Why did Russia block UN actions against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad? What is the history of relations between Russia and the Middle East and how does Russian foreign policy affect development in the area? Does the Russian-built nuclear power plant in Bushehr as well as Russia's supply of arms to Iran prevent or promote democratic development in Iran? What does Putin's recent election mean for future development in the Middle East? This course will analyze Soviet and Russian foreign policy toward the countries of the Middle East (broadly defined), their objectives and consequences. As we analyze these policies, we will critically appraise their immediate and long-term effects on Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Turkey, and Israel, as well as Afghanistan and Iran. We will also look at the critical role the Soviet Union and Russia played in the development of the Arab-Israeli conflict. We will pay special attention to Russia's role in recent events in the Arab world. We will begin the course by examining general trends of Soviet and Russian foreign policy; briefly examining the explanations of scholars to explain certain tendencies of development in the Middle East. We will then study Russian foreign policy actions toward each of the countries and consider their impacts. Scholarly articles as well as media coverage of events in the Middle East will be used for analysis and class discussions.
Student learning goals
A major objective of the course is to help students navigate scholarly and media analyses of factors affecting political and economic development in the Middle East.
Moreover, by the end of the quarter students will be better equipped to analyze causal effects of the foreign policy actions of one country on the development processes of another.
General method of instruction
The course is lecture-based, with a significant discussion component. Students will be expected to come prepared. They will be expected to actively participate in class discussions, critically engaging the reading assignments.
No prerequisites are required for the course.
Class assignments and grading
Midterm and final exams will be based on reading material and lectures (reading questions will be posted throughout the quarter and will provide the basis for the exam questions). Students will also write a short, 5-page, research paper to examine the effects of Russian foreign policy on the country of their choice.
Midterm: 25%, Final: 30%, Research Paper: 25%, Presentation: 5%, Participation: 15%