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history:h_middleeast

a history of the Middle East

Introduction

  • the Ottoman Empire dominated the Middle East from 1299 to 1918 when it was dissolved. The Ottomans united the whole region under one ruler for the first time since the reign of the Abbasid caliphs of the 10th century and captured the heavily fortified Christian Byzantine capitol of Constantinople in 1453.
  • Ottoman power declined rapidly in the 19th century and became increasingly under the financial control of European powers.
    • Greece, Serbia, Romania, and Bulgaria claimed independence.
    • French annexed Algeria in 1830 and Tunisia in 1878
    • British occupied Egypt in 1882 though it remained under nominal Ottoman sovereignty
  • in the Balkan Wars of 1912–13 the Ottomans were driven out of Europe altogether, except for the city of Constantinople and surrounds.
    • British established effective control of the Persian Gulf
    • the French extended their influence into Lebanon and Syria.
    • in 1912, the Italians seized Libya and the Dodecanese islands
    • The Ottomans turned to Germany to protect them from the western powers, but the result was increasing financial and military dependence on Germany.
    • In 1914, Enver Pasha's alliance with Germany led the Ottoman Empire into the fatal step of joining Germany and Austria-Hungary in World War I, against Britain and France. The British saw the Ottomans as the weak link in the enemy alliance, and concentrated on knocking them out of the war. When a direct assault failed at Gallipoli in 1915, they turned to fomenting revolution in the Ottoman domains, exploiting the awakening force of Arab, Armenian, and Assyrian nationalism against the Ottomans.
    • The Allies, led by Britain, won the war and seized most of the Ottoman territories with Turkey just managing to survive.
  • post WWII Middle East was shaped by three things:
    • departure of European powers
    • the founding of Israel in 1948 and Israel's victory in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war
    • the growing importance of the oil industry
  • these led to increasing US involvement and due to the cold war, also USSR involvement:
    • anti-Western revolutions as follows led to Soviet influence:
      • Egypt (1954)
      • Syria (1963)
      • Iraq (1968)
      • Libya (1969)
    • the US backed the following countries:
      • Israel
      • Saudi Arabia
      • Jordan
      • Iran (until the 1979 revolution which established a theocratic regime that was even more anti-western than the secular regimes in Iraq or Syria)
      • the Persian Gulf emirates
  • the Six-Day War of 1967 with Israel ended in a decisive loss for the Muslim side, many viewed defeat as the failure of Arab socialism. This represents a turning point when “fundamental and militant Islam began to fill the political vacuum created”
  • the fall of the Soviet Union and the collapse of communism in the early 1990s had several consequences for the Middle East:
    • allowed large numbers of Soviet Jews to emigrate from Russia and Ukraine to Israel
    • cut off the easiest source of credit, armaments, and diplomatic support to the anti-western Arab regimes, weakening their position
    • opened up the prospect of cheap oil from Russia, driving down the price of oil and reducing the west's dependence on oil from the Arab states
    • discredited the model of development through authoritarian state socialism, which Egypt (under Nasser), Algeria, Syria, and Iraq had followed since the 1960s, leaving these regimes politically and economically stranded.
    • encouraged Saddam Hussein to rely upon Arab nationalism rather than socialism leading to a prolonged war between Iraq and Iran from 1980-88, and then its fateful invasion of Kuwait in 1990 resulting in the Gulf War with the US who drove Iraq out.

Modern day Arab-Israeli conflicts

  • 1948 Arab-Israeli War
  • 1956 Suez War
  • 1967 Six-Day War
  • 1970 War of Attrition
  • 1973 Yom Kippur War
  • 1982 Lebanon War

