Infographic of US Military Aid to the Middle East 1946-2012

The interactive graphic below shows the official annual military aid (in constant 2012 dollars) transferred from the US to each country in the Middle East and surrounding regions, from 1946 to 2012. Red circles are sized in proportion to the amount of aid for that country in that year.

To use the graphic, move your mouse over any country to see the amount of aid it received that year. You may click on the slider to select a year, or use the “play” button to view a progression through the years. If you’ve clicked on the graphic, you can also use the left or right arrow keys to move forward or backward in time.

The history since WWII of US involvement in the Middle East is, of course, quite long and complicated, but here are a few key events during this period:

  • 1948: At President Truman’s urging, Congress passes the Greek-Turkish Assistance Act.
  • 1951: Saudi Arabia and US sign Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement.
  • 1952: Greece and Turkey join NATO.
  • 1953: Iranian prime minister Mosaddegh is overthrown by US and Britain.
  • 1954: US signs Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement with Pakistan.
  • 1956: Suez Crisis leads to reduced British and French influence in the region.
  • 1957: Eisenhower Doctrine signals US readiness to arm Middle Eastern countries to stop the spread of communism.
  • 1967: Israel occupies West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, and Sinai Peninsula following the Six-Day War.
  • 1973: Israel wins Yom Kippur War against Arab neighbors.
  • 1978: Camp David Accords signed by Israel and Egypt, under pressure from President Carter.
  • 1979: Soviet Union invades Afghanistan, remaining until 1989.
  • 1980: US uses Omani airbase to launch attempted rescue of hostages from Iran.
  • 1980: Iraq attacks Iran, triggering a war that lasts until 1988.
  • 1982: Israel invades Lebanon, initiating a period of increased foreign involvement in 1975-90 civil war.
  • 1983: 241 American servicemen are killed in Beirut suicide bombing.
  • 1990: Iraq invades Kuwait, leading to Gulf War of 1990-91.
  • 1991: US signs Defense Cooperation Agreement with Bahrain.
  • 2001: War in Afghanistan begins.
  • 2003: Iraq War begins.


  • Amounts are drawn from USAID government data, of which the graphic is merely a representation. Any questions about the data or its interpretation should be directed to the US government.
  • The US fiscal year (FY) begins three months before the calendar year, on October 1, and runs through September 30. Prior to FY1977, the fiscal year began three months earlier, on July 1, and ran through June 30. The transitional quarter from July 1 to September 30, 1976 is combined with the previous 12 months, making FY1976 a 15-month “year”.
  • An imaginary territory has been placed in the Indian Ocean to represent the row in the spreadsheet headed “Middle East & North Africa (not specified)”.

Co-written with David Durbin. Map created by Paul Ahern.

Author: Dan Eckam