Middle East History
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Middle East History
This is a paper which looks at the historical developments and associated conflicts with the Middle East. A number of dimensions have been taken in the paper in which it begins with giving an overview of the origin and developments of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the region. There is also an analysis of the US involvement in the area and its overall interests. The paper also goes ahead to describe the role of Turkey to the developing nations in terms of its effectiveness in dealing with such issues as secularization, westernization and modernization.
Finally, the paper comes up with an elaborate discussion on the differences between Arab nationalism and Islamism and how the Islamism group appears to become a greater challenge for the west and its involvement in terrorism activities.
The Arabs and the Israelis have been in total dispute for a number of years and the dispute has been becoming complex every day as the Arab world continues to unite against the Israelis. This means that the future might result in a greater turmoil which might be disastrous than it may be imagined. This is to say that a solution will be needed so that the future days can be taken care of. Due to these poor relations between the two groups, the United States has been involved greatly, more than any other nation in the world. Due to such involvement, it has been argued that the country is after something with its continued involvement. On the other side, the neighbouring Turkey on the north is another country that has been a role model for developing nations and thus playing a number of roles in dealing with issues of westernization, modernization and secularization (James, 2008).
Another important thing that is worth noting with the historical developments of the Middle East is that there have been a great development and growth with the Arab nationalism and Islamism with a number of strong forces being likely to remain so or grow in the future days. This kind of Muslim resurgence has thus been noted since in 1945 with a number of factors causing its growth. This kind of resurgence has been making it hard for the western countries to deal or to cope with (James, 2008). As well, there has been a great co-relationship between this kind of movement and the continued increase in terrorism around the world. Therefore, this paper will give detailed analysis on these major historical developments in the Middle East and how the specific developments have impacted on the current global position in terms of relationships.
Today, it will be agreed that the Middle East is, and has been, the most violent and volatile region within the global political systems, and this has been the case from the Second World War. After this war, the historical developments in the Middle East tend to be punctuated with an increasingly high rate of poor inter-state relations and wars. Going by history, seven major Arab-Israeli wars have been recorded so far. To begin with, there is the Palestine war of 1948, the Suez Canal war of 1956, the Six Days War of 1967 June, the War of Attrition from 1969 to 1970, the Yom Kippur War and 1973, Lebanon war in 1982, and finally the Gulf war in 1991. The present wars between the Israel and Arabs have been so profound and greatly pronounced. In terms of originality, there are a number of dimensions which appear to be the root cause of the conflict. The first one originates from Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and another one being the Arab-Israeli dimension (James, 2008). The origins of these dimensions will be traced back to the 19th century during the Zionist movement when the idea of creating Israel was conceived. This kind of project had to meet the greatest opposition from all the Arab population thus becoming the beginning to the war. As time went by, all the neighbouring states were interested in helping the Palestinian Arabs since from the 1930s. Later, the Israel state was created in 1948 after which the war shifted from inter-communal to inter-state. The capture of West Bank heightened the tension thus increasing the intensity of the tension. Looking at the exact root cause to this conflict, it will be noted that very many divergent views have been announced. For example, the Arabs have maintained that the dispersal and dispossession of Arabs from Palestine has been a great cause thus labelling Israel to be an inherent yet aggressive state, hence the cause of the conflict (John, 1974).
On the other hand, Most of the Israelis hold that the main cause of this war is not because of territorial issues but due to the fact that the Arabs rejected them from existence in their own land. Therefore, Israel has been defending itself over the years. From these possible causes, it is very true that the wars experienced in the region have a root from such conflicts. Experts have also mentioned another possible cause of tension in the region. This occurred when the Arab states teamed up in 1967 with the intention of fighting back the Israelites. This kind of unity within the Arab interrelations led to more conflict with Israel fighting back. The other possible cause towards increasing the rate of these wars was due to the involvement and engagement of the major Super Powers in which they affected the affairs within the Middle East. This saw the Arabs referring to it as penetration and the reason why the tensions have elevated, remembering that their support was mainly on the Israelis (James, 2008). With this kind of dispute, the two sides have been having different positions with the Israelis holding that they have to fight for their rights to exist while the Arabs holding that they have to be respected and be given what belongs to them. With such factors coming into play, the dispute has continued to become so complex (John, 1974). For instance, Israel has recently been engaged in taking Palestine land and constructing dwelling structures for the Israelis. On the other hand, the Arab world has continued to join hands in an effort to fight the Israelis while making the tension more complex.
