Chapter 3

Out Run Politics

This essay is a review of:

From Camp David to the Gulf

by Adel Safty

The Fight for Peace in the Middle East
by John Kang

            Over the years, America, the land of opportunity, has given many hopes to not just citizens in America but also people of other countries. In other words, America has opened up many opportunities in the Middle East during the 1980s whether it be through conflicts or peace treaties such as the conflict between Israel and Egypt or the problems with Iran and Iraq that led to a war between them. Adel in From Camp David to the Gulf states that to obtain peace, “There is an alternative and competing vision based not on the relationship of power but rather on a shared value: the equality of peoples and their rights to live in freedom and dignity.”[1] Adel Safty heavily stresses the relations between the U.S and the Middle East during the 1980s and how these conflicts in the Middle East were partially resolved.

            The first account of the U.S being as a ‘Peacemaker’ was the Camp David Accords in 1978. Over the past years before the Camp David Accords, the Egyptians and the Israelis had bad blood; in fact, since 1948 they have been in constant warfare, known as the Arab-Israeli wars. Israel in the past three Arab-Israeli wars had defeated the Arabs and gained much needed land from the Egyptians like the Sinai Peninsula. All three losses of the Arab-Israeli wars caused the Egyptians to suffer heavily. Egypt took notice, including Anwar Sadat, the third president of Egypt. Anwar Sadat was looking for peace with Israel because the Egyptians knew they could not win to further improve the security of Egypt. Sadat’s first and best choice was to look for someone who could handle the situations between the Egypt and the Israel and so, “He believed that only the United States could solve the Arab-Israeli conflict.”[2] Additionally in September 1978, Jimmy Carter invited Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to ultimately negotiate peace. The two countries signed the Camp David Accords in which, “Camp David turned out to be a framework for a new geostrategic and political order in the Middle East.”[3] It created a secured peace with all three U.S, Egypt, and Israel for the first time in history.   

            Although the U.S made a key decision in the Camp David Accords, they made a fatal decision in the Middle East. In 1979 the Iran Hostage Crisis was an act of the Iranians taking sixty American Hostages. This crisis put a target behind Iran for the Americans when the Iran-Iraq war occurred. “Throughout 1980 and while Iran and Iraq engaged each other’s in sporadic border skirmishes, Iraq received intelligence information to the effect that Iran was on the verge of collapse.”[4] Iran’s enemy led by the famous leader Saddam Hussein commanded the first attacks in September 1980 against Iran. The eight years of the war between Iran and Iraq was mainly dictated by Iran as they were always on the offensive while Iraq was constantly defending from the Iranian attacks. With Iraq being on the defensive they needed aide immediately and with the grudge U.S held against Iran, in 1982 after Iraq losing cities after cities from the Iranian forces, the U.S decided to supply the Iraqis. What the U.S wanted was just an Iraq victory. Iraq, being heavily supplied with weapons, training, economic aid, still could not advance against the Iranians. In 1982 Iraq wanted a cease fire as they were losing territory but Iran refused and from that day on, Iraq was never able to recover from the heavy blows and again was in constant defense. Then in July 18, the Iranians accepted the UN resolution 598 which was for a cease fire and ultimately the war ended in July 20, 1988. This event was detrimental to the U.S as the U.S heavily supplied the Iraq and still lost to the Iranians who had just come out of a revolution. The outcome affected the relations between Iran and Iraq towards the U.S.

            The U.S involvement heightened in the Middle East in 1990 against the Iraqis even though the Americans helped Iraq in the Iraq-Iran war. Iraq, “Meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on July 31, Iraqis and Kuwaitis engaged in difficult negotiations that proved unfaithful.”[5] So on August 2, 1990 Saddam Hussein of Iraq ordered the invasion of Kuwait as he accused Kuwait of siphoning oil. The U.S, Soviet Union, and the British immediately condemned this invasion and on November 29, 1990 Saddam declared the invasion of Kuwait and the U.N declared to use of “all necessary means” of force against the Iraqis if they did not leave Kuwait. U.S, knowing Kuwait to be a reliable source of oil, took matters into their own hands with the help of allied countries began the operation desert Shield which was U.S sending forces into Saudi Arabia to protect them from the invasion. “Within the Bush Administration were admitting that the American war objective will be to use air power ‘flatten Iraq’.”[6]

            So on January 17, 1991 Operation Desert Storm commenced which was a U.S led air strike on the Iraqi Air defenses, vital for the U.S as it made air warfare nearly impossible for the Iraq. In February the U.S took the fight to the ground against Iraq in Kuwait and started the Operation Desert Sabre which was an allied ground offensive from Saudi Arabia to Kuwait and Southern Iraq. With Operation Desert Sabre being a major success, Kuwait was liberated four days later and on February 28, President Bush called for a cease fire as the Iraqi forces were getting deteriorated by the numbers. Saddam agreed to peace terms by accepting Kuwait’s sovereignty, “But Bush’s conditions were designed to do more than simply achieve the unconditional Iraqi withdrawal.”[7]  So U.S made Iraq get rid of its mass destruction weapons. Not only was this event such a decisive victory by securing it oil resources, ending major tensions, eliminating threat, but it also was a victory that showed what the U.S was indeed capable of.

