Lebanon Crisis, 1958

In the mid-1950s, President Eisenhower was concerned about Soviet intervention in the Middle East. The vacuum created after the withdrawal of the French and British from the area prompted the President to propose the "Eisenhower Doctrine." The doctrine provided for economic and military aid to Middle Eastern countries friendly to the U.S. A test of this policy came in Lebanon in 1958 when Lebanese President Chamoun asked the U.S. for support because he feared civil war in his unstable country. President Eisenhower was worried that the entire Middle East was being destabilized by Egyptian President Nasser, who was trying to build a coalition of all Arab states in the area. In July, pro-Nasser rebels in Iraq overthrew the ruling monarchy and assassinated the Iraqi royal family. Nasser’s propaganda machine was advocating the overthrow of other monarchies in the area—King Hussein of Jordan and King Saud of Saudi Arabia. Eisenhower, concerned that Nasser was trying to gain control of Middle Eastern oil, sent the Sixth Fleet and a division of Marines to Lebanon in a show of force.

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