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Rise of the State System of Middle Eastern Countries Essay

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Updated: Jan 27th, 2022

Introduction

After World War I, the nationalist movement gained power. Nationalism had a great impact on Arab countries. The nationality wasn’t measured by the country’s boundaries, it became more universal. The concept of Ottoman Muslim appeared.

In 1914 England declared war on Ottoman Empire. Being under England’s protection Egypt faced threats from the neighboring countries. The biggest threat came from Syria and Hijaz. The biggest fight between the Ottoman forces and the British forces took place in the Suez Canal. The British army had great losses and in 1917 was pushed to Baghdad, then through Palestine to Jerusalem. By 1918 the British reached Homs and Aleppo, where the cessation of arms took place.

Sykes-Picot Agreement

The Allies were concerned about the reaction to the Ottoman’s call for jihad. The British authorities in Egypt started correspondence with Sherif Husein. They persuaded him to make his relationship with Ottoman Empire more severe, assuring him that many Arab territories will obtain independence under his policy. Husein remained silent to the call for jihad and his silence caused the Arab revolt.

The British promoted the revolt promising independence to the Arab territories, but at the same time, they negotiated with French and Russians. Together they created the Sykes-Picot Agreement, which divided the zones of control on the Arab territories between the Western leaders. The Agreement allowed the French and British to dominate after the war.

The Allies also looked for the support of the Jewish population, who mostly lived in Palestine. The Jewish minority was often discriminated against during history. Many Jewish people fled from the Western countries to Palestine. The Jewish leaders sought independence for their people and wanted to establish a Jewish homeland. They were not sure that the alliance with the Western leaders will be helpful in this.

The Jewish community in Palestine

Since the beginning of World War I, under the Ottomans’ policy Jewish minority was treated harshly. “Seeing that Jews would have a difficult time wherever they lived, and seeing widespread anti-Semitism in the Allied countries, the Zionist leaders gave the Allies only half-hearted support” (Andersen, Seibert, & Wagner, 2016, p. 64).

Palestine’s destiny remained undecided for a long time. It was hard to decide which one of the groups was to control the territory. Nationalism was the main moving force for the Arabs and the Zionists. In Palestine the Jewish community was minor, but it continued to grow. Since 1932, when Nazi Germany rose up, Jewish immigration increased greatly. The increase in population caused bitterness among the Arabs, and the terroristic violence began. The establishment of the state of Israel took place only in 1948. Israel made the Zionists only partly secure because disaffection towards the Jewish people still took place.

The aftermath of World War I

The terms of Agreements made during the World War I were contradictory and caused many tensions.

Syria was promised to become independent after the war, but control over the Syrian territories was also guaranteed to France. The French invaded Syria, imposed their policy, and remained the military presence in the country. The French also imposed their policy on Lebanon, where the Arabs dominated at that time. The French provoked tensions between different ethnic and religious groups. Lebanon and Syria obtained independence only after World War II.

After the British ally, Faisal won the election in Iraq in 1921, the country could reach independence by 1932. The British remained the military presence in Iraq and influenced the policy. The British also remained a presence in Transjordan even after the country could attain independence in 1946.

The borders established by the Western countries played a role in the national determination. Under the French and British policies Syrians, Iraqis and Jordanians modes of life began to change slightly, and they started to regard themselves as different nationalities.

After World War I the movement for Egypt’s independence started. It was headed by Saad Zaghlul. The Egyptian nationalist movement was very strong, and Britain was highly against it. The British were ready to claim Egypt independent only if they remained the present on the territory. In 1922 Egypt became independent, and the British forces moved to the Suez Canal Zone, their presence was restricted. But with the beginning of World War II, Egypt became “an Allied base for the duration of the war” (Andersen, Seibert, & Wagner, 2016, p. 67). The British took control over the country again.

After World War I Turkey was governed by Kemal Ataturk. His reforms were mostly democratic. He established democratic institutions and developed international relations of the country. During World War II the Turkish government was headed by Ismet Inonu. When Turkey faced the threat of the Soviet Union expansion, the country was supported by the USA. Turkey was provided with great military and economic aid. The military influenced the Turkish politics up to 1982.

During the interwar period, Reza Shah was a leader of Iran. He introduced national, social, and developmental reforms. Iran continued to be governed by one family. Shah’s leadership was opposed to nationalists, whose main aim was to reduce the Western influence in the country. When the opposition took power over the country, The USA helped to restore Shah’s government. Iran was brought into a military pact with the USA, but the main political power was still concentrated on the shah.

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