I just finished reading Eugene Rogan's book The Fall of the Ottomans.
The vast majority of the book covers the years 1914 - 1918 (i.e. WWI), before concluding with the redistribution of the Ottoman Empire by the victors from 1918 to 1920.
Rogan discusses how the redistribution of the land at this time is the ultimate cause of the major aspects of conflict that occupy much of the Middle East up to the present day. Some examples:
- France were given occupation of Syria, and established Lebanon as a separate Christian state, which has subsequently resulted in much violence between Syria and Lebanon, as well as civil wars within Lebanon as Muslims have come to outnumber Christians, up to the present day.
- The Kurdish people were divided amongst Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, who have been embroiled in conflict with their host governments up to the present day.
- Since WWI, Iraq has rarely seen an extended period of peace, with consistent revolutions, coups and wars.
- The contradictions of the Balfour agreement (vaguely outlining it as a Jewish state with full implementation of all other religions within in) have resulted in Arab-Israeli conflicts to the present day.
- Israel continue to occupy parts of Syria, and is yet to relinquish to Palestinian territories to Gaza and the West Bank.
- Palestinian refugees remain scattered across Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.
How did the dynamic of peace actually change in these regions following WWI?
Was there much more peace prior to the Great War?
If someone were to argue that the European powers are responsible for the conflict in the Middle East up to the present day, would there be a good response through arguing that conflict was rife even prior to the War?