This is a paper I wrote for a history class I took at Augsburg College “The Modern Middle East”. The italicized text is the question to be answered, or topic. It’s an excellent class led by an exceptionally knowledgeable professor, Dr. Maheen Zaman (http://www.augsburg.edu/faculty/zamanm/)
To what extent did the Cold War in the Middle East involve the superpowers imposing their will on regional powers, and to what extent did it involve regional powers manipulating the superpowers? Discuss with special reference to different phases of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
According to Khalidi, both the US and USSR had strategic interests in the Middle East for its location in proximity to the USSR, its shipping lanes, and its vital natural resources such as oil and gas. Also, both viewed the other gaining access to these resources as a direct threat to regional economic stability and would pave the way to global military dominance. To the states and countries of the Middle East, the US and USSR were sources of vast wealth and technology, highly advanced weaponry, a means for bringing about a new Arab Nationalism through multilateral control of oil output and pricing, and a means to wage war with Israel.