The modern conception of the Middle East was molded in the early 20th century. The French and the British both formulated their foreign policy in the Middle East to help advance their own self interests. Power hungry and desperate for new land, British and French governments struggled to shape the Middle East. Britain’s unwillingness to learn about the people living in the Middle East, coupled with their underestimation of Arab nationalism, made for an inauspicious state. People in these Middle Eastern nations were unable to advocate for themselves and were taken advantage of by corrupt government officials or imperializing western powers. The French and British erred by disregarding pertinent information about the nationalist feelings of the
Over the course of the last century, the Islamic Republic of Iran (formerly known as Persia) has seen colonialism, the end of a dynasty, the installation of a government by a foreign power, and just over three decades ago, the popular uprising and a cleric-led revolution. These events preceded what could be considered the world’s first Islamic state, as politics and fundamentalist religion are inextricably linked in contemporary Iran. Looking at Iran from the mid 1940’s until the present day, one can trace the path that led to the rise of fundamental Islam in Iran in three distinct periods. The first is that which began with the rise of secular nationalism and the decline of Islam. In
Today in the news and in politics, we hear a lot about Middle Eastern issues. Not only is there prevalent international conflict based there, there is a major internal conflict between the Sunni and Shia groups of Islam. The schism between the two groups began in 656 when they disagreed on who should lead the Muslim people after the death of Mohammed. The Shia group believes that the caliphate should be passed along Mohammed’s bloodline and that this tradition should have begun with his son-in-law, Abi Ibn. Sunni Muslims believe that the rightful caliph was Abu Bakr, a friend of Mohammed's. This was the prominent group until the Safavid Empire, a Shia dynasty, came to power and made Shia Islam the religion of the state. They were opposed
This article discussed the difference between Shia and Sunni Islam. The author discusses the differences and similarities of the two groups, as well as how this divide threatens to destroy the communities. The purpose of this article is to educate the reader of the origin of such, as well as the makeup of the groups and the history of how each is governed. The author shares information of the conflicts between the groups. The article uses maps of the regions to denote which group populates the major areas. The use of pictures of members, educational sites and religious rituals are also used to help the reader visualize. The article is helpful from an educational standpoint. The article does refer to recent events from January 2016, which
Bernard Lewis is the author of The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror. This book, being one of the many volumes reflecting on Islam and Middle Eastern affairs, educates the reader on the struggle Arab nations are facing due to many causal foreign influences. Author Bernard Lewis concentrates on different factors of the conflict between Islam/Middle Eastern values and Western political agendas/democracies. He discusses the history of Islam, the definitions and misconceptions of “Jihad”, the failing dictators that presently govern each nation, U.S. policy, and the brutal struggle that has been bestowed upon
During the years 1900-2001 a number of significant interventions occurred which affected the growth and nature of Arab nationalism. Several key pressures considerably influenced a change in the nature of nationalism; including, economic levers, agreements and military presenses in the Middle East. Arab nationalism arose out of the fear of the possibility and later the certainty of European or American dominance. The emerging ideology believed all Arabs to be united by both a shared language and history. Foreign intervention in the Middle East long predated the First World War, dating back to during the
Throughout Middle Eastern history there have been many great empires but two stand out, the Ottoman Empire and the Qajar Kingdom; both have had long-lasting effects on what the Middle East looks like today. When looking at the Islamic Republic today and their form of government it is important to understand how they reached this level through examining their history and the lingering effects that WWI and Western Imperialism have left behind. The Ottoman Empire which stretched as far as modern-day Austria were a great military power but just like the Qajars were brought down by a combination of force and economic troubles. In order to understand the modern Middle East, we must be able to understand its history and what brought down both the Ottoman Empire and the Qajar Dynasty.
The Shia-Sunni divide is the major challenge facing Islamic societies today. It has greatly surpassed the issue of conflict between Muslims and the West, which has been a popular topic for scholars for many years now. Sectarianism can be comprehended as an institutional set of arrangements determining familial, local, regional and even expansive kinds of loyalty and affiliation. Nowadays there is an increase in sectarian conflict and violence which can be attributed to the collapse of authoritarian rule and a struggle for political and economic power. It is also due to the dispute over which version of Islam will impact societies and their leaderships.
The novel is divided into four sections in order to closely examine the evolution of the Muslin Brotherhood and their ideology. The first section, Politicizing Islam, focuses on the framework of political Islam up to 1963 that allows for the development of the Syrian Muslin Brotherhood and their early days. The second section entitled The Islamic Opposition to Ba’athism, goes in depth into the political, economic, and ideological subtleties fueling opposition between Islam and the Syrian Ba’ath party. The proceeding third segment, The rise of Jihadism in later 1970s Syria, examines the political and ideological circumstances that gave ride to the jihadist trend in regards to the Brotherhood itself. The fourth and final segmentation of the novel titled Ashes of Hama: The Syrian Islamist Movement since 1982, will be devoted to the consequences of the exile of the Muslin Brotherhoods after the Hama massacre, and how it then evolved to becomes the regimes most powerful political opponent.
