The Middle East

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Information about The Middle East

Published on November 12, 2007

Author: Gabrielle


The Middle East:  The Middle East A History from the Crusade’s to today The Crusades – Why?:  The Crusades – Why? Spurred by the prophet Muhammad's idea of ‘Holy War’, Arabic armies conquer Palestine in the 7th century A.D. Muslim armies sweep through North Africa, and cross onto the European mainland via Spain and the straights of Gibraltar. They are finally stopped by Charlemagne III, King of the Franks. Turkish forces threatened the Byzantine Empire (last remnant of the Eastern Roman Empire) with complete destruction. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher was razed, and several Christian pilgrims were killed (1009). Raids through out Mediterranean coastal cities with Christians responding in kind. The Crusades:  The Crusades Reconquista - to retake the holy lands, beginning with Jerusalem, and a ‘just war’ against the unbelievers. 1st Crusade was successful in capturing Jerusalem in 1099 until Prince Saladin recaptured it 88 years later. Multiple Crusade’s followed - none managed to reclaim the Holy lands, and are accepted in modern Europe as being “a disgraceful failure.” The Aftermath: For 600 years, there would be no Christian power in the Middle East The Ottoman Empire rises based from present day Turkey “Assaulted from all quarters, the Muslim world turned in on itself. It became oversensitive [and] defensive… attitudes that grew steadily worse…” - Historian Peter Mansfield Exiled Judaism:  Exiled Judaism Meanwhile, the Jewish people had been exiled from their homeland. They were restricted to marginal occupations - money lending and tax collection - which worsened the publics distrust of them Whilst no crusade was ever declared against the Jews, forces moving through Europe frequently massacred them. The Ottoman Empire:  The Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire:  The Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire:  The Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire expansion facilitated by the weakness of other Arabic groups in the region Ottoman Empire expansion into the Middle East places them in full control of trade routes from Europe to the far East Ottoman Empire represents the only technologically competitive Islamic nation with the science explosion about to occur in Europe Colonization:  Colonization The expansion of European powers into less developed territories for personal gain is allowed through rapid developments in the areas of: Metal Working (notably steel) Seafaring Medical breakthroughs Muskets Economics With the last two, Europe becomes the first region of earth to enter the industrial age, allowing for superior production of arms and materials, and European powers begin to rise Britain becomes the first Christian state in 600 years to hold influence in the Middle East with a vested interest in the Suez Canal. With Christianity returning to the Holy lands, Jewish pilgrims slowly begin to filter back as well. The Suez Canal:  The Suez Canal A large artificial canal in Egypt, built by the British Empire to reduce sailing costs from England to India 163km long, 300m wide at its narrowest Links the Mediterranean and Red seas Removes 11500 miles from a trip that would otherwise have to circumvent Africa. Three times the British are forced to defend the Suez Canal: Napoleonic Wars (France) World War I (Ottoman Empire) World War II (Germany/Italy) Slide10:  440km Slide11:  1190km Slide12:  3910km Slide13:  15500km World War I (1914-1918):  World War I (1914-1918) The might of European Imperialism pitted against itself for no apparent purpose. Allied Powers: England, France, Russia, Italy, United States (later) Central Powers: Germany, Austro-Hungarian Empire, Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire’s involvement threatens British Empire’s assets in Egypt. A British Intelligence Officer is sent to assist the Arab revolt against their Turkish administration. His name is Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence – a.k.a. Lawrence of Arabia Lawrence of Arabia:  Lawrence of Arabia Lawrence’s main success, was his ability to unify the Arab forces in their struggle against the Ottoman’s, instead of letting tribal rivalries dominate. Due to this, Arab irregulars proved immensely capable guerilla operators, coordinating well with the main British army. Lawrence supported the cause of Arabic Independence, and drew up a map of his vision for the future of the middle east – according to the sentimentalities of the individual Arabic peoples. Middle