Yep, I just have to try and give some historical context to the conflicts that are now raging in the Middle East……it irritates me that too many people make judgement calls without the least amount of context to their assertions….I do what I can to try and get people to at least try to understand what is happening and why……
As has been pointed out many times by many people the Middle East has seldom been a calm place in the world….there has been conflicts throughout history and most of them extremely violent….the events happening today in Iraq, Syria, Israel, Palestine and most other areas of the region can all be tracked back to World War One…..more exact the end of WW1 and the breakup of the Ottoman Empire.
There is a wealth of books, articles, etc out there that can educate the reader on this situation….but the problem is….few people will take the time to try to understand the people and the events that have formed the problems of today’s Middle East….instead they had rather make up scenarios and then run with them…..
Many people and historians point to two documents that help start the Middle East on a path of violence…..the Balfour Declaration and the Sykes-Picot Agreement…….
The Balfour Declaration was sent as a 67-word statement contained within the short letter addressed to the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Arthur Balfour on November 2, 1917. The declaration acknowledged the establishment of a Jewish home in Palestine. The statement of the Declaration read as:
“His Majesty’s Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”
In the Sykes-Picot agreement, concluded on May 19, 1916, France and Britain divided up the Arab territories of the former Ottoman Empire into spheres of influence. In its designated sphere, it was agreed, each country shall be allowed to establish such direct or indirect administration or control as they desire and as they may think fit to arrange with the Arab State or Confederation of Arab States. Under Sykes-Picot, the Syrian coast and much of modern-day Lebanon went to France; Britain would take direct control over central and southern Mesopotamia, around the Baghdad and Basra provinces. Palestine would have an international administration, as other Christian powers, namely Russia, held an interest in this region. The rest of the territory in question—a huge area including modern-day Syria, Mosul in northern Iraq, and Jordan—would have local Arab chiefs under French supervision in the north and British in the south. Also, Britain and France would retain free passage and trade in the other’s zone of influence.
These two documents did more to inflame the Middle East…but what about the US in all this backstabbing?
Pres. Wilson issued his 14 point plan…….
In this January 8, 1918, speech on War Aims and Peace Terms, President Wilson set down 14 points as a blueprint for world peace that was to be used for peace negotiations after World War I. The details of the speech were based on reports generated by “The Inquiry,” a group of about 150 political and social scientists organized by Wilson’s adviser and long-time friend, Col. Edward M House. Their job was to study Allied and American policy in virtually every region of the globe and analyze economic, social, and political facts likely to come up in discussions during the peace conference. The team began its work in secret and in the end produced and collected nearly 2,000 separate reports and documents plus at least 1,200 maps.
In the speech, Wilson directly addressed what he perceived as the causes for the world war by calling for the abolition of secret treaties, a reduction in armaments, an adjustment in colonial claims in the interests of both native peoples and colonists, and freedom of the seas. Wilson also made proposals that would ensure world peace in the future. For example, he proposed the removal of economic barriers between nations, the promise of “self-determination” for those oppressed minorities, and a world organization that would provide a system of collective security for all nations.
For all his well meaning attempts…Sykes-Picot craps all over his vision of the “promise of self-determination” for the people of the Middle East….
There is a series written by Khaled Diab on the regions history and situations….they are an excellent piece of writing and will add to any readers knowledge of the Middle East……..
Source: The ghost of conflicts past, present and future – Al Jazeera English
Source: The Middle Eastern century that wasn’t – Al Jazeera English
Source: The Middle East’s century to come – Al Jazeera English
The actions by the allies at the end of World War One created the conditions for the conflicts we know today. Yes, there has always been conflict in the region but post-WW1 created a vacuum that has not been filled and the result is constant conflict and violence.
It is true that hindsight is 20/20…..it is just as true that knowledge can prevent a catastrophe.
Somewhere out there in the blogosphere there is a mental midget rolling his/her eyes at this post…..I am sure there is an insult waiting to happen…..but what the Hell….I have lived with idiots ever since I started this blog…..why would today be any different?
Turn The Page!