The roots of the current conflict between Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Yemen stems from sectarian, social political, and ideological differences which are identified as contested social constructions in the core ideas. Moreover, these social constructions are moving in stages and are vital to the accurate assessment as to what has led to the original cause of the conflict. Ideological differences tainted with sectarianism seem to be one of the driving factors for conflict. The newly unified Republic of Yemen kept its Ba’athist loyalties, and it 's somewhat tempered Marxist leanings in its governance. One of the presumed crucial trigger points for the ongoing conflict between Yemen and Saudi Arabia is the 1990 Gulf War. On August 2, 1990, the state of Iraq invaded the small state of Kuwait and claimed it as their 19th province. This is taken, and not without unfounded rationalization, as only a small stepping stone for Iraq to directly attack the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its expansive oil fields to the south. Saudi Arabia claimed that Iraq’s actions posed a serious threat to its national security and sovereignty and asked the international community for assistance. The international community quickly responded with an immediate session of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and issued UNSC Resolution 660, which condemned the invasion and demanded the
One of the most pressing issues in modern geopolitics is the rise of a radical and violent terrorist sect in the Middle East. Most prominently associated with Al Qaeda during the early half of the 21st century and as of 2015 it’s even more extreme splinter group The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. While many in the West are shocked by the violent motivations and anti-Western philosophy of these movements the truth is that Islamic Radicalism has roots that stretch far back through the fog of history to the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of European economic, social, and military might in the region. With the partitioning of the old Ottoman territories after World War I and subsequent occupation by Western European colonial powers, the historical strategy of colonization came into play; place a foreign-backed minority-led government into power to serve as a puppet regime acting for the benefit of the controlling foreign interest. This socially unsustainable colonial strategy placed the majority of many countries, including Egypt and Syria, into conflict with the empowered minority. Other more homogeneous countries, such as Iraq and Iran, discontent to live under the oppressive de-facto rule of a foreign power, grew embittered towards their colonial patrons and puppet dictatorships and turned towards the perceived purity and social benefits of embracing political movements based in Islam and Pan-Arabism.
Then, in the mid 1700s, Saudi ruler Muhammad ibn Saud, from the Saud dynasty, forged an alliance with a religious reformer named Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab. Ibn Abd al-Wahhab was discontent with the growing disregard for Islamic teachings in Arabia. He taught that the people should return to strict observance and practice of Islamic laws. Adherents to this belief, called Wahhabis, were backed by the armies of the Saud dynasty, and together, these forces began a movement. Areas that converted to Wahhabi beliefs were taken over by the Saud family, thus increasing the size of the Saudi State. However, by 1891, most Saudi control of Arabia was taken by tribal chiefs and by the Ottoman Empire. Then, in 1902, a young Saudi leader named Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud began to reclaim land that his ancestors had lost. He also sought diligently to revive the Wahhabi movement, which heavily emphasized the Islamic beliefs and strict adherence to them. In 1932, Ibn Saud unified the regions he conquered into one state- an Islamic state that he dubbed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
To his followers Abd’al-Wahhab was a “great man, an outstanding reformer and a zealous preacher”, proclaiming a message of al-da’wa ila’ l-tawhid, (a belief in the unity of God alone), something which, according to him, Muslims had neglected to their detriment. Like a troubling desert storm he appeared in the Najd region of Arabia in the eighteenth century fulminating against the idolatrous practices and customs of the contemporary Bedouin. “The sheikh started preaching the revival of Islam”, states one writer, and “ripped away the heresies and abuses which had grown up around Islam and . . . preached the faith in its original simplicity”. A small number of tribesmen accepted him as Sheikh-ul-Islam and mujaddid, leader of Islam and renewer of the faith, and began a movement which quickly spread across Arabia. Presenting Abd’al-Wahhab as “the preacher of reform”, and referring to his “great work”, his “powers of persuasion, personal magnetism and the compelling rightness of his cause”, his supporters declare with alacrity how he “hurl[ed] his doctrines into the teeth of the evildoers”. As such Saudis today credit Abd’al-Wahhab as the one who “uprooted polytheistic views [and] eradicate[d] the heresies and accretions” affecting Islam, thereby pulling the Islamic faith “out of the darkness of polytheism and error”. Although no statues or monuments are erected in his honour, for such would be shirk, or idolatry, some Saudis name their sons Abd’al-Wahhab, and, as in the case
the conflict in the middle east between 1948-1973 was not purely fuelled by the interest and concerns of the superpowers but rather of a series of conflictual incidents, aswell as the main wars that took place from the years from 1948-1967 such as the: 1948 War, The Six Day War of 1967 and the Yom Kippur war of 1973. But although the conflict was not fuelled by the superpowers, the influence of the superpowers and the reach of the superpowers into the Middle East was evident in the years both prior and following 1978. But even despite the influence and interests of the superpowers between and including 1948-1967 being undeniably evident, the extent of this influence cannot be said to have “fuelled the conflict”.