19th century

  • 1821-32, Greco-Turkish war begins & with the loss to the Greeks giving them Independence, and the power of the Turks over the Balkans diminished;
  • 1831-33: Egyptian–Ottoman War.
  • 1838: Anglo-Ottoman Treaty opens the empire to free trade of European powers
  • 1850's: British start using the Red Sea route to India (and thus allowing British women to travel to India) rather than sail around Cape of Good Hope.
  • 1854-6, Crimean War:
    • Turkey, then an under-prepared Britain & France declare war on Russia with Austria remaining neutral but becoming an enemy of Russia for doing so; 
    • Russian forces worn down in the Crimea in 1855 & the new Russian Tsar Alexander II sued for peace;
  • 1857, Anglo-Persian war ends;
  • 1858: Russia wrests control of Caucasus from Ottoman Empire. Chechnya beaten after Iman Shamil's rebels fail to establish Islamic state.
  • 1869, following a Turkish ultimatum, Greece agrees to leave Crete;
  • 1877-78: Russo-Turkish War
  • 1878, Greece declares war on Turkey;
  • 1881, Persecution of Jews in Russia; 
  • 1882: Egypt goes under British protection.

20th century

  • 1900:
  • 1902:
  • 1903: Anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia;
  • 1904:
  • 1905: Greeks in Crete revolt against Turks;
  • 1906:
  • 1907: Royal Dutch Shell Company founded; 
  • 1908: Young Turks revolt in Macedonia, the new Ottoman Parliament, with a large Young Turk majority, meets;
  • 1909: Sultan Abdul Hamid II deposed by Young Turks; Mohammed Ali, Shah of Persia, deposed;
  • 1910:
  • 1911: Turk-Italian war with Italy defeating Turks and annexing Tripoli - 1st use of aircraft for offensive measures;
  • 1912: Turkey closes Dardanelles to shipping; Montenegro declares war on Turkey; Turkey asks Powers for intervention in Balkan War; armistice b/n Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro & Turkey;
  • 1913: Balkan War - Bulgarians take Adrianople & Turkey signs armistice; Outbreak of 2nd Balkan War - Bulgaria attacks Serbia & Greece, Russia declares war on Bulgaria, Turks recapture Adrianople, armistice signed & Bulgarian-Turkey treaty; Serbia invades Albania; peace treaty b/n Greece & Turkey;
  • 1914: Serbia-Turkey peace treaty; 
    • WWI:
      • Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to Austrian throne, & his wife assassinated in Sarajevo June 28 sparking WWI
  • 1915:
    • WWI:
      • The Ottoman Empire initiates forced deportation of Armenians.
      • Anglo-Fr-Australian landings at Gallipoli; Under the command of Mustafa Kemal, the Ottoman army successfully repels Britain invasion of the Dardanelles in Turkey.
      • Seige of Kut. 8000 British men surrender to Ottomans outside of Baghdad - the largest British surrender since Aerican Revolutionary War.
  • 1916:
    • WWI:
      • Hussein proclaimed king of the Arabs;
  • 1917:
    • WWI:
      • Russian Revolution occurs, ceasing hostilities in the Caucasus, allowing Enver Pasha to establish the Army of Islam and retake lands in eastern Anatolia from Russia, ultimately to pre-war borders.
  • 1918:
    • WWI:
      • collapse of Turkish resistance in Palestine
      • Armistice of Mudros, ending hostilities in the Middle Eastern theater of World War I, including Clause VII, stating that “The Allies to have the right to occupy any strategic points in the event of any situation arising which threatens the security of the Allies.”[6] This clause was subsequently used by the Greeks, Italians, French, and British to occupy parts of Ottoman lands felt to be in their territorial interests.
  • 1919: 
    • Greek troops land in and occupy Izmir (classical Smyrna), with Allied approval. Greek atrocities begin on the local Turkish Muslim civilian population, leading to widespread Turkish disaffection.
    • Turkish War of Independence commences
    • Fighting b/n France & Syria;
    • Egypt's Saad Zaghloul orchestrated mass demonstrations in Egypt known as the First Revolution which was repressed by the British killing 800.
