For the past half century, the Middle East has been a vital area of the world for Australians and for Americans, and it is becoming increasingly problematic as time goes by. This vast region is clearly a confusing and complex one to us and we are only now slowly beginning to understand its peoples and its religions. The US and its allies, including Australia, are engaged in two wars in the Middle East, Iran is unstable and unpredictably threatening, Yemen is emerging as a haven for terrorists, and the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians shows little sign of ending soon. Throughout the whole period, the United States has played a key role in shaping, if not controlling events. This is especially true of the Arab-Israeli conflict to which a peaceful resolution is seen by many as the key to a stable Middle East.

In this full day conference Senior Visiting Fellow in the School of History and Philosophy at the University of New South Wales Dr Ian J. Bickerton and US Studies Centre Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Jeremy Pressman examined the factors that have influenced US policy, and discussed the role and impact of the US in the region over the past 65 years.

This conference was organised by Ian J. Bickerton in conjunction with the Friends of the Wingecarribee Libraries.