The US and the New Middle East

The US and the New Middle EastIn the first of a two-part series, Fault Lines examines how the Obama administration is reacting to the enormous changes taking place across the Middle East.

The decision by the US to intervene in the Libyan conflict has a profound impact on the future of the country. But what are the driving forces behind America's decision to get involved?

White House officials claim that they acted to prevent a humanitarian disaster - but was such a disaster imminent and what were the other factors involved?

Did the US intervene to stabilise Libyan oil production for the global markets? Did the White House decide to depose Muammar Gaddafi to send a message to others in the region? And how does this open up the US to accusations of double standards in its foreign policy?

In the second part, Fault Lines travels to the Persian Gulf to look at US policy in the region, and to explore why the US has taken an interventionist policy in Libya, but not in Bahrain, where there has been a brutal crackdown on protesters. Why does the White House strongly back democracy in one Arab country, but not another?

Watch the full documentary now (playlist - 50 minutes)

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Ratings: 8.45/10 from 11 users.

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34 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Aaylsworth

    A good doc examining America's interests in the Middle East during the Arab Spring. What motivates their decisions to support the overthrow of some regimes and not others...

  2. drinker69

    There should be a lot of comments for this.

  3. tomdham

    Short answer, OIL!
    No oil in Bahrain.

  4. ProudinUS

    Na, its a little more then just oil. If it was , the US wouldn't be there. We'd be in Venezuela or off the coast of Brazil maybe even Mexico. I believe the US is finding the Muslim world a major threat. The Muslim middle eastern people are highly intelligent and have pleanty enough balls to fight and put up a good war if only they would unite as one. But their religious differences will never allow them to do this.

  5. Fecioru Florin

    Looking more and more at how the world is, I`m getting really tired trying to understand how despicable and lowly this civilization is disposed to be and? to become . Humanity as it is now, truly seems to be a failed experiment.

  6. Pdizzo

    with nuclear they can build and power their own refineries

  7. gunk wretch

    Here the American government is admitting that their interests are more important then democracy and freedom, too bad they will never play those kinds of clips in the western media.

  8. lakhotason

    Or maybe they are admitting it isn't as simple as that.

  9. phillip wong

    The middle east are waiting for another massacre. If only they are more powerful,like say with the economic resource of a tiny little Korea, and the aid of India, then it might be good are ..

  10. Chaz Ed

    More spin!

  11. capriciouz

    You might have had a valid point if the Middle East by and large wasn't still stuck in the stone ages. A threat? Seriously? Please.

  12. musbcrazy

    lmao...u have no clue! they have made alliances with russia china, india, african countries, south american countries, now germany. ud better believe its a threat, but listening to the bull **** in the media would make you feel like the worlds super power.

    youve become a war nation, like the romans just conquering to take things. you should be deeply ashamed!

  13. wald0

    "Here the American government is admitting that their interests are more important then democracy and freedom, too bad they will never play those kinds of clips in the western media."

    While it is true that the U.S. keeps up the pretense that they care more about freedom and democracy than thier own interests, I see no moral failing in admitting such is the case. No human should be asked to sacrifice things of comparative moral value in order to help others. If we as a country have interests connected to our survival, to our prosperity, we should not be asked to sacrifice them in order that we might help some other country to prosper or survive. If we can help them without sacrificing things of comparative moral value only then do we have a moral obligation to do so, in my opinion. Jumping in to help other countries claim their independence from some dictator or despot is more complicated than most people realize. You are usually seen as an agressor who is only there to promote your own interests and/or culture. Allies of the country in question may get angry as well, perhaps you have significant interests in those countries.

    Syria is a good example. If we move in to help those people what happens to gas prices, they go through the roof. Right now we are in the middle of a very sensitive and desperately needed economic recovery, we can't afford such energy prices nor the finacial obligation of maintaining such an effort. Not to mention the fact that we are still mired down in the mess Bush created, invading both Afghanistan and Iraq. America cannot and should not be expected to police the world in the name of freedom or democracy, we tried it and it blew up in our face. Our values and culture are just that, OUR values and OUR culture- they will not work for everyone.

