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The U.S. in the Middle East IR503/PO503

(Spring, 2013-14)

Augustus Richard Norton (arn@bu.edu, webpage, blog)

CGS 121 Wednesday:  1:00-4:00 p.m.

Office: Room 440, 152 Bay State Road

Telephone: (617) 353-7808

Blackboard


Office Hours: M 4:15-5:15; T 2:00-3:30; and by appointment.

Course Description:  The Middle East has been a major focus for U.S. foreign policy since the Second World War.  Over the past few decades, the Middle East has gained increasing salience for policymakers in Washington.  The region receives the lion’s share of U.S. development and military assistance, and beneficiaries U.S. aid include Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Yemen.  More arms flow into the Middle East than any other part of the world, and the United States is the leading arms provider in the region (and in the world).  U.S. allies in Europe and Japan are heavily dependent upon oil from the Gulf and North Africa, American oil companies have an enormous economic stake in the area, and the unimpeded flow of petroleum from the region is crucial to the strength of the domestic U.S. economy.

Throughout the 1950s and the 1980s, the Middle East was the site for a Cold war struggle for influence and position between Washington and Moscow.  Middle East wars in 1956, 1967, and especially 1973 quickly became major international crises.  When the Cold war ended, the Middle East remained a region of enormous geopolitical significance.  After the demise of the Soviet empire, the geographic dimensions of the region expanded to include the Muslim societies of Central Asia, which once again routinely interact with the Arab world, Israel, Turkey and Iran.  Particularly since September 11, 2001, the U.S. has become acutely aware its leading role in the Middle East brings with it serious threats of violence, which stem in part from advocates of a radical Islamist worldview that is hostile to the presence of the U.S. (among others) in the region, as well as broader resentment of U.S. policies and actions, such as the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and the unresolved Arab-Israeli conflict.  

From the standpoint of U.S. foreign policy, there are four fundamental interests: access to Middle East oil, ensuring that the region does not fall under the sway of a hostile power, reducing if not eliminating terror-violence emanating from the region, and insuring the security of Israel.  

The United States, like its major European allies, avows a commitment to the promotion of democracy in the Middle East, but this commitment has been inconsistent and has periodically been set aside in the service of other interests. This raises the question of whether the promotion of democracy is feasible or prudent.  For many years, the “drug of choice” for U.S. policy was regional stability and the promotion of reform was viewed as a potential source of instability.  That perspective was rethought since 9-11, but there remains a debate about the merits of political reform. Many observers argue that Islamist political forces pose a major challenge to U.S. interests in the region.  Does the U.S. have a fundamental interest in seeing that Islamists do not come to power?  Much of this debate rendered academic by the stunning upheaval of 2011 that led to the toppling of dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya and perhaps Yemen.  The reverberations of the upheaval continue to shake the foundations of power in a variety of states, not least Syria but also in many other countries in the region (e.g., Bahrain and Yemen). 

For more than four decades the U.S. has been concerned about nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.  Israel already has assembled a nuclear arsenal, notwithstanding its official posture.  Other states, including Iran, and for certain periods, Iraq and Libya, have programs underway that may lead to the acquisition of nuclear weapons.  Should the U.S. support an Israeli monopoly on nuclear arms, or should it move for the establishment of the nuclear-free zone in the region?  For many years, Iran was a close U.S. ally, but with the revolution of 1979, a hostile regime came to power in Tehran.  Now, after much anguish and several foreign policy disasters fomented by Iran, the U.S. is pursuing a policy aimed at isolating Iran.  Is this a credible and sensible policy, given expressed U.S. interests in fostering a security regime in the Gulf?  These questions, and others, are central to any exploration of U.S. policy in the Middle East.

After laying the groundwork with a discussion of U.S. foreign policy since the Second World War, we shall explore these questions with a view to understanding the underpinnings of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, and thinking creatively about the dilemmas of present U.S. policy.

