Historical Event in the Middle East
One of the several historical events that have occurred in the Middle East is the fall of the Ottoman Empire during the World War I. The Ottoman Empire was considered as the world’s greatest Muslim state; thus, its actions were perceived as a representation of all Muslims across the world. The WWI drove the final nail in the casket of the 600-year-old Ottoman Empire. Before its death, the Ottoman Empire had conquered most of North Africa, the Middle East, as well as parts of Europe. The vacuum that emerged after the fall of the Ottoman Empire allowed the European powers to take control of the Middle East.
The Fall of Ottoman Empire
In the fifteenth century, the Ottoman state was established under an Islamic ruling, but was not in good terms with the European countries. However, the Russo-Turkish War, which occurred in 1877-78, coerced the Ottoman to part with some of it territories. A rebellion broke out in 1908 led by young Turk army officers. The officers were opposed to the dictatorial government.
By 1914, the Ottoman Empire had lost a lot of ground, as it was left with only Turkey, Palestine, Syria, as well as the Arabian Peninsula. The empire opted to join Germany and Austria to form the Central Powers to fight the allied group that consisted of Britain and France (McCarthy, 2013). European advantage in exercising technological ingenuity may have played a vital role in creating social differences between the Islamic world and the European powers (Chaney, 2015). During the time of decline, as well as modernization of the Ottoman Empire, the empire experienced numerous challenges, which made it hard to defend from foreign invasion.
The Ottoman Empire was debilitated by internal disagreement, as each ethnic and religious group sought assistance from the European powers. The Ottoman leadership was split over how it would attain the external security, which would help the empire to survive (Reynolds, 2011). The Arabs had the desire to become independent states after the war, thus, they opted to support Britain to fight the Turks.
The fall of Ottoman Empire created a vacuum, which lead to the entrance of the European powers to take control of the region. The decisions that the European powers made concerning the region only exacerbated the situation rather than calming it. After the WWI, a new re-mapping of the Middle East was carried out, but the British and French armies were already on the ground to take control of the region. However, the new nation, Turkey, was born after gaining independence in its Anatolian heartland (Mazower, 2015). With the exception of Israel, the new map which was redrawn after the war looks much the same as it is today.
A century has passed since the end of Ottoman Empire, but the Middle East is still tensed as it strives to attain stability. The West has continued treating the Middle East with short-sightedness by choosing its allies on the basis of profitability rather than diplomacy. It is no wonder that the contemporary world is made of states that are driven by self-interests, as survival is for the fittest nations.
The WWI indicated disaster, as well as the termination of the Ottoman Empire, which happened to be the largest empire ever recorded in human history. The government erred by joining the central army, which was defeated by the allied group. The collapse of the Ottoman Empire resulted in the emergence of modern Turkey. However, much of the Ottoman territory was taken by the European powers, who have contributed in creating violence in the region, instead of mediating for a long-term solution.
Chaney, E. (2015). Measuring the military decline of the Western Islamic World: Evidence from Barbary ransoms. Explorations in Economic History, 58, 107-124.
Mazower, M. (2015, Feb. 13). End of the Ottoman Empire. Financial Times. Retrieved from https://www.ft.com/content/af218024-b2bf-11e4-a058-00144feab7de
Mccarthy, J. (2013). The Ottoman Turks: An introductory history to 1923. New York, NY: Routledge.
Reynolds, M. (2011). Shattering Empires: The clash and collapse of the Ottoman and Russian empires, 1908-1918. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.