Self-Doomed to Failure – Not if we do something about it.
Sami Jamil Jadallah
01 August , 2016
“Self Doomed to Failure” was the title of an article published in the Economist back on July 4, 2002, describing conditions in the Arab world. Of course, this was before the American invasion of Iraq, the Arab Spring and the ongoing civil wars taking place. That is why the New Arab Foundation and the Arab Peace Corps (non profit organizations) must succeed.
Keep the faith and simply look at other regions and other nations. Only 70 years WWII came to and end and with it a chapter of history that saw over 50 million dead, concentration camps, ethnic cleansing, carpet bombings in what was known as ‘Civilized Europe”. Keeping in mind the many “Arab Wars” costing trillions of dollars, destructions and the death of millions, all are self-inflicting.
Wars and civil wars ravaged Vietnam, Korea, Cambodia, Spain, Central America, and most of Latin America and yes, these regions and these countries with wise competent dedicated leadership rebuilt and prospered. The Arabs can do the same.
Let us hope we do not employ the Lebanese model of post civil wars, where nothing changed after a war that killed over 100,000, destroyed Lebanon with over 50,000 remained missing and with warlords sitting in government and political dynasties that remained in charge. Lebanon is far from the model we hope for post civil war countries like Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya. It also will do us lots of good to acknowledge that our “Islamic and Arabic” history is not the perfect history with great stories but full of blood, conspiracy and feuds.
The purpose of this article is not to give excuses for the failings and the doom, but to understand the historical contexts of why the Arab world is in deep deep trouble. I do not here to put the blame only on colonialism as the excuses given by many Arab intellectuals using it as a “musmar Juha” or Juha’s nail hanging all the failings on “colonialism’ conveniently missing the role of dynasties and the religious establishment played in postponing any reformation of the political, ideological even the religious establishments.
It was July 4, 2002, on an Air France flight from Washington Dulles to Charles De Gaul in Paris that was the trigger point for me to seriously think about a think tank and a foundation that can bring about and contribute to serious change in the Arab World.
Usually, I go to sleep on these long flight almost at departure since I have literally been on the road ever since my first business travel to take a new job in Riyadh Saudi Arabia as general counsel for a large construction company, leaving the hustle and the energizing life of New York City.
On this flight, I was not particularly asleep even though the flight scheduled departure after 10 pm. Settling down in my seat, I began to read the Economists, nor my favorite but it was one of my favorite and the title of the article caught my eye “ Self-Doomed to Failure”. I was a very strongly worded article decrying the constant failings of the Arabs and of course wondering why?
Why with all the wealth, with all the natural resources, with all the 300 million of (subjects vs. citizens) and a region that sits on the top of the world most important waterway and sea routes. A region only some 30 km or less across the pond from Europe and extends deep into Africa, and into the Indian Ocean and the Indian-subcontinent.
No need to even read the UNDP reports or the Economist or the Global Peace Index or reports from the World Bank, the IMF, the World Economic Forum or read documents and reports issued by credible think tanks from think tanks (both kinds those that don’t think and those not allowed to think) to know the Arab World is deeply wounded and on a course of self-destructing with the help of outside powers (US, France, Russia, Iran) and by the hands of its own people and leaders.
One need to watch and read the daily news coming from Syria, from Iraq, for Libya from Yemen to see how far the destruction and dismantling of these nations, it makes your heart bleed for the tens of millions who lost everything and forced into exile in Syria and Iraq or see the destructions of cities that withstood the onslaught of the Crusade and the Mongols but to be destroyed at the hand of those entrusted to protect it and save it.
It is inconceivable to even imagine the destruction taking place in Yemen with the different factions seeking military support from the outside to destroy the very little which existed in Yemen in the first place, where tens of billions were looted deposited in foreign land or in ownership of posh real estate and wasted on guns and arms rather than on building the much needed infrastructure such as schools, clinics, roads, water reservoirs planting fruit and coffee trees rather than Qat’trees, an addiction that makes Yemen the number one nation in throat and mouth cancer and the nations with the highest rate of children malnutrition.