Requirements: There will be two scheduled quizzes in the course.  Each quiz will be comprised of short essay questions that require the student to draw upon the assigned readings, lectures, films, as well as class discussions.  There is also a mid-term examination in this course.  The mid-term will be based on a randomly selected essay question, chosen from a set of complex questions provided the week prior.  Students in this course are expected to do all the readings for this course in advance of class. At the beginning of each class session one or students will be asked to address material from the assigned reading.  Each participant is required to make a presentation about an assigned article or book chapter.  A grade for course participation will take account of attendance as well as the student’s contributions to the classroom discussion, especially when called upon to comment.  Two concise graduate-quality papers are required.  Each class member will be assigned to a working group that is responsible for a professional quality presentation, including audio-visual aids, reference handouts and an oral presentation.  N.B., the quiz and exam dates are fixed.  There are no make-up exam offered except in bona fide emergency situations; exams missed due to scheduled travel, job interviews, meetings, etc., do not qualify for make-ups.

Using a maximum attainable total of 100 points, the requirements are as follows:

Grade scale: A (95 points or above), A- (92 or above); B+ (88 or above); B (85 or above), B- (82 or above), C+ (78 or above), C (75 or above), C- (72 or above), D (65 or above), F (64.9 or below).  There are no extra credit options.


Attendance:  Attendance is required.  Unexcused absences and lateness will be considered in calculating the grade for participation.  An attendance sheet will be circulated with an addendum for late arrivals.  Please note that barring documented emergency situations, make-up quizzes and exams will not be offered.  Consult the syllabus for the scheduled exam dates and please plan accordingly.


Academic integrity:  Please read the Boston University Academic Conduct Code.  Handing in someone else's work or ideas as your own (even if you worked on it together as a group) constitutes plagiarism, as does using someone's ideas without attribution.  You must give a citation when you use an author's ideas in your paper, even if you do not quote the text word-for-word.  I will go over in class the correct procedures for quoting and referencing the work of other authors.  If you miss that class or if you have any questions, please ask. Any infraction MUST be reported to the Dean for resolution by the Academic Conduct Committee.  Be informed and be careful.

Also consult the following official sources, as appropriate: graduate students, undergrads.

The syllabus, course descriptions, and handouts created by Professor Norton, and all class lectures, are copyrighted by Boston University and/or Professor Norton.  Except with respect to enrolled students as set forth below, the materials and lectures may not be reproduced in any form or otherwise copied, displayed or distributed, nor should works derived from them be reproduced, copied, displayed or distributed without the written permission of Professor Norton.  Infringement of the copyright in these materials, including any sale or commercial use of notes, summaries, outlines or other reproductions of lectures, constitutes a violation of the copyright laws and is prohibited.  

Students enrolled in the course are allowed to share with other enrolled students course materials, notes, and other writings based on the course materials and lectures, but may not do so on a commercial basis or otherwise for payment of any kind.  Please note, in particular, that selling or buying class notes, lecture notes or summaries, or similar materials both violates copyright and interferes with the academic mission of the College, and is therefore prohibited in this class and will be considered a violation of the student code of responsibility that is subject to academic sanctions.

Communication: The Blackboard page is an excellent device for conveniently providing course materials, schedules, grades and announcements.  Access is limited to enrolled students in the course.  Class members are urged to check the page twice weekly using the Boston University user name and password.  

Routine communications and announcements will be made by email and often posted on Blackboard.  If you use an email address other than your __@bu.edu address, please be sure to provide that email address to the professor (by email to arn@bu.edu ).

Consultation and office hours: 152 Bay State Road (IR), fourth floor, Rm. 440. Feel free to come by and chat. If you cannot make the regular office hours, please make an appointment for another (353-7808 or 9279; email: arn@bu.edu ).

