Supplemental Materials includes online resources to accompany the printed unit, links to resources on other sites, and a list of recommended print resources.
The Middle East in Transition: Questions for U.S. Policy
First edition. December 2011.
On September 11, 2001, terrorists angry about the U.S. military's presence in Saudi Arabia and the U.S. role in the Middle East attacked the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington D.C.
For ten years, the events of that day shaped U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and beyond. Today, new developments are reshaping the U.S. role in the Middle East. In what has become known as the Arab Spring, popular protests have challenged governments across the region. Protesters are demanding democratic change and an end to the repressive policies of their governments. The long-term effects of these protests remain to be seen, as does the U.S. relationship to evolving Middle East politics.
Today, the United States' need for oil, relationship with Israel, and concerns about Iran's nuclear program have made the Middle East a critical area of U.S. involvement.
The Middle East in Transition: Questions for U.S. Policy analyzes the mix of interests and values that have drawn the United States into the region. This unit asks students to consider the principles behind the U.S. presence in the Middle East. A framework of four distinct options for U.S. policy toward the Middle East helps students explore a range of alternatives and gain a deeper understanding of the values underlying contrasting policy recommendations.
The readings prepare students to analyze the policy choices facing the United States. Part I surveys the history of U.S. involvement in the Middle East through the Persian Gulf War. Part II examines the Arab Spring, regional and international security, and other critical issues facing the Middle East today.
The Choices Role Play
The four policy options are designed to help students clarify their thoughts and, ultimately, articulate their own views. Each option is grounded in a clearly defined philosophy about the U.S. role in the world and the U.S. relationship to the Middle East.
The Iranian Revolution
Students form hypotheses about the causes of the Iranian revolution by exploring significant events in Iranian history.
Political Geography of the Middle East
Using historical maps that show border changes, students analyze the geography of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The Partition of Palestine
Students tackle the difficult task of partitioning Palestine in 1947 using contemporaneous data.
Views From the Middle East
In small groups, students role-play a summit in which Middle East leaders share their goals and concerns.
Views From the Middle East Using Google Earth
This lesson employs Google Earth satellite imagery to provide additional information about Middle Eastern governments, oil and water resources, and economic and social indicators.
Middle Eastern Literature
Students read excerpts from four short stories and assess the interplay between literature, politics, and culture in the Middle East.
Role-Playing the Four Options
Working cooperatively to present different policy options to an undecided group of senators, students clarify and evaluate alternative U.S. polices toward the region.
Weighing Recommendations for U.S. Policy
Armed with historical knowledge and a sense of their own values, students deliberate the options presented. They articulate their own coherent recommendations for U.S. policy and defend their views in a letter to a newspaper or a member of Congress. Finally, students test their recommendations in hypothetical crises.