The superpowers played a vital role in bringing change in the Middle East, although this change was not always necessarily good. There are key example of Superpowers contributing war, but equally the superpowers also restricted war as well. At the start of the period in 1948: the superpowers played an important role in the creation of Israel. The USA was the most notable country to showcase their support for Zionism, especially following the aftermath of the second war.
The UN special committee on the Palestinian issue included the USA, and hence their voice was vital in echoing the voices of Palestinian Jews. The USSR also supported the creation of a Jewish state because sympathy for Jews following the Holocaust was also high with the Soviet Union. And when the state of Israel was finally declared in May 1948, the USA was the first country to recognise Israel. Israeli survival was also dependent upon American support, as during the First Arab Israeli conflict to have received around 15,000 rifles from the USA which were crucial in defeating the Arabs.
The voice of the super powers, in particular the USA was therefore very important the creation of Israel, and without such a powerful ally, it is likely that Israel would have ceased to exist. This links to the second change brought about by the Superpowers as the USA and USSR used the Middle East to compete with each other- the USA having already expressed support for Israel left the USSR backing the Arabs. President Nasser tried to exploit superpower support to gain funding for his Aswan dam and the USA fearing Soviet influence refused to loan Nasser money.
The USSR however backed the Egypt which furthered tensions between Egypt and Israel. With the Soviet Union handing out weapons to Egypt, the USA saw it only approiate to fund the Israelis handing out $65 million. With the support of superpower support, both countries edged closer to war because they felt better prepared. This was a change from 1948 when the Superpowers were not directly fuelling the conflict. This links to a third change, as the superpowers realised that they could not afford to create conflict between the countries in the Middle East in case it spilled over into a large scaled war.
That’s why, when the Israelis eventually attacked Israel, backed by French and British forces the USA immediately threatened Britain with financial sanctions if she refused to withdraw. The Soviet Union even threatened Britain with a nuclear weapons. So a clear change can be where the Superpower prevented conflict rather than causing it. Perhaps the most significant change brought about by the superpowers was the Six day war. Following the Suez crisis in 1956, tension began rising as war broke out in 1967. The USA had been funding the Israelis and handing them weapons whilst the Soviets had been doing the same with the Israelis.
The Soviets provided false intelligence to the Syrians that an Israeli attack was immanent and this only served to increase the tensions between the two sides eventually spilling over into a war. Israel’s superior equipment was showcased as they destroyed the Egyptian air force almost entirely within 6 hours. One can say that this is due to the USA and the funding provided by them. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE International relations 1945-1991 section.