Implications of Cold War and Post-Cold War in Middle East

Cold war is the conflict amid the communalist nations led by the Soviet Union and the independent nations led by the United States. Cold war is said to have started in the year 1947 after the death of the then American president Franklin D. Roosevelt and his replacement in April 1945 by the less diplomatic president Harry S. Truman. President Truman was to face several key international challenges as the Second World War had just ended. At this time nationalism began expanding and nations like Israel became independent since decolonization ended. The World War II further divided up the region causing many conflicts till today and the main issues were boundaries especially between Jews in Israel and the Muslim and Christian Palestinians – the key cause of Middle East conflicts.

Economically, oil is the fundamental resource in the Middle East, a dead rock region where the only means of transport then was camel. The European powers like Britain and France colonized nearly all of the Middle East and when the United States, came in after Second World War, they were seen as untainted and selfless and missionaries brought medicine, set up schools and took skilled petroleum engineers all over Middle East. Their main interest was the oil in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait. This paper proves that Cold War and post-Cold War era have greatly influenced the current political and economic climate of the Middle East and supports this hypothesis using analytical example from Louis Fawcett’s book and other books.

Soon after the Second World War, there was a newly formed United Nations, with most members being the least developed countries. This organ suggested the detachment of Palestine into two states and the internationalization of Jerusalem. Of Palestine population, the Jews were minority but went received the biggest and the fertile portion of the land. In this regard, the UN General Assembly in November 1947, voted devastatingly to advocate the detachment of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states which were to be joined in a financial union, and for Jerusalem to be managed by United Nations (Richman, 1991).

In this division, the Arabs would get 43 percent while the Jewish people 57 percent of the land yet they made up not more than a third of the Palestine’s population. The United States accepted the UN plan and campaigned for its support among other UN members. Truman said he was in person moved by the Jews misfortune and their being refugees. He said that emigration was the only option to save the surviving European Jews although he was in full conscious of the hostility of the Arabs against the Jewish settlement in Palestine (Richman, 1991). The main concern for Truman was local political and foreign policy implications of the detachment. He supported Zionism with the aim of keeping the Jews away from the US immigration quotas to avoid the Jews from getting into the United States.

On 14th May, 1948, Israel gained independence, but the Arab states rejected the partition of Palestine and existence of Israel and had armies from Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon among others attack and defeated (Shah, 2006). For instance, as the Jews formed their motherland, Palestine was non-existent and Jerusalem had not been managed by the United States. Palestinians were driven out of the Israel to Egypt and Jordan while the Jews were driven out of some Arab nations (Papacosma and Heiss, 1995)

In 1956, when Egypt gained independence, Israel Britain and France attacked Sinai Peninsula for fear of further loss of power and managed to defeat Egypt, and US forced their withdrawal (Shah, 2006). 1967 also had Israel attack Egypt, Syria and Jordan due to the Arab troops along its borders and captured Golan Heights to the Syria, West Bank from Jordan and Gaza Strip from Egypt, and since then negotiations have been on to recapture the lands as required by international law and UN resolutions to no avail. An attack to Israel by Egypt was to no avail and in order to maintain peace between the two countries, together with the US they signed a treaty where Israel returned Sinai to Egypt for peace a move that criticized Egypt as having given in to United States (Louis, 2005).

The Intifada - Palestinians uprising was in the late 80’s and left so many civilians dead and thousands of Israel forces killed by suicide activists. In 1993, the Oslo Peace Accord, Israel appreciated the PLO and gave them limited autonomy in favor of peace and an end to Palestinian claims on Israel territory (Shah, 2006). This accord has faced so much opposition as it is viewed as a one side accord to benefit only the Israelites while discriminating the Palestinians since the Israelites control of land, water and other resources (Louis, 2005). In 1994, Israelites withdrew from the Gaza strip after 27 years, and in 1996, Israel forces bombed Lebanon and Hezbollah bombed the Northern and most populated areas in Israel. When Israel attacked the UN shelters killing hundreds of civilians, the UN termed it as unintentional. This demonstrated the US support of all the Israel attacks of nations that have left most of the Middle East nations poor and economically devastated (Richman, 1991). Wye River Memorandum was brought in 1998 with Israel withdrawing from the West Bank and later in 1999 it was suspended.

Palestinians have had no nation hence limited rights with suffering in extreme poverty. European Palestinians have no right to vote, paying full taxes and for three decades, they have lived under military occupation making many Arab world citizens against US/Israeli policies (Louis, 2005). This reason has had many militant groups in Palestine and other middle east states engaged in Terrorism and freedom fighting especially using suicide bombings which have resulted to terror among the Israelite civilians a move that is making the achievement of peace extremely hard and the recruitment to violent causes easy (Shah, 2006) which saw Israel create large self-protective security fence in the West bank to stop terrorists from making their way in to Israeli cities which actually worked but was criticized for having gone too far into the Palestinian land. The US and Israel were displeased with Arafat and in 2002 June Bush called for fresh elections in Palestine and for concrete steps by Israel to counter the Palestinians (Louis, 2005).

These conflicts among the Middle East states have resulted to poverty, death of innocent civilians, hatred, terrorism all of which negatively influence the financial systems of the victim states. The US has turned up to support Israel in the conquering of the Arab countries and this has resulted to criticism which the US ignores.


Louis F., (2005).The International Relations of the Middle East. Oxford University Press.UK p 284

Papacosma V. and Heiss M., (1995). NATO in the Post-Cold War Era: Does it have a Future? St. Martins Press. United States of America.

Senior Editor Sheldon L. Richman (1991). Ancient History: U.S. Conduct in the Middle East Since World War Il and the Folly Of Intervention, Cato Policy Analysis No. 159, CATO Institute.

Shah A., (2006). The Middle East Conflict: A Brief Background. Global issues. Updated: July 30, 2006. Accessed: April 8, 2011.


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