The American administration of George Bush and Dick Cheney not withstanding the millions who took to the streets to protest the forthcoming invasion of Iraq, decided to go ahead and invaded Iraq and was expecting millions of Iraqis to cheer, well, some did, but the cheers stops and was replaced with constant attack on the American invasion forces. The American administration of George Bush went to Iraq not to bring about democracy as it claimed but to dismantle Iraq as a nation. That took place immediately after the end of Desert Storm when the American practically partitioned Iraq by setting up a No Fly Zone over Kurdish area in Northern Iraq. Division of Iraq along ethnic and sectarian lines was put in place immediately after the invasion of Iraq. The American administration of George Bush never had a plan to rebuild Iraq and did every thing to destroy it and destroy it and it did. What took place after Saddam was even worse? The American invasions of Iraq not only end up destroying Iraq but looting the American treasury as well.
They never had the plan to rebuild Iraq and to rebuild democratic, accountable transparent governing institutions beyond the reach of the Ba’athist Party and beyond the reach of the “Mukhabarat” and the midnights visitors and the secret jails and the torture chambers and summary execution, rather there were too hungry to loot the country.
The Governor General of Iraq, Paul Bremer first decision was to dismantle and disband the Iraqi Army the only “institution” that kept the country together albeit through brute force, but it and this decision failed to take into consideration what it means to put out of work 400,000 well trained and well placed soldier and failed to take into consideration the social and economic impact on the country. And to make things even worse Bremer decided on dismantling the Ba’athist Party with its million of members, many who joined the party only to have a job. These reckless ill-advised decisions by Paul Bremer set the pace for dismantling Iraq as a national unit seeding and fanning the sectarian flame and with much sadness found much support from within the Sunni and Shiite religious establishment and traditional leadership. The Arabs were also there to help as usual.
The story was and is not different from Libya, where Libyans, for the most part, welcomed the bombing of Libya by what they perceived as allies against the late dictator Muammar Qadafi, welcoming the scumbags like Bernard Levy as the hero.
We, across the Arab world, were so much disappointed with the aftermath of what happened in Libya with internal fights dividing the nations along ethnic, regional and tribal even “ religious” lines with the help and support from the outside.
Rather than seeing immediate steps to rebuild the governing institutions of the state, the rebuilding of towns and cities destroyed by the bombing and internal war between pro and against Qadafi, everyone began to dismantle and destroy whatever left of Libya as one nation united and as usual relying on outside forces to help them destroy yet another Arab country.
Sudan is another sad and tragic story, united with Egypt for over 160 years beginning with the reign of Muhammed Ali only to split from Egypt during the reign of Nasser and to split further during the reign of Al-Bashir. Savaged and ravaged by 20 years “sectarian and ethnic war” Sudan did not escape the internal massacres of over 400,000 in Darfur that no one in the Arab media cared to talk about.
Out West, the conflict between Morocco and Algeria and funded for the most part by Libya over the Moroccan Western Sahara took its toll on both countries and economies with tens of billions wasted on arms and wars and more to come, rather than building bridges and extending partnership across borders, and building joint projects we see borders closed, threats of recurring fights under the pretence of giving the “Sahara” people the rights of self-determination.
What we see today of the ongoing destruction of Syria by its leadership its allies (Russia) and by mercenaries criminal misfits with no faith or religion, a product of neglected society in Europe, drug pushers and users, pimps and male prostitutes, young men living on the far margin of society with hardly any future, aided by generous support from wealthy nations and intelligence agencies.
We see 5,000 years of history destroyed by barrel bombs invention of Bashar’s Syrian Ba’athist army and the total abandonment of the Syrian people by an opposition leadership more interested in 5 stars hotels rather than offering serious credible leadership as an alternative to Bashar’s Ba’athist regime.
The rise of Islamic terrorism has its origin in Mecca back in November of 1979 when a Saudi clerk with the support of 200-armed followers stormed the Holy Mosque of Mecca taking hostage thousands of worshipers. That episode took 3 weeks to put out the rebellion and to kill Jayhaman and his followers. This event brought to the open the rise of domestic violent religious movement. The opportunity to get rid of this Scrooge came with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan when the Americans and the Saudis thought it was an excellent opportunity to export this extreme violent movement to Afghanistan under the umbrella of “Jihad”.
