A sketch history of U. S. military bases in the Middle East: Introduction

This is the first in a series of posts in which, getting in over my head as usual, I’ll attempt to explore the history of U. S. military involvement in the Middle East. The series began as a comment to a post from the once-ubiquitous-and-now-preoccupied praktike at Liberals Against Terrorism. Praktike noted a poll cited in this article in Foreign Affairs in which quite a high proportion of people in the Middle East stated that their ill feelings towards the United States were due to U. S. policies in the Middle East.

Frankly, I doubt that many people in the Middle East know what our policies there are. They’re not alone: I doubt that many Europeans or even Americans know what our policies in the region have been or are. Americans are generally disinterested in foreign policy until it’s thrust upon them. I further wondered what policies (other than support for Israel and “support for authoritarian regimes”) they opposed. Praktike responded that (in addition to our support for Israel) we have quite a few military bases over there.

I see blogging as a means of learning something as much as a means of saying something so this will be a learning experience for me. I’d welcome any pointers to sources as well as (gentle, constructive) criticism of my findings.

I plan to proceed by first (by way of preface) considering the U. S. involvement in the overthrow of Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, then considering a brief overview of our Middle Eastern military bases and their status. I’ll then discuss the history and status of our bases on a country-by-country basis.

Additional sections:

Preface: the Overthrow of Mossadegh

2 comments… add one
  • Of course most people don’t really know what our policies are, but remember, it’s not the policies that are important but how the people perceive them. Your average taxi driver may not have a high school degree, but he sees Israel being able to get away with anything it wants and American troops in Iraq. That’s enough.

    Looking forward to the series!

  • I agree, Chirol, but we need to recognize that our ability to influence the perceptions of our policies in countries with state-controlled media is very, very limited.

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