Defining Documents in American History: U.S. Involvement in the Middle East offers in-depth analysis of 64 primary source documents at the foundation of the study of United States involvement in conflicts in the Middle East.
The Middle East and the United States have had a complex relationship since the early 1800s, especially as it relates to the conflicts and wars that the region has experienced in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The United States has engaged in military and covert operations throughout the Middle East in an effort to protect its own strategic interests, maintain access to oil resources, settle rivalries, and prevent the spread of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. The documents in this volume of the Defining Documents series provide an overview of the turbulent history and current state of U.S. relations with the Middle East.
The primary source documents include book excerpts, speeches, political debates, testimony, court rulings, legal texts, legislative acts, essays, newspaper articles, and interviews. These selections trace the role and complex history of U.S. involvement in the conflicts in the Middle East in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
The material is organized into five sections, and each section begins with a brief introduction that examines the politics and policies of the United States and the Middle East through a variety of historical documents.
- Colonialism and the Transition to U.S. Influence includes documents from the years 1896-1957 that track the history of conflicts in the Middle East as a time when most of the area had been under direct or indirect foreign rule, nationalist forces arose, including Theodor Herzl’s call for a Jewish state; Truman’s Statement on Immigration into Palestine; and Gamal Abder Nasser on the Nationalization of the Suez Canal.
- Arab Voices in Oppression includes documents that trace the evolution of Islam in the region (1744-1977) such as The Saud Family and Wahhabi Islam, Sayyid Qutb on Jihad, and the Palestinian National Charter.
- Late Twentieth-Century Wars and Peace Accords begins with UN Security Council Resolution 242 on the Arab-Israeli Conflict, and includes Camp David Accords, a report and analysis of the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing, and Muhammad Qutb on the Origins of Islam.
- 9/11, Afghanistan, and Iraq is the most extensive section, covering a period of time from 1996-2013 and includes such pivotal documents in the relationship between the U.S. and the Middle East such as Osama bin-Laden's’ Declaration of Jihad against the Americans, Colin Powel on Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction, “Mission to Niger” and the Valerie Plame Affair, The Zelikow Memo, and President Obama’s Remarks on the Killing of Osama bin Laden.
- Arab Spring, ISIS, and After, which takes us from 2011 to the present, with documents such as Flashing Red: A Special Report on the Terrorist Attack at Benghazi; Donald Trump’s “Muslim Ban” Speech; and “U.S. Gov’t Misled Public About Afghan War.”
Each Historical Document is supported by a critical essay, written by historians and teachers, that includes a Summary Overview, Defining Moment, About the Author, Document Analysis, and Essential Themes. An important feature of each essay is a close reading of the primary source that develops broader themes, such as the author’s rhetorical purpose, social or class position, point of view, and other relevant issues. Each essay also includes a Bibliography Further Reading section for additional readings and research.
Appendixes in this book include:
- Chronological List which arranges all documents by year;
- Web Resources, an annotated list of websites that offer valuable supplemental resources;
- Bibliography lists of helpful articles and books for further study