As such the rise of radical violent Islamic movements are not a recent invention. What we see today in Iraq and Syria has its roots with the American Invasion of Iraq, the dismantling of the Iraqi Army, the dismantling of the Ba’athist Party, which formed the core of we see today in the area known as “ Islamic Caliphate. The Syrian Arab Spring against the repressive regime of Bashar Assad and the use of deadly force to put out what started out as a modest civil demand escalated with the decision to arm and train several anti-regime forces which allowed the many groups to start to recruit fighters throughout Europe and the Middle East. The rise of violent Islamic movement not come from Mars and did not land in Iraq and Syria on a dark moonless night. It was in the making, inspired by the “Mujahideen’s” of Afghanistan as a Sunni fighting for freedom and liberation of Sunnis after the Americans decided with the help of sectarian Shiite leadership to dismantle what was thought of as “Sunni” institutions. They set out to “avenge” the Sunnis by destroying Iraq as a model of a Sunni-Shiite partnership.
In modern times, it was the late Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt the charismatic leader of the Egyptian revolution was perhaps the only one who could have changed history in the Arab world as a leader who enjoyed unmatched popularity in the Arab world and who could easily sweep away many sitting government.
Nasser has his chance, and he blew it. He could have introduced the first modern Arab state with solid democratic governing institutions with accountable, transparent governments, with modern nation state of separate but the equal executive, legislative and judiciary. Instead, he relied on his army to take the country to ruins building institutions with false ‘democratic/people” participation and a nation ruled by the military and “Mukhabarat/intelligence “ services and failing to set a model for “military revolutionaries” like Qaddafi and Qassim to follow suit. They all followed Nasser regime and style of charismatic leadership reinforced by the military and Mukhabarat. And the results we see today. So far, we do not see any leadership or popular movements on the horizon that can give some hope or inspire the region for a hopeful future.
In almost 1400 years since the introduction of Islam, the Arab world/Middle East did not introduce a model “governing state” as a model. All were family dynasties that ruled in the name of Islam and ruled by the sword and died by the sword.
It is this tragic history that failed to give rise to a vision of a modern nation state that can compete with and can withstand the onslaught of Western Colonialism and Imperialism. The religious establishment as expected was always and remains at the behest of the rulers and the scholars failed to come up with a modern version of an “Islamic State”. It goes for “secular intellectuals” also failed to come up with a vision a “state of citizenship.”
Once again, not to give excuses but to fully understand the “Economist” report one must also understand the turbulent history of the regions with invaders coming into the regions from everywhere East and West, not only in ancient times but also in modern times, thus planting the seeds of conflicts and failings.
A region endowed with great cultural history dating back to the early civilization of the Pharaohs and Pyramids of Egypt to the cradle of civilizations between the great rivers of Mesopotamia where the alphabets were invented and where the Hammurabi’s legal code (1754 BC) of Babylon took place setting the first cornerstone in our legal system and where the Niles run deep into the very heart of Africa, the great Egyptian Civilization rose along the Nile and with early civilizations such as the Sumerians ( 3000 BC) and the Phoenicians who introduced the Alphabets across the Mediterranean. Rich history and civilization, almost first in everything. This is what the Arab world is all about.
A region of cross culture and cross faith and religion and great civilizations where great ancient nations of the time fought to win and fought to lose, with Persia extending its domain almost all the way to Greece and Alexander taking his troop all the way across the region all the way across Mesopotamia, Persia and on to India.
It is also a region where the Greeks and the Romans were able to extend and established their rule dating way back before the birth of Jesus Christ. It a region that gave us all of the biblical prophets from Abraham to Noah, to Jacob, Ishmael, Isaac, and Moses and Mohamed.
It is a region that endowed diverse with ethnic groups and ethnic faiths such as the Yazid’s, the Zoroaster of ancient Persian with its great civilians that we see today.
