State Formation in the Middle East
It is necessary to note that ideas of nationalism affected the development of the countries in the Middle East. As a result of these ideas and weak governance, the Ottoman Empire disappeared, and many countries obtained their independence (Anderson, Seibert and Wagner 60). However, this freedom was quite illusionary as they were still under the control of Western powers. Thus, Iran and Turkey appeared after the World War I, which was a result of post-war treaties (Anderson, Seibert and Wagner 70). Israel was created after the Second World War as an attempt to solve the issue associated with tensions in Palestine and as a result of lasting fight of Zionists (Anderson, Seibert and Wagner 72).
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During the World War I the Allied side was afraid of the Ottoman participation in the war as it was significant military force. Notably, various groups within the Empire were ready to fight against the Ottoman rule and the Allied side used this. They addressed one of the leaders of the anti-Ottoman force, Sherif of Mecca Sherif Husein, and promised him that a vast territory of the Ottoman Empire will gain independence and will be given under his rule (Anderson, Seibert and Wagner 61). Husein managed to lead people, which resulted in the Arab revolt in 1916.
The Secret Agreements
Western countries were interested in having the control over the countries in the region as they wanted to have access to their resources and wanted to make sure that the governments will be loyal to their power. Thus, during the war (1915-1916) the Allied countries had an agreement on the distribution of their powers over the territories. France would get the control over the Levant area and Syria, the British would control Jordan and Iraq, Russia and Italia would control some areas of Turkey (Anderson, Seibert and Wagner 62).
Colonialism and Western Dominance
As has been mentioned above, Western countries tried to control the nations of the Middle East throughout the first part of the 20th century. Thus, Western diplomats tried to influence decisions of leaders of the countries in the area (Volt 64). They supported leaders who were loyal to them, and they tried to suppress masses and leaders who wanted to get rid of the Western dominance. Western powers needed the control over the territories due to their resources and their support during the wars.
In 1918, Woodrow Wilson outlined fourteen points that, in his opinion, would ensure lasting peace in the world after the World War I. They were a bit idealistic, but some concepts enabled some countries to develop and some Western powers, for example, Britain, to keep their economic dominance (Anderson, Seibert and Wagner 66). The President stressed that nations had to have the right to improve and develop relations with other countries (including economic ties) (“President Woodrow Wilson’s 14 points”). The point concerning the Middle East ensured the right of self-determination for all countries that were a part of the Ottoman Empire.
It is necessary to note that the agreements made in the first part of the 20th century created some contradictions that are still present in the region (Dawoody 322). For instance, the agreement between France, Britain and Russia concerning the division of the control over the territories of the former Ottoman Empire resulted in frustration of all the parties. Furthermore, even though the British supported Husein, he could not control Hijaz region as the leader of the Wahhabi, Ibn Saud, did not want to accept the rule of Husein (Anderson, Seibert and Wagner 69). Palestine was one of the most debatable regions as the fast-growing community of Jews was still a minority, but it was better organized than the Arab majority.
Trauma of WWI
Notably, the World War I created the world that was characterized by dissatisfaction and hostility. The Axis-Central Powers paid a very high price as the two empires were divided into several nations. The Allied side obtained control over the territories of the former Ottoman Empire, which led to their empowerment in the international arena. However, the created countries were not developing in peace as there were many revolts.
WWII and the Middle East Theater
Importantly, the states of the Middle East played a significant role in the World War II as they were used as important allies in the region. It is important to add that some these countries did not want to support Western nations as they were associated with exploitation and suppression of the cultural development (Choueiri 108). Nonetheless, the influence of Western countries was significant, and the states of the Middle East had to remain (at least, nominal) allies.
Post-War Independence Movements
The end of the World War II was associated with the rise of anti-colonial movements. Countries tried to obtain independence and the nations of the Middle East also wanted to be independent of the Western powers. Thus, Egypt, Iraq, and Iran received their real independence in the 1950s. Notably, production of oil enabled these countries to gain their independence as oil trade ensured the economic and social development of those states.
The end of the World War II was also associated with the creation of a new country, Israel. However, this country was seen as an outpost of imperialism and “Western hegemony” (Anderson, Seibert and Wagner 75). Arab leaders were against the creation of this country, and they did not want to give the territories to Jews supported by the Western world (Pappé 2).
Anderson, Roy R., Robert Seibert, and Jon G. Wagner. Politics and Change in the Middle East. New York: Routledge, 2011. Print.
Dawoody, Alexander R. “The Arab Spring of 2011: A Perspective.” Public Administration and Policy in the Middle East. Ed. Alexander R. Dawoody. New York: Springer, 2014. 319-341. Print.
Knysh, Alexander. “Historiography of Sufi Studies in the West.” A Companion to the History of the Middle East. Ed. Youssef M. Choueiri. Malden: John Wiley & Sons, 2008. 106-135. Print.
Pappé, Ilan. The Modern Middle East: A Social and Cultural History. New York: Routledge, 2014. Print.
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Volk, Lucia. The Middle East in the World: An Introduction. New York: Routledge, 2015. Print.