  • 1920:
    • Syrian forces were defeated by the French in the Battle of Maysalun;
    • Iraqi forces were defeated by the British when they revolted.
    • Treaty of Sèvres, marking the beginning of the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire. Rejected by Turkish nationalists and eventually leads to the abolition of the monarchy by the Government of the Grand National Assembly based in Ankara.
    • League of Nations formed but US Senate votes against joining it;
  • 1921: Kemal defeats the British-backed Greeks in Turkey;
  • 1922:
    • the (nominally) independent Kingdom of Egypt was created following the British government's issuance of the Unilateral Declaration of Egyptian Independence.
    • the great Mustapha Kemal “Ataturk” who had defeated the Anzacs at Gallipoli in WWI, removing the caliph dynasty and abolishing the Ottoman dynasty, he proclaims Turkey a republic and begins reforms to westernise Turkey;
  • 1923: Ankara replaces Istanbul as capital of Turkey;
  • 1924: Abolition of the Caliphate by Grand National Assembly of Turkey
  • 1925: Hitler reorganises Nazi Party & publishes 1st volume of “Mein Kampf”;
  • 1926: reforms in Turkey - abolition of polygamy/modernisation of female attire/prohibition of fez/adoption of Latin alphabet;
  • 1927:
  • 1928:
  • 1929:
  • 1930: Constantinople changed to Instabul;
  • 1930:
  • 1932: Ibn Saud renames his kingdom Saudi Arabia;
  • 1933: Hitler appointed German chancellor;
  • 1934:
  • 1935: German Nuremberg Laws against Jews; USSR concludes treaties with France, Czech., US & Turkey; Mussolini invades Abyssinia; Kemal adopts Swiss standards, abolishing polygamy, allowing women to vote & then adopting Latin alphabet for Turkey;
  • 1936: Mussolini & Hitler proclaim Rome-Berlin Axis; 
  • 1936:
  • 1937:
  • 1938: anti-Jewish legislation enacted in Italy; Kemal “Ataturk”, the father of modern Turkey dies;
  • 1939: earthquake in Anatolia, Turkey claims 45,000 victims;
    • world war II:
      • Germany invades Poland on 1st Sept 1939 and annexes Danzig
      • Britain & France declare war on Germany as part of the Anglo-Polish and Franco-Polish treaties of alliance
      • Cairo became a major military base for the British who then occupied Egypt who cited the 1936 treaty that allowed it to station troops on Egyptian soil to protect the Suez Canal.
  • 1940: 
    • world war II:
  • 1941:
    • world war II:
      • the Rashīd `Alī al-Gaylānī coup in Iraq led to the British invading, leading to the Anglo-Iraqi War.
      • British invade Abyssinia (Ethiopia); German counter-offensive in north Africa;
      • Rommel attacks Tobruk;
      • Hitler created a new urgency in the Zionist quest to immigrate to Palestine and create a Jewish state leading to conflicts with Arabian and Persian nationalism who wanted a Palestine state.
  • 1942:
    • world war II:
      • the 26 Allies pledge not to make separate peace treaties with the enemies;
      • Rommel takes Tobruk;
      • battle of El Alamein begins; 400,000 US troops land in French North Africa;
      • Rommel in full retreat loses Tobruk & Benghazi;
  • 1943:
    • world war II:
      • Lebanon independence
  • 1944:
    • world war II:
      • Syrian independence
  • 1945:
    • world war II ends
      • League of nations holds last meeting in Geneva & signs assets over to United Nations;
    • Arab League founded to oppose creation of Jewish state;
  • 1946: Albania, Hungary, Transjordan, & Bulgaria become independent states; Britain & France evacuate Lebanon;
  • 1947:
    • British proposal to divide Palestine rejected by Arabs & Jews, & thus deferred to UN which announces plan for partition;
    • Iraq independence
    • Egypt independence with British forces withdrawing to the Suez Canal
  • 1948:
    • Jewish state founded;
    • Arab-Israeli War
