Analyzing Questions About the Middle East Essay

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Middle East

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The Sykes-Picot (Asia Minor) Agreement was a covert agreement, relating to the Ottoman Empire's division among the "Allies," negotiated between the governments of France and Britain in the course of the First World War (WWI). The Soviet Union was privy to these discussions as well. The discussions' initial round was conducted in the British capital, with Georges Picot representing France and Sir Arthur Nicolson leading UK's delegation. The next round saw Sir Mark Sykes representing the British government. Agreement terms were outlined in a 5/9/1916 letter addressed by Paul Cambon -- French ambassador to Britain -- to Sir Edward Grey, Britain's foreign secretary. The terms were approved and returned via a letter bearing the date of 16th May. Notes exchange between the allied nations on 26th April and 23rd May 1916 made the agreement official. As per the agreement, direct power over Lebanon, Cilicia, and most of Galilee, up to the "Blue Zone" -- the line that stretches from Acre's north to the Galilee Sea's northwest corner -- would go to France. Towards the East, in Syria's vicinity, a certain Arab state (Area A in the agreement) would be formed under the protection of France. Britain would gain control over the Red Zone (south Mesopotamia) as well as territories around the Mediterranean Haifa Bay with permission to construct a railway line between this place and Baghdad. Also under the protection of Britain was another Arab State (Area B) -- a territory to the Negev Desert's and Jordan River's east, south of a line that stretched between the Dead Sea and Gaza. To the south of the area under the French, covering Jerusalem's Sanjak and extending south towards the approximate line running between the Dead Sea and Gaza was the Brown Zone, under international control (Pre-State Israel: The Sykes-Picot Agreement Para. 1-4).

Essay on Analyzing Questions About the Middle East Assignment

The key circumstances leading to the aforementioned pact's creation was: The Ottoman Empire's centuries-long refusal, before the war, to cooperate with British and French Alliances. Even prior to WWI's ending, the Allies had already considered how to divide the enormous spoils should they overcome the Turks. France and Britain already showed significant interest in the area, with Russia hungering for a share as well (Lust 5-16). The Sykes-Picot Agreement was not drafted to perfection, it had three unaddressed problems. First, the pact posed to break the existing tribal lines and create new borders which did not consider the culture, ethnic and beliefs of those under the new borders. Before the arrival of the European colonies in the Middle East, the people in the region lived separately but engaged in trading cultures. Also, the state system that came into existence after World War One accelerated the failure by the Arabs to tackle the dilemma of identity struggle that existed between Nationalism and Islamism. Lastly, the pact invalidated its main promise of independence in the region after the fall of Ottoman Empire. This was caused by the absence of Arabic knowledge during the drafting of the pact hence it had to be secret (Osman Para 5-9).

This was not the sole agreement to be made with regard to the vast Middle Eastern region. A number of pacts followed in its wake. The Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne Agreement signed between Italy, France, and Britain in April of 1917, on the Italy-France border, aimed at reconciling the conflict between Italy and France over southwest Anatolia, in case the Ottoman rule disintegrated at WWI's culmination. As part of this agreement, France would receive Adana, whereas Italy would be given the rest of southwest Anatolia (Asia Minor) (Agreement of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne Para 2). The Husayn-McMohan Agreement signed in October of 1915 was accepted by the people of Palestine as a pledge by the government of Britain that, following WWI, land that was earlier under Turkish control would be given back to the Arabs residing there. This agreement caused damaging complications, in Middle Eastern history and appeared to be in direct conflict with the 1917 Balfour Declaration. In a bid to organize another front against Central Powers (Germany's allies), the Allied nations urged the Ottoman Empire's Arab citizens to rebel against their Turkish rulers, thereby splitting Central Powers' WWI efforts in three directions (Trueman Para 1-2).

