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  1. #1
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    Default WW1 effects on the Middle East

    WW1 effects on the Middle East
    All-
    I am assisting in a class at my church dealing with the history of the Middle East (my section dealing with the military history) and I wanted to get some input from the members here.
    What do you see as effects on the Middle East due to WW1?
    Please share any and all thoughts – but let’s keep it civil.
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  2. #2
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    Well... The Arab leaders that fought on the entente side were hoping to create a unified Arabia free of the ottoman turks. Lawrence of Arabia supported that idea, but the French and British broke those promises and hopes, dividing Arabia between them. Thus borders were created that are full of conflicts today... This is the oversimplified version, but part of the story.

  3. #3

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    Wow, where do we start? You might want to read T.E. Lawrence's "Seven Pillars of Wisdom." Here are a few bullet points:

    -The break-up of the Ottoman Empire
    -The awakening of (and frustration of) Arab nationalism
    -The Sykes-Picot Agreement (on how the British and French would divide the spoils in the Middle East after the war).
    -The Balfour Declaration (regarding the right of Jews to live in Palestine)
    -The creation of Iraq (cobbled together out of three Ottoman provinces)
    -The British mandate in Palestine (plus the French in Syria and Lebanon)
    -British "divide and conquer" strategies (e.g., lets give all the power in Iraq to the Sunni minority, so they'll be dependent on British support).
    -Did I mention interest in the oil?

    A lot of what is going on in the Middle East today has been heavily influenced by the First World War and the aftermath. It's a subject that could fill a library with books; I'll be very interested to see where this discussion takes us.

    Let the games begin!

    -Devo
    "Are We Not Men?"

  4. #4
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    I'd recommend the book "A Peace to End All Peace" by David Fromkin. It's a little bit dull, but VERY informative. I'm sure you anything you care to learn about this subject is covered.

    Agree with Devo, most of the problems we see taoday are a direct result of WWI.
    Keep your mouth shut
    And carry a big stick

  5. #5
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    One most instructive example of the consequences of WW I is the fate of the (Christian) Assyrians, especially given the context of the class. Their military association with the Brits, their use and abuse, the fate of this ethnic and religious minority - very worthwhile studying.
    Today of course, it's Americans who are sealing their fate. :-(

    Carcano

  6. #6
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    When I was taking a class in the First World War, I found a very cool site for the Hijaz Railway (aka Lawrence of Arabia's favorite target). Quite a bit of it survives today.

    http://nabataea.net/hejaz.html


    "Brave men tell the truth, a wise man's tools are analogies and puzzles. A woman holds her tongue, knowing silence will speak for her"--Royksopp

  7. #7
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    Hello Tuco,

    This subject is best covered in short in the following documentary. I highly recommend it. It provides an excellent over view for the general public versus an in depth study that could only be covered in multiple volumes!

    Best of luck to you and thank you for stopping by! We miss you!

    Warmest regards,

    JPS


    http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review...+War+I+(Inecom)

  8. #8
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    Default WWI effects on Middle East

    If your looking at lasting affects then no better example than Iraq.

    It had no existance prior to WWI.

    It was created out of three Ottoman Provences (Basra, Mosul and Baghdad) by a British Lead commission without regards to ethnic or relgiuos diversity/conflict. Then to add injury the British put in place an Arab monarchy with no ties to any of the ex provences.

    We are still feeling the affects of WWI.

    Joe Sweeney

  9. #9
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    Yup. It took me 2 months and 5 maps to finish "Seven Pillars of Wisdom", but thats the one book which will give you a lot of leads and answers.

    The Ottoman Empire had been shaky much before the Suez Canal was built, and the fruit was ripe for the picking.

    A lot of things that occured there were linked with the British unease over the safety of its prized possession - the colony of India. The Suez Canal changed all the equations, and although the British were originally ambivalent over it, they eventually realised its strategic importance. Thats why they took over Egypt, fought in the Sudan and bullied the Persians.
    WW 1 saw the Young Turks blundering into a German diplomatic trap, helped no doubt by British financial treachery and backtracking (case in point being the impounding of Turkish naval vessels being built in British ports, even though the Turks had fully paid for them). Further, the inept handling of the naval blockade of the Mediterranean by the British Navy saw the 2 German warships reaching Turkey. Then they were co-opted into the Turkish navy and the German sailors had a fun time bombing Russian ships.

    Next came Gallipoli and the downfall of Kitchener.

    The impact of Turkish involvement in WW1 is only recently being properly evaluated. The Turks led to the blockage of supplies to the Tsar, that led to shortage and rebellion, and the knocking off of the Russians from WW1. That alone extended the war by atleast another year, because now the Germans only had a one front war. It was only after the arrival of the Americans that the Allied strength was restored back to winning levels.

    Enver Pasha held a very different view about Turkey´s borders, and believed that the old Khanates were in essence under Turkish sphere of influence. Add to that the attempts by the Turks to kick-start an Islamic jehad against the infidel Christian British. Enver´s ideas led him upto Baku and the massacre of the Armenians.

    The Brits were defeated in Mesopotamia (around Kut) initially by the superior Turkish forces and it was only after much huffing and puffing up the Tigris that the British could finally defeat the Turks there.