      • the armies of Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia intervened and were defeated by Israel.
      • 800,000 Palestinians fled from areas annexed by Israel and became refugees in neighbouring countries, thus creating the “Palestinian problem”, which has troubled the region ever since.
      • two-thirds of 758,000–866,000 of the Jews expelled or who fled from Arab lands after 1948 were absorbed and naturalized by the State of Israel.
  • 1949: Israel admitted to UN; Transjordan renamed Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan;
  • 1951: King Abdullah of Jordan assassinated in Jerusalem;
  • 1952: 
    • Egypt: anti-British riots erupt; Gen. Naguib seizes power, King Farouk abdicates in favour of his son. 1923 constitution abolished;
    • Israel & Germany agree on restitution for damages done to Jews by Nazis;
  • 1953: Egypt becomes a republic; USSR severs relations with Israel from Feb-July; Stalin dies;
  • 1954: Nasser seizes power in Egypt;
  • 1955: raids on Israel-Jordan border increase;
  • 1956: Jordan & Israel accept UN truce proposals; 
    • Egyptian crisis:
      • Israeli troops invade Sinai Peninsula; Anglo-Fr. ultimatum in Egypt & Israel; US sends aid to Israel; Nasser elected President of Egypt; US & Brit. inform Egypt they will not finance Aswan High Dam; Nasser seizes Suez Canal; Brit. & Fr. nationals leave Egypt; Anglo-Fr. forces bomb Egyptian airfields; US & USSR pressures effect Egyptian ceasefire; Fr. & Brit. troops withdraw from Egypt;
  • 1957: Eisenhower formulates “Eisenhower Doctrine” for protection of Middle Eastern nations from Communist aggression; Israel withdraws from Sinai Pen. & hand over Gaza strip to UN forces; US resumes aid to Israel; King Hussein declares martial law in Jordan; 
  • 1958: European Common Market; Egypt & Sudan join to form United Arab Republic; England & Spain sign trade pact; USSR grants loan to UAR for building Aswan Dam;
  • 1959: Britain & UAR resume diplomatic relations;
  • 1960: Cyprus independence
  • 1961:
  • 1962: earthquake in northwestern Iran kills 10,000; 
  • 1963: UAR, Syria & Iraq agree to union;
  • 1964: UN peace force takes over in Cyprus; Turkish planes attack Cyprus; King Saud of Saudi Arabia deposed, his son, Faisal becomes king; 
  • 1966:
  • 1967: Israeli forces use tanks against Syria; Israeli Mirage fighters shoot down 6 Syrian MIG-21s; six-day war b/n Israel & Arab nations;
  • 1968: Aswan Dam completed; Iran earthquake kills 12,000; 
  • 1969: Al Fatah leader Yasir Arafat elected Chairman of Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) & shifts his main guerilla forces to Jordan;
  • 1970: Arab commandos hijack 3 passenger jets;
  • 1971: Algeria seizes control of all French oil & gas interests within its borders but promises restitution;
  • 1972: Arab terrorists kill 2 Jewish athletes in Munich Olympics;
  • 1973: Arab-Israeli fighting breaks out again; OPEC oil embargo; E & W Germany establish diplomatic relations; 
  • 1974: Kissinger finally persuades Syria & Israel to agree to ceasefire;
  • 1975:
  • 1979: Soviets invade Afghanistan;
  • 1980:
  • 1981:
  • 1982:
  • 1983:
  • 1986:
  • 1989: Gorbachev decides to withdraw Soviet troops from fruitless campaign in Afghanistan
  • 1990: 35,000 killed in Iranian earthquake;
  • 1991:  
  • 1994:
  • 1995:
  • 1996:
  • 1997: Chechnya sinks into anarchy & under influence of militant Arab Wahhabi fighters.
  • 1999: Chechen fighters stage incursion into Dagestan, residential blocks blown up in Moscow & Volgadonsk killing 300. Chechen insurgents blamed. War breaks out again.

21st century

  • 2000: Russian troops capture Grozny in Chechnya. Acting Pres. Putin imposes direct rule from Moscow.
  • 2003:
    • Saddam Hussein finally captured;
    • Bam earthquake in Iran kills over 40,000 
  • 2004:
  • 2006:
    • Israel invades Lebanon in retaliation for their harbouring of Hezbollah.
  • 2008:
history/h_middleeast.txt · Last modified: 2021/06/13 19:46 by gary1