  14. codyac

    I agree, although I do think that we can and should do more to help as long as it doesn't suck to many resources and cost any lives (or at least to many lives). We need to be more consistent. We do need to stop going to war over oil just because we are addicted to it. We should have kicked that habit a long time ago. In the US we put drug addicts in jail if they commit a crime in order to supply their fix, the US going to war to continue uninterrupted supply of oil is the same. This same effort and cost of going to war can be put into investing and upgrading all of america with sustainable energy. The US is viewed as an aggressor and the biggest threat to the middle east by the people there because all they have seen is us acting like a bully in the region perusing our interest.Hence why we have a threat of terrorist attacks from the region. Its the only way the people, who don't have a military, to respond to foreign "invaders." In the middle east we need to start reconstructing a good relationship with the Arab and Muslim people, while advocating human right and democracy. Ppl in Syria and Bahrain called on american to help but gave no response, this makes them feel abandoned and also that we don't care about them because they are not in our interests. As this might be the case, we need to change this stance, and speak out against all atrocities. We don't necessarily have to intervene militarily but just the fact that we condemn it, can be sufficient.

    And no! This isnt becuase we are christians/zionists and hate or are afraid of muslims. Thats the most ridiculous, 18th century thinking. This type of lies and propoganda makes no real progress and helps fuel western thinking that middle eastern ppl are barbaric and stuck in the middle ages and fuels muslim hatred of the west.

  15. codyac

    I hardly see the US as a war nation. After WWII until 1991, they were trying to contain the Soviet and Communist threat. That can be justified for the time period. During that time there where only a handful of engagements and 2 meaningful wars. Vietnam and the Korean war. South Korea would look pretty different if it wasnt for their aid. South Korea is now one of the richest countries on earth.

    From 1991 onward; the 2000's are the most meaningful of the US being in the Middle East. Although, one to help protect and Alllie, Kuwait (yes an oil producer, but that is besides the war nation point) in the 1990's. Then Iraq and Afghanistan. Iraq was a mistake , ill give you that, but Afghanistan can be justified in the eyes of certain beholders.

    So your war nation accusation isnt justifiable because, not counting the cold war, less than 5 wars have been waged. (I dont count the cold war since one:they were proxie wars not fought by the US, with the exception of Korea and Vietnam, and two: they were in a technical war with the Soviet Union. Counting as 1 war.). Compare that with the Romans and I think the Romans win. That type of rhetoric will continue to spread hatred unnecessarily and misinformation.

  16. musbcrazy

    no other country in the world believes that ****! uve either been brainwashed into believing it or you've convinced yourself to justify the bully boy nature of your governments to ensure you control all resources throughout the world.

    Afghanistan justified...ive heard it all now, iraq a mistake! a mistake? i suppose your guna say its because of 911...what those 'so called' terrorists? the ones from saudi arabia? so please explain the justification you have somehow for invading 2 countries killing over 1.2 million innocent people, encouraging marines to carry ak47s to set people up as insurgents, raping children....all to go after 1 man. who was a CIA asset and family friend of bush?

    what human or decent one should i say makes invasion of a country ok to go after a group...one i must add are the produce of another group created by the US in the 70s to fight the soviets...the mujaheddin?

    your attitude proves you've become a war nation!

  17. panthera f

    What has the USA done in this world that was GOOD for the last 40 years besides raging wars all over the planet ?
    Can't think of anything really. :-((

  18. Mikyoto

    To make such bluntly false statements reverberate ignorance. You clearly haven't any knowledge of the US-backed Contras in Nicaragua, the carpet bombing of Cambodia, the interventions in El Salvador, etc. The result was millions of deaths, millions of tales of misery throughout many decades, often in the name of 'democracy'. Despite the fact that nearly all the sides backed by the US in both Latin America and IndoChina have been against democratically elected or majority-supported regimes. The 'red scare' was a farce, and admittedly so, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Chenney and the like were exaggerated the might of the USSR, much like their trumpeting of WMDs in Iraq. It's clear the facade of 'noble, democratic' wars has fooled you, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. This may be a moot point, but read some Noam Chomsky. He's more informative than your obviously skewed historical texts.

