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Occupies area described as Middle East and Southwest Asia.
Pop - 29 million as at 2009.
Most live along two great rivers - Tigris & Euphrates.
Desert in West, Mountains in North.
Borders, Turkey, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria.
Has narrow access to Persian Gulf through Shatt al Arab waterway.
US Historical Legacies
- 1. Dominant culture derived from British Protestants who settled in US in 17th C.
- 2. Settlers escaping persecution.
- 3. Desired "Godly" settlements.
- 4. Strong sense of providence - "chosen people."
- 5. Success in War of Independence (1783) reinforced belief in "God given" role.
- 6. Legacy means that USA tends to present role within a moral framework.
- 7. At different times has fostered isolationist or interventionist role.
- 8. Shown determination to improve behaviour of others, overthrow tyrants, institute democracies.
- 9. Set up International Organisations to impose peace and "right" policies.
- 10. However, resists such Organistations telling it what to do.
- 11. Government believes is only responsible to God and American people.
The Land of the Free..
- 1. Great sense of opportunities due to large amount of land.
- 2. Government attempts to tax and regulate seen as tyranny.
- 3. Individual freedom of "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness."
- 4. Hostility against hereditary aristocracy / monarchy. Strong belief in democracy.
- 5. American civil war (1861 - 65) removes slavery.
- 6. Americans believe democracy desirable in all countries.
- 7. Hindrances to business seen as limitations on the individual.
- 8. Foreign laws not perceived as being as good as US constitution.
Conquering a Continent
- 1. 1783 - Vast area reserved for Native Americans by British becomes part of US.
- 2. 1803 - Louisiana purchaed from France
- 3. 1820 - Spanish territory, including Florida, annexed.
- 4. 1845-1848 - Texas and California captured from Mexico.
- 5. 1846 - Britain gives up claim to Pacific North-West.
- 6. 1867 - Alaska purchased from Russian.
1823- Monroe Doctrine. Pres James Monroe states that Europe should keep out of the Americas.
History of triumphal expansion reinforced feeling that US has right (duty ?) to weild its power for good throughout the world.
- 1. European wars / diplomacy ruled by monarchs morally suspect.
- 2. Busy conquering / developing a continent.
- 3. Slavery and Civil War causes internal focus.
- 4. No significant outside threat - war threatened with Britain over expansion into North West.
International Involvement 1898 - 1941
- 1. 1898 - War with Spain over independence of Cuba led to seizure of Philipines.
- 2. 1850's missionaries sent to East Asia. They put pressure on Government to consider interests of foreign nationals, especially Christians.
- 3. Development of Western coast led to concerns about other naval powers. Particularly Japan after it deafeated Russia in 1905. Heightened by anti-Asian immigration policies.
- 4. First World War. Conflict crosses Atlantic. Proposed German deal with Mexico, attempts to persuade Japan to attack America, sinking of US ships.
- 5. Progressivism - Sense of duty to reform along rational lines. Remove corruption, reduce poverty, improve health. Spread of American values.
- 6. Woodrow Wilson major progressive. League of Nations.
- 7. Resurgent isolationism prevents US joining the League.
- 8. Vast expansion of US economy led to international involvement.
- 9. US dominated oil industry - major producer.
- 10. Drive to break European hold on developing nations resources.
Second World War - a Watershed.
- 1. Isolation remained strong until Pearl Harbour (1941).
- 2. Post 1945 US had become the "arsenal of deomcracy."
- 3. Major alliance partner with UK.
- 4. Massive military-industrial complex. Standing army and navy (self-perpetuating through on-going confrontation ?).
- 5. Cost of 1st and 2nd World War made Americans feel that they needed to be involved to prevent further wars.
- 6. Communism seen as negative power in world. US called to confront another form of totalitarianism (Berlin blockade 1948-49, Korean War 1950- 53).
- 7. American business interests demand government protect them from Communism.
- 8. End of colonisation meant US keen to see democracies and secure business interests in decolonised nations.
- 9. Retreating colonial powers persuaded US to prevent Communist take overs.
- 10. Development of nuclear weapons and long range delivery systems meant that US was no longer secure (Russia develops nuclear bomb - 1949).