Books (except electronic books, all requested for two-hour reserve):

Boston Study Group on Middle East Peace, Israel and Palestine: Two States for Two People: If not now, when? (New York: Foreign Policy Association, 2010), PDF, http://www.fpa.org/usr_doc/Israel_and_Palestine_Two_States_for_Two_Peoples_2010.pdf .

Fawcett, Louise (ed.). International Relations of the Middle East (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), reserve requested.

Norton, Augustus R. Hezbollah: A Short History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014.)  This should be out in late February 2014, reserve requested.

Tyler, Patrick. A World of Trouble: The White House and the Middle East—from the Cold War to the War on Terror (New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2009), ISBN: 9780374532000, reserve requested.

Current History.   “The Middle East,” December 2013.

Recommended:

Wilford, Hugh, America's Great Game: CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East (NY: Basic Books, 2013), ISBN 9780465019656, reserve requested. 

Other books, articles, documents and papers are on-line, on Blackboard or on reserve.  Here are some of them:

Bill, James A. The Eagle and the Lion : the tragedy of American-Iranian relations (New Haven: Yale University Press,1988), pp. 319-78, reserve.   ISBN: E183.8.I7 B5.

Clinton, Hillary Rodham. Remarks at the Forum for the Future (Doha, Qatar, January 13, 2011).  Video/text.

Cottam, Richard C. “United States Middle East Policy in the Cold War Era,” in Dale F. Eickelman, ed., Russia’s Muslim Frontiers: New Directions in Cross-Cultural Analysis, (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1993: 19-37), reserve.  ISBN: DK859 .R87 1993.

Eickelman, Dale F. “Culture and Identity in the Middle East: How they Influence Governance,” Fighting Chance: Global Trends and Shocks in the National Security Environment, ed. Neyla Arnas (Washington DC: National Defense University Press, 2009), pp. 157-72. Blackboard

Iraq Study Group Report, December 2006.  Blackboard

Robert Kagan, Power and Weakness, Policy Review, number 113 (June 2002).

Kurtzer, Daniel C. and Scott B. Lasensky. Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace (Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2008), reserve.  ISBN: 978-1-60127-030-6.


Lieberman, Robert J. "The "Israel Lobby" And American Politics." Perspectives on Politics 7, no. 2 (2009): 235-57, reserve.

__________. "Rejoinder to Mearsheimer and Walt." Perspectives on Politics 7, no. 2 (2009): 275-81, reserve.


Maass, Peter, “The Toppling,” The New Yorker, January 10, 2011, pp. 42-53.  Blackboard

Mearsheimer, John J. and Stephen M. Walt, Can Saddam Be Contained? History Says Yes, 14. (Cambridge: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, JFK School of Government, 2002), PDF. 

__________.  "The Blind Man and the Elephant in the Room: Robert Lieberman and the Israel Lobby." Perspectives on Politics 7, no. 2 (2009): 259-73, reserve.

Miller, Judith, “The Challenge of Radical Islam,” Foreign Affairs, 72, No. 2, (Spring 1993: 43-56), reserve.

Nakhleh, Emile A. A necessary engagement : reinventing America's relations with the Muslim world (Princeton: Princeton University Press, ), reserve. ISBN: JZ1480.A55 N35 2009

Norton, Augustus R., “Middle East Realignment: The Arab Upheaval,” Great Decisions, 2012 (New York: Foreign Policy Association, 2012), pp. 5-18.

__________, “Arab Revolts Upend Old Assumptions,” Current History, January 2012, pp. 14-18.

_________, "America’s Middle East Peace Crisis: A Requiem for Oslo," Current History (January 2001): 1-8.

 __________ and Robin Wright, “The Post-Peace Crisis in the Middle East,” Survival, 36, No. 4 (Winter 1994-95): 7-20, reserve.

 Breaking Through the Wall of Fear in the Arab World,Current History (January 1992): 37-41

__________ and Mohammed Muslih, “The Need for Arab Democracy, Foreign Policy, no. 83 (Summer 1991): 3-19.

Obama, Barack H., Oslo speech

__________, “A New Beginning” (Cairo, June 4, 2009).  Background and video.

Slavin, Barbara.  Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the U.S. and the Twisted Path to Confrontation (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2007), ISBN: 9780312384913, reserve.

