Even if most Iraqis were happy to see Saddam Hussein go, and even if they fear the chaos that may follow a precipitate American withdrawal, that does not mean that they welcome a long-term military presence or heavy-handed dictates. The rest of the Middle East has the same anxieties, not least because of policy over Palestine.
The United States has been a major middle eastern power since the signing of an oil exploration deal with Saudi Arabia in 1933, and the predominant regional power since its forces landed in north Africa and Iran in 1942. America has subsequently exerted its growing inﬂuence directly and indirectly.
Once celebrated in the Middle East as a non-colonial, and even anti-colonial power, it was long renowned for its educational, medical and charity efforts. Since the Second World War, however, Washington has intervened more and more in states’ internal affairs and regional conﬂicts.