The modern-day Middle East is a caricature of the aftermaths of the First World War. Approximately, twenty autonomous states, which fall under the umbrella of Middle East, still nurse the wound of the historical war (world’s first war). These countries include Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Bahrain, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Qatar, Jordan, Turkey, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan Egypt and Sudan are still debatable if they belong to Asia or North Africa.
During World War I, many nations especially those in the Middle East suffered political instability, social, and economic imbalance. Nevertheless, the First World War spurred the technological development in Middle East nations. After the World War I, most of the countries were under colonialism; nevertheless, the departure of colonialists spurred civil wars, ethnic wars, boundary disputes, political uprisings, and subsequent economic decline that many of these nations fight to control.
Changes in the Middle East after the commencement of World War I
Power derangement was the worldwide impact of the First World War and Middle East was no exception. Furthermore, according to political analyst the genesis of the political upheavals in the modern day Middle East dates back in 1914 during the world war (Craig et al, 2009, P.20). The Ottoman Empire an influential political identity in the Middle East, which the Arabians defended, was the main target during the war.
Subsequently, after the empire crumbled, the Britain controlled Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Palestine among other countries in the Middle East (Magnus, 2005, p.40). The involvement in the war by the countries from the Middle East not only led to loss of power but also spurred the economic decline and created social problems. The second change set in by the First World War was the technology development in the Middle East. Britain, Germany, and France had adopted the use of powerful machines like guns, bombs and nuclear weapons, which the people of Middle East acquired. The forces/ people from Middle East who participated in the war acquired operating and construction skills for the deadly weapons (Wilbur, 1991, p.50). Consequently, the current technological trend especially in weapons is now on the rise in the Middle East.
Therefore, the war led to the acquisition of military personnel, weapons, and fighting strategies in the Middle East. The third change set by the First World War is the psychological torture and imbalance by the military personnel and citizens of Middle East. Deaths, insecurity, and family loss led to the victims, civilians, and military to undergo psychological trauma. Moreover, the abrupt change of power from monarchical to colonialism negatively affected the citizens of Middle East.
Consequently, the occupation of Middle East by foreigners stimulated anger and frustrations among the citizens. Lastly, racism and ethnic bias started immediately as the world uprising commenced. The creation of sanctions by Britain and France, the crush of the Ottoman Empire and the occurrence of the Armenian genocide exacerbated racial conflicts and ethnicity in the Middle East (Niall, 2006, p.30). Therefore, the occurrence of the First World War was the genesis of all the social, economic, and political problems as expounded next.
The rise of each Middle East country and historical overview since the end of the World War I
Though not fully involved in the First World War, Afghanistan was always in constant conflicts with the Greeks, Persians, British (Anglo-afghan war) and Mongols among others.
The major war that involved Russians in 1980, led to the death and displacement of many Afghanis. Since the end of World War I up to now, Afghanistan has not known peace, civil wars and terrorism have contributed to the poor economic, social, and political stability. On the contrary, Bahrain, which was a British colony (after the First World War) up to 1971, has experienced an economic boom due to availability of political stability, tourism sector and petroleum industry. Although it contains immense natural resources, Iran is a state that has experienced political instability since the end of the First World War. However, it is currently struggling to implement political, economic, and social reforms. Likewise, Iraq has experienced both civil and internally wars, but the fall of Saddam Hussein and control of political aggression by the U.S have led to transition. Israel is a state that holds the landmarks of all the three main religions (Christianity, Muslim and Jewish) in the world.
Nevertheless, ethnic clashes have led to political upheaval since the end of the first war. On the other hand, Jordan was a colony of Britain (after WWI) but gained independence in 1945, which led to the establishment of international trade and economic reforms. In the same way, Lebanon became independent but civil wars due to political instability reigned for sometime. Currently, the state is struggling to reinstate political and economic reforms.
Like Lebanon, after independence from Britain Pakistan has been in conflicts with the Indians over the Kashmir region but currently the political reforms and international treaties are in place to ensure there is peace. Besides the Gulf War and colonialism that are now at bay, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Kyrgyzstan, are the few nations in the region, which are economically stable due to the presence of petroleum industry, modern infrastructures, and natural gas among others. However, Qatar is the nations with the highest income per capita in the Middle East region. Turkey is a nation formed by Anatolian remnants after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
The nation has successfully adopted reforms, which have led to economic prowess. Similarly, Saudi Arabia experiences political instability and economic growth from oil reserves since the end of the First World War. While Tajikistan and Syria after gaining independence from Soviet Union and the French respectively they have adopted economic, political, and social reforms that have led to the nation’s stability. In addition, the independence of Turkmenistan and U.A.E from Soviet Union and Britain respectively, has led to the establishment of autonomous states with economic stability. Lastly, Yemen and Uzbekistan colonies of British and Soviet Union respectively have gained independence and due to possession of natural resources, their economic power is on the rise.
Although most of the countries in the Middle East are lucky to posses’ natural resources like gas, petroleum and minerals, the impact of the First World War I still holds back their economic growth. Political instability and social problems like racism and ethnicity are some of the vices acquired during the first world, which the states struggle to control decades after the end of the war. However, a few of the states have put in place reforms to control the problems initiated by the First World War.
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