Slater, Jerome, “The Superpowers and the Arab-Israeli Political Settlement: The Cold War Years,” Political Science Quarterly, 105, No. 4, (1990-91: 557-77), Blackboard.

USIP, Iraq after the Surge: Questions and Issues

Wright, Robin.  Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011), ISBN: 9781439103166, reserve.

Some resources may also be found on From the Field , www.bu.edu/ir503 (not yet active) and on  http://people.bu.edu/arn .

Noteworthy blogs (periodically updated) will be posted on the course webpage.  A sample: http://oumcartoon.tumblr.com

Middle East news sites:

http://www.world-newspapers.com/east.html

http://www.al-bab.com/media/newspapers.htm

Schedule of Classes:

Week 1: (January 15) Introduction

Topics: Purposes, goals, organization and requirements of the course; reflections on the salience of the Middle East for U.S. foreign policy.

Reading: Syllabus; Current History, December 2013.

Week 2: (January 22) The Cold War in the Middle East  

Reading: A World of Trouble by Patrick Tyler, to p. 175; and Cottam, “United States Middle East Policy in the Cold War Era” on reserve.

Recommended: International Relations of the Middle East ed. by Louise Fawcett, chapters 1, 2 and 3.

Week 3: Iran, Nationalism and Oil (January 29)

Reading: A World of Trouble by Patrick Tyler, to pp. 210-248; The Eagle and the Lion : the tragedy of American-Iranian relations by James A. Bill 1988, pp. 319-448, on reserve.

Recommended: The Eagle and the Lion by James A. Bill, to p. 315; streaming video of Stephen Kinzer on U.S. covert action; and the CIA’s long-classified study of the 1953 coup (released in 2000); Also see Kinzer’s All the Shah's men: an American coup and the roots of Middle East terror (Hoboken, N.J.: J. Wiley & Sons, c2003).

Week 4: The Arab-Israeli Conflict and the U.S. as Peacemaker (February 5) 

Reading:  Boston Study Group, all; A World of Trouble by Patrick Tyler, pp. 176-209; Slater, Jerome, “The Superpowers and the Arab-Israeli Political Settlement” in Blackboard; Norton, "America’s Middle East Peace Crisis" Current History (2001): 1-8. International Relations of the Middle East, chapters 11 and 12.

Recommended: Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace by Kurtzer and Lasensky, on reserve.

Week 5: Quest for Hegemony: Iran, Iraq and Israel (February 12) 

*Quiz I (covering all readings/reference materials/classes through February 5)*

Reading:  A World of Trouble by Patrick Tyler, pp. 249-401; International Relations of the Middle East, chapters 9, 13 and 15.

Recommended: The Arab cold war, 1958-1964; a study of ideology in politics, by Malcolm Kerr (London, New York: Oxford University Press, 1965); Slavin, Barbara.  Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the U.S. and the Twisted Path to Confrontation (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2007), ISBN: 9780312384913.

Week 6: No Class—MONDAY SCHEDULE The Post-Cold War Middle East (February 19)

Reading: A World of Trouble by Patrick Tyler, pp. 402-524; A.R. Norton and Robin Wright, “The Post-Peace Crisis in the Middle East,” Survival, 36, No. 4 (Winter 1994-95: 7-20); International Relations of the Middle East, chapters 5 and 16. 

Recommended: A. R. Norton and Robin Wright, “The Post-Peace Crisis in the Middle East,” Survival, 36, No. 4 (Winter 1994-95: 7-20).

Week 7: The Challenge of Political Reform (first half February 26); second half The U.S. and Turkey

Talk and discussion with Professor Lenore Martin on the U.S. and Turkey.

View Film out of class: Graham Fuller on Turkey.

