Causes of Unrest in the Middle East

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The Causes of Unrest in the Middle East

The causes of unrest in the Middle East are historical, religious, economic and geo-political. Ancient history and ancient civilizations can serve as a framework for understanding some of the existing enmity. For example, the Persians (Iranians) and the Babylonians (Iraqis) have been fighting for more than 3,000 years. However, the current unrest in the Middle East is the result of Western ethno-centrism and colonialism (covert and overt), combined with religious and sectarian conflicts. The impact of Western (Europe and the USA.) interference in the Middle East cannot be overstated. Indeed, the term “Middle East” is an artificial term that has no meaning except in the context of its geographical relationship to Europe.

The most active period of Western interference in the Middle East was after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and up to the present time, although there were substantial economic, military, and political interests in the Middle East for the previous two hundred years. Prior to World War I the primary interest of the Western powers in the Middle East was geo-political, mostly concerned with shipping lanes (Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, Suez Canal and Red Sea) for military and economic gain. Following World War I the primary interest of the Western powers in the Middle East became oil, although Great Britain was already actively involved in the exploitation of Iranian oil as early as 1908 (Bostock). The possibility of large deposits of oil in Iraq had already been recognized prior to World War I. Therefore, the partitioning of the areas that had made up the Ottoman Empire and German colonial holdings, including Iraq, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Syria, following World War I had the smell of oil around it.

Great Britain and France, with the support of the USA, used the League of Nations to obtain mandates, colonial power, over most of the Middle East. Unfortunately, along with the...
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