Modern Middle East, 1800-2010
Violence in the Middle East dominates world news today. How did military states, Islamist politics, and wars come to shape the region? The modern history of the Middle East begins with Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt and resulting attempts by the Ottoman Empire, Egypt, and Iran to enact military reforms and westernization for self defense. World War I also made an enormous impact on the region, shattering the Ottoman Empire and creating new, divided nation-states such as Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and later Israel. Because these “artificial” states were unstable, groups like Gamal abd al-Nasser’s Free Officers and Islamist movements like the Muslim Brotherhood contested for power. The interplay between military and Islamist tendencies, along with the challenging conditions of daily life, have led to explosive crises such as the “Arab Spring” revolutions in recent years.