So as to end this kind of dispute, there is a lot which needs to be done. One, it should be understood that this kind of dispute has a great historical development, and hence a study can be done to establish the causal factors then address it from there. Some experts have also argued that the conflict has been a Biblical thing which is aimed towards some pre-stated prophecies and hence nothing much can be done (James, 2008). However, despite all these developments and suggestions, it is necessary that a common peace deal is signed which will see the two groups disengaging in conflict and purporting for a better relationships. Someone will argue that this has been done but nothing has been achieved, however, it is not the right time to give up soon. The role of the United Nations will also be important towards ending the conflict. This will bring better hopes for the two sides in the coming days (Bunton & Cleveland, 2009).
United States and Involvement in the Region
As we have noted earlier, the US became one of the Great Powers to declare interest in the region in support of Israel towards fighting the Arab world. The origin of its involvement was later in the 1950s after the conflict heightened after the union of the Arab nations against Israel. However, experts have argued that there must have been something more than this kind of involvement, and hence an indication that the US had a number of interests in the region. It will be realized that two major features are quite outstanding with the Middle East, and thus giving a full account why a Great Power of the world would be interested in the region and any other rivalry going on. For instance, the Middle East is a region that has been known to be well geographically stationed, and at the same time blessed with the greatest oil reserves the whole world over (James, 2008). This means that the US had greater interests in getting a place where it would station an airbase in which it could handle the other nations during combat; this was so because of the geographical positioning of the region. Oil was also another interest for the country to get involved in the region. This was to help create better relationships with the region for its mutual benefits (James, 2008).
According to different individuals, it will be noted that different individuals will have different views on the reasons why the United States got involved in the conflict. However, I think it was necessary that the country got engaged into the conflict as a way of showing solidarity with the world. As well, being a super power, it was necessary to have a big role in ensuring that a peace deal was arrived at in seeing the two parties being in peace. This is something that the government of the United States has kept to this day with a mission of ensuring that the Palestinian and Israel tension which has been developing on daily basis is brought to an end. The country has been keen to ensure that Israel is stopping its construction mission in order to reach a common agreement and peace with the Palestinians. Despite how many individuals argue about the US involvement into the conflict between the Israelis and the Arab world, according to me, I am totally contented that there is no mistake that has been made and thus the country should continue with such a role in ensuring a peace deal is reached in the Middle East, and a deal that lasts (James, 2008). Another reason for involvement is to ensure that it has helped in fighting terrorism which has come as a result of the present Muslim resurgence. However, the United States as a country has made only one basic mistake, which is showing partisan on one group and not the other. Although it is very true that the United States has been having poor relations with the Arab world, it should not have shown its interest or favour for the Israelis while supporting them to fight the Arabs. On the contrary, the United States as a country should have played a fair game in ensuring that it does not favour one side. This means that the United States is still in need of a good relation with Israel in comparison with the Arabs, and this is due to the fact that the two have a common enemy who are the Arabs. This has been the reason why the United States kept on spending more taxpayers’ money on funding the missions of the Israelis against the Arab world (Bunton & Cleveland, 2009).
