Western Influence in the Middle East

The Christian Science Monitor, February 12, 1991 | Go to article overview
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Western Influence in the Middle East


1798: French invasion and brief occupation of Egypt begins a resurgence of European influence in the region after more than four centuries of Ottoman rule. 1869: French open the Suez Canal and acquire 99-year concession agreement. 1882: British forces invade Egypt to suppress a movement opposed to the ruling Turkish khedive. Despite formal termination of British rule in 1922, Britain's control continues until 1936. 1918: Ottoman Empire's military intervention on the side of Germany in World War I ends in its dissolution. Britain and France carve up the ex-Ottoman Arab territories in the Fertile Crescent into mandated states. 1939: Colonial empires of the Western European powers start to crumble during and after World War II. Independence given to present-day states of Iraq (1932), Syria (1946), Jordan (1946), and Lebanon (1943). 1947: United Nations resolves to partition Palestine into an Israeli state and an Arab state. Arab countries reject the plan. 1948: State of Israel is created. 1956: Egypt's President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal which leads to the Anglo-French invasion of the canal zone.

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