|World War I Alliances|
What followed was a division of the Ottoman Empire by the allied countries of Britain and France. These countries received mandates from the newly created League of Nations to govern the Middle East. Britain got Palestine (Israel), Iraq, and Arabia. France got the Lebanon, and Syria. Very soon the native Arabs of these countries grew impatient with the Europeans. During the British mandate of Palestine, a large number of Jewish immigrants started to arrive and build their own communities. This trend was increased during and after World War II as the Nazis expelled and persecuted the Jewish people. Eventually the British relented to international pressure and relinquished its control of Palestine and turned the matter over to the newly formed United Nations. The UN divided Palestine between the Arab and Jewish peoples with Jerusalem as an international city. Needless to say, the partition didn't last long. After a fierce war of independence, the Jewish (now called Israelis) people formed the modern state of Israel. The tension between this state and the Arab states surrounding it has been the source of much, though not all, of the tension of the Middle East.
|Modern Middle East|
Although the regions of the Middle East have large reserves of natural resources and labor pools, the area remains poor due to the instability caused by internal as well as external strife. None of the Arab countries can fully accept the Jewish state of Israel. All of the countries in the region have tense relations with some, if not all of their neighbors. Corrupt and despotic regimes control most of the countries which causes great suffering for the inhabitants and retardation of their economies. Indeed, much of the money that the Middle Eastern countries make, come from petroleum exports. For countries with no petroleum, such as Lebanon and Jordan, the economies remain even smaller. With such a history, peace seems far and elusive for the Middle East. The way that the region went from such glory and riches at the height of the Ottoman empire, to the division and poverty of the current times should serve as a lesson for other countries to study and learn.