Before the collapse of the soviet union in 1991 the United States’ main goal was to stop the spread of communism, and to “promote democracy”. There is also evidence of the United States putting its oil needs before the well-being of other countries. The war for democracy in the Middle East has succeeded in toppling dictators and corrupt regimes but has also led to unprecedented regional political instability and a large increase in terrorism. Political instability has been a common thing in the Middle East sense the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in 1923. Once the empire fell, the League of Nations stepped in and portioned out the former world power; Syria and Lebanon to France; Palestine, Transjordan (Jordan) and Mesopotamia (Iraq) to the United Kingdom (Class A Mandates). However European colonialism of this region was short lived. The Kingdom of Iraq gained independence from the British in 1932; Syria and Lebanon gained independence from France in 1944; And British control of Transjordan and Palestine ceased to exist by 1948. Left to govern themselves, many Arab nationalists and anti-imperialists took footholds in the various governments around the region. The close proximity and known relations with the Soviet Union gave the soviets the immediate advantage over the U.S when it came to foreign influence. This posed a problem for the United States who was looking to expand its own sphere of influence after WW2.
Major U.S involvement in the Middle East can be traced back to the Eisenhower Doctrine, which in 1957 established the Middle East as a political playground for the United States and its allies. The doctrine stated that the U.S is willing to provide military and economic support to any Middle Eastern country in the case they were being attacked by another country controlled by internal communism (Blum 89). The resolution stated that “The United States regards as vital to the national interest and world peace the preservation of the independence and integrity of the nations of the middle east” (Eisenhower); However known events seem to contradict that statement. This was clearly an attempt to stop the spread of communism and limit the Soviet sphere of influence; but it also was intended as a step towards securing the U.S’s oil interests in the Middle East, because if the huge oil fields were to fall under Soviet influence or even rule, the U.S would suffer severe economic repercussions. Even before the Eisenhower doctrine, the United States had a reputation for supporting foreign coups. In 1946 the last French troops were removed from Syria ending over 20 years of French colonialism; Syria also had a democratically elected president Shukri al-Quwatli who for many years had fought for Syrian rights and an end of French rule. Al-Quwatli had one major problem; he was on the CIA’s bad side. He blocked passage of a US sponsored pipeline from the oil fields of Saudi Arabia to the ports of Lebanon, tolerated a prevalent communist party, and refused to sign an armistice with Israel (Syria Warner).
This set the stage for what is known as the first of many coups of the Arab world. In 1949 Husni al-Za'im, an officer in the Syrian army, seized power in a bloodless coup organized and backed by the CIA. In the months leading up to the coup, Al-Za'im Met with CIA operative Stephen Meade at least 6 times to go over plans for the coup and to discuss future diplomatic relations between Syria and the US (Little).
The coup took place at night, quickly and silently arresting President Quwalti while he was sleeping in bed; Suspending the constitution was the first political move undertaken. Once Al-Za’im was in power he almost immediately appeased to the United States wishes by approving plans for the pipeline and setting up negotiations with Israel. He also purged the state of over 400 communist officials, which in the end led to his downfall as…