The Reagan Administration in the Middle East

by Fred H. Lawson
published in MER128

Under the Reagan administration, the United States has waged “the second Cold War” with particular forcefulness in the Middle East. Washington has moved combat forces into the region repeatedly since 1981: to engage first Libyan warplanes over the Gulf of Sidra, then Lebanese militias and Syrian forces outside Beirut, and most recently Iranian air and naval patrols in the Persian Gulf. These military operations have accompanied political steps that have moved the US away from an emphasis on close relations with “moderate” Arab regimes in favor of closer strategic ties with Israel. From the administration’s perspective, such policies have provided a coherence to American relations with this part of the world that was lacking during the Carter years.

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