Loyola University Maryland

Emerging Scholars

Carl Kinkel, Louis Hinkel

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The Decline in American Influence in the Middle East

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Employing a combination of open-source and historical research, I argue that the decline in American influence across the Middle East is not a new development. That the decline in US influence across the region actually began with the end of the Cold War, and accelerated immediately after the US-led invasion of Iraq, which unleashed a tidal wave of anti-American sentiment across the region. The removal of the Saddam regime and destruction of the Iraqi government allowed Al Qaida to establish safe haven in that country from which it can now launch an unlimited number of terrorist operations targeting Iraq’s Shia, Christian, and Kurdish populations, government security services, foreigners, and Iraq's regional neighbors. Further, the US removal of Saddam Sunni-dominated Ba’athist regime resulted in emboldening Iran’s government and allowing them to initiate a major effort to expand its influence throughout the region and threaten not only the American military presence in the region, but the stability of our main allies, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey as well. The decline in US influence in the region is likely to continue so long as the US government continues to support undemocratic regimes in the region, which in turns feeds the growing political instability throughout the region and further inflames anti-American sentiment.