    The original British plan involved the idea of the British and Russian forces linking up in present day Iraq, and they even happily violated Persian territorial sovereignty with impunity in this regard.

    And coming back to the Middle East, all that Lawrence finally achieved was fulfillment of the worst fear of the old and twisted leader of Mecca - the demise of 900 years rule of the Hashemite dynasty. And the usurpers were finally the House of Saud.

    Algeria, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Iraq, etc- all of this was once a part of the Ottoman Empire. Everything was turned topsy-turvy by the British. At the end of WW1, Great Britain was at the pinnacle of its colonial power, but had also lost the cream of its youth. The British progressively declined after that, and saw all their possessions slipping away. WW2 was the final nail in the British coffin.

    Those very Arabs who lived a nomadic life and made a living by looting the pilgrims on the old trail to Mecca, the learned city folk who inhabited the ancient cities of Damascus, Allepo and Baghdad, the sands which were the very source and soul of Islam and all its virulence towards other faiths - all those forces were uncorked by the British and the French during 1917-18. The Ottoman Empire of old had been sitting on this powder keg for several centuries, but not even the Saladdins of that world could have known that in just a few decades after WW1, oceans of oil would be discovered under those blistering sands. The beggars, robbers and tin merchants of yesterday became the new rich, and extremist versions of Islam got the financial punch that they needed in the 21st Century.

    Starting from -

    " I loved you, so I drew these tides of men into my hands
    and wrote my will across the sky in stars
    To earn you Freedom, the seven-pillared worthy house,
    that your eyes might be shining for me
    When we came.
    Death seemed my servant on the road, till we were near
    and saw you waiting:
    When you smiled, and in sorrowful envy he outran me
    and took you apart:
    Into his quietness.
    Love, the way-weary, groped to your body, our brief wage
    ours for the moment
    Before earth's soft hand explored your shape, and the blind
    worms grew fat upon
    Your substance.
    Men prayed me that I set our work, the inviolate house,
    as a memory of you.
    But for fit monument I shattered it, unfinished: and now
    The little things creep out to patch themselves hovels
    in the marred shadow
    Of your gift....."

    Until the last few words -

    "EPILOGUE

    Damascus had not seemed a sheath for my sword, when I landed in Arabia: but its capture disclosed the exhaustion of my main springs of action. The strongest motive throughout had been a personal one, not mentioned Here, but present to me, I think, every hour of these two years. Active pains and joys might fling up, like towers, among my days: but, refluent as air, this hidden urge re-formed, to be the persisting element of life, till near the end. It was dead, before we reached Damascus.

    Next in force had been a pugnacious wish to win the war: yoked to the conviction that without Arab help England could not pay the price of winning its Turkish sector. When Damascus fell, the eastern war--probably the whole war--drew to an end.

    Then I was moved by curiosity. 'Super Flumina Babylonis', read as a boy, had left me longing to feel myself the node of a national Movement. We took Damascus, and I feared. More than three arbitrary days would have quickened in me a root of authority.

    There remained historical ambition, insubstantial as a motive by itself. I had dreamed, at the city school in Oxford, of hustling into form, while I lived, the new Asia which time was inexorably bringing upon us. Mecca was to lead to Damascus; Damascus to Anatolia, and afterwards to Bagdad; and then there was Yemen. Fantasies, these will seem, to such as are able to call my beginning an ordinary effort. "

    All the answers you seek are summed up rather neatly by Lawrence of Arabia
    Last edited by bonny; 09-19-2008 at 03:11 PM.

  10. #10
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    For many years I have the text of "The seven pillars of wisdom" in my library. I will read it one day, if you are interested why I didn't, until this day ... my dad encountered and spoke with our famous Lawrence ... and wasn't impressed at all with the character of this man. It's easy to make an elephant of a mouse in writing, some are trying to be very good at that but it doesn't fool the intelligent inquirer. Do you realy think that one must approach the fairy tales of the political past on the same basis today?

  11. #11
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    Thanks guys. Any thing more you can add will assist. I have done some research on my own but I also know the vast amount of knowledge here (also worldwide which is nice)

    John - I am not sure if I was missed or not, Gus told me he was glad that I had left and I am sure will be upset at my return.

    Lastly - Anyone come across militaria from this time frame.
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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big commander View Post
    For many years I have the text of "The seven pillars of wisdom" in my library. I will read it one day, if you are interested why I didn't, until this day ... my dad encountered and spoke with our famous Lawrence ... and wasn't impressed at all with the character of this man. It's easy to make an elephant of a mouse in writing, some are trying to be very good at that but it doesn't fool the intelligent inquirer. Do you realy think that one must approach the fairy tales of the political past on the same basis today?
    Lawrence is a complex and flawed character, but I don't think he can be accused of self-aggrandizement "Seven Pillars" (it's not the script to the movie). Part of the reason he wrote the book was to correct some of the hyperbole from Lowell Thomas' newsreels.

    I'm sure that your father was an excellent judge of character, but the book should stand or fall on its own merits.

    Respectfully,

    Devo
    "Are We Not Men?"

  13. #13
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    I will read the book, you made me curious .

  14. #14
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    Thanks - Class is Wed and I am taking the secular area in regards to WW1. JPS - the DVD was great and a big help. Also thanks to all for assisting.
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