Reading: A World of Trouble by Patrick Tyler, pp. 525-54; Dale Eickelman “Culture and Identity”; Norton, Breaking Through the Wall of Fear in the Arab World; International Relations of the Middle East, chapters 4, 6 and 7. 

Recommended: A. R. Norton, ed., Civil Society in the Middle East, 2 vols. (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1995, 1996); Norton and Muslih, The Need for Arab Democracy; Tarek Osman, Egypt on the Brink: From Nasser to Mubarak (Yale University Press, 2011), ISBN: 9780300162752.

Week 8: The Rise of Political Islam (March 5)

*Quiz II (covering all readings/reference materials/classes through February 26)*

Reading: Hezbollah by Norton; Judith Miller, “The Challenge of Radical Islam,” Foreign Affairs, 72, No. 2, (Spring 1993: 43-56). International Relations of the Middle East, chapter 8.

View film: Berna Turam on the Gülen movement in Turkey.

Recommended: Bernard Lewis, TBA.

Week 9: 9-11, Regime Change and the Aftermath (March 19)

*Policy statement due by email attachment, saved as a rich text format (RTF) document, NLT 5:00 P.M., March 23*

Reading: A World of Trouble by Patrick Tyler, pp. 525-54; International Relations of the Middle East ed. by Louise Fawcett, chapters 9 and 10; Iraq Study Group report (blackboard); Bush at West Point, Rice in Cairo, and Cheney at the VFW; The National Strategy of the United States, 2002; Iraq after the Surge: Questions and Issues (USIP); 

Recommended: Robert Kagan, Power and Weakness; Mearsheimer and Walt. "Can Saddam Be Contained? History Says Yes;" Victor Davis Hanson, "Democracy in the Middle East: It's the Hardheaded Solution." The Weekly Standard, October 21 2002; The Looming Tower: al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright (New York, Alfred Knopf, 2006); Peter Maass, “The Toppling,” The New Yorker, January 10, 2011, pp. 42-53.  Blackboard; Peter L. Bergen, The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and al-Qaeda (New York: Free Press, 2011).

Week 10: Mid-term (75 minutes); the New Geopolitics of the Region (March 26)

*Essay Exam (question provided 7 days in advance)*

Reading TBP.

Week 11: The Obama agenda in the Middle East: challenges, dangers and domestic determinants of policy (April 2) 

Reading: Obama Oslo speech; Trita Parsi, A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran; Robert J. Lieberman, "The "Israel Lobby" and American Politics." Perspectives on Politics 7, no. 2 (2009): 235-57; Mearsheimer and Walt, "The Blind Man and the Elephant in the Room: Robert Lieberman and the Israel Lobby." Perspectives on Politics 7, no. 2 (2009): 259-73; Peter Baker, “Inside Obama’s War on Terrorism”; additional readings to be added. 

Week 12: The “Arab Spring” and its Aftermath (April 9) 

*Quiz III (covering all readings through April 9)*

Reading: Nakhleh, Current History, December 2009. Blackboard; Norton, “Middle East Realignment: The Arab Upheaval,” Great Decisions, 2012 (New York: Foreign Policy Association, 2012), pp. 5-18; Norton, “Arab Revolts Upend Old Assumptions,” Current History, January 2012.

One hour meetings with Professor Norton will also be scheduled for each of the four working group during this week.

Week 13: NO CLASS—MONDAY SCHEDULE ON BU CALENDAR (April 16)

*Hard copy of the policy analysis due by Friday, April 20 at 5:00 p.m.*

Week 14: Lecture on Turkey at the Castle, Tuesday, April 23, 4:30 P.M.

Working Group Presentations (April 25) 

Each working group will have ten minutes to set up.  The strict limit for each group is 30 minutes for all presentations.

Week 15: Working Group Presentations and Wrap-up (April 30)

Each working group will have ten minutes to set up.  The strict limit for each group is 30 minutes for all presentations.