America in the Middle East..
- 1. Post WW2 America keen to prevent spread of communism.
- 2. British and French influence in region waning.
- 3. South-West Asia was a buffer between the USSR and US. America sponsors creation of Baghdad Pact that links Iraq with Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and UK.
- 4. American involvement in region due to oil. Arab-American Oil Company (ARAMCO) formed in 1944.
- 5. Formation of Israel in 1948 had great support in US.
- 6. Iranian Islamic Revolution in 1979 removed Shah (US ally) and threatened an alliance with USSR. Arab states and US concerned about Gulf oil-fields. Leads to US support of Saddam Hussein during Iran / Iraq War (1980 - 89).
American involvement in Middle East increased in 1990's - 2000's because of:
- 1. Oil. America has large contracts with oil producing companies in Saudi Arabia and the worlds largest reserves are in that area.
- 2. Iraqi invasion of Kuwait threatened control over these reserves.
- 3. Internal US politics (rise of religious right) has meant Israel has become almost sacrosanct in US.
- 4. Iran continues to oppose American interests. Has influence amongst Shia in Iraq, Lebanon and Afgahanistan. Opposes Israel and supports Lebqanese resistance. Attempting to gain Nuclear technology (Israel only nuclear state in region at present). Influence over Western Gulf oil-fields.
- 5. Rise of international movements, violently hostile to role of Western powers in the Islamic world (Al Qaeda). 2001 terrorist attack strengthened American reslove to sort out the region.
ACHOMSKY, why US in Iraq:
- 1. Largest and most easily accesible supply of energy in the world located in Middle East.
- 2. US has hx of wanting access / control in region (post WW1).
- 3. During WW2 Saudi Arabia received-Lend to keep UK out and buy off Saudi ruling class.
- 4. "Roosevelt" defense of Saudia Arabia vital to defense of US.
- 5. Britain unable to assist US in controlling region so became a "client state."
- 6. US produces much of its own oil. Wanted control of middle-east for world domination.
- 7. Control of oil = control of countries reliant upon it (eg Europe).
- 8. Post WW2 Marshall Plan shifted Europe and Japan from coal (own supply) to oil (US supply).
- 9. Controlling Iraq = critical leverage.
- 10. Oil never mentioned as reason for invasion of area but obviously the cause in pursuit of world domination. Economic / strategic.
- 11. Arab facade - policy taken over by US. Set up Peripheral States (gendarmes), pro-Western countries - Turkey, Israel, Pakistan, Iran before revolution. Power held in Washington.
- 12. Historically, tacit alliance in region between Saudi Arabia, Israel and Iran.
- 13. Threat of "Asian Energy Security Grid" forming - China, Russia, India, South Korea, Japan, maybe Iran. Utilising Asian oil supplies - Siberia. Nightmare scenario for US hegemony.
- 14. Control of oil currently controls Japan and China.
- 15. US cannot leave Iraq without having reliable client state set up. Cannot lose control of oil. "Utter catastrophe for US domination."
- 16. Iraq has shiite majority - could cause issues with suppressed Saudi Shiite population and forge links with Iran.
- 17. Taboo on talking about oil - US does not follow rational interests but moral instincts. So deeply ingrained that debate is surreal.
- 18. Imperialism - US has no right to determine things for anyone else.
BEN-ZVI - US foreign policy
- 1. US foreign policy from beginning of 20th C one of isolationism and interventionism.
- 2. Wilson's 14 points. Change internation system to work on democratic ideals.
- 3. Cold War - defensive policies of containment, deterrent, coercion.
- 4. Regional security alliances (NATO, Baghdad Pact etc).
- 5. Occassional offensive strategies (Cuba) laregely clandestine (Iran 1953, Guatemala 1954, Syria 1957).
- 6. Logic of Vietnam / Korea defensive.
- 7. George W. Bush seemed set to continue contaiment, deterrence policies.
- 8. Skeptical of international agreements (Kyoto).
- 9. Administration cautious in foreign affairs ( collision between US and Chinese plane).
- 10. Prior to 9/11, neo-conservatism (US foregin policy should take the initiative) minority view.
