What values should shape U.S. policy in the Middle East?
Second edition. July 2022.

The term “Middle East” can create a mental image of a group of similar countries and peoples with shared politics and histories, but this is deceptive. The people of this part of the world have diverse ethnicities, religions, languages, and understandings of their histories. They experience a variety of different ways of life. The United States’ need for oil and its political and military alliances make the countries in the Middle East important to U.S. policy. The Middle East: Questions for U.S. Policy equips students to consider the role of U.S. policy in the region. Students examine the region’s history, the role the United States has played, and how U.S. policy affects the lives of people in various Middle East countries. The unit is divided into three parts. Each part includes:

  • Student readings
  • Accompanying study guides, graphic organizers, and key terms
  • Lessons aligned with the readings that develop analytical skills (including at least one that focuses on building geographic literacy) and can be completed in one or more periods
  • Videos that feature leading experts

This unit also includes as the key lesson an examination of Local Perspectives from the Middle East that allows students to synthesize new knowledge for assessment. You do not need to use the entire unit; feel free to select what suits your classroom needs.

Preview this unit. Preview includes the Table of Contents for the Student Text and the Teacher Resource Book as well as a student reading excerpt and one lesson plan.

“This unit illuminates events in a region of the world with which most of my students have little familiarity. I love watching the light bulbs go on as they start to make connections between the new things they are learning and more familiar events they have already studied in previous history classes.” – Molly, History and Social Studies Teacher, Oregon
READINGS

Part I: The Modern Middle East

Part I introduces the political history of the Middle East prior to U.S. involvement as well as the history of U.S. policy in the region through World War II. There is one lesson aligned with Part I: The Geography of the Middle East.

Part II: U.S. Policy in the Middle East During and After the Cold War

Part II examines major events in the Middle East that shaped the region’s relationship with the United States during and after the Cold War. There is one lesson aligned with Part II: Primary Source Analysis: The Creation of Israel.

Part III: U.S. Policy in the Middle East in the Twenty-First Century

Part III examines major events in the Middle East that shaped the region’s relationship with the United States from beginning of the twenty-first century through the present, including September 11, 2001, the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, and the Arab Spring uprisings. The section also explores key U.S. relationships with Iran, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, and Saudi Arabia. There are three lessons aligned with Part III: 1) Graffiti in the Egyptian Revolution, and 2) Syrian Refugees: Understanding Stories with Comics, and 3) Local Perspectives from the Middle East—a culminating synthesis lesson that allows students to examine U.S. policy and consider local perspectives.

LESSONS

The Geography of the Middle East

Students familiarize themselves with the Middle East, its significant cities, and its landmarks on a map. They then work together to explore images of the region and identify issues and themes for inquiry.

Primary Source Analysis: The Creation of Israel

Students use primary source documents to identify different views on the creation of Israel.

Graffiti in the Egyptian Revolution

Students assess the role of graffiti as a form of political expression in Egypt.

Students read stories of Syrian refugees to learn more about the ongoing civil war and consider how the experiences of individuals can inform understanding of a larger political context.

Local Perspectives from the Middle East

Synthesis Lesson: Students work cooperatively to explore primary sources about U.S. policy in the Middle East and analyze how people in the Middle East experience U.S. policy and other pressing issues.

MATERIALS
  • A slideshow of all the maps used in The Middle East: Questions for U.S. Policy.

  • A slideshow of the images and maps for use with “The Geography of Middle East” lesson.

  • Graffiti as Protest in Cairo, used in the “Graffiti in the Egyptian Revolution” lesson.

  • Video by the Mosireen Collective to be used in the “Graffiti in the Egyptian Revolution” lesson.

  • Video by Soraya Morayef to be used in the “Graffiti in the Egyptian Revolution” lesson.

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