Eastern Aftermath of WWI:  Middle Eastern Aftermath of WWI The complete collapse of the Ottoman Empire left a power vacuum in the Middle East. European powers shattered by high expenditure and loss of manpower. In the region, Britain was literally the last empire standing. Calls for Arab self-rule begin, as does that for a Jewish free state in modern day Israel. Underlying assumption, that excepting the Suez Canal and in a religious sense, the region is of no great strategic value. “How much longer are valuable lives to be sacrificed in the vain endeavour to impose upon the Arab population an elaborate and expensive administration with they never asked for and do not want.” – The Times With the untimely death of T. E. Lawrence, it is left to Winston Churchill to deal with the region, in the easiest manner possible. Global Aftermath of WWI:  Global Aftermath of WWI The Birth of the first true modern superpowers: The Rise of the United States of America The October Revolution: Creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics The Treaty of Versailles's: The beginning of World War II The League of Nations Making sure it never happens again… Between the Wars:  Between the Wars Arab’s continue to struggle for independence – Egypt, Iraq and Syria take steps toward this end, although French and British forces do not formally leave until after WWII. A Zionist (Jewish) movement continues to build up in Modern Israel British hold on Iraq become’s tenuous: Warring Sunni and Shiite factions cannot be kept apart Kurd’s continue to fight for independence – first against Turkey and the Britain Revolts put down with tactics to produce minimum casualties to the European powers without much care for locals. Regions handed over to local strongmen who were Western friendly. “I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilized tribes.” – Winston Churchill. “You are flying in the face of four millennia of history.” – Unknown American Missionary World War II (1939-1945):  World War II (1939-1945) Anti-Semitism reaches its climax with the Holocaust – around 6 million Jew’s and other ethnic minorities are sent to their deaths in Nazi occupied territories. Identifying early a shift in the relative value of raw materials, the Allies (Britain, United States and Soviet Union) move in to secure the oil fields of Iran, bolstering their supply until wars end. Global Aftermath of WWII:  Global Aftermath of WWII A development in the understanding of modern war: Early German tactics (Blitzkrieg), the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbour, and subsequent Allied operations demonstrated the value of newly developed technologies – most particularly aircraft. For sustained use of such machines, vast reserves of Oil are necessary. Nuclear Weapons Potentially, humanity could wipe itself out – anti-war measures were developed to an extent never before seen. The United Nations A carry on from the League of Nations, the UN has the added ability to forge international law, and implement it with its own military force should enough countries agree. Middle Eastern Aftermath of WWII:  Middle Eastern Aftermath of WWII The Creation of Israel Alienated from Europe 1947, UN proposes Partition Plan of Palestine State of Israel declares its independence (1948) and is immediately recognized by both the US and USSR Armies from Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan join Palestinian irregulars in an attempt to crush the new state. Israel repulses attacks and seizes parts of the surrounding country (Most notably, the western part of Jerusalem) The Suez Crisis (1956):  The Suez Crisis (1956) Suez Canal revitalized with Oil supply coming in from Persian Gulf – 2/3 of European Oil is supplied through the Canal British own 44% of canal, with estimated profit $25million per capita 1954, General Gamel Abdel Nasser takes control of Egypt – being the largest Islamic nation at the time, it falls to him to lead the Muslim’s out of suppression U.S.S.R. suppress a revolt in Hungary, and receives heavy international criticism from the United States. General Nasser turns to the U.S.S.R. for weapons supply in the build up to an imminent conflict with Israel United States withdraws financial support for Egyptian Aswan Dam project, citing links to Moscow To raise funds for the Aswan Dam, Egypt nationalizes the Suez Canal Britain, France and Israel develop Operation Musketeer to try and retake the Suez, but fail to check plan with the United States Combined Coalition attack succeeds in capturing the Suez Canal U.S. unable to condone invasion of Egyptian whilst criticizing invasion of Hungary Soviet Union raises the bar, threatening