- 11. Post 9/11 preemptive strikes against "potential and embryonic threats to American security" gain ground (Keegan & Kristol paper 1996).
- 12. 9/11 - watershed which allowed neo-conservative policies to gain majority views.
- 13. Iraq became natural target (Afghanistan already invaded) due to UN weapons inspection violations, fear of WMD's, history.
- 14. Bush administration prepared to act unilaterally. UN security council largely unsupporitve.
- 15. Harks back to Bush's scepticism about multi-lateral organisations (UN).
- 16. War in Iraq to promote democracy (Wilsonian).
- 17. Reaffirmed post Russian collapse that US only nation powerful enough to act alone. Unassailable military and economic ability.
- 18. 9/11 catalyst to abandon multi-natural policies and assume strong, undisguised offensive and exclusionist policy that superseded commitments to international institutions.
- 19. Sweeping objectives, "extend American vision of freedom across the globe."
- 20. Motivated by acute / sudden sense of vulnerability. "cannot let our enemies strike first."
- 21. Invasion of Iraq failed to cause change in foreign policies of Iran and Syria.
- 22. No links found between Iraq and international terrorism / WMD's.
- 23. Policies of war-initiation downgraded coercive diplomacy. Had proved succesful during cold war.
- 24. Offensive strategies to change adversarial regimes can entail "considerable political risk." (Military occupation).
- 25. Deprive US of needed margin for manouverability / flexibility in foreign policy.
- 26. Iraqi outcome not decided - viable and effective Iraqi democracy?
Was war in Iraq necessary (BBC)?
- 1. No threat from Iraq was self-evident.
- 2. There was no nuclear program in operational (CIA & UN weapons inspectors).
- 3. No evidence that biological weapons were being produced in significant quantites.
- 4. No method of deliverance (obsolete missile systems low numbers) and limited stocks.
- 5. Stockpiles less than at time of Gulf War.
- 6. CIA reports post 1998 become alarmist.
- 7. Situation worsened ("rush to judge becmae stampede").
SHIBLEY - Stakes of America in Middle East
- 1. Vast majority of Arabs oppose the War.
- 2. Belief is that US invasion due to desire to control oil and assist Israel.
- 3. US stated objectives "spread democracy, fight terrorism, eliminate WMD's, advance Middle Eastern peace." rejected.
- 4. Arab governments aiding US forced to become less democratic due to internal opposition.
- 5. Turkey forgoes 10 billion USD in aid and reverses decision to aid US.
- 6. Hatred of Sadam Hussein did not translate into acceptance of US troops.
- 7. Anarchy in parts of Iraq and visible suffering reinforced authoritarian regimes in region.
- 8. Arab-Israeli ArabPeace Plan (Road Map) created by US, EU, Russia and UN (quartet) contradictory. Failed due to American distrations elsewhere.
- 9. Iraq war meant 150,000 troops in Iraq and cost of USD 4 billion every month. This in addition to war in Afghanistan and war on terror.
- 10. Israeli-Palestinian conflict greatest obstacle to US policy in Middle East.
- 11. Failure to succesfully end Iraq conflict has over-streteched US military.
- 12. American cannot afford to depart Iraq - embolden militant groups.
- 13. Accelerated nuclear progarms for potential targets of US aggression - Iran and N. Korea.
- 14. Decreased respect for US intelligence / concern about American unilateralism.
- 15. Opposition to US invasion of Iraq due to means not the end.
- 16. Breeding of terrorist groups following anarchy in Iraq.
- 17. Ultimate success depends on stable peace in Iraq and Israeli-Palestinian peace.
- 18. Fear amongst muslims that US targeting them.
- 19. Fear amongst US that muslims targeting them.
LEECH - The US, Oil and New World (Dis)order.
- 1. 1 year post invasion 71% of Iraqis viewed US as occupiers rather than liberators.
- 2. 13% believed invasion morally justified.
- 3. 58% believe that US troops conduct themselves badly.
- 4. As of 2004 - US soldiers killed = 1,000. Iraqi civillians = 100,000.
- 5. According to "Lancet" Risk of violent death for Iraqi's = 58% greater post invasion.
