The Collapse Of The Ottoman Empire During World War One

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Background Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire during World War One, Britain and France divided up the former Ottoman territories under the Sykes-Picot Agreement in 1916, which established French and British colonies, as well as asserted their respective spheres of influence in the region. The borders drawn under this agreement, however, have caused crippling effects still felt today; the Syrian territory was comprised of a Sunni majority, and Alawite (a Shi’a sect), Druze and Kurdish minorities. The present day Syrian Arab Republic emerged from this agreement, and formally gained independence in 1945. The current Ba’athist Regime came to power in 1963 following a coup d 'etat led by an Alawite minority dominated military, overthrowing the Sunni majority, Western-oriented, capitalist Sunni majority. Prior to the coup, Alawites utilized the military as a means of social mobility in an otherwise Sunni dominated state. Dissatisfaction with the effects of Sykes-Picot, and the puppet regimes of European imperialism that were in place, led to the Socialist Ba’ath party’s nationalist platform. Once in power, the Ba’ath party established state sponsored capitalism in an effort to take control of the landed elite-dominated agrarian portion of the economy. Interparty turmoil eventually brought Hafez al-Assad to power in 1970, who ruled until his death in 2000, when his son, Bashar al-Assad (the current president) took over. Syrian Crisis: Arab Spring uprising gone awry
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