It is a region that saw the birth, the rise and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the birth of Christianity one of the main faith of the world with almost 2 billion believers; it was also the birth of Judaism and the place of the Jewish profits of Moses, Jacob, and Joseph.
And it was in the early 7th century that a man named Mohamed announced his first message that he was commanded by Allah to be his prophet and messenger to the people of Mecca and beyond. It was during the next 100 years that Islam swept across the Levant, to what is today Syria and Lebanon, Jordan to Iraq, to Egypt, to Persia and all the way to Morocco, and later to Spain and India. A faith spread by the book and the sword.
Notwithstanding the spread of Islam in the birth of both Christianity and Judaism, the two faiths lived on to thrive and spread beyond Palestine. The fact that the entire region became or converted into Islam it did not adversely affect the two other Abrahamic religions, Judaism and Christianity.
Invaders came and gone, while the Mongol invasion retreated beyond Persia and into India, in the West, and in Europe there was a rising anti-Islamic sentiment fueled by personal greed to power and money and fanned by a Church that began to lose power and influence
It was Pope Urban who first urged his followers to carry arms and liberate the birth of Christianity and wrestled it from the control of the Saracens and originally it was in support of the Byzantine Empire and its emperor Alexious thus tens of thousands of Crusaders coming all the way from England across Europe descending down from present day Turkey unto the Holy land seeking to reclaim the region for Christianity from Saracens (Muslims were not called Muslims in Europe until the 13th century.
However not only the Muslims felt the wrath of the Crusades but Jews as well, when thousands of Jews were massacred in what is known as the Rhineland Massacre. The Crusades also were able to sack Constantinople An excellent source on the history of the Crusade one must read Amin Maalouf book “ The Crusade through Arab Eyes” ” where he writes that immediately upon crossing Southern Turkey (Anatolia) into Northern Syria and through the town of “Magarat Al-Nouman” the crusaders slaughtered 10,000 residents of the city instilling fear in all the region.
The Crusader stayed on for almost 300 years establishing castles and fortresses (Sidon, Kerak, Toron, and Marat among many) all over the region and one can visit these in Jordan, in Palestine and Syria and Lebanon.
It was in the Battle of Hattin (1187) that Saladin was able to turn the tide against the Crusade though their rule over the region continued until the 13th Century.
However as bad as the Crusades were for Muslims and Jews, they revived commerce and trade in what became a Christian Sea (Mediterranean’s) with City-states such as Florence, Venice, and Genoa flourishing from European, Middle East, and the Far East commerce. The Crusades lasted from 1095-1291)
Meanwhile, Islam was spreading fast into Europe with Muslims establishing their empire (711 ad-1492) in what became known as el-Andalus with its well-known centers of learning in Cordoba, Granada, Seville among many of the well-preserved cities we see today. Like all empires before it, the Muslim empire of al-Andalus fell on a hard time due to family feuds, decadence, corruption and the last prince Emire Mohammad XII of the Emirates of Granada surrendered to Queen Isabella I of Castile. And with that began the dark age of what became the Spanish Inquisitions when Muslims and Jews were forced to flee Christian Spain or convert and go underground.
Of course, the Muslims and the Arabs also had their good and many bad days. Unfortunately for the most part conflicts and feuds that destroyed thriving empires and family and tribal conflicts that brought to a sad and tragic end many of the Arab and Muslim empires of the time.
The first conflict of what became known as the First Muslim Civil War (661-665) began with the assassination of the Third Caliphate Uthman ibn Affan who empowered the Ummayad Clan thus causing a rift between Muslims those who supported the Ummayad and those who supported the 4th Caliph Ali ibn abi Talib and continued 4 years into the reign of Ali concluding with the treaty signed by Hassan ibn Ali acknowledging the rule of the Ummayed.
The Ummayed Caliphate or Dynasty (661-750) was established by the long time governor of Damascus Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan who with the help of Christians and Jews of the Byzantine Empire was able to establish a modern nation-state of the time, with prefectures, ministers, and judiciaries among institutions of governance.