- 6. 2004 - National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the US (9/11 Commission) reports that Bush administration used 9/11 to justify invading Iraq.
- 7. Bush's pre-war rhetoric made it clear that UN weapons inspectors of little importance.
- 8. UN weapons inspector Exec Chariman - Hans Blix - "no evidence of continuation or resumption of programmes of WMD or significant quantities of proscribed items, whether from 1991 or later."
- 9. US own inspectors (Iraq Survey Group) post war agreed that Iraq had destroyed most of its WMD's.
- 10. No nuclear weapons program (David Kay head of Iraq Survey Group).
- 11. Iraq was no imminent threat to the US.
- 12. No links discovered between Iraq and Al Qaeda and 9/11.
- 13. Human rights arguments "lost lustre" following Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse.
- 14. Iraqi insurgents behead kidnapped Westerners in retaliation.
- 15. 2004 - becomes clear that number of insurgents are Iraqis opposed to US occupation.
- 16. US bombing attacks on insurgents kill large numbers of civillians (Fallujah).
- 17. US attempts to gag Arab news station - Al Jazeera.
- 18. Iraqs interim Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, bans Al-Jazeera from Iraq.
- 19. 2004 - UN Secetary-General, Kofi Annan criticised US invasion of Iraq. Should not have been undertaken without UN approval & broader international community. Added that the war was illegal as violated the UN Charter.
- 20. Bush's attempts at democracy promotion and liberal economic reform amount to setting up satellite state and opening up Iraq oil-fields to American companies.
- 21. 2003 - Paul Bremer, head of US-led Coalition appoints 25 person Iraqi Governing Council. Retains power of veto.
- 22. Most of council had lived in US as exiles and were close to US officials.
- 23. Ahmed Chalabil, selected by US, distances himself from Whitehouse and criticises occupatioon.
- 24. Huge dispersal of Iraqi oil revenues pay for contracts with US companies (85% of 2.2 billion).
- 25. Less than 2 months after the Iraqi invasion, US appoints US citizen, former Shell CEO, Phillip Carrol to rebuild and restructure Iraq oil industry.
- 26. Carrol suggests cancellation of all contracts with French, Russian & Chinese companies.
- 27. Favourable oil deals believed to be worth $600 billion over next fifty years.
- 28. Foreign companies allowed to develop new fields - 95% of reserves currently untapped.
- 29. June 2005 - London meeting "carves up" Iraqi oil resources to countries who assisted in invasion.
- 30. Ongoing lack of security leaves oil production at 500,000 barrels p.d. Expected capacity, 1.5 million barrels a day.
- 31. 2005. Elections in Iraq resulted in win for Shiite dominated United Iraqi Alliance, Ibrahim Jafaari, with 48% of vote.
- 32. US backed Allawi came 3rd with 14%.
- 33. Jafaari has links to Iran.
- 34. Neo-conservatist assumptions (stable, pro-American, Pro-Israel, prosperous Iraq) proven false.
- 35. LEECH believes US invasion took place because UN weapons advisers about to confirm Iraq had no WMD's. This would have led to lifting of UN sanctions and Iraqi oil-fields being opened to French, Russian and Chinese with US on sidlelines. This not acceptable to Bush who was seeking new energy supplies.
- 36. While Iraqi oil now available to US business, US troops mired in war against insurgents.
- 37. US public support waning for war.
- 38. Chasm betweeen US intent and US ability?
Iraq's Awakening Councils (BBC)
- 1. 2005 - Sunni tribesmen who had fought US and Iraqi Government ally themselves with US military.
- 2. Tribesmen had been in position of privilege under Hussein (also Sunni).
- 3. US paid, trained and armed. Salaries alone cost $360 million.
- 4. Question about Councils involvement with Al Qaeda and control of trade / smuggling.
- 5. Councils have led to reduction in violence.
- 6. US has created an armed Sunni opposition in Iraq.
- 7. Shiia run Government wary of militas and how they develop - alternative source of power.
- 8. 2009 - 20% of militias to be moved into police / army.. remainder ?
- 9. large number of alienated, armed Sunni's?