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History: The Modern Middle East - Freshman Essays

History: The Modern Middle East

Be prepared to address two of the following four prompts in essay format. Pay close attention to relevant details – if you are not filling at least two or three good pages on each, you are probably forgetting something important.

Choose TWO of the the following four:

1. Discuss Iraqi history from the Fall of the Hashemites to Gulf Wars.

• Analyse the effectiveness of the Hashemite monarchy.

◦ What changed under the Qasim and Arif brothers’ dictatorships?

• Describe the Ba’thist government in Iraq.

◦ Note some major policies of Hasan al-Bakr’s reign (such as nationalization of the oil industry…) and their consequences.

• Discuss the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War & Saddam’s foreign policy goals.

◦ Comment on Iran’s counter-attack, Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, and renewed war with the Kurds (including al-Anfal).

• Note motives for the 1990 invasion of Kuwait & discuss the resulting Crisis.

◦ Briefly describe operations Desert Shield & Desert Storm & the sanctions.

2. Discuss relations between Israelis & Palestinians since the 1970s.

• Explore the development of religious Zionism after the 1967 war.

◦ Be sure to describe the Gush Emunim and its impact.

• Describe Likud policies regarding settlement expansion in the 1980s, and other related political changes in recent decades.

• Explore the origins, meaning, and principal acts of the Intifada.

◦ Note the Israeli response, the effect on public opinion, and the social & economic impacts in the Territories.

• Discuss the creation of Hamas, and identify its ideology, goals, and activities.

• Explain the shift in emphasis under Rabin to ‘land for peace’.

◦ Describe the Oslo Accords and analyse their effectiveness.

◦ What is the Palestinian Authority and what does it do? O’Mara 2 of 2

3. Discuss important changes in Iran from 1953 through 1983.

• Who was Mohammad Reza Shah & how did his rule change after 1953?

◦ Explore his policies of repression and coöptation (include SAVAK). • Who was the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini & why did he oppose the shah? ◦ Explain the Khomeinist concept Velayat-e faqih. • Why did 1977 & 1978 provide an opportunity for reform or revolution?

• Discuss the part played in 1978 by the ulema, bazaaris, and students.

◦ Note the significance of the Black Friday & Muharram protests. • How did Khomeinists seize power of such a broad coalition of voices?

◦ Explain the significance of the American embassy hostage crisis, the effects of the fighting with Iraq, ‘Article Four’, and the Iran-Contra Affair.

4. Discuss the evolution of military & Ba’thist government in Syria.

• Why did civilian government in Syria fail?

◦ Explore the rôles of the military, anti-Communism, and Nasserism.

• What is the Ba’th party and what are its main tenets?

◦ Briefly note Syria’s history within the pan-Arabist movement.

• Describe the Ba’thists coups and the consolidation of power under Assad.

◦ Note the significance of the 1967 war.

◦ How did the Ba’thist régime exploit sectarian differences?

• Discuss Syria’s relationship to the PLO and the Palestinian cause.

• What was the Hama Massacre and what did it demonstrate to Syrians?

• Why and how did Assad intervene in the Lebanese Civil War?