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Mess that is the - 'Middle-East'

Part 1:-

Everyone has their opinion about the Middle-East crisis and everyone comments on how best to resolve them.  Here is my opinion (part 1 / 2)

The roots of today’s crisis go back to WWI when the Ottoman empire lost its fight with the Allied Powers. 

By early 1900s, Ottoman empire, the much touted Khalifat of the modern Islamic terrorists, was a crumbling empire with disparate ethnic groups of Muslims desperate to achieve autonomy or independence from their Turkish masters.  WWI gave all these groups the ideal opportunity to throw off the shackles of the Khalifat.  Allied Powers supplied weapons and tactical help to these groups to break the Ottoman empire from within.

To the victor go the spoils of war.  This is the way it has been since time immemorial.  Even now, the victors divide the spoils and do as they please.  If the Ottoman and Germany had won, would they have done anything differently?  Would they not have split the empire of the British, Russian and French amongst themselves?  Why expect any less from the Allied Powers?

As the victors, France, Russia and Britain divided up the Ottoman empire amongst themselves and their supporters.  The French and English chose areas where they wanted to rule directly and have their spheres of influence.  They also gave other areas to their Arab supporters for helping to defeat the Ottoman.  Rest of the German empire in Africa was given to ‘self-determination’ & ‘independent movements’ of those countries.

Had the Central Powers won, they would have done the same to the empires of Britain and France.  If the Muslims rue the loss of their Khalifet, they have only their own ex-Khalif and his court to blame for entering WWI and losing.  British did not invite the Ottoman to join the war and so the Ottoman can’t blame the British for splitting them up.  Ottoman Empire wasn’t a one man band.  All its statesmen came from across the Middle East.  They were not ‘babes in the wood’ but seasoned politicians who had calculated that if they won, the richest empire of the time, Britain, would be theirs to pick apart.  Everything from Burma, India, Africa to Carribean would be theirs to claim.  They went into this war with their eyes wide open. 

Like all empires, the Ottoman empire was welded together by a singular ruler - the Khalifa - who brooked no dissent.  There were plenty of people who wanted to be independent of his tyranny but dared not defy his army.  Myth of Arab unity in the pre-WWI Khalifet is a fanciful story bought by their sympathizers and gullible media types with 5 min attention span.  As soon as the hostilities were declared, there were plenty of people within the Khalifet that were willing to join hands with the Allied forces to tear the Ottoman Empire from within.  All they wanted is weapons and tactical help from the Allied Forces.  Arab world’s false ‘victimhood’ story of the Allied powers having pounced on them and ripped them apart has to be exposed for what it is.

British and French took full advantage of internal dissent amongst the Arab nations and tore the Ottoman empire to pieces.  The much hyped ‘Arab help’ during WWI was never as big as it had been promised.  But nonetheless they had helped and the British kept their side of the bargain.  Various ethnic and tribal regions gained nationhood at this time including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.  Some became kingdoms, others became democracies and dictatorships.  As with any agreement, not everyone is going to be fully happy with the results.  The Kurds were particularly cut up for being split up and not being given a nation of their own.

British, as was their want, prevaricated about ‘Zionist’ wish for a homeland.  As was their style, they dangled the carrot of a Jewish homeland / state to attract help from Jews in America, Russia and other parts of the world during the war years.  Once they won, they promptly dropped the idea as impractical.  Promises and statements made in the heat of the war don’t always seem so sensible in the cold light of the aftermath of war. 

However, like the proverbial ‘Genie’, once you take it out of the lamp, its nigh impossible to get him back in.  Having resurrected the idea of 'Israel' as a Jewish state, it was now too real and too tempting to be relegated to the back burner.  Jews wanted to be restored to the homeland they had dreamt about for nearly 1700 years, but never dared hoped for – till now.  Eventually ‘Balfour Declaration’ was made to announce British plans for a Jewish Homeland in Palestine.  This was incorporated into Sevres Peace Treaty and Mandate for Palestine.


End of Part 1

(Part 2 will cover mess that occured between WWII and today)


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