Turkey’s Role for Developing Nations
Turkey is one of the countries located just next to the Middle East and which has been playing a great role towards helping in the development and establishment of the third world or the growing nations. First, it is necessary that we look at some of the developments that have been noted with the modernization of the country, and which has been a benchmark towards the development and modernization of the third world nations in not only the region but also elsewhere in the world (Bunton & Cleveland, 2009). To begin with, it should be something important to note that the area in which Turkey is positioned has been filled with countries, which have not been able to undergo maximum modernization, as it is the case with the other western nations. This means that, having been modernized, it has been able to play a huge role thus contributing to the overall modernization of the other nations around it. The Turkish modernization and development processes have been coming in through a number of reforms, which range from the welfare of women, secularization and westernization. All these will come forth in what can simply be referred to as modernization. The modernization of Turkey is something that has an elaborate historical development. Since the country was established in 1923 and became a republic, Turkey has been noted to undergo through complex processes of overall secularization, westernization, as well as nationalization (Bunton & Cleveland, 2009). This is to say that, all the components of modernization have been noted in the country along the historical timeline.
It is well known that the rate of modernization and civilization starts or will be competently determined by the position held by a woman in the society. This is so because the woman has to be regarded as a playmaker within the entire developmental process. In Turkey, the act of the secularization process came up with the idea of ensuring that all women in the country were made free and out of all kinds of constraints, which might came because of religion or even from cultural practices and taboos. This was brought about in the 1930s when all women were supposed to be freed from all kinds of suffrage, thus becoming a major step towards modernization. Very soon, the adoption of the famous Swiss Civil Code came into place thus guaranteeing all the Turkish citizens civil rights in accordance with the law, and this would be regardless of religion, gender or language. This became an important element with the country’s secularization which went ahead to change the overall legal system and as well increasing the rights of the women (James, 2008).
Equality for both men and women in all the families was another major agenda which the other countries have been forced to emulate. There was also the need of making sure that marriages that are recognized officially by the state were practiced thus doing away with the religious kinds of marriages. Another aspect that has been achieved in the country within the timelines has been the successful abolishment of the commonly practiced polygamy in many countries and societies today (Bunton & Cleveland, 2009). There was also the need to improving equality between men and women in areas of marriage, divorce, inheritance and provision of witness during trials. Looking at all the mentioned issues, it shall be noted that the country has been effective in dealing with all the problems which occur within specific population. It will be agreed that there is an effective balance in dealing with issues as secularization, westernization, and modernization in the country. This has been achieved by ensuring that there is a balance-strike ensuring only what favors the greatest majority is accepted and practiced in the country. From keener observations, the effectiveness of the country’s performance in dealing with all these issues will be noted on the fact that everything is done in the right manner so that all people have been made free, free from the religious, cultural and even from political constrains which may hinder economic development (James, 2008).
Due to this kind of effectiveness in addressing the issues, majority of the growing nations have been required to emulate from the same to be able to achieve the greatest results in economic performance and respect for human rights. Generally, this country has been able to become a rightful model for all the developing nations in the Middle East. This is so because the country has been able to strike a proper balance with its democratic, Muslim, pro-westernization and secular credentials (Fisher & Ochsenwald, 2003). This has come in the wake when the country has been a pro-Muslim country yet at the very time being able to prove to the growing nations that the fight against terrorism is necessary, and that the fight should not be seen as a fight against Islam.
Arab Nationalism and Islamism
According to learners and experts, there has been a strong view that the terms Political Islam and Arab Nationalism have been misunderstood and thus over the past years being the same case with the definitions and applications. Arab nationalism will also be known as a Pan-Arabism dream or ideology. This conception of the kind of ideology came up with the need of an Arab union, which was to comprise of the Arabs in the east and the ones in North Africa. This was aimed in forming a strong cultural community, which was to be united by one common communicative language. With a common language being shared among all these individuals, it was very easy to achieve a common identity and a common nation thus being in a position of modernizing and realizing overall progression (Fisher & Ochsenwald, 2003). The initial idea was thus in forming a common league with a common language and government, which would bring one Arab government thus being in a position of dealing with all the abstractions that come with nationalism and as well improve their social and economic standing. For instance, we have the Arab Countries Organization, which has been keen in fighting back, and engaging Israel to stop its attacks on Palestine. It is important to note that the Arabism idea did not, or does not, consider religion as a common unifying factor, but culture and language (James, 2008). On the other hand, Islamism has been growing as a union of Islamic religion and all followers of Mohammed in general towards a common union through which they can fight their enemies.