However with the death of Muawiya arose once again a revolt this time by the Husayn ibn Ali who challenged Yazid ibn Muawiya as caliphate and what became the Second Muslim Civil War (685-692) with the ruthless suppression of the revolt culminating in the beheading of Husayn in the battle of Karbala (680) with his head brought all the way from Iraq to Syria and presented to Yazid. However, it was not only Iraq that revolted by Mecca as well ending with the siege of Mecca and the death of Abd Allah Ibn a Zubayer.
The Third Muslim Civil War known as the Great Berber Revolt (740-743) during the reign of Hisham ibn Abdul –al-Malik which began in Tangier by Mausara el- Matahari that precipitated the fragmentations of the Ummayad Empire which in its heyday extended to the Caucasus, Transoxiana, Sindh, Maghreb and the Iberian Peninsula and became the fifth largest empire in history.
All came to an end when in 750 with some of the Umayyad fled to North Africa and into Spain. Of course, the Ummauad lost almost all of their powers in North Africa.
The fall of the Ummyad Empire gave rise to the Abbasid Empire (750-1258). The Abbasid Empire is also a family dynasty like the Ummayad with the rulers belonging to the Prophet Uncle al-Abbas. It came to a very sad and tragic end with the invasion of the Mongol and the ransacking of Baghdad.
It was during the Abbasid Empire that the expansion shifter east and with the support of Shiite Muslims and Persian in Khorasan that Abbas as-Saffah defeated Marwan II at the battle of the Great Zab River in 750 in what was know as Mesopotamia.
Shifting its direction east it also shifted from an “Arab” based dynasty and empire to a Muslim based community of believer abandoning “Arab nationalism” to a Ummat El-Islam and adopting much of the Persian way of governance and adopting laws based on “Islamic laws” and as the base of governance.
The Abbasid Empire together with Ummayad of Spain were the Golden age of the “Islamic Empire” with industry, art, science became to dominate the political and social life with scholars coming from all over the world. Baghdad became the center of knowledge during the reigns of al- Mansur, Harun ar-Rashid, and Al-Ma’amun.
It was during the reign of al-Mutasim that the nature of the empire began to change and shift with the inclusion of recent converts Berber, Slave and Turkic mercenaries into the imperial army that weakened the rule of the Caliphate. The unity through Islam was weakened when Bayid the Iran governor entered Baghdad in 945 demanding autonomy, with the Seljuk as the mercenary army became very powerful taking over the government leaving the Caliphate a figurehead, religious leaders and this was the case until the Mongol invaded and ransacked Baghdad in 1258.
Meanwhile, in the West, there arose a new dynasty, a new empire the Fatimid Caliphate (909-1171) that is the first ruling dynasty that belongs to Ali through his wife Fatimah and the first Ismaili branch of Shiite to rule since Ali. It made North Africa the center of its power establishing rules in Algeria, Tunisia setting up its initial capital in the Tunisian city of Mahdia shifting it to Al-Masuriya near present day Kairouan and in 969 conquered Egypt and establishing Cairo as its capital. The Fatimid relied heavily on the Berber of North Africa for its army and its bureaucracy. It should be noted here that the Fatimid broke the chain of “Sunni” rules and established a Shiite empire.
“The Fatimids) …were moved by more than personal or dynastic ambition. They were the heralds of a new intellectual and religious philosophy, which aimed at nothing less than the transformation, and renewal of all Islam and the establishment of the universal Ismaili Imamat. As Ismaili Shiites, they refused to offer even token submission to the Abbasid caliphs, the usurpers; they and they alone were the true Imams, by descent and by God’s choice, the sole rightful heads of the Islamic community. The Caliphate was theirs by right, and they would take from the Abbasids as the Abbasids had taken it from the Ummayads,”
During its heydays, it extended through all of North Africa to Palestine, Lebanon, Sicily, Malta, Libya, Syria and Jordan. It was brought to an end by none other than the Kurdish leader Saladin who in 1171 conquered the Fatimid Empire and brought back under the rule of the Abbasid.