This intricate and complicated series of events that transpired during the 1910s led to the Ottomans' collapse. It saw the advent of new Middle Eastern nations having borders that ran across Ottoman territory, segregating Muslims into several nations. Britain has been central to shaping the Middle Eastern region in the form it is today. Three distinct pacts made divergent, conflicting vows that Britain had to keep. However, the outcome of the covenants signed during the 1910s (following WWI) constitutes a political muddle that ended up dividing most of the Islamic world in the Middle East (Lust 18).

Question 2

Theodor Herzl founded the Zionist movement in the year 1896 with the aim of returning Jews to Zion or Eretz Yisrael, (Jews' synonym for Israel and Jerusalem). The classical concept of Zionism dates back to the Biblical era, when Jews in tribulation during their foremost exile in Egypt were saved by Moses, who led them to their real home in Israel; ever since, Jewish history records several instances wherein the Jews faced exile from or persecution in their homeland. Still, the Jews persisted and were obstinate when it came to relinquishing control of their homeland. All generations of Jews have had some groups attempting to return to Israel and revive their life and culture in the holy land. The 18th century Enlightenment revolutionized other nations' perception of Jews, in addition to Jews' perception of themselves. Jews started enjoying equal rights to citizenship in European countries, with many assimilating into different countries and cultures. This helped promote secular Judaism. The traditional Zionist movement had no colonial motives, and refrained from following the course adopted by other European nations. Some elements of this egalitarian movement's national character were unique to the Jews alone. Zionism aimed at emancipating a nation, rather than enslaving others. The influence for early Zionists undoubtedly came from the era's revolutionary leaders. Zionism was an exclusively European movement; the earliest Jewish settlers in Palestine hailed mostly from Europe. The development of nationalism and nation-states, as well as a desire to relate to others based on language, geography, and cultural influenced European Jews the same way it did the rest of the Europeans. The need for self-expression in this fashion proved to be a powerful motivation to unite into a cohesive entity for security, progress, and economics across the globe. Zionism had not emerged full-blown out of some void in its creation in the year 1897. Jews maintained a spiritual as well as actual link to Palestine. This age's upheavals offered an impetus for contemporary Zionism's birth, transforming the originally intellectual movement having limited support into a global network of progressive proportions systematized for the express purpose of establishment of a homeland for Jews in the Palestinian land (Sahliyeh 262-263).

Contemporary political Zionism was derived from a Greek movement for freedom from Ottoman occupation, including national liberation efforts. Liberal nationalism often endeavored to achieve two key goals: freedom from foreign control and national-level unity in nations partitioned into a number of political units. Modern education has contributed significantly to classical Zionism's shift and enlightenment. Zionism effectively synthesized the aforementioned goals by striving to free its people from unfriendly, despotic foreign control and to reinstitute Jewish unity with a clarion call inviting exiled Jews from across the globe back to their homeland.

By the 19th century's ending, Zionism recognized the need to have a national homeland for Jews. This transformed Zionism into a large-scale political movement. The motivation to do so came from Haskala's (Jewish Enlightenment) failure to resolve the Jews' problem. Zionist doctrine claims this failure occurred because equality and personal emancipation were not possible if there was no equality and emancipation on a national level, as national issues needed national solutions. Formation of their own, independent Jewish nation in their historical homeland, with a majority of Jewish citizens was Zionism's national solution; through this, the Jews could realize their self-determination rights. According to the movement, "normalization" of Jews' situation was not in opposition to universal, basic values and aims. It supported the fundamental right of man to have his own home, arguing that a race could only reach equal footing with others in the "family of nations" if it enjoyed a sovereign, autonomous status. By adopting this approach, the Zionist political movement could successfully attain their aim of instituting a Jewish nation (Neuberger 20-22).

Question 3

The Israel-Arab '6-Day War' came to an end on the 10th of June, 1967, after a truce between Israel and Syria. The involved Arab nations suffered a huge defeat, owing to the pre-emptive Israeli attack. They lost fifty percent of their defense equipment, and Jordan's Air Force suffered total destruction at the Israelis' hands. Also, casualties were more on the Arab side than among Israelis. Following this success, Israel took control of West Bank, Sinai Peninsula,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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