Document Type

Undergraduate Syllabus


Spring 2013



Course Number

DIPL 4187

Course Description

This course provides students with an in-depth view of American involvement in the Middle East. We begin with a brief tour de force of 20th century history through the Cold War; we then proceed to expend most of our energy dissecting and analyzing decisions, events, and dynamics from the Clinton administration onward. Contemporary issues will be woven into the course, but this is not a current events class. The Middle East has produced much news in recent years and months. Some things must unfortunately be left aside. We will pay particular attention to America's relationship with two noteworthy countries: Israel and Iran. In particular, we will look at how the United States has played the role of peacemaker between the Israelis and Arabs/Palestinians. We will also spend substantial time considering the nature of US-Iran relations. Other topics addressed will be the interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, the fight against al Qaeda, and relations with Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

At the conclusion of the course, students should have a strong command of American successes and missteps with regard to major Middle East issues and substantial knowledge of the parameters of peace and conflict in the region. Students should also have a strong basis on which to make informed predictions and policy recommendations going forward. No prior academic study of the Middle East is necessary to succeed in this course.