What values should shape U.S. policy in the Middle East?
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First edition. November 2017.

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. This diverse and complex region plays an important role in U.S. foreign policy. Today, the U.S. need for oil, its political and military alliances, and its concerns about terrorism make the Middle East an important region for the United States. The Middle East: Questions for U.S. Policy equips students to consider the role of U.S. policy in the Middle East. The unit is divided into four parts. Each part includes:

  • Student readings
  • Accompanying study guides, graphic organizers, and key terms
  • Lessons aligned with the readings that develop analytical skills and can be completed in one or more periods
  • Videos that feature leading experts

This unit also includes an Options Role Play as the key lesson and an additional synthesis lesson 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.

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 are two lessons aligned with Part I: 1) The Geography of the Middle East, and 2) Precolonial Poetry of the Middle East.

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

Parts 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 are two lessons aligned with Part II: 1) Primary Source Analysis: The Creation of Israel, and 2) Primary Source Analysis: Iran—Oil Nationalization and the 1953 Coup.

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 global War on Terror, and the Arab Spring uprisings. There is one lesson aligned with Part III: Graffiti and Social Media in the Egyptian Revolution.

Part IV: Case Studies

Part IV includes six case studies that examine the factors that have influenced U.S. policy. The case studies are selective. Choices also offers full curriculum units on Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey that may be of interest. There are two lessons aligned with Part IV: 1) Analyzing the Six Case Studies, and 2) Syrian Refugees: Understanding Stories with Comics.

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.

Precolonial Poetry of the Middle East

Students analyze poetry written by women in pre-Islamic and early Islamic societies and consider the benefits and limitations of poetry as a source for historical learning.

Primary Source Analysis: The Creation of Israel

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

Students use primary source documents to identify the motivations and interests of the Iranian and U.S. governments in regard to oil nationalization in Iran and the coup of 1953.

Graffiti and Social Media in the Egyptian Revolution

Students compare and contrast the Arab Spring protests in different countries and then assess the role of graffiti and social media posts as forms of political expression in Egypt.

Analyzing Six Case Studies of U.S. Policy

Working together, students compare and contrast the history of U.S. policy in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Syria, and Israel and the Palestinian territories.

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.

The Options Role Play

The Options Role Play is the key lesson in the unit, and it asks students to examine four distinct options for U.S. policy toward the Middle East in preparation for writing their own option.

Weighing Recommendations for U.S. Policy

Synthesis Lesson: Armed with historical knowledge and a sense of their own values, students deliberate the options presented. They articulate their recommendations for U.S. policy and apply their policy guidelines to specific cases in the Middle East.

MATERIALS
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