The Middle East; How We Got Here

The Middle East; It contains the graveyard of empires, the Promised Land, and a rich history. All throughout human history, man has fought for control of the area for several reasons. Today America is tied up in its longest war to date, the Arabs and Israelis are locked in a brutal conflict that has been raging for centuries, and Iran is building up its nuclear program. This area has dominated the foreign policy of American Presidents for the last four decades, and has brought America into a trying game of political chess. Why is America so interested in this area, and why has this area been plagued with conflict for the whole of its long history? As our biggest ally in the Middle East, Israel and its ongoing struggle against its Arab neighbors, is an event that is and has been closely watched by the United States. Created in 1947 by the United Nations, Israel was born into a disputed area. The Jews claimed that the area was rightfully theirs as they believed that it was the Holy Land promised by God, dating back to the Old Testament. The Arabs saw the installation of a separate Jewish state as an intrusion on their land. Ever since the creation, the two sides have been in conflict. To this day the United States supports Israel, which is a critical ally in the area’s defense against radical Arabs. Recently tensions have risen to a fragile high as Israel, Iran, and the United States are in conflict about Iran’s potential of creating a nuclear weapon. Iran has threatened to use their military might in the event of an Israeli invasion, but the event seems unlikely as the consequences would be severe. America is caught in a political game of Monkey in the Middle, trying to moderate each side’s threats and accusations. The specific foreign policy pertaining to these countries have been a big part of each presidential candidate’s campaign. Also in the Middle East, the U.S. is still bogged down in their longest war to date. If history tells us anything, it’s that Afghanistan is not easy to control. In 1979, the former Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan after a Revolution jeopardized the communist rule. However, quickly the Soviets realized they were trapped in an enduring conflict against the Mujahedeen, a militant rebel group. In 1989, the Soviets had to evacuate as the cost of fighting an unpopular war was too much. American involvement in Afghanistan began in 2001, after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Towers. Much like the Soviet conflict, the event has sucked military funding and is losing popular support with each passing day. Americans are longing for an exit from this trying conflict, and both Presidential candidates have agreed that troops will be withdrawn in 2014. Even though the war is in its 11 th year and Osama Bin Laden has been killed, the elusive Taliban still remains an eerie and definite presence. With America’s relationship to Pakistan tainted, the condition in Afghanistan is grim with mounting pressure from all sides to bring it to an end. The end of America’s combat operations, however, will undoubtedly not end the violence in this area. The Afghan Army will have its hands full with a hungry Taliban looking to regain control of towns and villages in the mountainous country that it once held. The Middle East, ravaged by violence, is the most fragile region in the world. Currently, the area is a hotbed of revolutions, and civil wars. The age old dictators are barely hanging on to power as the people of the countries, with freedom in their eyes, struggle to create a democracy. With each successful revolution, the United States looks closely to see what group takes power, making sure that the group will cooperate with the U.S.’s style of government. The U.S. needs many allies in this area, so sponsoring a new government in these countries is important. History continues to repeat itself, the trends continue and America is caught in the fray. With no end really in sight to many of these issues, future Presidents will have a lot on their hands in this area. The Middle East has always been a contest for political influence, from the Ottoman Empire, to the Cold War, and still today. The future is never certain in the Middle East, but the past is a good indication of how volatile the situation will potentially remain.