Contemporary Issues Unit 11 Trouble in the Middle East Arab-Israeli conflict and the oil crisis: U.S. supported Israel during the Yom Kippur War of 1973. In response, OPEC cut off its supply of oil to the U.S. (and other countries). OPEC: Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Included: Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia,Venezuela, Qatar, Indonesia, Libya, UAE, Algeria, and Nigeria at the time. It now has 12 members. Trouble in the Middle East At the time, 1/3 of U.S. oil came from the Middle East This created an energy crisis, gasoline was very expensive and limited. The Yom Kippur War ended in October of 1973, but the oil embargo was not lifted until 1974. As a result, the U.S. looked for alternative forms of energy. Waiting to get gas. Iran-Contra affair Under the Reagan administration, Lt. Colonel Oliver North authorized the sale of weapons to Iran (a sworn enemy). This was to release American hostages held in Lebanon by Hezbollah terrorists. The U.S. gave the money they made from weapons sales to the “Contra” guerillas of Nicaragua, CIA-trained rebels of the communist government. Iran-Contra Congress banned any further support to the Contras, but the money from Iran arms sales kept coming. In 1986, the affair was exposed in the newspapers, and Congress launched an investigation of the Reagan administration (much like Nixon and Watergate). Iran-Contra Reagan and his administration covered-up their full actions. They did admit to knowing about the sale of arms to Iran but not the Contra financial support. End of the Cold War Fall of the Berlin Wall: • In the late 1980s, eastern European communist countries begin revolting against the government (led by the Soviet Union). • Hoping to calm rising protests, the East German government opened the gates of the Berlin Wall. Video Fall of the Berlin Wall People on both sides of the wall jumped up on top of it and started to tear it down. In October of 1990, East and West Germany were finally reunited, not under communism. The First Gulf War In August of 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded and captured the neighboring country of Kuwait. He wanted Kuwait’s wealth through oil supplies. His troops acted violently against the Kuwaiti people. The UN put sanctions on Iraq with a deadline for Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait. Operation Desert Storm Iraq does not leave Kuwait On January 16, 1991, a U.S.-led attack began on Iraq The capital of Iraq, Baghdad, was captured within a few days. Saddam Hussein was hunted down and captured by U.S. forces. He was turned over to the Iraqi people to stand trial for mass murders. September 11, 2001 Terrorist group al-Qaida, financed by Usama Bin Laden, launch a 4-pronged attack on major U.S. buildings using hijacked planes: World Trade Center (North and South Towers) The Pentagon The Capital Building 9/11 The first 3 targets are hit, but passengers on United 93 prevent the 4th attack on the Capital Building. They crash the plane in a field instead. The Twin Towers collapse. President Bush responds by insisting that the Taliban in Afghanistan turn over Bin Laden. 9/11 The Taliban refuse, so the U.S. with Great Britain invaded Afghanistan in Oct. 2001. The Department of Homeland Security is created to prevent future terrorist attacks. USA Patriot Act is passed to allow enhanced interrogation of suspected terrorists. Operation Iraqi Freedom The U.S. determines Iraq is a threat to its safety as well, considering the way Saddam Hussein evaded UN weapons inspectors Hussein is suspected of creating weapons of mass destruction. Hussein was captured in late 2003 and turned over to the Iraqi government to stand trial for murders of Iraqi people. Economic issues World Bank: Created to help poor countries build their economies. It provided grants of money and loans to help with projects that could provide jobs and wealth. European Union: Started in 1952, has grown to 27 countries (as of 2007).The many different countries of Europe have decided to join together and have one currency. The European Union: 500 million people – 27 countries The euro – a single currency for Europeans Can be used everywhere in the euro area 4Coins: one side with national symbols, one side common 4Notes: no national side EU countries using the euro EU countries not using the euro Environmental issues Rachel Carson: Published a book called Silent Spring to warn the public of the harmful effects of chemical pesticides (DDT) on the environment and possibly people.As a result, Congress passes the Clean Air Act; Safe Drinking Water Act. Earth Day: First one (April 22, 1970), marks the birth of the modern environmental movement,“Save the planet!” Now there is an Earth Day every year to bring awareness of the need to protect the environment. Green Peace: International organization that prioritizes global and American environmental campaigns, such as: Save oceans, whales and seafood.