  19. lakhotason

    How about the medium and device you are using to trash America.

  20. Jermaine Phillips

    There is no way to justify intentional atrocity. There is also no way to balance peace without radical action. It is easy to wish for a perfect world, but it is hard to bring one into existence. The freedom to have these discussions, for example; this is something taken for granted. Without saying much more I would like you to weigh 3 factors in with this movie, keeping in mind the current realities of our economy:

    -Libyan oil is easily refined, which dampens the cost of operating a refinery.
    - "1954: Consortium of oil companies, including British Petroleum, Exxon, Socony, Texas Oil, Socal, Gulf, Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and CFP form the Iranian Oil Participants Ltd. (IOP) and negotiate agreement with Iranian government and for oil production in Iran"
    -Our military is in the water around Libya, but dare not disturb the natural order of the kingdom.

  21. AbdelZ

    Folks :

    It is not about democracy , values, freedom, human rights .......it's almost all about power & world domination , almost all about economy, geo-politics & balance of power

    So, do not let them fool you .

  22. panthera f

    You can have it, if that means no more warmongers from the US.

  23. Aaylsworth

    My comment was a statement not a question... but yes oil is one motivator.

  24. GetUpWithTheStormAndRun

    there can be no excuses, no justifications for the violations of human rights that are shown in this video. why are we letting these things happen? there must be something that we the people can do to help our fellows overseas. our protests are beaten and oppressed too (although not yet with open fire), but we need more than just support with our thoughts- we need to show solidarity with direct action.

  25. ropativ

    typical middleeastern doco....US here, US there, US lying low, US standing out....it gets rather boring when the guy was even guessing things about this and that of US involvement.....

    shit reporting.....got to know that all countries in the world want a slice of the pie...even Russia and China....but no, it's US here, US there....!

    you people in the Middle East should start having some confidence and stop feeling inferior against the US....! There were other major powers involved....but no, it's US here, and US there....

    I'm no American, but I get sick of your rhetoric...have some respect of yourselves and grow some balls....!

  26. frezzer

    In Bahrain, petroleum production and processing account for about 60% of export receipts, 60% of government revenues, and 30% of GDP.

  27. demmahom

    Ya there are ppl who feel confident and dont feel inferior they are called mujahideen, but im not sure they have a good human rights record, but then who cares they have balls right haha

  28. ?? ??? ?????

    Excuse me but you seem to live on another planet, US are the most terrorist state on Earth ( support to dictators,invasion of many countries, veto against rightful decicions in UN ....etc) wake up ,open your eyes plz

  29. tim1888

    they may have stopped a massacre in libya but they didn't stop the massacre's that happened in syria and are still happening in syria

  30. Larry Edberg

    Hey libya...how's obama;s hope and change working for you now?

  31. ropativ

    mujahaideen....?? they're bloody murderers...when it comes to real fighting, they go in hiding, and come out murdering then ran back hiding behind the children and women.....that's why there were so many innocent civilians killed unnecessarily...and you reckoned they have balls....? laughable...! they're bloody cowards...warriors don't hide behind their wives and kids and risk them their lives, mate....!

    what a dumbshyte...!

  32. ropativ

    it's case of damn if you do intervene or damn if you don't....?

    if the usa don't care, you complain....if they care to something, you complain again...?

    mmmmm......

  33. anna miller

    A much better documentary to watch is "The Secret of the Seven Sisters"
    Most Americans are ignorant regarding the history of big oil.
    This documentary is more propaganda from the United Church of Gov.Corp

  34. Anthony Mustacich

    What are you talking about? The NATO bombardment of Libya was a massacre and the rebels who overthrew Gaddafi turned around and committed real massacres against black Africans. The fact is that there is not one shred of evidence that Gaddafi "bombed his own people" or massacred the people of Benghazi, which were the two main arguments used to justify NATO intervention. These claims were subsequently proven to be false after the fact, but I guess nobody bothered to follow the investigation. If you look into each of the claims that were made to justify this illegal act of aggression you will see they were all false and unsupported by evidence. Please don't be a tool.

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