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There is nothing new to the world when it comes to war. The aftermath or consequences of war are too enormous to mention. The war in the Middle East seems to be a common thing due to the period of time it has lasted.
Reading the Bible, we come to the understanding that war in the Middle East is indeed very old. However, one cannot help but wonder if the wars have always been about the same reasons. The answer is “no”. There have been over 5 wars in the last decade for various reasons. (Fromkin, 2001)
The paper will focus on analyzing and reviewing modern wars in the Middle East. In this context, the term “modern” refers to post Ottoman period. In a short but explicit summary, the fall of the Ottoman Empire will be discussed. Furthermore, the high and low points of the book will be discussed as well.
It is generally believed that the fall of the Ottoman Empire gave rise to the creation of the modern Middle East. Consequences of the breakup and how they affect the western world will be shown too. (Fromkin, 2001).
According to historians, the western world had always indulged in the struggle for power. As a matter of fact, that is the whole essence of international relations. It was the same power tussle that led to the break of the Ottoman Empire. Prior to western influx, the Turks ruled the Arabs without problems. The Arabs suddenly found excuses to oppose their Turkish rulers.
This began precisely during the Napoleonic era when nations like France, Britain and Russia were grossly involved in the power struggle about who would conquer the world. This led the European powers to invade the Middle East. It was fondly referred to as the “Great Game”.
The Turks naturally resisted and had some other powers like Germany backing them up and this eventually escalated and led to the First World War. During the war, the two rivals namely; France and Britain eventually joined Russian forces to fight the Turks and Germans. And even at such a critical time as war, the “Great Game” was still on. (Fromkin, 2001).
The British instigated the Arabs against their Turkish rulers simply in a bid to prevent their rivals France from gaining more ground. However, what they didn’t anticipate was the backing of an Arab nation by a European power like Germany. This power tussle game by Europe is still seen today particularly in Africa.
There is no doubt that it led to the fall of the Ottoman Empire and gave rise to the modern Middle East. It was during the course of creating a new Middle East that new boundaries were drawn. These boundaries are today the reasons for war in the Middle East.
Over the years historians and scholars have concentrated on certain nations when making reference to the Middle East. This was one of the things that made David Fromkin stand out.
In his efforts to educate the reader about the true state of things, Fromkin in his book “A peace to end all peace” discussed nations like Afghanistan and central Asia which are normally left out or overlooked by other scholars when talking about the Middle East. Fromkin talks about what was happening in such nations during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. (Fromkin, 2001)
The “Great Game” was prior to the First World War. But tempers went out of control when a British soldier named General Edmund Allenby led troops into Jerusalem on December 11th, 1917 in a move meant to secure the territory and keep the French away. It was a game doggedly played by both sides and not the war was enough to take away the minds of both rivals in spite of their alliance. (Fromkin, 2001)
In a desperate move to get the Arabs on their side and eventually agree with them, Britain made promises which Fromkin describes as “sheer dishonesty”. But the British were desperate and when it came to the game of international politics, the issue of honesty or dishonesty mattered very little to the British.
The only thing that mattered was winning. Just like the west would say; “every war has its casualties”, there was also a self doubt syndrome. The Arabs doubted themselves to the extent that some of them believed they were incapable of self government.
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The Jews were promised a national home in Palestine by Britain in 1917. However unknown to the Jews, the British simultaneously made a similar promise to the Palestinians that they would not be left out of the deal. This part of Fromkin’s book is very significant to understanding of the conflicts in modern Middle East. Prior to Fromkin’s book, Sir Mark Sykes was an unsung hero and a missing vital part of the puzzle.
Sir Mark Sykes was believed to be the brain behind redrawing boundaries of the Middle East. The issue of boundaries in the Middle East has been a controversy and has led to many wars today. Relatively, Sir Sykes is arguably responsible for these wars. (Fromkin, 2001)
As a reader, these are the high points for me in Fromkin’s book “A peace to end all Peace”. However, there is a school of thoughts that feels that Fromkin did justice to some parts of the book, as well as flaw in other areas. I totally agree with this school of thoughts.
Critics are of the opinion that for a book that took Fromkin 10 years to complete, he ought to have done better. It is argued that a work that took that long should have the tenacity and temperament to positively address a matter that seems insoluble, such as the Middle East war.
There have been arguments in various quarters whether Fromkin did justice to Lawrence. It is generally argued that Fromkin did undermine Lawrence regardless of the latter’s intelligence. In 1919, Lawrence had written that he hoped that Arabs would not be treated as last brown colonies, but as the beginning of brown dominion.
It was he who also warned that the Arabs could not be ruled or governed using black and white lines. Ironically, Fromkin celebrated Sir Sykes whose ideas are described as being similar to Lawrence’s ideas. (Fromkin, 2001)
Another flaw pointed out in Fromkin’s work is him exaggerating Winston Churchill as the middle point of his work when in actual truth he talked about Churchill briefly and did not mention him until when he was colonial secretary.
The primary aim of the book is for to properly inform the reader. This review is meant to inspire, challenge and enlighten the reader. The reader will be inspired and enlightened by historical facts both from criticisms and highpoints. The challenge is for the reader to keep an open mind as the story is told.
Regardless of what is being said in different forms of the media, the most profound achievement would be proffering a lasting solution. This is the right time for peace to reign in the Middle East. (Fromkin, 2001)
Fromkin, D. (2001) A Peace to End All Peace: The fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the modern Middle East: Henry Holt. New York: An Owl Book.