to intervene on behalf of Egypt U.S. forces a ceasefire and by 24th Dec Anglo-French forces retire Aftermath of the Suez Crisis:  Aftermath of the Suez Crisis British influence in the region relegated to secondary status Egypt continues to consider a state of war existing between itself and Israel – Israeli ships cannot transit the canal to their supply destinations in Africa UN peacekeeping force – the first ever in history – occupies the Sanai desert at the request of both Israel and Egypt Israel responds to the Egyptian blockade through constucting a port at Eilat 6 day war (1967):  6 day war (1967) UNEF withdraws from the Sanai at the request of Egypt – U Thant is later blamed for this move leading to the Arab-Israeli Conflict Egyptian forces seize the Straights of Tiran and prohibit ships flying the Star of David Headwater diversion plan – water will not flow down stream into the sea of Galilee, but rather to dams in Syria and Jordan Muslim’s call for a ‘Holy War’ and Nasser runs out of excuses with the withdrawal of the UNEF The Soviet Union continues to deny there is an emergency situation in the UN U.S. 6th Fleet is moved to the region 6 day war (1967):  6 day war (1967) United State’s urges Israel to “not be the aggressor” and launch a pre-emptive strike Israel’s 50,000 regulars are faced with 300,000 from an alliance of Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia Israel has 197 combat aircraft, pitted against 812 newly supplied Soviet aircraft As a result, they execute Operation Strike Zion and attack without Anglo-French intervention Arab-Israeli wars:  Arab-Israeli wars War of Attrition (1968-1970) – Egypt, Syria Yom Kippur War (1973) – Egypt, Syria South Lebanon Conflict (1978) – P.L.O. Lebanon War (1982) – P.L.O. South Lebanon Conflict (1982-2000) – Hezbollah First Intifada (1987 – 1991) - Palestine Second Intifada (2000 – ongoing) - Palestine Lebanon War (2006) - Hezbollah Iranian Democracy (1953):  Iranian Democracy (1953) Iran forms a democratic government, and elects Mohammed Mossadegh as Prime Minister Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now known as British Petroleum – BP) supports the British economy Mossadegh elected on the back of radical policy aiming to ‘remove British corruption’ and ‘opposed to foreign intervention in Iranian export matters – he is also supported by a faction of socialists in government Fearing Iran will be integrated into the Soviet Union, the British (with CIA backing) move to overthrow Mossadegh Results: Short term: secures valuable oil resources for Allies against U.S.S.R. Long term: makes a mockery of democracy in the Middle East Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988):  Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) With the neutrality of Egypt, the remaining Arabic powers rival for dominance in the region. Iraq’s invasion of Iran in 1980, by Saddam Hussein is a step towards making Iraq the dominant power A throwback to old rivalries: "Iraq's dispute with Iran is in connection with Arabistan (Khuzestan) which is part of Iraq's soil and was annexed to Iran during foreign rule.“ U.S. supports Hussein, as relations with Iran have been unstable since the fall of Iranian Democracy Use of poisoned gas by Iraq against Iran, and Iraqi Kurds U.N. condemns Iraq, and the war is ended through a U.N. imposed cease-fire. Gulf War (1991):  Gulf War (1991) In another attempt to cement Iraq as the dominant Arab nation – Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait (Aug 2nd, 1990) The move places him in a position to seize oil fields in Saudi Arabia – long term rivals Saudi Arabia is the primary oil supplier for the United States Immediate economic sanctions are placed by the U.N. followed by an Coalition invasion force. Iraq attempts to use gas-armed Scud missiles, but they are rendered ineffective by the Patriot missile. Slide42:  Coalition forces from 28 different nations took part in the 1991 Gulf War against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq " attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force." – President Jimmy Carter The Climate Today:  The Climate Today Modern technology in the west has become so advanced, that enemies resort to guerilla and terrorists tactics to wage war Israel continues to defend against militant elements in Lebanon and Syria Iraq continues to seek dominance in the region – theorized that they would attempt to do so through developing WMD. Saudi Arabia and the U.S. continue to benefit from strong diplomatic ties with each other. U.N. security forces are frequently required in the region

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