1967 Arab- Israeli War, we can see the reasons for political gridlock in Middle Eastern politics. One of the most heated debates in our modern era involves the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, more formally known as the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, which occurred about half a century ago. Although the conflict originates from a very small piece of land in the Middle East, the tension in this area still possesses much of the world’s attention. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the British, in accordance to the Balfour Declaration of 1917, intended on establishing a national home in the Holy Land for the Jewish population (Lopez, April 3 Lecture). As a result, there was a dramatic increase in Jewish immigration into the land predominately occupied by the Palestinians. Naturally, tension in the region skyrocketed as Palestinians felt like they were being forced into exile from their original homeland and as the Jewish people believed that they rightfully deserved and owned the land. In November 1947, the U.N. tried to establish peace and calls for the establishment of two separate states: Israel and Palestine. Israel accepted the plan and the Arabs rejected it leading to a political standstill.
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