The United States And The Middle East

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For decades, the United States and fellow western nations have been heavily involved with and invested in the Middle East. Geographically, the Middle East region contains a large percentage of the industrialized world’s most prized resource, oil. Throughout this time, the United States has participated in Gulf War I, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Southern Watch, Operation Northern Watch, and numerous other contingencies and operations. Most recently, the region fell further into turmoil with the civil unrest and uprising in Syria, the formation of ISIS, and the injection of influence from competing world superpowers. Within this latest conflict, the United States government faces significant challenges to vital national interests due to the high geopolitical stakes in the region. In 2011, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s forces opened fire on the civilian population during a peaceful Arab Spring demonstration. Shortly thereafter, the civilian population took up arms and the unrest turned into an armed uprising. Over time, Islamic extremists from around the region joined the uprising while Assad released extremist prisoners predicating the formation of al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadist group. As the conflict continued, U.S.-friendly Middle Eastern countries including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait began funneling money into Syria to aid the rebel forces. In response to the growing uprising and support from U.S. friendly
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