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Background: Middle East Geographic position at the junction –Africa, Asia, and Europe.

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Presentation on theme: "Background: Middle East Geographic position at the junction –Africa, Asia, and Europe."— Presentation transcript:


2 Background: Middle East Geographic position at the junction –Africa, Asia, and Europe

3 Background: Middle East Origin of the 3 monotheistic religions –Judaism, Christianity, and Islam largest reserves of petroleum in the world –Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries non-Arab nations –Turkey, Israel, and Iran

4 Background: Islam 2nd largest religion in the world –some 1 billion adherents –from West Africa to Indonesia –most Muslims are outside of the Middle East –most Muslims are not Arabs

5 Islam and Muslim Islam literally means “submission” to God Muslim literally means “one who submits” recognize that there is only one God (Allah) reject other gods or “associates” of God His appointed messengers –Jesus and the Old Testament prophet –7th century Arab prophet Muhammad

6 Central tenet of Islam Muslim declaration of faith –“There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is His prophet” –e.g.: Saudi flag

7 Muslim Declaration of Faith Flag of Iran Flag of Iraq “God is great”

8 The 5 pillars of Islam The Muslim declaration of faith plus 4 ritual obligations that faithful Muslims perform to the best of their ability

9 The 5 pillars of Islam plus 4 ritual obligations that faithful Muslims perform to the best of their ability –prayer 5 times a day, facing the holy shrine of Kaaba in Mecca –give alms to charity –fast in daylight hours in the month of Ramadan –make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in life

10 The Koran (Qur’an) written record of Muhammad’s revelations said to be the exact word of God a source of authority for religious truth provide detailed rules by which the righteous can guide their daily lives with little dependence on the old sources of authority such as tribe and lineage

11 Sunnis and Shi’is 2 major branches of Islam –differ mostly over who should have succeeded the Prophet Muhammad in 632 Sunnis –literally mean “followers of tradition” Shi’is –literally mean “partisans” of Ali –less than 10% of Muslims worldwide

12 Sunnis and Shi’is

13 Spread of Islam: 1500

14 Ottoman Empire


16 British & French rule: 1800s Geopolitical rivalries instead of economic prizes

17 British & French mandates

18 Independence By 1950 most countries in Middle East had achieved independence –Syria and Lebanon gained independence from French rule during World War II –Iraq and Transjordan gained nominal independence from Britain’s indirect rule –British protectorate in Egypt ended –continued Western economic and strategic interests in the region

19 Drive for self-determination Direct European political control declined –Britain installed kings in Jordan and Iraq economic dependence & independence –e.g. Iran’s attempt to nationalize British- owned petroleum company failed in 1951 –e.g. O.P.E.C. quadrupled oil prices in 1973

20 Cold War Superpower, regional, and internal struggles –influence of U.S. and Soviet Union

21 Overthrow the monarchy Kings perceived to be pro-Western, corrupt, and ineffective were overthrown by nationalist revolutions 1952 revolt of the Free Officers in Egypt 1958 revolution in Iraq killed King & P.M. 1979 revolution in Iran led by Khomeini exceptions: Jordan and Saudi Arabia

22 Arab nationalism Physical, ethnic, religious, and cultural bridges across the national boundaries that were arbitrarily drawn by Europeans pan-Arab movement –launched by Nasser of Egypt in 1958 –proposed unification with Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and the Sudan at one time or another –governments suspected Nasser’s motives

23 Egypt under Nasser (1954-1970) Arab nationalism & Arab socialism Nasser’s particular vision of Arab socialism –socialism of secular Islam, not Marxist –nationalization of basic industries –elimination of foreign ownership –hospitals, mosques, and schools in villages –mass public participation in politics

24 Egypt after Nasser (1970-) Nasser’s successors –Sadat (-1981) –Mubarak

25 3 leadership styles traditional leadership –legitimacy from historical forces and traditional practices –no substitute for effective policy –can not protect ineffective ruler forever charismatic leadership –unique personal characters in a crisis bureaucratic leadership

26 Baath Party Arab Socialist Resurrection Party Baath: to recover past Arab greatness at once a political party, political philosophy, and political movement ultimate goal of Arab unity through nationalism, socialism, and pan-Arabism supporters among intellectuals and military of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq


28 Baathism in Syria and Iraq Since 1963 Baath Party has successfully maintained itself in power in Syria –and until recently in Iraq in Syria Baathist support came largely from the civilian sector in Iraq Baathist power mainly in the military

29 Baathism in Syria and Iraq both Syria and Iraq were in the forefront of supporting Palestinian organizations In the 1967 Arab- Israeli War, Syria lost the Golan Heights to Israel

30 Baathism in Syria and Iraq Baathist regimes in Syria and Iraq –were often at head-on disputes –despite ostensible commitment to Arab unity –relatively long and potent nationalist feeling Iraq and Syria split forcefully –during the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1988 –during the Gulf War of 1991

31 Islam and politics Pan-Arabism, Baathism, and traditional systems all stressed the importance of Islam common source of tradition and identity Islam conceived of in politically secular terms

32 Islam and politics existence of Muslim society as desirable reality reject the idea of an Islamic state based on the Koran and Islamic tradition there are exceptions to the professed secularism

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