Saladin the Sunni Kurdish governor of Damascus was appointed the Kurdish Seljuk who rule most of Syria and Lebanon and became the well-known hero who defeated the Crusades in the battle of Hattin, from there he went on to conquer Egypt and establish the Ayyubid Dynasty in 1174 after defeating the Fatimid and his dynasty ruled most Egypt. Upper Iraq, Syria, even Yemen. The Ayyubid Dynasty fell on hard times with family feud, lax governance shifting its capital from Cairo to Aleppo and ceding Jerusalem to the Crusaders in 1229.
Though it continued on into the 14th century taking Hamah as its capital coming to and end in the battle of Al-Mansurah (1250) when the Mamluk established their dynasty and empire over Egypt
It should be noted here that it was the Ayyupid who were “zealous Sunnis” who established Madras as religious academies and who actively pursued a policy of conversion of Muslim Shiite and Christians.
Most interesting of all the Arab and Muslim dynasties (Sunnis or Shiites) where the Mamluk (owned slaved) who established a dynasty that ruled Egypt from 1250 to 1517.
For the most part, the Mamluk were the “worrier class” the Samurais of the Arab world made up of Turkic people. Circassians, Abkhazians, Georgians, Balkans, Slaves, Albanians and they ruled from the 9th century well into the 19th century with dynasties in Iran, in India, and in Iraq in addition to Egypt. It was the Mamluk who finally defeated the Crusade and chase them out once and for all from the Levant in 1302.
It was the Mamluk who in the battle of Ait Jalut in Galilee on 3 September brought to a halt the Mongol expansion West forcing them after the death of Khagan Mongke Khan to retreat all the way to Mongolia.
The rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire also mark a watershed in the history perhaps tragic history of the Arab World.
The Ottoman Empire (1299-1922) was founded by Oghuz Turks under Osman in Northern Anatolia and under Murad conquered the Balkan and was transformed into a multi-nationality, multi-language empire with a Caliphate and it ended the Byzantine Empire when Mohmed the Conqueror who in 1453 claimed Constantinople as the capital of the Ottoman Empire with under Suleiman the Magnificent ruled from the Caucasus to Southeast Europe, Horn of Africa and much of the Arab World spanning 6 centuries.
It is the history of the Ottoman Empire in the Arab world that is importance to us because together with the imperial colonization of most of the Arab world by France and England and the Zionist takeover of Palestine forms the psychic that drives the Arab to insanity.
Though the Ottomans were Muslims, Sunni Muslims they were seen as “colonized” by the Arabs and the Ottoman-ruled with the iron fist the areas under their control resorting to public hanging of those who defy the Ottoman power and rule.
Education in Arab World
Such a tragic colonization did not bring with it much education in Arab World or science or technology to the Arab world and as such, there were very few schools and educational institutions and those wishing to study must come to Constantinople for studies. They also burned the people with high taxation ending in confiscations of land for nonpayment of taxes and uprooting so many pressures of the very little trees for their railroad and implemented a conscript that took Arabs to war and never to come back. As such though the Ottoman was Muslim under a Caliphate the relationship between the Arab subjects and the rulers in Constantinople were at best restrained.
Through mismanagement, corruption, and decadence and like all empire the Ottoman Empire began to lose its powers and authority in the distance places and became what is known as “the sick man of Europe” and it did not help it sided with Germany during WWI.
The Arabs feeling the burden of the Ottoman Occupation for centuries were anxious to side with the devil to bring about an end to the what later is referred to as “Turkish” thus shifting from an “Islamic rule” to a more nationalistic rule.
Meanwhile, we must not forget the development in Egypt, which will later play an even greater impact on the status of the Arab World.
One can say that modern day Egypt belong to Mohamed Ali the Albanian-born viceroy of the Ottoman Empire. After three ways battles between the Turks, the Mamluk and the Albanian Mohamed Ali Basha became the effective ruler of Egypt.
His dynasty ruled Egypt from 1805 to 1953 when Colonel Gamal Abul Nasser overthrow King Farouk the last member of Mohamed Ali and declared Egypt free state under Arab/Egyptian rule.