            Adel Safty goes on to say in his thesis about there actually was hope in a war stricken area which was the Middle East. Like every other country in the world the Middle East seeks for peace between their neighboring countries. Adel wants these countries to live for peace, they need to work for it because, “A community of interests and shred values are thus the most enduring and reliable basis of peaceful coexistence amongst nations.”[8] Moreover how they’ll achieve this peace was by using their resources to the best of their ability and that being said using the U.S to the best of their ability. Whatever it takes these countries will fight for peace at the end of the day.

            The book From Camp David to the Gulf was written in 1992 and generally goes over the history of Middle East and the U.S in 1980s. The author himself experienced most of the events that occurred in the Middle East during the 1980s and has a birds eye view on the whole situation of peace negotiations and conflicts between not just the neighboring Middle East countries but with also the Americans. Both America and the Middle East had the same views that, “Peace may be said to be a state of existence governed by a community of interests and shared values between nations.”[9] Adel after witnessing these events could be done better on that peace negotiation or what might have made this country not go to war with that country or what should be done to make the better of both countries. Ultimately that’s what his insight is on the whole book on how peace could be attained for the Middle East and their troubles and how the U.S could help.

            When it came to Nabeel Abraham a former anthropology teacher at Henry Ford Community College thought of Adel Safty’s book to be very accurate and well informed. Nabeel praises over how the book thoroughly goes over the situations in Egypt and Sadat’s road to peace with Israel in a very vivid way. He also mentions how Safty clears that the U.S was one of the major key components for both the troubles of the U.S and the successfulness of the U.S in the Middle East. Another praised review came from the famous Noam Chomsky who is an author of over 100 books on matters of linguistics, war, politics, and the mass media. Noam ultimately praises how a book can be so detailed about the Middle East conflicts. "Safty makes his position clear, and does a careful and responsible job in backing it up. The most interesting part is based on Arabic sources that are not otherwise accessible."[10] Noam also loves how Adel addresses his opinions how matters should be dealt in the Middle East and even backing it up.

            The book From Camp David to the Gulf was an excellent and a very detailed book on the relations between the U.S and the Middle East. What made Safty’s book interesting was he had his own take on some of the situations, take this quote for an example, “An imposed peace that is unjust and perceived to be unjust is often an interlude between violent confrontations resulting from conflicts over fundamentals.”[11] It shows he is very familiar and has many experiences for when it comes to these matters. He is very open and unlimited unlike many other authors. Just like Noam Chomsky said about this book, Safty always backed up his thought on a matter. Moreover, this book is a big organized timeline of the conflicts, like the title of the book it thoroughly details all the events that happened in the Middle East from Camp David to the Gulf. Although this book was a very well thought out explanation of the Middle East in the 1980s it needed more about certain events it either talked too much on an event or too less like the Iran-Iraq war or the Iran contra affair was not as heavily stressed as the Camp David. The book may have some minor flaws but it still carries out an influx of well thought out information on the matter.

            During the 1980s the U.S was heavily involved in the Middle East seeing a progressivism of an economy, political, and social ties. “American foreign policy pursued two principal objectives in the Middle East: ready and cheap access to Arab oil.”[12] In the end of the day what U.S wants is to get every bit of the Middle East meaning having a good relation all in while making great profit with resources which was mainly oil and that is what they all want. The U.S went through many troubles to obtain peace. One example is the Camp David Accords which made both the Israel and Egypt satisfied by both reaching a long term peace while stabilizing America’s relationship.  The Gulf War where America stopped Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait which being one of the U.S most reliable oil resources helped Kuwait get liberated and limited the Iraq’s power which ultimately kept Kuwait as one of their biggest oil supply all in all attaining recognition of the Middle East countries. What the U.S sees is to just keep things at a conservative way to get the fullest end of their deal with the Middle East.

            The U.S and Middle East relations in the 1980s have been more or less a successful outcome for both nations. After the Gulf War both nations obtained order as America has stabilized relations with the Middle Eastern and many countries who were in turmoil like Egypt and Israel or Iraq and Iran had made peace efforts in the 80s. Despite the wars that occurred both nations powered through and made smart decisions for the future of the Middle East and the U.S. “By challenging the political, economic and military order in the Middle East, Saddam Hussein believed that he could negotiate with the United States improvements to the economic and security position of this country.”[13] It is seen that Peace is the main fight and that is what U.S and the Middle East is the only fight.


1. Adel Safty, From Camp David to the Gulf (Black Rose Books, 1992), 271

2. Safty, From Camp David to the Gulf ,48

3. Safty, From Camp David to the Gulf, 98

4. Safty, From Camp David to the Gulf, 182

5. Safty, From Camp David to the Gulf, 194

6. Safty, From Camp David to the Gulf, 238

7. Safty, From Camp David to the Gulf, 244

8. Safty, From Camp David to the Gulf, 11

9. 5 Safty, From Camp David to the Gulf, 11

10. Noam Chomsky, Personal Interview, September 16th 1993

11. Safty, From Camp David to the Gulf, 11

12. Safty, From Camp David to the Gulf, 96

13. Safty, From Camp David to the Gulf,269