It is necessary to note that the Islamism idea has the feeling that it is legitimised effectively to impose any kind of Islamic Order, even if it means the use and application of violent methods. When this is spoken about, the context will be referring to what is known as Jihad,and which they claim has been noted and appraised in their Koran. This has been seeing them arguing that the Jihad is a struggle for a holy war (Fisher & Ochsenwald, 2003). However, this kind of movement has not been part of the entire Muslim group, but the ones having the idea for terrorism missions. Due to such an understanding, the idea behind their mission has been in fighting their enemies from all locations, whether of Islam origin in Muslim nations or in non-Muslim nations. A good example is the Al Qaeda organization which has been holding full in such dreams and goals.
Looking at these two groups, though having some common features within them, it should be agreed that the Islamism group appears to be in a position of growing as compared to the Arab Nationalism. In the coming days, the Islamism group which has been having political intentions has appeared to have the capability and power of becoming stronger in the coming days (Fisher & Ochsenwald, 2003). This has been so due to the fact that different parts of the Muslim world have been having different groups which have similar missions and which have a common goal in fighting their enemies. Due to this kind of understanding, the whole world has come to the understanding that the Islamism movement is the major threat to the progression of the world and that is the reason it has to be fought. As well, a number of terrorism attacks and other events that have been taking place have direct links with this group and therefore there are very many chances of this group putting the world at a greater risk than it may be thought.
Muslim Resurgence Since 1945
Following the end of the world war, it has been noted that there has been a resurgence of the Muslim world since 1945. Due to this resurgence, the Islamic world has been having greater impacts on the world since the year 1945 (Fisher & Ochsenwald, 2003). For instance, majority of the wars and conflicts that have been faced in the world since then have a relationship with Muslim and mostly have been stationed within the Middle East. The major causes towards this resurgence were in the need of fighting their enemies who had been showing a lot of notoriety, according to them. Issues of economic developments and world affairs must have as well played a greater role towards the resurgence with a number of ideological differences coming up as a result. With an increase in the Muslim movement and Islamism, it has become very hard for the Western countries to deal with it due to the nature of their movement and failure to engage in talks or dialogue. The ideological differences between the two have been one of the major factors that have made it hard to resolve the issues faced (Fisher & Ochsenwald, 2003). With increasing support from the Muslim world, the west will continue finding it hard to cope with the movement in the coming days, and right now when a number of unsolved issues remain like the Iraq issue, the Afghanistan war, the Gulf war, and the current pressure on Israel with the Palestine and the Iran Nuclear missions. This has brought greater differences between the West and The Muslim world.
In conclusion, it is will be true to say that there is a great deal of relationship between the movement and terrorists’ activities that have been faced in the world today. As we have noted above, this Islamism group has the mission in fighting its enemies and thus the increased cases of terrorism activities in the world (James, 2008). It has been a major effort with the West to fight these groups and times encouraging mutual understanding and solution to the ideological differences which have been in existence. However, most of the Islamist organisations have been deeply engaged in using extreme violence in pursuit of their goals. For instance, there has been the proclaimed mission in killing the citizens from the west and all other enemy groups, and hence the end result has been an increase in criminal acts of terrorism.
Bunton, P. & Cleveland, W. (2009). A history of the modern Middle East. Cengage: Cengage Learning.
Fisher, S. & Ochsenwald, W. (2003). The Middle East: a history. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
James, G. L. (2008). Modern Middle East A History Book. Oxford: Oxford University Press
John, R. (1974). Middle East History: some facts are too often overlooked. New York: John Wiley and Sons.