Mohamed Ali was an ambitions victory and is considered the father of modern Egypt who introduced many reforms in Egypt starting the confiscation of all private properties thus becoming the sole owner of Egypt. He introduced and set up European-style factors, set up Cotton as a cash crop and in 1820 sent the first education mission to Europe thus began what is referred to as Nahda and he also introduced the first “indigenous” Bulaq Press, he also set up schools with French text, set up medical education, and set out to reform and establish a modern army. He also set and built a “central bureaucracy”, and “an educational system that allowed for social mobility”
Like all those before him, he was also ambitious wanting to expand his ‘territory” to Syria, Lebanon, Palestine even Arabia where in 1811 he sent his son Tusun on to invade Arabia in what became the First Ottoman-Saudi war. He was able to conquer Jeddah, Medina even Mecca. Defeating the Sharif of Mecca and concluding a peace treaty with Abdallah bin Saud.
Later on, in 1816 he dispatched his son Ibrahim Basha to conquer Arabia occupying the house of Saud hometown of Diriyah.
However, all of his plans went haywire when he concluded the treaty of Baltan Liman, which forced Egypt to tear down all of its import and trade barriers and give up the monopolies he first set up.
As a result of all of this Egypt debt in 1844 stood at 80 million francs and Egypt was almost broke.
Of course one could not leave Egypt of the 18th century without refereeing to the Napoleon invasion of Egypt which took place between 1798 -1801. Of course, Napoleon pretext was to protect France “ free trade” when in fact he wanted to cut off the lucrative trade route that England enjoyed with India. However, France all along had its eyes on occupying Egypt going back to 1777.
As we can see later, everyone wants to come and rule and colonize and this sad and tragic history of the Middle East must be understood within the context of the Economist article of July 4th, 2002 “doomed to failure”.
As if the French invasion was not enough the British also had their eyes on the Arab world. In 1882 the British sent its expeditionary troops to Egypt under the pretense of protecting Egypt and this “veiled protectorate) lasted until 1914. Though the Khedivate were the nominal rulers of Egypt, and though the British invasion has no legal basis, it constituted a “de facto protectorate” over the entire country.”
After the end of WWI and the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. Egypt declared its independence in 1922 and Sultan Fuad declared himself King. The British Occupation was formalized in 1936 under the Anglo-Egyptian Agreement under the pretense of protecting the Suez Canal and its lucrative trade business with India. The British continued to be the de facto rulers of Egypt until Gamal Abdul Nasser took over and ended the British colonialism, of Egypt after the end of the invasion of Egypt by England, France, and Israel.
Now shifting back to the Levant. With the Ottoman Empire dubbed the sick man of Europe, Arabs under the Ottoman Occupation felt the need to have more autonomy, and end of the conscription for deployment in other lands, though not in times of wars.
Arab nationalist back in 1821 sought more autonomy from their Ottoman occupiers seeking reforms in education and allowing Arabic to be taught in schools.
It was around 1908 when the movement dubbed the Young Turks took place seeking more power with Sultan Abdulhamid seeking to prevent this by restoring the 1876 constitution, but that was not enough.
The “Arabs” have their own agenda and with “ loyalty to religion, sect, and tribe the ideology of Ottomans and Pan-Islamism provided strong competition for Arab Nationalism”.
Arab members of Parliament sought and supported the “ restoration of obsolete monarchy of Sultan Abdul-Hamid” and to throw the effort of overthrow and to garner the around him the support of Muslims, Sultan Abdul-Hamid declared himself “Caliphate” but was “driven to exile in Selonic” and the Young Turks were now stronger than ever.
Arab nationalist did not pursue “independence” as a priority, but there was Arab ambition of establishing a future dynasty that can rule the Levant from Aleppo north to Eden South covering present-day Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq event part of what is now Saudi Arabia. Thus the Great Arab Revolt of June 5, 1916, took place.
In future articles, I will touch on the Arab Revolution and its aftermath, the colonization of North Africa and its aftermath and of course, the Sykes-Picot Agreement, the Balfour Declaration, the establishment of Israel and many other important topics such as education for all program and Education in Arab world , public health, charities for children, infrastructure, best charities to donate to, governing institutions among other important topics. By no means, this article meant as a “scholarly article” but more a personal chat and discourse. Your feedbacks are welcomed.