The Cold War played a large role in shaping world politics in the 20th century. The hegemonic clash between the United States and the Soviet Union had an effect on every part of the world for 45 years. This is particularly true when we look at the history of the Middle East during this period. This course will explore the immense impact that the Cold War had on the development of the Middle East as a whole. Throughout the semester we will discuss the mandate system in the Middle East, the 1948 Israeli war of independence, the Baghdad Pact, Operation AJAX in Iran, the Suez Crisis in Egypt, the 1967 war, the war of attrition between Israel and Egypt, the 1973 war, the Iran- Iraq war and the Afghan-Soviet wars.
Beyond these armed conflicts, we will also discuss how the Cold War influenced the development of Arab Nationalism, Islamism, interregional and international economics, and regional power dynamics. Although the Cold War officially ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union, this course will illustrate how policies and opinions concocted during this 45-year conflict continue to dictate Middle Eastern policy until today.
This course will be a combination lecture/discussion course with lecture on Tuesdays and discussion on Thursdays. You will be expected to read an average of 150-200 pages a week of both secondary and primary sources. Weekly discussions will always focus on the primary sources for that week. Reading centers on primary sources, and the textbook: W. Cleveland's A History of the Modern Middle East (the basic textbook). Other books include: Rashid Khalidi’s Sowing Crisis: The Cold War and American Dominance in the Middle East. The course will include two papers and a final exam.